I think we can safely say that the news which has caused the most controversy this week has been the announcement from @creators regarding hashtags.
In case you did miss it, they published a post giving ‘Tips for Using #hashtags’ – how to use them, when to use them, how many to use, do’s and don’ts and things to be aware of.
What really got people talking was the fact that they have stated that the number of hashtags should be kept between 3-5 and adding 10-20 won’t actually help ‘distribution’. This was especially confusing as not long ago the advice seemed to be to use up to 15 hashtags.
And there still is the capacity to add up to 30.
It’s been a bit confusing for a lot of users.
Instagram recently shared some info on how Search works – the main takeaway from this was to use relevant keywords and hashtags in the caption to get the best results.
My main thoughts on this are:
- Make sure that any hashtags that you are using are relevant – so do some hashtag research
- Don’t have a knee-jerk reaction to these announcements. If what you are doing is working for you, keep doing it.
- However, announcements like this become a great opportunity to do some testing. Create posts with 3-5 hashtags, some with 10-20, some with hashtags in the comments, some with hashtags in the caption and see what works.
- Remember that the algorithm doesn’t just rely on hashtags. There’s a lot more to it than that so don’t build your strategy around hashtags alone.
A quick side point
In the comments to the @creators post someone pointed out that each of the slides in the carousel were videos. Carousel posts usually don’t do very well in Search even when hashtags are used, although they do have an extra chance of showing up when you’re scrolling as the second slide will be shown if you haven’t engaged with the first on initial viewing.
However, word on the ‘gram is that Carousel posts WILL show up on Search if ALL slides are video. Very interesting if you consider how Instagram is prioritising video content. So this could be worth testing out too.
My final word on this is that the award for best comment came from:
Claireandpeter *2 months later* Use exactly -0.2 hashtags
Let me know what your thoughts are on this announcement and what you will be planning on doing with your hashtags in the comments.