Boosting your hashtag reach doesn't have to be difficult. We know that even a simple hashtag strategy can help you increase your reach by 30-40%. This Smart guide will build on the foundations we've laid down previously, as we start to create an on-going strategy.

As you may know, if you use the right hashtags, you are able to reach more of the right people within your niche, who are interested in your content and therefore are more likely to be engaged. But, it isn’t as simple as just picking random hashtags for your posts.

So, What kind of things do we need to be thinking about before we can apply a strategy?

Goal setting

The best way to start any strategy is by asking yourself what you want to achieve. Why do you want to improve your hashtag strategy? Is it to:

  • Increase your following?

  • Build a personal brand?

  • Sell a product?

  • Gain more authority within your industry?

  • Reach a specific audience?

It’s important to take note and keep your goals top of mind. That way, when you are working on your strategy, and implementing it into your routine, you don’t lose sight of the bigger picture. A lot of people find it easier when they can tick off certain milestones as they go – so you can also set micro-goals to track your progress along the way. This will help you stay motivated, and will show you that your strategy is paying off, in real-time. Here’s some examples of micro-goals you can set yourself:

  • Reach 100 new followers

  • Increase your reach by 15%

  • Create 10 different hashtag Collections, tailored to your account

  • Understand hashtag metrics

Dedicate enough time to acing your strategy the first time

Something that we like to reiterate a lot, is that your hashtag strategy and that all-important performance – is a marathon, not a sprint. There are no shortcuts when it comes to gaining organic growth on Instagram, so it is essential that you put the time and effort into getting your strategy where it needs to be before you start posting.

Plan ahead, and pre-empt the hashtags you’re going to use to give you a greater chance of getting your strategy off on the right foot. We know our hashtags need to relevant, choosing broad hahstags may be easier in the short-term, but this won't give you every opportunity to get ranking.

Look specifically at the type of content you post and build more specific hashtags based off of this. The more matched up your posts are to your hashtags, the more likely you are to reach more of the right people, so swap out something like ‘#fitness’ for ‘#10minuteworkout’

Do your background research

There are a lot of creators and accounts out there that prefer to focus on being creative and sending their content out into the world without paying attention to or monitoring metrics. When it comes to hashtag research, metrics are your best friend.

To start ranking you'll need to make sure your chosen hashtags have similar stats to your current content and engagement. What do we mean by this? If you tend to get a certain amount of likes or engagement when you post content on Instagram, the hashtags you use should match up with your typical performance. For example, if you get around 200 likes per post, its unlikely you will perform as well on a hashtag where users are getting 10k likes per post

Know your engagement levels

This is where Average Likes Comes in. Your ‘Average Likes’ is the average amount of likes you get on a post, which you can compare with the Average Likes that users who rank on a specific hashtag get. By comparing these numbers, you can easily predict which hashtags might work for you, and which might not.

You can rank on hashtags that are higher-performing or competitive for your account, however the best way to do this, is by ranking on smaller, comparative hashtags first, which help propel your content to wider audiences.

There is a trade-off to consider when choosing your hashtags. Using higher competitive hashtags (for your account size) will likely reach a bigger audience then less competitive hashtags, but the chances of ranking reduce. It’s important to use a balance within your posts. To maximise your chances of a successful post, create a list of hashtags of varied competitiveness.

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