Does the thought of hashtags make you want to run away and bury your face in the closest book? (Yeah, me too).
It might feel like you need to have a degree in hashtags sometimes, but once you get the hang of them they can be quite simple. This isn’t supposed to be rocket science, but there is a bit of science and math to it (I promise it won’t be difficult).
Using the right hashtags can strongly affect your Instagram content. Use too many popular or unpopular hashtags and you’ll never get seen. Find the right mix, and well, it’s like baking bread. Add in the right amount of sugar and flour and you will rise instead of fall.
Hashtags won’t make or break your success on Instagram, but they will help you grow your account faster and easier.
Here are 6 quick and easy tips to get you started on hashtags.
1) Be Strategic
Don’t just get # happy and start throwing a hashtag in front of every book related term you can think of. For example, at the time of writing this #bookreaderlife has fewer than 50 posts. Are the chances you’ll be seen pretty high on that hashtag? Yes. But how many people are really looking at that hashtag?
You only have room for 30 hashtags, so use them wisely. Start off by making a list of terms and phrases related to your niche and what you do. Find the hashtags related to those terms and see what audience is looking at those hashtags. Use the ones that best describe you and will have the best audience reach.
Also, find what hashtags are being used in your niche. Look at what other Bookstagrammers are using on successful posts. Look at what you used on your own successful posts. We have analytics for a reason and you can use those to your advantage to see if you are being seen on the hashtags you are using.
2) Know Your Audience
This seems obvious, but some people miss this one. KNOW WHERE YOUR AUDIENCE IS AND KNOW WHO THEY ARE.
Don’t use hashtags unrelated to your specific niche or else you’re just wasting a hashtag spot. If you’re posting about a specific genre or author, use those related hashtags. If you’re posting about book accessories, use those hashtags and tag where you got that accessory. The more specific you are about your hashtags the more likely you are to reach your target audience.
Don’t use a hashtag to reach an audience not related to who you are looking for. For example, if you are posting a romance book, do not tag #mysteryreader, that audience is not interested. So, it’s important to use hashtags that describe your audience correctly.
Also, know what is going on in your community. Bookstagram has many challenges (monthly, weekly, and daily), as well as specific themed posts (#socksunday) you can take part in that people look for all of the time. This will help you get exposure and put you on top of Bookstagram’s top trends. You can find challenges on Instagram and Pinterest.
3) Use Programs to Generate Hashtags
You don’t have to come up with hashtags off the top of your head. There are many free and paid programs out there that will help generate hashtags for you.
Two of our favourite FREE programs are All Hashtag and Display Purposes. Just type in your search query (i.e. #bookstagram) and the sites will generate a collection of other similar hashtags for you to choose from.
Display Purposes even gets into the analytics of the hashtags which can be very helpful if you’re looking to do more research.
After generating these hashtags, look at their popularity on Instagram and come up with a combination that best describes you and your audience and that will hit different levels of traffic.
4) Mix It Up
Okay, here is where the math comes in that I mentioned earlier (I promise it isn’t hard).
Find a good percentage of high traffic hashtags (over 100,000 posts), medium traffic (25,000-50,000) and low traffic (1,000-5,000 posts). You want your posts to be on the places where people are looking (high traffic), but you also want to be where you’re more likely to be seen (medium and small traffic). If you’re using too many of the high traffic hashtags you’re going to get stagnant as no one will see you.
Also, change up your hashtags everyday. Don’t use the same ones each time to keep it fresh and to change up where your content is being shown.
5) Find What Works For You
What works for one person may not work for another. Don’t trap yourself into having to use specific hashtags. If you aren’t getting engagement on a post, mix up the hashtags on the next one.
Maybe the audience you’re looking for isn’t looking at that hashtag.
Or maybe you used too many popular hashtags and just got lost in the mix.
Keep an eye on what is working and what isn’t and don’t be afraid to change it up.
6) Make Your Life Easy
Nobody wants to type out hashtags over and over again every single time they make a post. There are two quick and easy ways to access your frequently used hashtags.
First, save them as a note on your phone or computer. You can easily edit the note and copy and paste into Instragram or your scheduling software.
Second, save them as a shortcut on your phone. For example, if you type in ‘bk’, ‘ig’, or some other shortcut, your phone will auto-populate the hashtags you have assigned to that shortcut. Save yourself time and effort with one quick and easy shortcut.
Hashtags don’t need to be hard. A little bit of research and attention and you’ll find the mix of hashtags that work best for you and your audience. Soon you’ll be growing your follower count and engaging with followers in no time.