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Do Hashtags Really Help on Instagram? How Many Should You Use?

Welcome to The Social Lab! This blog will not only help you navigate your personal social media, but also investigate marketing trends and examples of great social media work. Do you have something we should talk about? Make sure to send us an email or contact us on social media.

We have all heard about the importance of utilizing hashtags on Instagram, but how much do they really matter? We went through one of our client's Instagram accounts to determine just how important hashtags are and how many of your likes can be attributed to them.

Before The Socii Project began working with, they rarely utilized a high amount of hashtags in their posts. While they would use roughly 5-7 hashtags, many of them had an extremely low use count or a noticeably high use count. What does that mean? Some hashtags have millions and millions of usage numbers, while others are seldom used. The ones that are scarcely used will result in few people seeing your post, while the ones that are extremely popular could lead to your post being lost in the chaos. So what is the best amount to use? Are they necessary at all?

Before we began managing Carry On's Instagram account, they averaged 23 likes per post over the course of five months. This was done with an average of six hashtags per post. After working with Carry On for six months, they now average 53 likes per post (increasing every month). Of course...some of this is due to us utilizing more hashtags, but how much of it is contributed to an increase in followers?

In May, 2016, Carry On averaged 71 likes per post and did not utilize many hashtags (this is one month before we began working with them). How was this done? Their content was amazing and when they did employ hashtags, they dog-eared ones that were specific to their target audience. Instead of just utilizing hashtags like Instagood or photooftheday...they used ones they knew contained their audience (dessert, foodie, travel, I.E.). Their content was seen by the right people and was therefore liked.

If you have a specific post that is visually engaging and overall awesome, you will get plenty of likes no matter how many followers you have, as long as you use at least a couple hashtags that are relevant.

So does the number of followers matter? Yes, but more for daily content that isn't going to go "mini viral." You can have zero followers, but if you create an amazing post and use the right hashtags, you will get tons of likes. A great example of this is something The Socii Project posted when we had only 34 followers (figure 1)

The Socii Project

figure 1

Even with so few followers, the content was popular and the right hashtags were used. How many hashtags did we use and what were they? We used 28 hashtags, which is A LOT! We also didn't want this high number of hashtags to influence the aesthetics of our post. That is why we commented after we created the post with the hashtags. This is a great way to keep your post "clean", while still sliding in the right hashtags.

In conclusion, if you focus on creating great content, then the number of followers you have doesn't matter, but the hashtags you utilize does. It doesn't need to be 28 hashtags like we used, but it needs to be ones that are relevant to your post. You can also make sure to comment your hashtags to avoid making your post look cluttered and spammy.

Now that we have discussed all that...let's create our own conversation! Do you agree with our tips? Is there anything you would add to this topic? Comment below!

The Socii Project

Do you have a question about social media? Want us to talk about a particular topic? Let us know at our email or contact us on social media!

The Socii Project


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