Let's Talk About... Hashtags on Instagram

Instagram for small businesses: Where should you put your hashtags?!

Today’s Five Minute Masterclass is all about one of the greatest Instagram conundrums - where should you put your hashtags to get maximum results?

(If you prefer video to text, scroll to the bottom for the video version of this article!)

For a while, the trend has been to put hashtags in the first comment, as shown here:

As you can see, this lovely local business (who you should DEFINITELY try, if you’re nearby and haven’t - the chips are to die for) has put it’s hashtags in the first comment, leaving the caption flawless.

The alternative is to put the caption right under your post, in the Caption box.

But is it the right way to do things?

In September 2019, the results of a large study that looked into this were revealed. Over 650,000 thousand Instagram posts were analysed during the study, with the majority being sent in Q1 and Q2 2019. There are PAGES of data and analysis, but the research can be distilled into just a few pieces of advice, depending on the size of your audience.

So let’s get stuck in!


Where should your hashtags be on Instagram?

If you have less than 5,000 followers…

6 hashtags, in the caption of your post. Yes, six doesn’t sound like very much - but it’s the optimum number! Read on for more hashtag hints…

If you have between 5,000 and 10,000 followers…

5 hashtags, in the first comment.

If you have between 10,000 and 50,000 followers…

2 hashtags in the caption. Again, yes, just two. In this phase, you’re not really relying on hashtags - your audience should be growing itself through engagements, tags and referrals, and you should be checking that your audience is the right type of people - those you want to work with or sell to.

If you have between 50,000 and 100,000 followers…

8 hashtags, in the caption. You’ve started being a small fish in a big pond again - so you need more hashtags to gain that reach and engagement.

If you have over 100,000 followers…

6 hashtags, in the first comment of your post.

Whatever size your account is…

If your hashtags are in the caption, use full stops and line breaks to ‘hide’ them and keep your caption looking clean. Don’t be tempted to hashtag words inside your message! They disrupt reading and put people off.

If your hashtags are in the first comment, you don’t need to hide them by putting full stops and line breaks - visible hashtags in the comments performed better.

Quick hashtag advice for everyone

The hashtags that you choose matter. Make them engaging, relevant and terms that your target audience will search for. And be mindful of using terms that will only attract your peers - for example, #socialmediamanager is much more likely to reach hundreds of social media managers than someone looking for social media help.

Watch this space for a new post on how to pick your hashtags - sign up to get notified as soon as it’s live!

Watch the video…

Katy Elle Blake