The Complete Guide to Hashtag Research

It’s Time to Reach a Larger Audience Through Hashtag Research

 
Hashtags are an integral part of any social media strategy. Whether you’re using them to show the world that your brand is #goals or to help you sell more, they’re essential.
Hashtags play a huge role in growing your social media following from 100 to 1,000. Like SEO, they help you reach an audience searching for specific terms. It’s said that 70% of Instagram posts go unseen, but with the use of a hashtag strategy, your posts could make it to the top of the “Discover” pages and be seen by thousands if not millions!
With our top hashtag research tips, your social media strategy will be looking #blessed in seconds.  
hashtag coffee cup

Top Hashtag Research Tips to Get Your Content Seen:

1. Define Topics

Before you can get started with your research, you have to establish what your research topic is. You need to research the best hashtags – but the best hashtags vary from business to business.
So, in order to find the best hashtags for your business, you’re going to have to do a little brainstorming. Think about what your posts are about, who they speak to, and what your brand is trying to communicate.  
For example, if we were posting a picture from a wine farm account, we’d have to look at relatable hashtags. A picture of a glass of wine in the vineyards could have topics like:

  • #wine
  • #winetasting
  • #vineyards
  • #winelover

 
Do you see how those hashtags answer our questions? Our post is about wine, so we want to target those who are interested in wine. When we apply relevant hashtags, we are able to tag and categorize it accordingly.
Using irrelevant or unrelated hashtags is like putting men’s trousers in the women’s shirt section. It probably won’t sell, and it might even bother those who are in the women’s shirt section looking for women’s shirts.
 

2. Use the Search Bar

Now that you have a few topics that you’d like to include in your posts, it’s time to see what hashtags are out there! Instagram is super easy to navigate and to figure out how your topics are performing.
All you have to do is go here:
instagram profile
Then all that’s left to do is input your topic!
instagram search page
By searching your topic of choice, you can get a good understanding of how well it performs and what your competition is like. It’s all in the balance! You see, the higher the post quantity, the more difficult it will be to stand out from the crowd.
On the other hand, you shouldn’t just exclude hashtags because they have a higher post volume. There’s no use including a hashtag that people aren’t interacting with.
The best way is to find a balance of well-performing hashtags and mid-level hashtags. For the most optimal results, try aiming for ones that are getting between 50k-200k posts.
If you’re familiar with SEO, you could think of your hashtag research in the same way. SEO is all about quality and not quantity, right? Any SEO strategist will tell you that trying to rank for high search volume and high competition keywords is tricky. Sometimes, it’s better to try and rank for the smaller ones for a better reward.
 

3. Take Note of the Related Hashtags

Now, what most people forget about when doing their hashtag research is the power of related hashtags! Related hashtags show you what people searching in relation to your main topic.
instagram related hashtags
So, while you’re searching for your main topic hashtag, it’s best to write down the results that follow it.
While #winelover has over 6.3 million posts, #winelover?, on the other hand, has 26.8k posts. The lower post volume means that the feed isn’t as saturated, so it’s easier to stand out amongst the other posts.
Using more than 1 hashtag will also tell the social media platform that your post belongs in multiple categories. The more categories your post is related to, the more eyes will be on what you post.
*Keep in mind that quality is more important than quantity. Just as Google’s algorithm is refined every day, Instagram is constantly working on ways to improve the user experience on the app. With new AI tools and photographic recognition, they can determine which posts are relevant to which hashtags. “Spammy” hashtag use may get you penalized!
 

4. Keep Tags Saved

So, you have your main topics and a list of related topics but what do you do with them? We’d recommend putting them together in an excel sheet. An excel sheet is a great way to stay organized and on top of your hashtag game.
It will also make posting your content a breeze! Instead of going through this process over and over again, you now have compiled a hashtag research document of your dreams.  
You can also save hashtag lists on your phone or even use keyboard shortcuts to easily insert them while on the go.
 

5. Use the Right Hashtags

The first rule of hashtags is to keep them fresh and relevant. Don’t just copy and paste your hashtags to each and every post. Doing so will run the risk of your content seeming “spammy” may affect your chances of being seen. Yes, Instagram’s algorithm is about as complicated as a teenager.
As mentioned earlier, Instagram’s algorithm is what determines how much exposure your posts receive. If Instagram detects that you are spamming hashtags or being irrelevant, they will lower your exposure. After all, not even all of your followers see your posts.
Aside from this, if content comes across as spam, you run the chance of people not “liking” your posts and not following you. You wouldn’t want to see a picture of a cat when you’re looking for dogs, would you?
Always make sure that your hashtags are relevant to your content.
 

6. Analyze the Data

Did you know that you can track how well your content is performing on Instagram? The app provides users with a clear indication of what’s working and what’s not working.
One of the best features Instagram Insights provides is that it shows you how much traction your account is getting from your hashtags. If you’re noticing that your hashtags aren’t bringing in a desirable amount of users, it may be time to switch up your hashtag game.
instagram insights
Hashtag research isn’t a tricky feat to conquer. Sometimes it just takes a little time and effort. However, the benefits are endless! Done right, you can reach your ideal target audience and increase your chances of selling more!

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