Well can you believe it's halfway through the week already? Time flies when I'm running around like cray- less than one week until I leave for NYFW and there's still a ton to be done! #werk #werk
Anyways… today kicks off a new series for this month's blogging tips and I'm talking about one thing I get asked about quite frequently… Instagram. (If you missed last month's series on SEO, check it out HERE or see my previous general blogging tips posts HERE).
I taught a Blogging 101 class at the Simply Stylist session a few weeks ago and really made sure to listen to main questions you guys asked surrounding Instagram in general and decided to base February's weekly topics around diving deeper into the questions I heard.
That being said, should you use hashtags on your Instagram photos? Yaaaassss. Before I get into why, here's a few things to keep in mind about hashtags:
The Basics of Hashtags
I've used hashtags since the beginning of my Instagram account and I've convinced my friends to use them too- they really work and you're missing out on added engagement by leaving them out. Bottom line, I'm not too cool for hashtags- I'm not trying to hide the fact I want to continue to grow my Instagram following and I've noticed accounts that grow quickly are using hashtags as well. As long as I can continue to use them in my first comment (rather than the main caption), I'll continue to use them.
1. You can use a max of 30 at one time, so do it!
2. Hide hashtags in the first comment (not in the caption), that way they're hidden at first glance after you have three comments on your photo. Your captions are not less effective if you use them in the first comment rather than the caption (I get asked this alot… and I've tested it myself). My photos are categorized in the same way whether I use it in the caption or the first comment and I always prefer the first comment.
3. Your photo will only be categorized when you leave the hashtags on your own photo. For example, if someone leaves a comment on your photo saying: #fashionblogger, it's pointless… it won't be categorized. Only if you comment on your own photo writing #fashionblogger will it be categorized under that term. This also prevents random people from commenting weird, unrelated hashtags and your photo going there. You're fully in control of what hashtags you want to leave on your photo.
4. Your account has to be public to be categorized under the hashtags you use.
Here's a fun fact, I always max out my hashtags as much as possible, sometimes I can only think of maybe 25 that relate to my photo and I'll go with that- but I always use at least 20-30 hashtags per photo. TrackMaven released a cool report about how Fortune 500 companies use Instagram and their engagement trends… and here is what they had to say about hashtags:
“With larger brands on Instagram with more than 1,000 followers received on average 21.21 interactions per post. However the more startling numbers came in with accounts with less than 1,000 followers where a post with 11 hashtags received an average of 77.66 interactions.” Source: Buffer
So if I were you… I would use them! It helps you get in front of others looking for new inspiration, accounts to follow, pictures to like, etc.
Still not convinced? Here's 3 reasons why you should use them:
1. Target Your Audience
Hashtags allow you to reach the target audience you want for your post. You want followers who are looking for the style you're promoting, so rather than saying broad fashion terms like #jeans use #skinnyjeans or instead of #fauxfur use #fauxfurcoat or instead of #shoes use #whitesneakers. You get the idea, be specific to your outfit and photo.
2. Top Posts
Instagram categorizes hashtags and puts the most liked 9 photo of the hashtags at the top, meaning they're discoverable longer. Your goal is to get into those top posts because clearly more people will see it as long as it stays there and if you have about 20-30 hashtags on your photos and are in the top post section for each of those daily…you can see how your photos can easily spread. See below my recent photo in the top post section of #winterstyle:
3. Brand Discovery
You have a better chance of being featured by brands by using their hashtags on your photo. For example, I was featured on H&M, Forever 21 and ASOS simply by adding their brand hashtag to my photos when I was wearing their items. Find out if a brand has a specific hashtag they use rather than using the brand name. For example, H&M is #HMootd, Forever 21 is #f21xme and ASOS is #asseenonme. Take the extra effort to check out the brand Instagram accounts you use and wear to see if they have a specific hashtag they use. Besides, you will also be found by users wanting to discover photos with people wearing that particular brand. #winwin
There you have it… why I use and continue to use hashtags on every one of my Instagram photos. :) Comment below with any questions you may have about the idea or any cool hashtag info you've learned!