Hashtags are the backbone of Instagram.
It’s how posts, topics, brands, and average joe’s go viral. It’s how people get seen, found, and heard. When your brand is putting together a list of tags to consistently use on content, make sure to follow these three guidelines.
When selecting hashtags to use for your content, it’s important to view the relevancy of content posted inside of that micro-community ie hashtag. Sure, you might have a sweet restaurant that is popular for Sunday brunch but that doesn’t mean you should use the hashtag #sundayfunday or even #brunch.
Be careful and investigate on your own. Just because you think a topic is relevant and is accurate to the community tag doesn’t mean it actually is. #sundayfunday has a ton of awkward bathroom selfies… You want to make sure the content in a hashtag stream is 99% accurate. When you are using a hashtag to categorize your content, you are telling people that you associate with this feed. If most or even half of the content in that hashtag stream is not relevant to what your brand is about, that is no bueno.
Make sure you select hashtags that aren’t moving a million miles an hour. What does that mean? Have you ever clicked on the hashtag #selfie? There’s a bagillion tags in that category so unless you’re a Kardashian, your post won’t make it to ‘Top Posts’ and it definitely won’t be searchable after about .78 seconds. It literally disintegrates into the dark Instagram abyss where content goes to die and never to be seen again. Here’s what we recommend: if you’re a smaller brand, use hashtags that have a slower moving stream. When Camping With Dogs got started, they were using very literal terms that had smaller communities like #adventuredog #campingwithdogs #hikingwithdogs #dogsneedadventure.
In the beginning, there wasn’t many people engaging in those hashtags but it described what the account was about perfectly. Once Camping With Dogs gained popularity and with the Instagram’s addition of ‘Top Posts’, they were able to use hashtags that were very popular but might not have 100% accuracy in relevancy, like #camping #hiking. Since Camping With Dogs was receiving so much engagement, they were able to get content in the ‘Top Posts’ category of Instagram which increased their impressions on a popular hashtag.
Note that the picture featured above is also featured in the “Top Posts” category under another major hashtag (shaded in blue).
The most important piece of information is this: none of this matters if you’re not consistent. Our general rule of thumb is to post twice a day, seven days a week. That’s 730 pieces of content in a year. That’s dedication.
If you’re not prepared to do that, expect to receive sub par results. For Camping With Dogs, they post every morning between 7-9am and every evening between 7-9pm. Why? That is the perfect time to catch the East Coast as they’re getting to the office and the West Coast as they are getting up for work. The latter is also true: we catch the West Coast as they’re getting off of work and the East Coast as they’re going to bed.
We selected these times because we feel they are transitional and behavioral routines in the day when people have the mental bandwidth to focus and engage with content. So if a person is getting up in the morning, there’s a good chance they will see content just posted or if they scroll back a little further, they might see the post from later last night.