How To Select Hashtags That Drive Increased Engagement On Instagram

Still not on Instagram yet? More fool you!

With Facebook shifting to an older demographic as parents of 20-something’s have now traded their curiosity of the platform for downright obsessional use in their spare time, newer services such as Snapchat and Instagram are resonating so much more with younger audiences.

While it’s the case that a growing number of businesses are now on Instagram, you only have to complete some scoping market research in your field to find that many companies still draw the line at owning just a Facebook and Twitter account simply because that’s what they’re used to.

This folks is what we’d call the comfort zone of social media but in stark reality, it’s hardly comfortable at all. Much more comfort could be sought from cleverly seeding your marketing messages in short, snappy 15-or-so second Instagram videos or alternatively, optimised native content created exclusively for that platform.

Like any other platform, Instagram can be overwhelming upon first glance but a good grounding is to understand that like Twitter, ‘Insta’ – to be down with the kids – is powered by the hashtag!

Hashtag, shmashtag…


Before we get into the real nuts and bolts of utilising effective hashtags on Instagram, did you ever add that Herbalife promoting fitness-mad friend on social media years ago on your personal account who likes to plainly, hashtag the hell out of their posts with the likes of #love, #lifestyle and #instagood?

If you’ve rolled your eyes at such posts in the past, stop! Long form content is contemporarily proving a hit on Instagram and this is a topic explained in part by Digital Media Edges’ very own Stuart Murray in his recent blog.

While it may appear ‘spammy’ to utilise so many hashtags in a single Twitter post, multiple hashtag use on Instagram is endorsed, ultimately to enable your message the greatest reach possible.

DME Power Tip: Use as many value-adding hashtags on Instagram as possible. It’s actually rather strange to see Instagram posts without multiple tags included nowadays!

Say you’re running the social media presence for a small accountancy firm and you’ve got hashtag block beyond the rather obvious #accountancy, #accountants, #SME and #business.

To use these four hashtags alone on what could well be your best piece of content, you’re immediately selling yourself short.

Ride the wave of popular pre-existing hashtags


At the end of the day, while your accountancy client probably isn’t the most exciting thing in the world ever, you can at least add some flair and verve to your brand’s creative by employing the use of generic popular pre-existing hashtags.

We’re talking about the likes of #picoftheday, #throwbackthursday, #instadaily and #beautiful that on the day of writing this very blog post, contained an incredible 739,948,011 posts between just these four tags alone on Instagram.

DME Power Tip: Make use of Instagram’s tag search functionality to assess just how big the reach is regarding the specific hashtags you intend to use in each of your posts.

In essence, you should be riding the wave of popular pre-existing hashtags while tailoring your content to make use of them. After all, these hashtags are where people’s eyeballs are, in turn driving interest!

Don’t tell us a new cloud computing solution isn’t #beautiful having revolutionised the way you now manage expenses far quicker than previously at your accountancy practice! You get the idea?

Battling automation & qualifying likes


If you’ve just started out in the hyperactive world that is Instagram, you’ll be familiar with the fact that all sorts of weird and not so wonderful profiles may like your posts, if set to public as you’d need to in the marketing realm of course.

Say you’re in charge of a betting company’s Instagram presence and are promoting a particular European Qualifiers-related bet involving a Wales fixture against Bosnia Herzegovina.

In using the rather plain hashtag #Bosnia, you’ll potentially draw likes from anything to do with Bosnia, perhaps a Bosnian phone credit supplier for example?

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that this particular like is of no benefit to your social presence as a would-be bettor so refining hashtags is a staple part of good practice on Instagram.

Rather than using #Bosnia, perhaps employ the #BiHvWAL hashtag which was the officially endorsed game specific hashtag around the fixture last month.

By tapping into game and club specific hashtags in this way, you’re far more likely to draw in the football supporter and ultimately betting punter crowd that you desire.

DME Power Tip: Nailing down a narrow pool of valuable hashtags is a process of trial and error. Within certain fields, try and source event or time-specific hashtags for likes which yield greater meaning or value.

Very soon, you’ll be able to successfully wheedle out and unfollow which followers set up automated / waste of time likes in regards your specific hashtags, not to mention at the same time working out who your super fans are!

It’s all trial and error; mix up your hashtag use, try different hashtags for each day of the week but make sure to speedily check the reach of a specific hashtag on Instagram by using the search functionality!

It may just hold the key to your success on the platform!

Want to give your brand greater traction through Instagram?

Our colleagues here at Digital Media Edge are incredibly passionate about tapping into the value-adding nature of new and emerging platforms.

If you’re craving some guidance with your campaign or would like us to give your brand greater traction through Instagram, get in contact with the experts today.

All you have to do is send us an email on, complete the form here – DME Enquiry or connect with us on social media and send us a direct message.

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