Everything You Need to Know About Hashtags!

In this week’s podcast, we are going to be talking all about hashtags! We will be covering: what they are, why you use them, how you can use them to find new followers, how you can use them to attract followers, which ones you shouldn’t use, where you should put them and how many you should use!

  • A hashtag is a word you use to collect together people who have a common interest or theme.
  • Hashtags are great for events because it groups together all the content from everyone who has attended.
  • Hashtags can be used on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
  • You can have up to 30 hashtags on Instagram – try to use between 20 and 30.
  • It is recommended you use up to 2 hashtags on Twitter and up to 5 hashtags on LinkedIn.
  • You can put your hashtags in your caption or in the first comment.
  • Try to leave a space between your caption and the hashtags using a hard return or dots.
  • Create groups of hashtags for different categories (eg. Travel, family, fun times, books).
  • Save your groups of hashtags to your notes to use again.
  • You need to use relevant hashtags and not the same ones over and over.
  • Use around 5-10 hashtags that are very relevant to your image, then use 20 more general hashtags.
  • Don’t use many hashtags that are too big or too small/niche – people won’t find you. Try to use hashtags that are over 1,000 but under 1 million.
  • Research hashtags on Instagram by using the search function – start to type in a word and it will come up with suggestions and how many people have used that hashtag.
  • Try to think about the hashtags your ideal clients or customers will search for.
  • Look at what hashtags your competitors are using.
  • When coming up with your own hashtag – try to keep it really simple and easy. Check to see if other people are using that hashtag – check it hasn’t been used inappropriately or being used actively all the time.
  • When a hashtag starts to get really popular, you then get spammers who use that hashtag for posts that have no relevance at all. At this point, Instagram then makes the decision to dumb down that hashtag and the effect decreases.
  • Try to avoid using banned hashtags.
  • On an Instagram story, you can use up to 10 hashtags.
  • You can hide your hashtags on Instagram stories by shrinking it down or changing the colour to the background.
  • You can use hashtags to search for content.
  • Follow a hashtag if it is something you are interested in or something your customers might be using.
  • Hashtags are linked so if you click a hashtag it will bring up more content surrounding that topic.
  • Look at your Instagram insights – it will tell you how many impressions you have got through your hashtags! You may be surprised.

Hashtags can be really useful for not only finding new followers, but also to find out what your followers are using and looking at.

  • What is a hashtag? – 01:39
  • Where do you use hashtags? – 02:15
  • How many hashtags? – 02:45
  • Using hashtags – 04:12
  • What to hashtag – 07:18
  • Hashtag research – 11:38
  • Using your own hashtag – 16:05
  • Banned hashtags – 17:14
  • Using hashtags on Instagram stories – 18:51
  • Other ways to use hashtags – 22:08
Transcript below


Hello and a really warm welcome to this week's episode of the podcast. How are you doing? How are things? I hope you're having a good start to your week. If it's Monday, of course. If it's not, then I hope you have a good day. Uh, okay, so today I'm just going to jump straight in with some content and tell you what this week's episode is going to be all about. Now quite a few weeks ago. Probably way more than I'd like to admit. I talked about hashtags on a podcast and said, I'll do an episode about it. And then one of my Academy members obviously listened to that episode and went, where's that episode about hashtags? I can't find it. I was like, Oh, that's because I haven't done it. So today I'm doing you an episode all about hashtags. I'm going to explain what they are, why you use them, how you can use them, find new followers, how you can use them to attract followers, which ones you shouldn't use, where you should put them, how many you should use.


What is a hashtag?


So we are going to cover off everything to do with hashtags. So let's get going. Okay, first off, what is a hashtag? So basically a hashtag is a word that you use to collect together, people who have a common interest or theme. So for instance, a really good use of our hashtag is at an event. So if you're going to an event, they sometimes have a hashtag for that particular event and therefore you can see what other people are posting about the event. When you post, you could use that hashtag, but basically all it's doing is bringing together people would that common interest. So there's nothing more confusing about it than that. It's just a word you use to find other people who like the same thing as you do.


Where do you use hashtags?


So where do you use them? Well, I'm going to be specifically be talking about Instagram a lot in this episode.

However, they can also be used in Twitter and LinkedIn. I tend not to bother on Facebook. Oh, and you can actually use them on Pinterest. I know I didn't talk about Pinterest a whole lot, but you can use them there as well. So for me, we're really going to be talking about, like I said, Instagram mainly, but some of these things will also be applicable to Twitter and LinkedIn.


How many hashtags?


So let me start by telling you how many hashtags you're allowed to have. Well on Instagram you can have up to 30 hashtags on a post. If you're using Twitter, they recommend that you use no more than two hashtags and obviously a lot of the reason for that is that you just don't have many characters so you're not going to want to use it up with all the hashtags and LinkedIn. There is no maximum, but their suggestion is no more than five.

I think for me, I only tend to use sort of one or two on Twitter but not every time and then I tend to use one or two on LinkedIn, but I do use as close to 30 as I can on Instagram because it has been proven. The more you use the better. Like I said, you can't go over 30 but they do encourage you to use at least 20 hashtags and don't worry. We're going to explain to you how you can do that without having to type out all these words all the time. So let's have some key pointers. So I'm going to split it up into different ways. I'm going to split it up into using hashtags, I. E. On your own staff. And then I'm going to look at how you can use hashtags to find people and search on them and that sort of thing.

By the way, I know I'm going to have to say the word hashtag a lot in this episode and already I've said it wrong about four times, so this could take me quite some time to record this episode.


Using hashtags


Okay, so let's have a look at using them in your own posts. So like I said, mainly I'm talking about Instagram, but this does kind of a um, or some of these things do apply to the other platforms as well. So as I mentioned, you're laid up to 30 hashtags in one post, and I'm talking about the post in your feed, not Instagram stories. So let's talk about, first off, where do you put them in the post? This is a contentious subject, so you can either put them in your caption, I, when you're writing about your picture, you could put some hashtags there or you can put it into comment number one.

Now, I would say a while back, if you used quite a lot of hashtags, it looked a bit spammy and I wouldn't say that's the case anymore. I think with Instagram coming out saying use the hashtags, they're actually encouraging you to do it and therefore it doesn't look as spammy. So like I said, I would use as close to 30 as possible and I put mine in the captions. The only reason I put them in the captions is because it's less of a hassle. So if you're going to put them in comment number one, I used to basically have the post ready to go. I would then save my hashtags, I E copied them from somewhere or however I was going to do it. The minute I posted, I'd go straight into comment number one and I'd post those hashtags. Whereas I don't have to do that.

If it goes in the caption, the one thing I do do is I do some hard returns and some dots to bring it down the page just so there's a space between the caption itself and the hashtags. So let me explain how I do that. So often people struggled to get spaces and the Instagram caption. Now there is an app you can use called space on. I think that's on iPhone. I don't do that. I tend to do what I call a hard return. So what it is is once you've got to the end of the line and you want a return in that space, make sure there is no space after the end word because if there's a space it does something odd and it won't put the return in and you won't notice that until you post the actual caption or post the post.

So what I do is the minute I finish, I don't do a space. I just hit return and hit return. Again. If you're going to put a full stop in, did knock it, sort of push it down the page as it were, you literally get to the end of your sentence, you the last character, whether it be a full stop or just the word you do an immediate return. Don't let there be a space afterwards and then do a full stop. No space after the full stop, immediate return, no space after the full stop, immediate return. So I do that a few times and then I start putting my hashtags in. But like I said, that's that laziness cause I can't be bothered to put it in comment one. It doesn't make any difference really at all in terms of where you're putting them and where they're picked up from.


What to hashtag


So I just put them in my captions. So the next thing that you want to think about is what are you actually hashtagging? What are the words that you're actually putting in as your hashtags and how are you going to do that if you need to do 30 so the way that I do it is I have groups of hashtags that I use based on the similar themes and categories of my Instagram. So if you've listened to me before, you might've heard me talk about the fact that I do what Jasmine starters, which is to use categories. So I have categories that are about travel. I have categories that are about my family, coffee, fun times, books, and therefore because I know that I post similar ish things, I can have groups of hashtags which I can then save in my notes file on my phone or if you're can do it on a desktop, obviously you can schedule now to Instagram.

So I basically have groups of different hashtags and in all honesty, I probably need to refresh them because I've had them a bit too long. So for instance, if I'm travelling to speak, which obviously while I'm recording this, I'm still in lockdown so I'm not at the moment, but when I am, I have a group of hashtags that talk about travel and business travel and being a speaker. If I am doing a book, I have a group of hashtags that talk about reading and business books and motivational books and whatever it might be. So I tend to have a bait 20 to 25 in each group depending on what categories you've got. Because one of the really important things about the hashtags and especially on Instagram is that you're using relevant hashtags are not the same ones over and over. So that's why I don't just have groups of 30 hashtags each.

So what I tend to do is let's say I'm posting a picture about a book that I've just read, I will use sort of five to 10 hashtags that are very relevant to the Petro I'm putting up. So I will hashtag the author hashtag the name of the book, I'll hashtag the theme of the book if I've put something else in the image or if it inspires something or if it's got a theme. Generally I'll use those hashtags and then I might bring in 20 of my main kind of book hashtags that I've got saved somewhere. So I do a bit of a mix of both. Now, in an ideal world, you would do your 30 hashtags completely relevant to that post and you wouldn't save groups of hashtags anywhere. However, I'm very realistic. That takes a lot of time and efforts and you might not see that time and effort rewarded back to you.

Whereas spending probably a few minutes putting in some relevant words and then putting in some general more sort of generic hashtags that you've saved or not generic, but you know, hashtags that you've put in your notes file I think is fine and a nice kind of balance. Now in terms of the hashtags themselves, you don't want to go too big or too small. My people often like to hashtag big hashtags so they'll see something like, so in my world using the hashtag entrepreneur is ridiculous cause it's so big, it's so massive and you so much that the chances of I'm doing it for reach. If I am doing it for people to find my canes, the chances of them ever finding my account off that hashtag are slim to none because it's just a way too big. The same way is if I am hashtagging something that is so small and niche.

Again, if I'm doing it so that people find my posts, they're not going to find it because it's too small and neat. So I tend to look at hashtags that are under a million and over a thousand and try and fit in the sort of balance there. Now you do want, you know, it's not that you shouldn't use any hashtags over a million to use one or two, two or three in a 30 is absolutely fine. But just be aware that you're not necessarily going to reach out to people who are searching for that hashtag because it's so competitive.


Hashtag research


So you need to find these hashtags. You need to find these words that you can use that are appropriate to the thing that you're posting. And he needs to know how big that hashtag is. So one of the ways in which you can do your hashtag research that you could see whether this is relevant to you or not.

And obviously I'm looking at my phone as of when am I recording this? It's April towards the end of April, 2020 and I'm on an iPhone. So obviously this may not be still correct when you're listening to this or if you're listening in the future. So just to be aware that it stands as I speak at the moment. So if I go into my Instagram app and I look at the bottom menu bar, there's a magnifying glass and if I click on that, that's the discover tab. And at the top of that discover tab, you've got a search bar. So you tap in the search bar. Now you could either just underneath the search bar, it says top canes tags, places. So you could just tap on tags and that's instantly looking for hashtags. And you start typing in a word. So I'm going to start typing in the word mum printer.

Okay. So for instance, as I start typing it in, it's going to show me the hashtag and how many people have posted using that hashtag. So for instance, mompreneur 7.3 million posts are up to do with that hashtag. So for me, that's too big. However, underneath there's mum preneur life and therefore that has less, which is 385,000 posts. And I therefore would probably rather use that one. The other great thing about this is let's say your customers are mompreneurs and that's who you want to go for. Then you can see some other suggestions. So there's obviously mompreneur knife mom problems. Obviously I need to continue to write mum to get some other examples. So if I just continue typing that in, then it's got mum per life lifestyle. It's got mum prunus spelled wrong because honestly like it's a really hard word to spell. So there's varying degrees of spelling of it and some of these wrongly spelled ones, I've got like 400,000 posts or 600,000 posts.

I don't dismiss the fact that it's a spelling wrong. Um, mompreneur diaries. So you might find that actually looking at a hashtag that you think I would like to use that if it's too big, just look at the suggestions that Instagram are making to you because they're going to be giving you some other suggestions that might fit what you're trying to do and still be your perfect customer. So that's one place you can look for your hashtags. The other place you can look is you can look at what competitors are doing, but one thing actually I should have said straight away that's just reminded me saying that is that people often make the mistake of using the hashtags that they are. Okay, so let me give you an example. If I'm an accountant and I'm putting a post up and I use the hashtag accountant or accountant life, the only people looking at that hashtag or searching for that hashtag are acquaintance.

Your ideal customer who might be a small business owner is not using the hashtag accountants or accounting life or acquaintance life. So often the mistake lots of people make is they have to take their own stuff. They hashtag the thing that they rather than what their customers do. However, let's take the business of, if you're a gin company, obviously one of my favourite subjects, but if you're a gin company and you are trying to sell or get your gin in front of people who drink gin and tonic, then consumers will use the hashtag gin and tonic or I love Jen or whatever it might be. So you've got to just be aware of what you're searching for. Like I said, in that case, taking in your own product was fine because people would still use that. Whereas in the Keynesian case, no one is going to be hashtagging came to see apart from a cane sense.

So I want you to think about who is my ideal customer and go and have a look at what they're hashtagging. So if you are targeting business women who potentially have children, then you might want to hashtag mum things or you might want to hashtag words that relate to working from home or anything that kind of might fall into that category of business mums or whatever it is. So and like I said, one of the great ways in which you can do that is go and find your perfect customer. Find someone that is already a customer and see what they're hashtagging.


Using your own hashtag


So let's talk for a minute about using your own hashtag. Now as I said, if you're an event, perfect, great. If you are trying to get the people together or keep an eye on the contents, then having a hashtag is perfect. So if you're doing an event, if you're doing a competition, if you're doing a challenge and the thing like that, if you're doing those things, then it's going to be really, really beneficial to have your own type of hashtag to come up with your hashtag.

Try and keep it simple. Try and keep it easy so that it's not big long words that you can't spell or people might make errors, obviously type it into various platforms. So put it into Twitter, put it into Instagram and see if other people are using that hashtag they finding a hashtag that no one has used is slim to none. However, you don't want to pick a hashtag but is something inappropriate or something that is basically being used loads. You want to try and pick something that is, you know, it's fine if someone's used it already, but as long as it's not inappropriate and that it's not being actively used all the time.


Banned hashtags


So another thing to note is that there are banned hashtags may, this is a moving feast. Even if I did list a load of the band hashtags now your, the chances of them being the same by the time you listen to this, this slim to none.

So what happens with a hashtag is when it starts to get really popular, you then get spammers who jump onto it and start putting their own posts that have no relevance on that hashtag whatsoever. And therefore Instagram kind of takes the decision to dumb Dame that hashtag. So let's say for instance, it's a particular, it's Chinese new year or it's Valentine's or I don't know, whatever it might be. It might be that suddenly all these spammers like great this hashtags getting loads of attention, we're going to suddenly jump on it with completely irrelevant content than Instagram might tone down the effect of that hashtag. So a long time ago, one of the hashtags that they were using was dogs of Instagram cause it was so big and so popular that people were just using it wrongly. But like I said, it's really hard to tell you what they are because they happen at the time.

If you're too concerned or you're worried that you might be using a band hashtag, then I would literally Google banned hashtags and try and find a reliable source to tell you what they might be. But again, try not to get too heads up because they tend to be massive and like I said, really you want to be steering away from the really, really big ones. If it's an event like Easter or Christmas or whatever and you want to talk about that, then granted you're going to use them, but it's only going to be one in 30 of them. So don't worry too much about that.


Using hashtags on Instagram stories


The other place you can use your hashtags on Instagram is in stories. So I've got mixed thoughts about this. Now let me tell you the facts. The facts are on a story. You can use up to 10 hashtags.

There are two different places you can put hashtags. So obviously when you create your Insta story and you go into the button with the face on it where you've got gifts and you've got, um, you can tag someone else and there is a hashtag button you can use there or you can literally just type it in a story and use the hashtags there. And I, because it's a story, I think seeing 10 hashtags on a story can look a bit spammy. So what I would tend to do if I was going to do that, I would shrink down. So if you type it and you pinch your fingers together, you can shrink the text and I would shrink it and hide it. So you can either shrink it so far down that you can't see it. Also, another thing that I would have done is you can change the colour of your text and if you use the eye drop a button, if you click that and then click on some something in your picture, you could make the text the same colour as that thing.

So when you shrink it down and put it against that, it disappears into the background. So if I was going to use that many hashtags or lots of hashtags, then that's what I would do. I would definitely hide them. If I was using one or two and it was relevant to the picture, then absolutely I would just leave them visible. Now I have done this before as a test. I have used sort of eight to 10 hashtags on stories and they've never really bought me very much extra views. The only time it worked, which I wasn't intending for it to work, was when I was watching the golden Globes once and I put up a poster Bates it, I don't know why I put a post about it, but anyway, put something out, use the hashtag golden Globes or whatever the hashtag was at the time and got loads of views on my story, which was brilliant.

However pointless, because obviously I am nothing to do with the golden Globes and that's not anything to do my business. So all the people looking at it, you know, they wouldn't have been my customers. And like I said, I've tried it with the words that my customers would use and sometimes I do get a few extra views. Sometimes I don't get anything. So I think for me this is definitely going to be one that you play with. I would avoid the really small hashtags cause to get hashtag seen in a story, you really have got to have a fairly big hashtag. So again, not necessarily millions and millions of millions, but you don't want anything under a thousand. So like I said, you do want a hashtag that's fairly popular. Like I said, the one that worked for me was golden Globes, however pointless that was.

The other thing about using them in stories is the story is exactly that. It's telling a story so often I wouldn't use a hashtag on each story section because they don't get to see the whole story. They just get see that section, so I wouldn't use it. When you're telling a story that spanning across several sections of a story. However, if you're just taking one photo and it addresses that one thing, then you might want to use a hashtag in your story. Okay. So those are kind of the, the main things to think about when you're, when you're using hashtags.


Other ways to use hashtags


In terms of other ways in which you can use them, you can obviously search on them as people are going to be searching on the ones that you're using and you can follow hashtags. So in Instagram you can actually follow a particular hashtag so that it comes up in your feed.

Like you would see your, someone that else you're following in your feed, you can get that as well. So the reason you're going to follow a hashtag is because it is something that you're either interested in or it's something that your customers might be using. So let's get back to the example of the gin company. They might want to follow the hashtag gin and tonic because if a customer's going to be posting a gin and tonic picture and using that hashtag, then if they go and like the picture or they go and comment on the picture, that potential customer has seen that they exist. Whereas they may not realise that they exist at that point. So again, you can do exactly the same on LinkedIn, exactly the same on Twitter where you can go and search for these other hashtags so that you can see what people are using as well.

And the other thing is obviously the hashtags are linked to. So when you're in a given platform, if you click on any hashtag, you see lots of other content about that hashtag. The last thing I think I want to tell you is that when you're on Instagram, if you look at your insights, so the analytical bits of each of your posts, it's going to tell you how many impressions you got from your hashtags. And I think you'll be surprised because even though I am using up to 30 and normally over 20 the number of impressions that come from them are actually not that massive. Now obviously I'm getting some impressions so therefore I'm going to keep using them and it is a great way to use them. However, I just think managing your expectations. I would just bear in mind what you are thinking you're going to get from using all these hashtags, but also it helps because if one day you use a different hashtag and you suddenly get a spike, then it might be a indicator to use that hashtag again or those types of hashtags again so they have it.

Who knew there was so much just helping him about hashtags, but I hope that I have cleared a few things given you a few thoughts and ideas. If you haven't been using them, then I would strongly urge you to go and do a bit of research, look at what your competitors are doing, look at what your customers are doing, look at what influential people in your industry are doing and then start to put together some groups of hashtags that you can use for the different types of posts that you do and then make sure you're using them, do that research, search them in Instagram, see how big they are and get some hashtags ready for the next time you post. Okay. I hope that was helpful. If you have any questions about anything you ever hear on a podcast, then please do reach out. I am most often on Instagram. It's one of my favourite platforms. Twitter is a close second mainly cause I like how you can talk to each other. So if you do have a question, please come and find me and send me a DM. I would be happy to answer it until next week. Have an amazing week and I will see then.