‘Popular’ hashtags are not the hill to die on when it comes to growing your business’s presence on Instagram.
Ouch – I felt that one too!
Popular hashtags, or as I like to call them – oversaturated hashtags actually have the reverse effect for your business’s reach on Instagram.
Those so-called popular hashtags are making it impossible for your business to be found on Instagram– yikes!!
Can you feel those ideal clients just scrolling on by as we speak?
Hashtags are one of the most unique factors of marketing your business on Instagram. Those tiny waffles work in a magical search engine like manner.
Ahh.. digital marketing is amazing isn’t it?
And what business doesn’t want to be found on Instagram?
But, using the wrong hashtags on Instagram will have your business’s content buried in a millisecond, forever descending its way in a downward spiral, otherwise known as the Instagram black hole.
Where can you easily find popular hashtags? They tend to be doled out for free in Google-able lists under the guise of marketing advice. AKA Google Univerity.
Those ‘Google-able’ lists of hashtags are overly vague, overly used, and never specific to your business.
Those lists of free popular hashtags tend to look a little something like this:
- #girlboss (my personal favorite vendetta on the list of offenders)
A quick search via the magnifier into any of the above hashtags on Instagram will show you that they have millions upon millions of uses.
You’d also find that the content under these tags are created as fast as you can refresh.
And in the worst-case scenario – your search would also show you that there are no related hashtags (you want related hashtags – we will go over that in a hot minute!)
These so-called “popular” hashtags are marked by their inability to increase your reach and their ability to make damn sure that your content is buried in a millisecond (remember the black hole spiral?!)
Before we hit the Price Is Right ‘fail button’ – let’s break it down a bit more!
In my experience as an Instagram account manager, there are a few benchmarks that a hashtag needs in order for it to be successful in creating visibility for a brand’s content.
On the opposite spectrum of that, there are a few benchmarks of popular hashtags on Instagram that need to be avoided (blackhole-blackhole!)
So how do you know which hashtags to avoid on Instagram?
And when I say avoid, I mean run like the wind when these hashtags come your way Bullseye!
Here are a few telltale signs that a popular hashtag needs to go in your virtual trash can:
- It has over 3 million uses
- It is not specific to your niche
- The hashtag attracts engagement & follows from bots and automation
- Content created underneath the tag is compound or hidden
- The hashtag does not have any related hashtags tied to it! Which makes it harder for your content to be found (yes, there is something worse than having your content ‘blackholed’)
- The hashtag has a nice built-in warning from Instagram stating ‘some posts using this hashtag may currently be hidden’ blah blah blah guidelines (I’m clearly paraphrasing that last part!)
One question you are probably asking yourself right about now is:
‘Why would I want to make the jump from popular hashtags with millions of uses to niche-specific hashtags with merely 10’s of thousands of uses?’
While it might seem like a hashtag with millions of uses would also warrant millions of searches, that is simply not the case.
How do you know a hashtag has fallen into the wrong hands? When they are used in an abundantly faster manner than they are searched for! It’s not a supply & demand situation. And yes I’m blaming those free Google-able hashtag lists.
When you use hashtags that are niche-based, or specific to your business, the hashtag should have 10s to 100s of thousands of uses!
Auditing your hashtags for the amount of usage and staying within that range is actually increasing your visibility amongst your ideal client.
That’s the sweet spot we want for your content!
Here’s why those niche-specific hashtags work:
- You are creating a better likely hood for your content to be pushed to top posts
- Your content will marinate for a longer period of time under most recent posts
- Your ideal client knows what they are looking for and will search accordingly
- You are also increasing your content’s visibility through related tags
Let’s get back to related hashtags – shall we?!
Here’s where the Instagram nerd in me kicks in.
The Instagram Algorithm (WHOA, Did you feel that echo too?)
Ahem, The Instagram Algorithm is a wise, intelligent, computer being programmed by even wiser, more intelligent, human beings.
These two beings came together to suss out our Instagram habits and patterns.
Kinda creepy, kinda cool.
Now the related hashtags can come out to play!
Instagram knows which hashtags are being used by what niche of businesses and how those businesses cross-reference their own content!
BoOm! Related Hashtags!
When a hashtag is oversaturated and used by accounts that do not share a commonality, (oh hey #girlboss fancy seeing you again) the pattern of usage is undetected by the algorithm.
The hashtag then becomes a dumping ground of randomized content.
Need some niche-specific hashtags while you’re here? Be sure to grab your free download below!