These Instagram hashtag hacks have been tried and tested by yours truly as I’ve been on a mission to continually and successfully amplify my Instagram posts and gain targeted followers, while not looking spammy in the process.
There’s two schools of thought when it comes to hashtags on Instagram: those that believe hashtags look spammy and should be used sparingly, and those that whole heartedly embrace the hashtag and #use #it #on #almost #every #single #word #in #their #post (God bless them).
The truth is that hashtags on Instagram are the best way to get your posts seen by as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time possible, including by people who are not following you. If you want to know how to get the most views on your posts from people already following you, check out this post. The only other ways you’ll be seen by people not already following you is by 1) spending several minutes liking and commenting on other people’s posts, hoping they’ll then click over to your profile and check your pictures out (which can be really time-consuming), 2) being lucky enough for someone to discover you as they’re looking at the activity of those they follow, after a person has liked one of your posts, and 3) hitting the Instagram jackpot and being featured on the “Explore Posts” section, or having your photo re-grammed (and properly credited) by an account that has tons of followers and engagement.
The three ways mentioned above are either really time-consuming or a blessing from the Instagram gods, so wouldn’t you agree that the easiest and fastest way to gain exposure is with hashtags? Before I share my Instagram hashtag hacks with you, I want to emphasize that these strategies will work best when you use hashtags that are relevant to your post and your niche. If you’re including #JustinBieber or #OneDirection on your posts, you best be posting pictures of Justin Bieber or One Direction posters on your wall, or of you and your bestie at one of their concerts, otherwise your post will look spammy and worse, will not get the likes and engagement you want.
Instagram Hashtag Hack #1:
Use the full 30 hashtags. What!? Yes. The maximum amount of hashtags that you can use per post is 30, so maximize your opportunity! A TrackMaven study discovered that interactions are highest on Instagram posts with 11+ hashtags, so make sure to include at least 12 if you can help it. I know, you may be thinking to yourself “I may not be able to even think of enough related hashtags”, but here’s how you can: do a hashtag search for the topic at hand, and take note of (as in, write down) all the other relevant hashtags that pop up on that search screen (this may give you additional hashtag ideas), along with the numbers under it (you’ll see why that’s important and how it will save you time if you click on the link under Instagram Hashtag Hack #4).
In this case, write down the hashtags that are relevant to you your post. If it’s a food post, you’d right down foodie-28 million, foodies-3.3 million, Instafoodie 687k etc. When you get to hkfoodie, or sgfoodie, or sydneyfoodie, and you’re not in Sydney or hk or sg (whatever that means), then write down AustinFoodie or whatever city you’re in foodie. Then, tap on the hashtag that you initially searched, and write down the related hashtags Instagram recommends at the top.
Tap on the individual related hashtags to see if any other relevant hashtags are shown. Perform this same search with two or three other hashtags you want to use, and you should come up with a nice long list pretty quickly. I recommend creating a list of the hashtags you took note of in your notes app (group them by groups of 30 #s), and save that note so you can just go in and copy the hashtags and then paste them into your Instagram post to save you time, and so that you don’t have to memorize 30+ hashtags. This is especially important if you’re managing more than one Instagram account.
Instagram Hashtag Hack #2:
Now that you have a long list of hashtags to choose from, enter the hashtags as a separate comment, rather than including them in the caption of the picture. Why? It can look really distracting and unappealing (and therefore spammy) when someone takes the time to read your caption and sees a sea of hashtags. Instagram now gives you just three little lines of caption real estate to go along with your photo in people’s feeds. You have to have an impressive enough picture that will make a person stop long enough to read the first three lines of your caption, and if those three little lines don’t capture their interest or create enough intrigue, they will not tap to read more or expand your post. The worst thing you can do is further divert the viewer from your message by distracting them with a block of ugly-looking hashtags.
So, now you may be thinking “yea, but then they’ll still see the whole block of hashtags and text in the comment after my caption” (like in the image above), to which I tell you: there’s another Instagram hashtag hack for that!
Instagram Hashtag Hack #3:
Hide your hashtags. How you ask? In your notes app where you keep all of your saved hashtags, add another section where you will either input a block of 5 lines with just one period ” . ” at the beginning of each line, or one asterisk ” * ” per line, so it will look like this:
Once you have your picture and caption perfectly crafted, press “share”. Toggle over to your notes app, copy your block of periods or asterisks, and toggle back to Instagram and under your caption in the first comment, tap and press “paste” (DON’T TAP SEND). Then toggle back to your notes app to copy the block of hashtags that correspond to your post, toggle back to your comment on Insta (it should still be saved), tap under the periods or asterisks, tap “paste’, and once your hashtags show up, then tap “send”. Once you get the hang of it it’ll take just a couple of seconds to do all this (to toggle back and forth more easily double press your home button on the bottom middle of your iPhone). Your comment under your caption will look like an ellipses “…” with just three periods versus the whole block of hashtag text, so it looks neater and more visually appealing, essentially “hiding” your hashtags and not looking spammy at all!!
Instagram Hashtag Hack #4:
Make it to the “Top Posts” section for the hashtags that are most pertinent to your account, so that you maximize the exposure of your posts. I’ve cracked the code on how to trend in the “Top Posts” section, and:
Don’t believe me? Check these images out:
As I was experimenting one day, I managed to make it on to 15 different “Top Posts”, for various different hashtags. Instagram hasn’t exactly disclosed what factors contribute to a picture making it to the Top Post section, and it’s not based on the most likes/comments for that hashtag, because if you look at each picture in the top 9, they all have a varying degree of engagement: for example right now I’m looking up #SocialMediaMarketing, and the pictures in the Top Post section vary in likes from 107 to 1,222. So then what factors contribute to getting a picture propelled to the Top Post? Basically it boils down to a large amount of engagement, in a short amount of time. There’s something about a picture getting a ton of interaction in a very short amount of time that sends an urgent message to Instagram’s algorithm letting it know that something exciting is happening, and most likely other people will like it too.
I wasn’t sure about this strategy I had just tried, so I tried it again another time, and sure enough it happened again:
Now, the amount of times my posts have shown up on the Top Post section vary, but my posts consistently make it up there, even staying for several days in many cases, amplifying my posts to thousands of people, and driving new eyeballs to my feed. You can get the simple strategy here so you can try it out for yourself:
And there you have it, 4 Instagram hashtag hacks for you to implement and play around with. These tactics are great for those who want to amplify their posts, but are worried about looking spammy because of the hashtags. Now you know how you can “hide” your hashtags, and with enough practice this’ll become second nature to you and you’ll be able to make sure to optimize your posts in a matter of seconds. If you’d like to check out my Instagram account to see what these strategies look like, you can follow me at @hungrydigitalmedia. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them in the section below!
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