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How to Get Instagram Hashtag Research Done Properly

Instagram hashtag research can be a daunting, overwhelming task that often lacks structure. How can you be sure which hashtags are best for your specific brand? Which ones will help you grow faster? Which will get the most engagement?

This post was originally published on STB Collaborations, subscribe here .

The biggest mistake people make when selecting hashtags is making engagement and total likes a priority over account growth. Try to think about the long game: is gaining new followers (and potential customers) more important than getting likes on a single post? Absolutely. Before starting to build lists of hashtags to use for your content, there are a few facets of how Instagram operates that you should consider.

First, keep in mind that you can use a total of 30 hashtags per Instagram post. That’s per post — not per caption, or per comment. 30 total hashtags, on your post, across your comments and caption.

Our advice? Use 30 hashtags every time. Every. Single. Time. If you use anything less than 30 hashtags, you’re actively hurting the amount of eyes on your content. 29 hashtags won’t have as much reach as 30 hashtags.

You have to be careful with how you use those 30, though. Have you ever seen someone with a long list of hashtags in their caption? It looks like spam, alienates followers and damages brand image in the process. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to get around this.

The typical caption on Instagram contains 2–4 hashtags and our goal here is to make your posts seem as natural as possible. Let’s blend in with the crowd, rather than reinventing the wheel. Write your usual caption and include 2–4 of your hashtags. Post the image, then drop the rest of your hashtags in a comment after posting.

Our suggestion is to make a list of 26–28 hashtags, leaving room for 2–4 hashtags in the caption. The important thing here is to just have a total of 30, no matter what. Here’s what that looks like in action:

Your main goal in doing Instagram hashtag research should be to come up with 30 tags you can use for each post to improve views on each post.

How to Choose the Right Hashtags for Brand Growth

To further protect your brand image, there’s a simple way to “hide” your hashtag list at the time of posting. Long comments are automatically hidden and shortened so that the newsfeed doesn’t look cluttered when scrolling. You can take advantage of this by adding several lines of filler text as shown in the screenshot above and your hashtag list will be hidden from view. On top of this, once a few people leave comments on your post, that shortened comment becomes invisible unless someone clicks the See More Comments button.

With these considerations in mind, let’s begin our Instagram hashtag research!

Three Things to Determine When Thinking About Using a Hashtag on Instagram Content:

Frequency: How popular is a hashtag? Relevancy: Does your content fit in with others using it? Spam: Have (shitty) marketers ruined it for everyone yet?

1. Hashtag Frequency

The most popular hashtags are almost impossible for small to medium sized businesses and brands to use effectively. Since they are used so frequently, your content is drowned out by the masses and it’s almost impossible to get your content into the Top Posts section. On top of this, bots and fake accounts will end up leaving spam comments on your posts — which is not exactly the type of engagement you want. Since we are prioritizing account growth over engagement, this means we instead target less frequently used hashtags. For an account to grow rapi

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