A question that constantly comes up in my training session is do Instagram hashtags still work in 2023? The short answer is yes! There's been a lot of misleading information on Instagram recently about whether hashtags still work but read on to learn why hashtags are still important to help you grow your Instagram audience.
What are hashtags?
Hashtags are words or phrases preceded by the # symbol, which helps Instagram users discover content related to a specific topic or theme. When you add a hashtag to your post, it becomes searchable, and users who are interested in that topic or theme can find your post even if they don't follow your account. Think of them like the road signs that direct people to your Instagram posts! Like Google keywords they can help people to discover you. They boost your visibility to people who aren’t already following you and allow you to be part of wider conversations online.
Instagram's algorithm utilises hashtags as a point of reference to categorize your content and recommend it to users who are likely to have a keen interest.
How do hashtags help your Instagram growth?
Using relevant, targeted hashtags on your posts and stories is one of the best ways to get discovered by new audiences on Instagram.
1. Hashtags help you reach a wider audience
Hashtags allow you to reach a wider audience beyond your followers. When you use relevant and popular hashtags, your post can appear in the search results of people who are searching for that specific hashtag. This exposure can lead to new followers, likes, and engagement on your posts, which can ultimately help grow your Instagram account.
2. hashtags Increase engagement on Instagram
Using hashtags can increase your engagement on Instagram. Posts with hashtags receive higher engagement rates than those without them. When you use hashtags, you're more likely to get likes, comments, and shares from users who are interested in the topic you're posting about. You can see in the example above 11% of the engagement has come from people who weren't initially following me but found the post through hashtags.
By implementing an effective Instagram hashtag strategy, you can not only expand your reach but also connect with the right people for your business. Being intentional and using hashtags that your target audience is actively searching for will increase your engagement.
How many hashtags shall I use in 2023 in my Instagram post??
In 2022 Instagram advised users to use between 3-5 hashtags on their posts but evidence actually suggests using more hashtags is still the best strategy for increasing your reach on feed posts provided you use relevant hashtags for the post.
How do I find hashtags to use in my Instagram posts?
Don't hammer out a load of hashtags and hope for the best. Use keywords and search terms as hashtags and always make sure they are relevant to your post. It's important to remember that the most commonly used hashtags on Instagram may not always be the most impactful. While a high volume of posts may indicate a large following for that particular hashtag, it also means there's a significant amount of competition and your posts may easily be overlooked or buried amidst the abundance of content. Instead, Instagram suggests using a combination of popular and niche hashtags to reach different audiences, from broad to specific.
Use Insights to see which hashtags work best...
If you’ve made the switch to an Instagram business profile, you have access to post insights that tell you how many impressions you received from hashtags.
1. Select the post you want data on and tap View Insights below the post on the left.
2. Swipe up to see all the insights for that post, including the number of impressions from hashtags.
....but, don't reuse the same set of hashtags over and over!
Once you've spent time researching hashtags and analysing their effectiveness it might be tempting to simply copy and paste the same long list of hashtags on every post, but don’t do it! Instagram’s community guidelines clearly state that “posting repetitive comments or content” is not okay. If you use the same hashtags for every post, your content will be penalized by the algorithm. It's essential to carefully select the relevant keywords for each post separately. That’s how hashtags lead to higher engagement and more followers.
In conclusion, do Instagram hashtags still work in 2023? Yes, hashtags STILL help your content get in front of new people, and users STILL search them to connect with others & find the content/products they’re looking for.