Since Street Level Studio launched its own Instagram account, a discussion has bubbled up amongst the team: How many hashtags do we include? How many is too many? Do we actually need to include hashtags at all since this isn’t a personal account?
Hashtags are incredibly important to any social media account—especially businesses—as they impact SEO and content visibility. People can follow hashtags now, so your content can end up in users’ feeds even if they don’t follow you—yet. When it comes to choosing Instagram hashtags, the golden rule is: use only hashtags that are relevant to your brand, industry, and audience.1 Posting great content tagged with relevant hashtags will naturally lead to more followers.
Using even one hashtag can increase post engagement by 12.6 percent, according to SproutSocial.2 But what’s the threshold? You’re allowed to include up to 30 hashtags on a regular post and up to 10 hashtags on an Instagram story, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should. According to an analysis by TrackMaven, posts with nine hashtags generally receive the most engagement.3 Really, the only hard and fast rule should be letting the content and the intent of your posts determine which hashtags and how many you use.
If the goal is to engage customers, one simple hashtag can be a great way to get customers to share posts, join in discussions, and feel more involved with your brand. Creating a thread and a dialogue is useful for engaging current followers, but it’s just as useful for attaining new ones who might be waiting in the background and learning from the insights.
Common hashtags also make it easy for newcomers to find your content, leading to a wider audience. More people will see (and participate) in a hashtag such as #coffeebreak or #business than hashtags such as #lovepeanutbutternotjelly or #happywithfinalresults.
Still feeling #unsure about hashtags? Get ideas by searching what your competitors and influential people in your industry are doing. You can get an idea of the hashtags that get the most responses and tailor yours to reflect the industry trends or attract your specific target audience. When creating a hashtag specifically for your brand—and you should—make sure it is memorable and shareable.
Lastly, don’t hesitate to (sparingly) rely on the trusty #manicmonday, #flashbackfriday, or #tacotuesday to expand the reach of your post. At the end of the day, hashtags are about being relevant. Don’t overthink it: #keepitsimple #trialanderror #wegotyourback