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  • Ginger Borden

The Ultimate Guide to Hashtags in 2021

Instagram has gone through a lot of changes since it began on October 6, 2010. Before Instagram even adopted short videos from TikTok, they adopted other functionalities from Snapchat.


Tagging other creators, the explore feed, AR selfie filters, stories, and disappearing videos and photos in their direct messages were all introduced into the program because of Snapchat.


But through it all, one thing has stayed consistent and relevant to Instagram: the importance of Instagram hashtags.


Did you know that one hashtag can give your post up to 12% more engagement?


If you are like me, every little bit counts for more engagement on my posts!


So, how do you maximize your success with hashtags?! That is the million-dollar question of 2021, isn’t it!


Well, I’ve got you!


The good news is that Instagram has been more transparent in 2021 than they ever have!! I believe this has a little to do with TikTok coming into the scene and being popular. I think Instagram sees that their audience has choices, so they had better step up their game. But, that is just my personal opinion, and I’ll take whatever I can get when it comes to an understanding of what Instagram’s algorithms have been programmed to look for when it comes to our content.


So, if you have been stuck on what hashtags to use, how often to use the same hashtags, where to put your hashtags, and how many hashtags to use, I have some answers for you!


What hashtags to use?


For the hashtags you use to work best for you, you will want to use hashtags relevant to your post, get about the same amount of likes you do on average within 24 hours of posting, and hashtags with a similar visual style to your post.


Let’s talk about relevancy first; what I mean by this is that you want to use hashtags that are keywords to describe your post’s content. If you are posting about face cream and you use #fishing as a keyword to describe your post, this wouldn’t make very much sense, would it? You would use something more like #skincare.


Now, about the same amount of likes, this is where you start narrowing down the hashtag size to your specific account. You may have heard of using “smaller hashtags.” All this means is finding hashtags that are more niche.


I’ll use the face cream example; rather than using #skincare which has been used over 85 million times, you will want to use a more narrowed down hashtag like perhaps #antiagingskincareproducts.


How often to use the same hashtags?


The number of times you use the same hashtags does not matter; the issue comes when you are not using relevant hashtags for each post.


Let me explain today; you posted about face cream, and tomorrow you post about the aging effects of the sun. If you were to use the #antiagingskincareproducts hashtag on tomorrow’s post, that hashtag would not be relevant to it.


Instead, you would want to research hashtags related to the sun and its effects on our aging process.


Where to put your hashtags?


For years we have heard that they could go anywhere. However, we have finally been told that the algorithm looks for your hashtags in the caption first.


This does not mean that the algorithm will not continue its search and eventually find your hashtags in the comments.


However, to give your post the best chance with hashtags, I would put them in your caption whenever possible.


How many hashtags to use?


Again, for years we heard the phrase, “Instagram allows you to use 30, so use 30”.


And this still may be the case for you! The most important thing you need to remember is that you use the criteria above to find the most relevant hashtags for your post each time you post.


So, if you can only find eight hashtags that relate to your post and get about the same amount of likes as you usually receive, then feel free to use those 8.


The point of hashtags is to categorize your post and your account with other people who do what you do so that the algorithms can show your posts and account to people who may be interested in what you have to offer.


If you have thrown a bunch of hashtags together that have nothing to do with what you are posting about, then the people who see your posts will not engage, and the algorithm will assume that your content is not valuable to them.


I hope this helps you finally see hashtags as the benefit they can be to you on Instagram! If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at ginger@gingerstarrborden.com!



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