If you are like me, the process of hashtag’ing an Instagram post triggers early onset memory loss, and every targeted, researched and clever tag that you’ve painstakingly researched becomes unavailable to mental recall.  And of course this is happening as you are on the move, cell phone in hand, attempting to hold a conversation with your friends (because, hi, rude!) Having done that one too many times myself, I have three InstaHashtag Hacks to share with you:

First, establish your hashtags. 

Instagram allows for up to 30 hashtags per post.  You certainly do not have to hit the max, and even aiming for 20 or so will allow for tags that are specific to the image you are posting.  For example, I have curated hashtags that cover my business (#socialmediastrategy #socialmediamanager…), my location (#Burbank, #hollywood…), and a bit about me and my personality (#momeprenuer, #livingthedream, #thatshowIrollyo….).  I also made smaller collections of tags based on the type of content I am likely to post (that is, social media tips, inspirational posts, cocktail recipe, and general life silliness…)

Once you establish your hashtags collection, you have a couple of option on the best ways to store and recall them.

  • You can store them in a notes app on your phone. It will require opening that app, copy the correct hashtags, returning to Instagram  and pasting them there.  That’s fine.  It may become a bit cumbersome, though, if you have multiple hashtag collections that you want to paste.
  • On an iPhone you can go to Settings / General / Keyboard / and use the Text Replacement option to create a shortcut for your 15-30 hashtags.  Copy and paste all those hashtags into the “phrase” field, and create a shortcut that you will type in to autofill with the hashtags. In this case, I will use #RSC (for RocketStyle Creative) and put all the business related hashtags there.  I can go on and create another Text Replacement shortcut that will list the tags I’ve identified as pertinent to my personal posts or inspirational posts, or other topics I often post about.  When I return to Instagram, I simply type my phrase  and all the tags autofill.  If I want to add more, I type in the appropriate “phrase” and a push of the button brings those tags to place. Easy peasy!!
  • If you want to get really high tech (and if tracking and analysis of the effectiveness of your hashtag selections are important to you) give Smarthash a try.  This ap allows for grouping tags, A/B split testing of tags, and it determines the effectiveness of the tags you’ve selected over time. So not only is it storing your tags in an organized manner, its giving you feedback on how well they are performing.

Remember, hashtags are par for the course in Instagram, but they can become quite annoying, especially when there are more tags than actual description – it creates a text block that eyes will skim past and never read.  Design your posts so that a majority of your hashtags appear in the first comment of your post.

I usually place the humor tags within the body of the text, and the remaining, standard tags I use most often as the first comment.  You can also adopt the practice of 5 periods or dots in five rows to help break up the text.  Do what looks and feels best for you, and observe how others in your industry are using hashtags; perhaps there is an industry standard that you can incorporate or expand upon (like emoji uses, for example.)

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We would love to hear from you: How do you organize and select the hashtags you use most often?  Have you run an analysis to see if those tags are effective?  Leave a comment and share your Instagram best practices.

Until next time…!

Melissa

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