The hashtag game is still strong. Despite all the algorithm updates and newly released app features, hashtags remain Instagram’s main tool for discovery and engagement.
But merely adding a bunch of different ‘tags will not dial up your engagement. As we wrote before, to tame Instagram algorithm you will need to become more strategic and not just solicit likes, but steer longer, more meaningful interactions with your content.
But before we jump to further tips, let’s take a quick look back at the top Instagram hashtags of 2018 according to HubSpot.
So did you miss out on likes by not using them this year? Not necessarily. Popular hashtags do not equal more interactions. Since everyone is using them, your posts will face more competition and may just scroll past by a lot of users. And this brings us to our first tip…
Hashtag Niche Research Remains Important
As Instagram keeps fidgeting with its algorithms, just using some popular hashtags is no longer enough. Instead, you should look into narrowing down your list of hashtags to steer more interactions and engagement, rather than pure views. In fact, Instagram will reward you with higher visibility whenever a smaller number of views results in more interactions.
Also, consider this: as a user, you are probably searching for something specific e.g. how to wear leopard print. Yes, you may just browse the #ootd hashtag first, but you probably won’t engage with many posts as a bunch of them would be irrelevant or low quality. So then you’d probably go on and search for something like #leopardprint and voila – you see just what you need and are more likely to engage with the content on display.
So in 2019 think more about being on-point—narrow down board topics into more niche ones. There are a lot of great Instagram hashtag research apps that will help you come up with better ideas.
In fact, the best way to research Instagram hashtags is to move from the macro to the micro level. We’ll teach you how to do just that.
Step 1: start with the trending Insta hashtags predicted to be popular in 2019
We have you covered with this one ☺ Here’s your list, courtesy of HubSpot.
As you can see—all of these are very broad topics. Surely, ranking at the top of the #fashion hashtag results can land you a massive spike in likes/followers, but getting there is like winning a lottery. You can’t do that on command.
So build up your chances by pursuing the less popular, but more “interaction-capturing” hashtags within that niche. #travel => #beautifuldestinations #sheisnotlost #dametraveler. And here’s how we got there…
Step 2: Check Out Related Hashtags
While doing your research, you’ve probably noticed that Instagram will autosuggest you related hashtags in the scroll-down menu appearing in the search bar. Jot them down to diversify your master list of general hashtags. Remember, that doing a search for a newly discovered “niche” hashtag will suggest you even more ideas.
Step 3: Browse What Others Are Using
Another great way to come up with better hashtags in 2019 is to see what your followers and competitors are using. There are three good reasons for that:
You can discover new branded hashtags to land features on popular accounts (think #AsSeenOnMe).
Understand better what your followers like (and hashtag) and get on their radar.
Discover new untapped hashtag opportunities created by others.
Again, take note and experiment with different combos to see how far they can get you.
Step 4: Set up Account Navigation with the Help of Hashtags
I’m pretty sure you already have a personal hashtag or two. Level up your game even further and use those ‘tags strategically to guide new followers around your account. Before subscribing, most will want to learn more about you and the type of content you share—so make that simple! Create a master post that will be tagged something like #awesomebloggernavigation and include a bunch of hashtags that will direct new fans towards different types of content you share e.g.:
By doing so you will likely retain more new users landing on your profile after browsing a random hashtag.
Step 5: Test & Analyze
At the end of the day, it boils down to consistently testing different hashtag combinations, analyzing the results and narrowing down to the list of “best performers”. It’s a numbers game, so make sure you are paying close attention to your analytics to avoid missing some positive trends!