o

Where we are now

o
a

The Ultimate Guide To Using Instagram Hashtags To Boost Your Engagement | Blogging Tips

January 30, 2019

The Ultimate Guide To Using Instagram Hashtags To Boost Your Engagement | Blogging Tips

January 30, 2019

Having shared my Instagram Hashtag tips with a lot of people and getting feedback that the results are incredible, I thought I’d put together all of the advice I can into one handy blog post. It will cover the absolute basics of Instagram hashtags, when you should be using them and how to strategically use them to boost the engagement on your account. Although it will take a lot of hard work, the results will definitely be worth it.


Getting engagement on your Instagram photos can seem like an absolute nightmare when they’re constantly changing their algorithms and whilst I’m a firm believer the algorithm isn’t out to get you, I do believe there are lots of things to ensure that you’re using it to your advantage. One of those things is Instagram hashtags. 

Side note: I am not an Instagram expert, however a lot of people have requested this post based on my own personal results of growing from less than 100 impressions to as many as 10k per post. Having created a group of people to test my theories, I can say that most of them also experienced similar results to me. 

What Are Instagram Hashtags?

I thought I’d start off with the absolute basics here and say that Instagram hashtags are basically a way of labelling your content. By including a # symbol followed by a particular word or phrase, you’re labelling your photo and telling people that it belongs under that particular category. They’re clickable, searchable and an incredible source for traffic to your posts and profile.

How Do They Work?

Once you put a hashtag (#) in front of a word they will become clickable. This means that you’ll be able to see posts from everyone who has used the hashtag you’re viewing. So, if you were to hashtag a photo of your lunch with #WhatIAteToday, everyone else who views or follows that hashtag will have a chance of seeing your post – ultimately increasing the engagement on your post. 

Where Can You Use Them?

Hashtags can be used on photos, in photo comments, in your profile bio and on your Instagram Stories.

Why Should You Be Using Them? 

There are lots of different reasons you should be making sure you’re using hashtags on your images, no matter what you’re posting.

These reasons include:

  • Using hashtags gives you a chance to be seen by lots more people. Depending on your Instagram goals, this will probably be an incredibly important part of growing your account.
  • Using certain hashtags may give you a chance to be reposted by a larger account, again helping to grow your profile.
  • If people enjoy your content when they see it on a hashtag they’re browsing, they’re likely to engage.
  • Often people will click through to your profile and if they like your account, they’ll follow you.
  • For bloggers, it often gives PRs and Brands a chance to discover your account.

Where Should You Be Putting Them?

This is a question I often get asked but honestly, I don’t think it matters. Instagram doesn’t take notice as to whether or not your hashtags are in the comments or in your caption, so you can do whichever you prefer. 

Personally, I like to do five or six of those most relevant hashtags at the end of the caption, and then put the rest in the comments.

How Do You Find New Hashtags To Use?

This is another thing I regularly get asked when talking about Instagram hashtags, as a lot of people are not sure how to find new ones to use on their posts. For me, there are several different places I look.

  • On other people’s posts – If you know of other accounts that post similar images to you, looking at the hashtags they use is a great way to discover new ones to use. I tend to spend 10-15 minutes a week searching for new hashtags using this method, adding them to a master hashtag document I have created.
  • By searching keywords on Instagram – When I am writing my hashtags into an Instagram comment I write a keyword based on my image, then scroll down to see which hashtags I want to use. I’ll talk more about which ones to pick later.
  • By looking for accounts that repost photos – Every so often I’ll include a few repost hashtags on a photo that I think has a chance of being picked up by a repost account. This is a great way to get more views as lots of people search these hashtags for inspiration and ideas. If your photo gets reposted, even better!
  • By looking at lists of hashtags – There are quite a few free resources out there for hashtags in your niche, however, I tend to use these with caution as it’s easy to get caught up in copying and pasting from a list every time you post a caption.

Side note: If you want to follow me on Instagram, you can find my very colourful account here!

The Ultimate Guide To Using Instagram Hashtags To Boost Your Engagement

Use The Full 30 Hashtags On Each Instagram Post

There’s lots of conflicting advice out there about how many hashtags to use on each post but in all honesty, I don’t see why you wouldn’t want to use ALL 30 of them. Having an allowance of 30 hashtags on each post means that it’s 30 chances for your photos be been seen by others on a hashtag, and 30 chances for you to gain more engagement and followers. Use them ALL. 

Don’t Just Copy And Paste, Mix Them Up Every Time

This is a really important point, and probably something most of us have got into a habit of doing.

Before I started changing the way I used Instagram Hashtags, I was copying and pasting hashtags from a notes file on my iPhone. Whilst it was a quick and easy way add hashtags to a post, it meant I wasn’t really thinking about the content I was posting.

I have found that mixing up the hashtags you use on every photo you post is a great way to get your content to appear on relevant hashtags each and every time you post. I also think that Instagram may be starting to notice when you’re using the same hashtags on each post and prefers you to use different dedicated and targeted hashtags every time.

The best way to mix up your hashtags is to type them every single time you post. Yes, it’s time-consuming, but it’s the best way to avoid the ‘copy and paste syndrome’. I aim to have at least 10-15 hashtags I haven’t used (for at least a month) on each post, which is easy when you use your hashtags wisely.

Use Your Hashtags Wisely

Match Hashtags To Your Photo

Now that you’re using 30 hashtags per post and mixing them up every time, it’s time to start thinking about how you can use your hashtags wisely. The first thing I would recommend is to match the hashtags you’re using to the photo you’ve posted. There’s absolutely no point in posting a photo of you on a warm beach and using a hashtag that focusses on rainy weather, even if that’s something you’ve talked about in your caption.

When people scroll through hashtags they only see your photo among many others, so the likelihood is they’re only going to interact with hashtags that align with what they’re searching for.

Use 10-15 Targeted Instagram Hashtags On Each Post

Targeted hashtags are hashtags that focus on something specific in your photo, and they’re probably one of the best ways to gain engagement on a post. When thinking of targeted hashtags for each post, I try to run through the following questions:

  • Where was the photo taken?
  • What clothes am I wearing?
  • What brands am I wearing?
  • What colours feature in the photo?
  • What time of year was it?
  • What was the weather like?
  • What can you see?

There are SO MANY questions you can ask yourself to help create some targeted hashtags and I find that the deeper I delve into a photo, the better it does.

Use AT LEAST 10 Hashtags With Under 20k Pictures On Them

When it comes to finding hashtags to use the ones that are more likely to gain you engagement and followers are the ones that have less than 20,000 photos already on them. If hashtags are too saturated it means that within seconds your photo has already been overtaken by 100 others that have also been posted to the tag. The less saturated a hashtag is, the better it is likely to do, especially if it’s a hashtag people regularly search for inspiration (think fashion, travel and creative hashtags).

If you’re unsure how to find out how many posts a hashtag has, they should show as you type them into your comments or captions (as shown in the picture above). You can also see the difference in hashtags when you search #travelblog and #travelblogging.

Remember, not every hashtag has to have under 20k photos on it, but the more the better (in my personal opinion). I know sometimes It can’t be avoided when using specific hashtags for locations – #visitlondon, #londontimeout etc – and when using repost accounts.

Research Which Hashtags You May Have A Chance At Appearing In The Top 9 For

When you click on a hashtag you’ll usually be presented with a screen that gives you two options – Top and Recent. These will show either the top performing posts or the most recent posts for that hashtag, depending on which one you’re looking at. 

There is a great way to use this to your advantage when posting to hashtags with fewer photos on, as you can work out whether or not you have a chance to appear in the top 9 photos for that hashtag.

The trick is to look at the existing top 9 photos and see what numbers the likes range from. If your average likes fit within that range, you have a much higher chance of appearing in the top 9 photos. Targetting these hashtags is a great way to get your account seen, but definitely shouldn’t be your top priority when choosing which hashtags you use. 

Interact With The Hashtags You Post In The First Half An Hour Of Posting

I have always found that when I interact with photos on the hashtags I’ve used in the first half an hour after posting, it’s helped to boost my engagement. I honestly don’t know why, but I did a lot of A/B testing to help prove this and it works! It’s like I always say – when it comes to Instagram you get back exactly what you give. 

Track Your Hashtags On Insights 

Whilst you can’t view insights for individual hashtags yet, you can find out how many of your impressions come from hashtags. Keeping an eye on this for each photo will allow you to find out what works best for you.

It has taken me a lot of time to find a hashtag strategy that works well for my account and the chances are, it won’t be exactly the same for you. Use the tips I’ve mentioned to play around and find out what suits your profile best. I can’t stress enough that it took me around 6-8 weeks to see the results I was seeing and that you need to take that into consideration when tracking your stats. 

Let me know if you test out any of my Instagram hashtag advice, I’d absolutely love to hear what works for you and whether or not my tips have helped you boost your engagement. 

 

  • Jess January 30, 2019 at 2:26 pm

    Such great tips! I want to really up my Instagram game this year so will be trying some of these out!

    xoxo
    Jess
    The Crown Wings | UK Travel & Lifestyle Blog

  • Lauren January 30, 2019 at 8:11 pm

    Great post and fab tips! I’m definitely going to be making much more of an effort to vary the hashtags I use as I’d also fallen into copying and pasting, I’ve trying to use a few different ones recently but I think I need to step my game up!

    Lauren x
    http://www.laurenyloves.co.uk

  • Laura Lovette January 31, 2019 at 1:25 pm

    I have fallen into the trap of copying and pasting, but my posts get seen by no one. So maybe I’ll try mixing it up again ?

    http://www.lauralovette.com

  • TravelBeyondSize January 31, 2019 at 4:50 pm

    Awesome post!!!

    • Kirsty Leanne February 3, 2019 at 10:29 pm

      Thank you lovely! 🙂 xx

  • Rachael January 31, 2019 at 9:52 pm

    Thank you for this post, it has been really useful. I’m trying to grow my Instagram and this will definitely help

    • Kirsty Leanne February 3, 2019 at 10:29 pm

      Thank you! I hope the tips work for you 🙂 xx

  • Boxnip February 1, 2019 at 6:10 pm

    This is such a great post. I was already doing some of what you suggested as it just made good sense to me but I shall be trying the other suggestions too from now on. 🙂

    Sarah ? || Boxnip

    • Kirsty Leanne February 3, 2019 at 10:29 pm

      Thank you! I hope the tips work for you! xx

  • Philippa February 2, 2019 at 4:38 pm

    Thank you for such an insightful post! I have a design account that I’m trying to grow so I’m going to experiment with your list on there, will let you know the results!

    Philippa
    http://www.cocoskies.com | Design, travel & Freelancing blog

    • Kirsty Leanne February 3, 2019 at 10:28 pm

      I hope it works for you! 🙂 xx

  • Hayley February 3, 2019 at 12:02 pm

    So glad you wrote this post. I’ve just recently got back into using Instagram, but just don’t have the interaction I’d like. So this will be a great help. I can’t wait to start implementing your suggestions. I gave up on using so many hashtags because it just wasn’t getting me anywhere but I do fall into the hole of using the same hashtags all the time.

    • Kirsty Leanne February 3, 2019 at 10:28 pm

      Thank you so much! I’m glad you found it useful and hope the tips work for you! 🙂

  • Angharad Paull February 10, 2019 at 7:05 am

    This is such a helpful post, thank you Kirsty! I had NO idea that all these things affected an Instagram post so I’m going to follow your advice and try and be much more targeted. Thanks so much for sharing these!

  • I'M KIRSTY LEANNE

    My mission is simple. I want to help change the way travel looks, showing both brands and society that plus size people really do travel too. In a community where plus size travellers are made to feel unwelcome, I want to inspire and advise people like me on how they can make the most out of their own incredible travel experiences.Join me as I share my own personal experiences, my best tips and tricks and all of the challenges I face along the way. It won’t always be an easy ride, but it sure as hell will be a fun one.

    Together, we can change the way that travel looks today

    WHAT TO EXPECT

    Instagram

    • AD | Gifted 💫 Happy Saturday! I’m going to be spending my weekend doing some housework, making my garden look pretty and trying to find ways to convince my boyfriend to take some new outfit shots for me. If there is one thing he hates, it’s being behind the camera even though he’s actually really good at it. For those of you that manage this on a regular basis, please please share your tips (I already offered a meal out, so that’s out of the question) 😂🤞🏻
•
•
❤️ Jumpsuit gifted by @dorothyperkins
📸 @unwrittenchloee #plussizefashion #plussizeootd #plussize #psblogger #psbloggers #plussizeblogger #plussizeblog
    • AD | Discounted 💫 I am FINALLY getting around to writing some of my Trek America content and I’m getting super emotional reliving all of the amazing things that we did! As much as I love my home comforts, my dream would be to spend a couple of months getting Greyhound buses between as many States as I possibly can! With 9 already ticked off my list, I still have some exploring to do.... 🗺🇺🇸❤️
•
•
So, who is coming with me? 😏🙌🏻
•
•
❤️ My @trekamerica Trip was Discounted in return for content #trekamerica #trekmoment #itrekhere #visittheusa #nashville #nashvillemurals #nashvillemural #thegulch #thegulchnashville #nashvilletn #nashvilletennessee #visitnashville #nashville_tn #nashvillegram #instanashville #nashvillelove #plussizetraveltoo #plussizetravel #travelinclusivity #fatgirlstraveling #fatgirlstravelling
    • AD | Gifted 💫 It’s been a long time since I posted a carousel post on Instagram but I felt like the Kennedy Space Center definitely deserved it. I mean, just look at all of those incredible rockets 🚀
•
•
Do you ever have those places where you’ve wanted to visit for as long as you can remember and then they exceed your expectations, even though you didn’t think it was possible? That was the KSC for me. It’s been just over a month since I visited and I still can’t stop thinking about how incredible the different exhibitions were. From learning about incredible American astronauts and driving around launch pads to seeing immersive replicas of both failed and successful launches, it really was an experience I’ll remember. I 100% left feeling like I could achieve anything ✨🛰
•
•
❤️ My tickets to The Kennedy Space Center were gifted to me by @kennedyspacecenter #ksc #kennedyspacecenter #thekennedyspacecenter #kennedyspacecenter🚀 #kennedyspacecentervisitorcomplex
    • AD | Gifted 💫 For years I have been looking lustfully at all of the cute play suits in stores thinking that I’d never be able to wear one. Not only would they not suit me but oh my gosh, can you imagine the chub rub?! I’d written them off and decided that I’d stick to jumpsuits instead 🤷🏼‍♀️
.
.
I don’t know why, but when I found out I was going to Garorock Festival I decided that if I was going to wear a playsuit, now would be the perfect opportunity. It was going to be 41 degrees and if anything, I could pass it off as festival fashion if it didn’t look right. I ordered two, one from @missguided and one from Boohoo 🙌🏻
.
.
As you can see it DOES suit me (I think) and the chub rub? NON-EXISTENT. I’m definitely a playsuit convert and now wondering what other clothes I have written off without even giving them a chance! Co-ords? Dungarees? Bodycon Dresses? What should I try next?! 😏👇🏻
.
.
❤️ Playsuit gifted by @missguided
❤️ Bag gifted by @boohoo
❤️ I was invited to Garorock as a plus one, so I was under no obligation to post #Garorock #festival #festivalfashion #plussizefestival #psoot #psbloggers #psblogger #psblog
    • AD | Gifted 🌈 Do you ever find a dress that as soon as you put it on, it’s all you want to wear for the rest of the summer?! 🙊
•
•
This candy coloured sundress from @yoursclothinguk is definitely THE dress of the summer for me, especially as it’s the coolest linen material ever. It’s been so so comfortable on days where it’s hit 30 degrees (or 41, like it did in France) ☀️☀️🙌🏻🙌🏻
•
•
P.s. please ignore the sun burn, apparently factor 50 every half an hour was STILL not enough for my ginger skin 😭🤦🏼‍♀️ #yoursclothing #yoursclothinguk #psbloggers #plussizebloggers #plussizeblog #plussizeootd #stylehasnosize #plussizefashion
    • AD | Gifted 💫 I’m definitely still recovering from the weekend but it was so so worth it as I go to go to my first ever festival. The four-day Garorock festival in Marmande consisted of lots of beer and Aperol, an endless supply of glitter, incredible music and non-stop dancing. ☀️🎶
•
•
Highlights include reliving my childhood by seeing @sum41, dancing to @djsnake on day 3, discovering the amazing @christineandthequeens, listening to @twodoorcinemaclub and realising I know way more songs than I thought and the INCREDIBLE headline that was @macklemore. I’ve still got no voice because I sang and screamed so much 😂🙊
•
•
As far as festivals go, Garorock was a great first choice. It was INCREDIBLY clean (look at the lack of rubbish in my photo) and it was all pretty contained and easy to get to. Not only that, but the crowd were amazing. I’m a little worried I may have been spoilt and I’ll have a bit of a shock at my next festival, but there’s only one way to find out, right? 😂🙌🏻
•
•
📸: @absolutelylucy
❤️ I was a plus one on this trip, so under no obligation to post
❤️ Dress and bag gifted by @boohoo @boohooplus #festival #festivaloutfit #festivalinspo #plussizefestival #festivalfashion #spacebuns #garorock #garorock2019 #playsuit #romper
    • I’ve had a little bit of an Instagram break the last five days as I’ve been living my best life in France at my FIRST EVER festival! 🙌🏻🎉
•
•
Although I would have loved to get the full festival experience by camping, the heat was hitting the 40’s most days. Luckily we had our very own Gite to stay in, fully equipped with a pool and all the wine I could drink. Clearly, I took full advantage of that🥂🍾
•
•
The festival wasn’t my only first this weekend, as this is also the first time I’ve ever worn a bikini! Despite the fact I come across as confident on Instagram, I still get self-conscious when I’m putting myself out there. I was DEFINITELY not feeling it at first, but after a bit of encouragement from @danniellelily and @absolutelylucy I felt so much better. I feel as though I’d built wearing a bikini up to be this massively scary thing for me when really, it’s not *so* bad. Here’s to way more bikinis in my life 🙌🏻
•
•
📸 @absolutelylucy ❤️ I was invited as a plus one on this trip, therefore had no obligation to post
❤️ Bikini bought from @prettylittlething who I have worked with in the past #bikini #plussizebikini #bikiniseason #bikinilovers #plussizebikinis
    • AD | Gifted ❤️ Did you know when it comes to the collaborations that I do, I pitch 90% of the work I have? Whether it’s pitching a product to feature, a press trip to go on or a paid post for my blog - I’m a huge fan of going out and finding my own opportunities. Whilst I know a lot of people are scared of the thought of pitching, it’s one of the main reasons l was able to leave my job and go full-time. It’s also taken me to places like Croatia, Belgium, Lanzarote and France. I’ve worked with INCREDIBLE brands, and I want everyone else to be able to do the same too 🙌🏻
.
.
If you saw my stories a couple of weeks ago, you will have seen that I launched the #bepitchperfect eBook - the ultimate guide to pitching products, payments and press trip. The guide goes into detail about all of the preparation you need to do before a pitch, ways to overcome your fears, a five-step strategy that works for me almost every time and how to stay on top of all the people you’re pitching. I also tell you how to personalise each pitch depending on what you’re pitching. It really is that detailed! 🙊💫
.
.
At just £10, it’s honestly an absolute bargain for those looking to take their blog to the next level. It’s been launched less than a month so far and I’ve already had people message to tell me some of the amazing collaborations they’ve secured thanks to my guide! 🎉
.
.
I’m so sorry that this post may have come across a little salesy, but as you can tell I’m incredibly passionate about pitching and how it can help your blog grow. If you’re interested in purchasing the eBook, there’s a link to buy in my profile bio. If you think you know someone who may be interested, please feel free to tag them below! 🥰🥰
.
.
❤️ Jacket gifted from @fashionworlduk
❤️ Skirt gifted from @primark
❤️ Lace body gifted from @missguided
❤️ T-Shirt bought from @levis #plussize #plussizeootd #plussizefashion #psbloggers #plussizebloggers
    • AD | Discounted 💫 As soon as I booked my Trek America I started planning all of the places I wanted to visit in each location, including the #whatliftsyou mural in the Gulch, Nashville. Nashville has TONNES of murals dotted around the city, but this particular one designed by @kelseymontagueart is very very popular. In short, Kelsey has designed all of the #whatliftsyou murals to encourage people to talk about what inspires them. Of course, I couldn’t miss out on an opportunity to do the same...
.
.
✨ Traveling to new places and experiencing incredible new adventures inspires me to create new content, as well as to face my fears.
✨ My friends and family inspire me on a daily basis - whether it’s to do the best I can or to appreciate what I have. Seeing them do incredible things makes me want to do incredible things too.
✨ My boyfriend inspires me to achieve everything I’ve ever wanted to, as he’s always cheering me on and telling me I can do anything if I work hard enough.
✨ YOU! Each and everyone one of you inspire me to do the best I can when it comes to Plus Size Travel Too and travel marketing.
.
.
What inspires you? 👇🏻
.
.
❤️ My trip with @trekamerica was Discounted in return for content
❤️ Dress is bought from @boohoo however I have worked with them previously #whatliftsyounashville #whatliftsyoumural #nashvilletennessee #nashvillemurals #nashville_tn #visitnashville #visittennessee  #nashvillegulch

    FOLLOW MY ADVENTURE

    PLUS SIZE TRAVEL TOO COMMUNITY

    • It's festival season! What festivals are you heading to this year? 🙌🏻📸 @kirstyleanneuk •
•
Use #plussizetraveltoo to be featured on the account 📸
•
•
Changing the way Travel looks today ❤️
    • Anyone else think sunflower fields are one of the best things about summer? 🌻 @awhimsicalrose
•
•
Use #plussizetraveltoo to be featured on the account 📸
•
•
Changing the way Travel looks today ❤️
    • Anyone else feel like they could do with a spa trip right about now? @georginagrogan_ 🧖‍♀️🧘‍♀️
•
•
Use #plussizetraveltoo to be featured on the account 📸
•
•
Changing the way Travel looks today ❤️
    • ALL BODIES ARE BEACH BODIES @nearandchar ☀️🏝
•
•
Use #plussizetraveltoo to be featured on the account 📸
•
•
Changing the way Travel looks today ❤️
    • Now THAT is what you call a diverse press trip! Yasss @simplybeuk 🙌🏻🙌🏻
•
•
Use #plussizetraveltoo to be featured on the account 📸
•
•
Changing the way Travel looks today ❤️✈️
    • Have you ever taken home a permanent souvenir? I LOVE @voyaging_vagabond remind of her trip to Thailand ☀️🏝
•
•
Use #plussizetraveltoo to be featured on the account 📸
•
•
Changing the way Travel looks today ❤️
    • The look of joy on @theowletblog face tells me she may have just won at shuffleboard... 😂🙌🏻
•
•
Use #plussizetraveltoo to be featured on the account 📸
•
•
Changing the way Travel looks ❤️✈️
    • Anyone else think @roamingrequired looks like she stepped right into a Disney movie? 🏰
•
•
Use #plussizetraveltoo to be featured on the account 📸
•
•
Changing the way Travel looks ❤️✈️
    • Hi! It’s me! We’ve had quite a few new followers over here so I thought I’d tell you a little bit about me, the creator of the @plussizetraveltoo movement! 🙊🙌🏻
•
My name is Kirsty Leanne (@kirstyleanneuk) and I’m a plus size travel blogger from the UK! I have loved travelling for as long as I can remember and have been blogging about travel for just over two years (and specifically plus size travel for officially 6 months). I like cats, peanut butter and programmes about serial killers. 
As I started to become more confident with posting photos of myself of my social media channels, it became more and more obvious that I didn’t have a place in the travel industry. Nobody wanted to feature a fat girl on their platforms or in their press trips. As time went on and it started to get to me more and more, the idea for Plus Size Travel Too started. Not only is this a community for plus size travellers to get advice from people just like them, but it’s a way to show brands that plus size people do actually travel too. In the long run, I want PSTT to help brands see that they should be showing plus size travellers in their marketing materials, as well as advising them on how they can make adjustments that can make travel a lot more comfortable for plus size people. 
I want to inspire plus size travellers, just like me, to travel and have the best adventures they can. Often people let the fact they’re plus size they can’t travel and hopefully, Plus Size Travel Too will help show people that that’s just not true. 
I can’t do it alone, so I am thankful for each and every one of you helping me along the way ❤️💫
•
•
Use #plussizetraveltoo to be featured on the account 📸
•
•
Changing the way Travel looks ❤️✈️

    JOIN THE MOVEMENT

    ×