It came to my attention via a dear friend who gives top tier hugs that I haven’t written an article about the implementation of hashtags in a while. This is funny because I recently grew my mailing list pretty dramatically by offering out free, customized lists of 100 hashtags. (If you want yours, click HERE) so it should have been top of mind. But that’s how life goes sometimes – you engage deeply with a project and then forget to create some content around why it’s so cool. So let’s dig in. In this article, I want to talk about why hashtags are crucial, how hashtags function specifically on Instagram where they are without a doubt the most important. I also want to talk about how to choose the hashtags and some common mistakes that people make with hashtags that they need to be avoiding. Let’s do this thing.
4. Why Are Hashtags Important?
Hashtags are important because they essentially act as search terms. They are a great way to increase the searchability of your posts. They are also a great way to search other people’s posts and find content that is relevant to you. That helps to make things just a touch more interesting if you ask me. Suddenly you have a tool that boosts your discoverability but also allows you to discover others. Then of course, if you are more discoverable then you are a lot more likely to have an individual post do well in the mysterious algorithm that dictates all our lives. So it makes sense that you would want to understand hashtags and use them to make your posts perform better right?
3. Why Are You So Focused on IG For Hashtags?
And this is why I am so focused on Instagram for hashtags because it is the main platform where searchability and performance in the algorithm is directly tied into hashtag use. (For the record, the research suggests you want to have at least 11 hashtags per post on the ‘Gram) While it may help on Facebook and Twitter it isn’t quite as effective and is really more useful for showing that you are part of a trending hashtag or an inside joke. Instagram is the place where using hashtags is going to get you more likes and views. A big part of this is because people are searching through their favorite hashtags for the type of content they want and then engaging with those pages. If you are out doing that then people will turn around and see your posts.
2. How To Choose Hashtags To Use
When I choose hashtags I go through three core phases. First, I want hashtags that are very broad, things like #love, #blessed, and #selfie. Then I get a little bit more specific, talking about stuff in the general world I work in. So since I work in metal it might be stuff like #heavymetal, #deathmetal #floridadeathmetal. Then I get more specific, down to the specific photo. So it might be hashtags like #CannibalCorpseFan #CannibalCorpse #Corpsegrinder that round out my hashtags. On top of that, it’s frequently good to use a brand hashtag around al your content to make it more searchable. This can be as easy as your band name. This is just a way to ensure that anytime someone searches, for instance, #CannibalCorpse not only do all your posts come up but so do relevant posts from fans.
1. Common Mistakes To Avoid
Now there are a few common mistakes to avoid. The big one is understanding that you can’t use the same hashtags constantly, you have to mix it up. You especially can’t use the same hashtags constantly without changing up the order. Again it’s fine to have your brand hashtag as the first hashtag and to use other hashtags regularly, but you need to keep it somewhat diverse. Otherwise, you will be hurt in the algorithm. On top of this – if you put hashtags in your copy it will make you seem like a cringy dad. I’m talking about #people who #type sentences with #hashtags tossed in like this. No one wants that. Instead, do what I do, put 5 lines with only a dot in each line to separate the hashtags and make the posts more aesthetically pleasing. If this doesn’t make sense check out my Instagram, @MattBacon666 and give me a follow. Finally, a lot of people aren’t active in their hashtags. If you really want to grow within a hashtag you gotta go comment on posts from other people using that hashtag. But with these tools in mind, there is no reason that you too can’t become a hashtag master.
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Matt Bacon is a consultant, A&R man, and journalist specializing in the world of heavy metal. Having worked with everyone from Glam Rock icon Phil Collen of Def Leppard, to post Black Metal titans Alcest, by way of legendary thrashers Exhorder as well as labels including Prophecy Productions and Ripple Music, he has dedicated his life to helping young bands develop. Having started his own blog at the age of 14 he views his career in artist development as ‘a hobby that got out of hand’. In 2015 he formed Dropout Media in order to better support the artists he loves. We sit here now, years later with countless tours booked, records released and deals signed, and loving every minute of it.
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