Hey Bookish People,
In yesterday’s post I promised we’d talk about hashtags this week, so let’s jump right in! We’ll start with the quantity of hashtags you should use in your Instagram posts, but before we go any further let’s talk about what a hashtag is. I’m sure you’ve seen them on Instagram and if you haven’t then you need to go back and have a closer look. Hashtags are preceded by this symbol (#) and followed by a word or phrase (i.e. #writing). These tags help people find content on Instagram through search and help Instagram show your posts to people who are interested in those topics.
Now, the question becomes how many hashtags (or search terms) do you need to include in your post? There is a lot of discussion about this and I’m going to argue that there is no magical one size fits all answer.
I only have one strong opinion: don’t use all 30 available hashtags. Instagram allows your post to contain 30 hashtags but I don’t think you should utilize them all. If you are choosing your hashtags thoughtfully and with the intention of finding your ideal audience then I don’t think spamming a bunch of almost related tags (#joy, #love) will really help you. Sure, you might get a follower here or there, but you’ll ultimately get lost in the millions upon millions of posts that end up in those more saturated hashtags.
So how many? The general advice I see given is under 10. I have seen studies that say the optimal number of hashtags is 7 and that’s what I try and stick to for the sake of simplicity, but I’ve seen a range of between 2-10 in other studies. So until I conduct this particular experiment myself I’m going to stick with that has worked for me so far.
I think anything between 2 and 10 hashtags will be fine and giving yourself the flexibility within that range to pick and choose what you need for each post is not a bad idea. some posts won’t require 10 hashtags and some will. If I post a flatlay picture with several books and trinkets then I might want all those hashtags. If I post a picture of my dog I might want to choose two really niche chihuahua tags.
I would even recommend experimenting with the number of hashtags yourself. Start super niche with 1 or 2 hashtags and every two or three days increase by one hashtag to see if you can spot a difference in your engagement. Go with whatever works best for you.
I think more than recommending a specific number of hashtags I’d just like to encourage you to just use them. I posted on my birthday without hashtags and my engagement dipped noticeably. I wanted to post on Instagram but I didn’t want to spend the time thinking up hashtags and I saw what a mistake that was pretty quickly. Studies have shown that posts on Instagram with hashtags have significantly more engagement than posts that don’t. So if you’re not already using them then use this week to start!
Tomorrow I’ll talk about choosing the right hashtags for you bookish Instagram account so be sure to follow the blog to make sure you see it. Let me know what questions you have about hashtags in the comments!