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Instagram Hashtags: How To Find And Use Them | Secret Strategies From An Instagram Pro

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Hi everyone, how's it hanging? Today we're going to be talking about hashtags and also trying to ignore that terrible joke I just made. I literally get requests to do this article every single day and most of them come from my other Instagram article, which is called "25 Tips On How To Increase Your Engagement On Instagram". And if that's something you're looking to do, you should definitely check it out. It's linked in the description below and it's quite long. It's got a lot of information and it's gotten like 85,000 views at this point and it just keeps growing every day.

So I think people are finding it really useful which I'm super stoked about! So hashtags, huh? Love them or hate them, they are one of the best ways to grow on Instagram. Today I'm going to be telling you all about what they are, but also teaching you how to find the best ones possible for your account. Because that obviously varies from niche to niche and from person to person. But what is a hashtag really? Well at the heart of it a hashtag is a tool that enables other users to find your images. And the way it works - let's say you've taken a beautiful picture of your vegan lunch and you use #veganfood. Well, everybody else searching for hashtag vegan food will find your picture... but will they really? The sad truth is no, they will not. Because hashtag vegan food is a huge hashtag with over 8 million entries so you would have to have a really huge account to actually show up. If you have an average sized account you will just literally get buried alive by the other entries. That is a terrifying way of thinking about it, but it is the truth.

So what are you supposed to do? Well, you are supposed to look for hashtags that are the appropriate size for you. That will enable you to show up in the top posts. And this is really important because that is where a lot of the discovering happens. But how do you find those hashtags? Well let me move to the side I will pull up a screen and we will get to the bottom of it! So today we're looking at a beautiful picture of me in Istanbul on these rainbow steps which I just loved and this picture has actually done really well. It's gotten four thousand likes, which I'm absolutely thrilled about. When you look at this picture what do you see? Well you see rainbow steps, you see a female traveler and you see the country that it's taken in which is Turkey and more specifically Istanbul.

So these are already three fields in which you should be searching for hashtags. Other options could also include things like colourful photos or colourful life, things like that, that revolve around the fact that this picture is very vibrant. So first of all let's look at the hashtags I ended up using. I didn't do it in a very pretty way this time, I kind of divided them into two because I forgot to include the Istanbul hashtags. But personally I'm not too fussy about hiding hashtags. I think they're a great strategy, I'm not ashamed of it. Some people prefer to put three dots at the top so when you post your hashtags they're hidden. That's just personal preference and it really doesn't matter, it doesn't influence your photos' performance in any way, shape or form. So it's completely up to you.

So the hashtags we have here start with a lot of colour stuff so #ihavethisthingwithcolor, #colorventures, #dscolor. And these obviously revolve around the fact like we mentioned before that the picture is super vibrant, super colourful. So great hashtags to use. After that we get into slightly different territory with #ladiesgoneglobal, #travellushes, #sheisnotlost and these are all hashtags that are focusing on solo female travel. Alright, show of hands. Who knows how many hashtags you're allowed to use per photo? I know, I know! It's 30. There are certain tricks floating around the internet that teach you how to use up to 60 hashtags. But you do not want to do that because if you do it will render every single one of your hashtags invalid.

So that's a huge waste of your time. So don't do that use 30 though. As I mentioned in my 25 tips on how to increase your engagement video, if you were handed 30 lottery tickets how many would you use? Hmm, let me think... 30! So use every single one of your hashtags, because each hashtag is a chance to get discovered and gain a new follower which is really exciting and that's what we're striving for! Well, we just had a look at the hashtags I used but these will not necessarily be relevant to you. In fact they most likely won't be because they're very specific and that's exactly what you want. You want specific hashtags that aren't too big. If you have a relatively small account and you use a hashtag that has millions and millions of entries you will never ever show up, because you just don't have the kind of engagement that would enable that. Personally I am able to get away with using relatively big hashtags because I get between two to four thousand likes per image on average. And that is already a level at which you are able to target some of the biggest hashtags.

 

Which is really exciting for me but might not necessarily be the case for you. So using my rainbow step image as an example, let's look at some of the hashtags that YOU might be able to use. So what we're gonna do is we're gonna go into search and we're gonna type in Istanbul. There we go. And then we're gonna click tags at the top and see what comes up. So you can already see some of the most popular hashtags related to the word Istanbul. So the first one obviously is just #Istanbul with 49 million posts. If we look at that and go through the top posts you will see that despite having a lot of entries - and this is important to keep in mind - despite having a lot of entries this hashtag is actually not that competitive in terms of showing up in the top posts.

And that's really what you want. So some videos I've watched here on YouTube tell you that you should just look at the size of the hashtag and how many entries it has and that's all. That is absolutely not true! What you need to be looking at is whether you're able to show up in top posts or not and that's really the only thing that matters. So in this case you would need around 400 likes I would say to be able to show up here.

 

So that's already more manageable but may again not necessarily be that manageable for most of you. Our mission today is to find hashtags that are accessible to everyone or almost everyone so we are going to keep scrolling and here we have #Istanbullife and that has about half a million entries, so that already sounds more promising. And if we look through the images here we have 200 likes, 230, 203, ok 1500, but most of them hover around 200. And some have as few as 48 likes which already sounds quite manageable. So if you're able to get as few as let's say 200 if we're being generous then you would definitely show up in this hashtag. We're obviously not gonna be looking for 30 hashtags today because ain't nobody got time for that! And honestly you do not want to watch my face for like two hours just frantically scrolling through Instagram.

 

But there is one thing I should say - my hashtag research takes me in ages. It takes me up to an hour if I'm really going for it or if I'm looking for hashtags I hadn't looked for previously. So it is quite an undertaking but honestly it is the way I was able to grow my account to 85,000 followers in two years. I mean it's really really really helped me step up my game. So I would highly recommend this strategy and as with pretty much everything in life you get what you put in. So if you put in the time I can promise you that it will really skyrocket your account's growth. So without further ado let's keep searching. So when it comes to location specific hashtags, there are two really great ways of finding them. You can look for IG and then insert destination or Igers and then insert destination. Most big cities and even most smaller cities tend to have those accounts and they don't necessarily need to have those accounts for them to have the hashtag.

So that is a really good one to search for. Similarly love and then insert destination name tends to work really well. Now, I understand not all of you have accounts in the travel space. But this is just an example of a great way to look for hashtags wherever you go. So let's look now at #igersistanbul. We have it right here, when it loads. And here is another great tip - look at all the hashtags that show up at the top as related hashtags because these are the kinds of hashtags that tend to be used very often and tend to be quite high quality hashtags. And here is what I mean by high quality hashtags. Let me give you two examples of a hashtag that is absolutely rubbish and not high quality at all.

One of them is #follow4follow and the other is #like4like. So it might be tempting to use those hashtags because you think, well, I am at least gonna get a follower out of it. Well spoiler alert - a) you are not because people aren't as nice as you may think they are and they're not going to do it but b) if you do get a follower out of it I am 99.9% sure that they will be a spammer and they will not be relevant to whatever it is you're doing. Being spammy and just playing some dodgy games is never going to benefit you in the long run. So just absolutely forget about it, forget about it. So #igersistanbul by looking through the hashtag, you will need around 150 likes to show up. Which again might be quite manageable for most of you so that's really exciting and then if we look through the results at the top you've got #igersturkey, #ig_turkey, #allshotsurkey. These are all really high quality, really great hashtags. And the best kind of hashtag is one that is linked to an account that features other people's images. So for example I think #allshotsturkey is linked to on such account.

I'm not a hundred percent sure but that is really the best kind of hashtag. Which brings me to the second category that I used in my personal photo, which is female travel hashtags. There are so many incredible repost accounts - I'm gonna give one of them a shout-out. It's called @dametraveler. So we'll go to people, @dametraveler. It's got 400,000 followers, it's a huge account and if we just look through the images you've got eight thousand, nine thousand, twelve almost thirteen thousand on their images. And if you get featured by them that is going to be hugely hugely benefit your account. Obviously the most important thing here is high quality images. If you don't have high quality images nobody in the world is going to repost you. So it always comes back to your content and its quality.

But these hashtags can really really help you skyrocket your growth if you're already producing really high quality content. So we've already found some really good hashtags but we've only really used one strategy which is looking through tags. And this is probably the best and most commonly used strategy but it's not the only one. The second one is a little sneaky but I don't think it's really a problem. Let's open up my account again because I have nothing to hide and let's look at my latest picture, which is a beautiful beautiful Street in Manchester which I visited recently. So here we have all the hashtags that I used and you can see there about 30 of them and they are related to the UK to Manchester and to female travel as per usual. That is the kind of hashtag that I use on most of my images. So if you go through them and you're in a similar niche, you can already begin taking notes and trying to figure out which of the hashtags I use would be relevant to you. You don't just blindly want to copy all of them because a) that would be a little bit sneaky but b) more importantly they will not all be relevant to you.

What you do want to do is go through them one by one. Again, it takes a lot of time but you want to go through them one by one and figure out which ones might apply to your pictures. And what you want to be focusing on again it's the top posts. Belgium? Sorry, I'm getting a call. I literally just got the best news and the news is that I am gonna be spending five freaking months in Africa next year. Oh my god! Okay, let me compose myself. Hashtags, hashtags! Obviously these are not the only ways in which you can search for hashtags. You can also just simply Google them or you can use dedicated websites. But in my experience the websites I've seen just tend to list the biggest hashtags.

So for example they will use like #love or #planet. Nobody uses #planet I don't know where I came up with that. But you get the gist, right? They list really big hashtags that are not gonna be attainable for you or for me or for most people, aside from like Kim Kardashian. Kim, if you're watching this you keep doing you. So yeah these are really the top ways that I use to look for my hashtags. But there's one more thing you should definitely pay attention to and that is geotagging. Geotagging is really underestimated in its power to get you to a new audience. I think it's a really great way not only if you're travel bloggers like me, but if you're literally anyone. Because most people still take their pictures outside of their home and they showcase places somewhere in their city or just anywhere. Restaurants if you're a food blogger, you know things like that. Geotagging your location is really important. I'm sorry, I am literally so excited about this Africa news that I am finding it so difficult to stay focused.

But that's fine, we'll get to, we'll get to the end of this article I think. Once you've used 30 hashtags and geotagged your image all you can do is wait. And then try and go back to every single one of your hashtags and see if you ended up in the top post. So this is something that again requires a lot of time, yada yada. I know it's annoying, but it really works! Over time you will develop this arsenal of hashtags that really really work for you and keep bringing you new followers.

That is something I've done and that is something you should do if you're serious about growing your account. Alright ladies and gents. That is kind of it from me today. I really hope you enjoyed today's article and if you did, again, don't forget to subscribe to my blog for more Instagram advice. Thank you for reading!

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