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Top Instagram Hashtag Mistakes & What To Do Instead

Hashtag headaches can seem like the Instagram pain that won’t go away. How many hashtags do I use? What hashtags will help get more eyeballs on my post? Are there are any hashtags that are off limits? But if you have a hashtag headache, I have a cure. Here are five common hashtag mistakes, and how you can fix them right now.

Only using hashtags specific to your own business

Too often, businesses on Instagram get stuck in a hashtag rut. While it’s important to use industry-focused hashtags, vague hashtags often backfire when they put you in overly crowded hashtag hubs. Step up your strategy with more specific hashtags. This strategy is especially important for location-focused industries, such as wedding photographers. In order to attract the attention of potential clients, use location-specific hashtags where your clients are already looking. For example, the Popponesset Inn is a popular wedding venue here on Cape Cod. By using hashtags relevant to that location, photographers are more likely to catch the eye of clients who are in the process of looking for their wedding venue. Even better, see if the venue already has a branded hashtag. This will allow you to get into the hashtag hub and keep your content relevant longer.

Using popular hashtags

All too often people assume that to gain more followers you need to use popular hashtags, such as #Love, #InstaDaily, and #InstaMood. These crowded hashtags might lead to more eyeballs on your content, but these are the wrong followers. Instead, they’ll often post comments like “cool pic” and “awesome,” which distract from your content. Stay true to your business and only post hashtags that are truly relevant to you. It takes time and patience to grow a true Instagram following. Stay patient, and avoid the potential that you will become another #CrashTagger.

Not using hashtags specific to your location

Whether you are an online or retail store, it’s important that you focus on how you can grow support in your community. Draw more local followers to your posts with destination-focused hashtags. If you scroll through my account, @theinstagramexpert, you’ll see that I am always using hashtags that reflect my nautical life here on Cape Cod. Even recently, when I hosted my Sue B-School Retreat, I encouraged my attendees to use #Falmouth and #CapeCodLiving. Not only did these hashtags capture the laid-back vibe of the event, but it gave our Instagram content a more local focus.

Not testing new hashtags on a regular basis

If you want to stay in the loop on what your potential customers are doing, you need to conduct regular hashtag research. Don’t just rely on your standard hashtags to share your content. Go deeper to see what’s working, and how you can improve your Instagram strategy. When my team and I were recently kicking off our InstaAcademy, we did a lot of hashtag research to better understand which hashtags would attract the attention of social media managers and assistants. Spend time shaking up your hashtag choices to discover what works best for your potential customers.

Not adding hashtags after you press post

Lastly, it’s important that you add hashtags as soon as you post. Often, people share their content before they decide which hashtags to use. Since Instagram shares your content in real time, if you add hashtags later they won’t appear at the top of the hashtag hub. That’s why I use the Notes app on my iPhone and keep a list of both my primary hashtags and my secondary hashtags. I refresh this note regularly to reflect my Instagram content and what’s currently going on in my business. I can share my primary hashtags in a comment, followed by secondary hashtags in another comment below. This quick hashtag strategy ensures that your post won’t get buried in the hashtag hub.

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