Ah hashtags – those funny little characters at the bottom of everyone’s Instagram posts. So popular, they’ve even made it into conversations offline now (in an ironic way, we hope).
But what are they, actually?
Back when (cast your mind back to ye olde 2007) social media was just a whisper on the marketing streets and hashtags merely lurked in the shadows. No one was particularly sure what they were, or how to use them.
They knew the hashtag sign (#) as a pound key (not this kind – £). Sounds incredibly alien, right? People soon caught on that hashtags help to filter topics of conversations into streams on social media.
For instance, you can click on trending hashtags like #food and see an aggregation of all of the posts on that channel about food (see image below and also say hello to 370 million pictures of food!). It’s almost like creating a chat room based on that hashtag and this is applicable to most social channels.
But, are hashtags even still relevant?
Ya damn skippy they are! Instagram might have been through more changes than Madonna in her career, but one thing stayed the same – hashtags. They help people find your posts organically, which is great when you’re growing awareness and engagement for you or your brand. After all, you want people to notice and engage with what you’re posting – that’s why it’s called social media. Otherwise, it’s like having a conversation with yourself and you can do that alone at home (no judgement, we’ve been there too).
When you use hashtags (even just one), you can drive up to 12.6% more engagement than posts without a hashtag. Imagine what several would do! Now that’s a party.
And you might bring people to the party with hashtags, but you can also join their social soiree, by clicking on the hashtags and interacting with their posts which use it. The more interaction you do, the more you can grow your own audience.
But, how does that work?
Well, when you’re spreading love (authentic love, not just meaningless comments which could have been made by a ‘bot), then people are more likely to hop over to your profile and engage with your content. Tit for tat. But it has to be for real because people really see through disingenuous comments.
Ok, ok, but how do I use hashtags?
We are so glad you asked.
There are a few ways to use them:
- On every post and Instagram Story. You can post up to 30 on your Instagram posts and 10 on your Story. Rule of thumb – post your hashtags in the first comment on your posts, so it looks tidier and doesn’t interrupt your genius caption. On Stories, you can reduce the size of Instagram hashtags so they’re not taking up the entire Story (you don’t want to distract from your selfie).
- In your profile: you can use a few to showcase who you are and what you do, to make it searchable.
How do I even find the right hashtags?
The good news is that you don’t have to do this all alone. We are here for you. Plann helps you find the right hashtags! Now that’s teamwork, right?
You just log in to the dashboard and go to ‘manage hashtags’ to start searching for the ones which are relevant for you.
It’s also super easy to understand what’s popular because we’ve colour-coded them, so you can see how many times the hashtag has been mentioned in Instagram posts. Don’t say we don’t give you anything!
But (and this is the important bit), don’t only post the hashtags with millions of use, because there will be so many people doing the same. You don’t want your post to get lost in a sea of others.
Make sure you also stay away from hashtags which have hardly any mentions, because there’s a reason people aren’t using those lonely little hashtags.
If you want some ideas on what’s relevant for your brand, then see what your competitors are and influencers with an Instagram hashtags search.
Top tip – use hashtags which have between 250k – 750k reach is the sweet spot for your socials.
So onto the exciting bit….(drum roll….) the trending top Instagram hashtags for 2020 are:
1. #love – 1.221B use
2. #instagood – 704.0M
3. #photooftheday – 478.6M
4. #fashion – 456.5M
5. #beautiful – 445.0M
6. #happy – 413.8M
7. #cute – 404.3M
8. #tbt – 401.4M
9. #like4like – 393.9M
10. #followme – 374.3M
11. #picoftheday – 363.1M
12. #follow – 357.3M
13. #me – 341.6M
14. #selfie – 329.4M
15. #summer – 320.6M
16. #art – 319.4M
17. #instadaily – 311.6M
18. #friends – 299.3M
19. #repost – 295.8M
20. #nature – 286.4M
But make sure you hop onto Plann hashtag generator and have a look for the hashtags which suit your own channel and have a go at grouping them too.
AUTHOR > Christy Laurence
Christy Laurence is the multi-award-winning Founder of Plann, an app she created after watching hugely talented people around the world give up on making an income from their passion due to lack of marketing help.
After winning ‘Australasian Startup Founder of The Year’ for her achievements helping businesses grow using Instagram, she now splits her time between Silicon Valley and Sydney to grow her own software business, and help others grow their businesses too.
She has a strong pun game and loves a good chat, connect with her directly at @christyladylaurence