Leveraging Hashtags to Grow Your Following

So you want to build a larger Instagram following, do ya? 

It is common practice for many businesses and individuals to buy followers, or use the icky follow/unfollow strategy. While that may help boost your overall numbers, it is not genuine and those people/fake accounts will actually hurt your ranking in the almighty algorithm in the long run as they are not engaging with your content. 

What can you do? 

Aside from creating great content that connects with your audience, using targeted hashtags is essential for a new audience to find your account.

What is a hashtag?

If you are new to this terminology, a hashtag is the searchable shortlink preceded by the pound sign (#) most often used on Instagram and Twitter. Spaces and special characters are an absolute no-no. Hashtags work only with letters and numbers.

For some fun, take let Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake show you how's it done!

How do you find relevant hashtags for your posts?

1. Type in your account’s keyword, niche, focus, or category into the Instagram search bar


2. Scroll through the resulting hashtags and find one (or several) that matches your account’s focus, and has between 10,000 and 50,000 posts. If you can’t find any good ones, try an alternate version of your keyword


3. Keep going through this exercise until you’ve found at least 10 hashtags that apply. Utilize Display Purposes to help you find related hashtags.

I recommend saving these "word clouds" in your notes app Evernote, Planoly (or your preferred method of safekeeping content)

4. In your next post, use up to 30 hashtags in either your image caption or the first comment (I prefer to do so in the comments to give me post caption a more clean look - either way is fine though!)


I'm using hashtags... now what?

Here's where the real magic begins. Other users will find your post/account from those hashtags and you'll start seeing likes, follows, and engagement on your posts. Engage, engage, engage!

You can also find other interesting accounts by seeing who else is using those hashtags. Whether it is to find your next client or someone to collaborate with, it all starts with a little research and finishes with authentic engagement.

What hashtag strategies have you found useful? Share your questions or wins, below!