How to find the right Instagram hashtags for your business in 2018

New year. New Instagram. In 2018 the best practices that worked in the past just aren’t as effective anymore – especially when it comes to hashtags.

Unless you’re not utilizing Instagram for your business (which is a BIG no-no) or you’ve just been living under a rock – you have probably noticed tanking engagement rates on your business page. First, there was the shadowban scare, now this algorithm.

But fear not! Hashtags are still a great way to grow your Instagram following and increase your engagement. We’re going to fill you in on the latest to get the most out of the newest algorithm from following hashtags to adding them to your Insta stories so that you can continue to grow your brand this year and hit those marketing goals without a hitch!

The Rules have changed…

It is now more critical than ever before to keep your hashtags relevant. Instagram recently rolled out the ability to follow hashtags which means now your posts could soon show up automatically in the feeds of your potential new followers and customers rather than searching for hashtags and scrolling through the world’s most extended feed and possibly finding your content.

The Instagram algorithm has always backed the use of specific and relevant hashtags, and this new feature makes it worthwhile to utilize hashtags that make sense. Especially since now users can mark your hashtagged content as something that they would rather not see!

So now you need to change it up!

If there is one thing that the infamous shadowban made crystal clear it is that copying and pasting the same set of hashtags over and over is a fast track to having your content fall on deaf ears – no matter how great it is. Doing so is likely to appear spammy to the Instagram algorithm and has a big chance of affecting the visibility of your posts.  

Even though coming up with new hashtags for every single post is not ideal, there are significant apps out there such as Plann that offer a “manage hashtag” feature that allows you to save multiple hashtag sets in a snap!

With the “manage hashtags” feature you can create multiple hashtag lists based on your most frequently used hashtag categories so that way when it is time to schedule you can easily copy one of your lists and add it to your post just like that! They also have a new predictive hashtag feature now, which Is available for paid users on Apple and Android!

Having multiple hashtag lists on hand will indeed save you lots of time, but you’ve got to know which hashtags are the right ones for your posts…

The first general rule of thumb is that you want to avoid gimmick hashtags like the plague – at ALL costs, you know, the hashtags like #likeforlike or #followforfollow. Some other hashtags you will want to avoid are those that have been used a million times (no, literally a million) or more. These hashtags may add a few more likes to the pot, but they won’t get you the strategically targeted following that you’re probably after.  

You will also want to choose hashtags that describe your business and your target market. Take a look at the hashtags we use on our own Instagram for example…

In this particular post we were featuring a freebie with business building tips – the hashtags we utilize describe our business like “#socialmediaagency” and “freelance” along with what we do “socialmediamarketing”  and “facebookads” along with who some of our typical clients are “girlboss”, “entreprenuer” and “womeninbusiness” to name a few. Finally – there are even hashtags to establish some of the main areas we service “#losangeles” and “#chicago.”

We also feature a few community hashtags which connect like-minded users around a particular topic which are great for connecting with others and they help improve the searchability of your posts overall. A few of these include “finditliveit” and “stayandwander.”

Keep Track of how your hashtags are performing

One of the many benefits of utilizing an Instagram business profile is the fact that you can check the effectiveness of your individual posts based on impressions AND your hashtags! This can help you continuously optimize your hashtag strategy.

Here’s how you can check them:

First, click on “view insights” on any particular post

Then from there swipe up to view your insights.

it is here that you can see underneath the discovery section how many people were drawn to your post from hashtags and how many people saw your post that were not following you!

Last but not least…Insta Stories!

You can also utilize your new found hashtags within your Instagram stories too for extra visibility and the chance to reach an entirely different audience. When people search for a hashtag on Instagram – if it is accessible enough at the moment, hashtag stories show up in the top part of the hashtag page along with the follow button.

Most people have no idea that you can use up to 10 hashtags in a single Instastory! However, you will want to style them up a bit or shrink them to avoid creating a messy aesthetic in your story.You can still use up to 30 hashtags per post so if you can find that many relevant hashtags then by all means – use them up!

The moral of the story is – hashtags ARE NOT DEAD! You’ve just got to put a bit more strategy behind how you use them!

So…how will you utilize hashtags for your brand in 2018?