As Instagram grows, it can be hard to get heard above the noise. If you’re about to launch a new account or you’re looking for a way to breathe life into your current strategy, it’s worth reading up on our best practises hereIn this article, I’m going to focus on one of the techniques Spirit uses to increase engagement, develop a following and reach new audiences.

This tactic relies purely on making the most of hashtags, a tool that Instagram uses to organise content and allow users to explore topics:

1. Use 30 hashtags per post

On each post you’re able to use up to 30 hashtags, so we’re going to be utilising every single one of these. It’s important that you don’t reuse hashtags within a 24 hour period as this pushes your own posts further down the hashtag rankings. This means that if you’re posting three times a day, you’re going to need 90 hashtags.


2. Find the right hashtags

This should go without saying, but you should only use hashtags relevant to your topic. Don’t use ones just because they’re popular or trending – only use these if your post is specifically about them.

The hashtags you want to be posting are those that have been used between 1,000 and 1,000,000 times. Why, you ask? Because if hashtags are being used too much or too little, the chances are that your intended audience will miss your post because it’s too saturated with others’ posts or simply because they’re not searching the word to begin with.

hashtag search

Use sites like Moz Keyword Explorer, Answer The Public and For Display Purposes Only to find keywords pertinent to your topic and then search those keywords in Instagram to find similar hashtags and to find out how many times they’ve been used (circled above).


3. Put It In A Spreadsheet

Below you can see how I organise my hashtag research. In the column to the left, I’ve written down every hashtag I found that was relevant to my topic (for this example,  a wedding blog). I’ve also made a note of the number of times they’ve been used and highlighted those that lie in the sweet spot. As for the ones that don’t lie in this sweet spot, use them to make up the 30 hashtags you need per post, but over time keep researching and updating the list until it’s a honed list of hashtag perfection.

In the second column from the right, I’ve categorised the hashtags into the range of topics I aim to cover with my posts. I’d recommend making a large ‘general’ category of hashtags that you can use on every post.

In the final column I’ve numbered each hashtag 1 to 3 which correlates with their order in the day’s posting schedule post: first, second or third. This stops me repeating hashtags within a 24 hour period.   

hashtag spreadsheet

And that’s it!

It’s a simple as getting geeky with research and nerdy with a spreadsheet. Keep updating and refining and eventually you’ll have a list hashtag perfection that’ll get the likes rolling in and the followers building up.

Happy ‘gramming!