Hashtags #101: Maximize Instagram

You may be using Instagram, but are you maximizing it? Are you increasing your exposure and getting more attention?

One critical step is to use hashtags properly. With so many posts on Instagram every day, it’s easy for you to get lost in the noise. Hashtags help the app identify what you are posting about and get your message to the right people.

Hashtags 101

  • A hashtag is simply a series of words or letters after the pound sign (#)
  • Hashtags started on Twitter as a way of easily finding what was being posted about a certain topic
  • Facebook and LinkedIn keep trying to get people to use them, but it hasn’t really caught on
  • Instagram and Twitter are where they’re used best

When you post on Instagram without hashtags, the only people who will see your posts are those who are already following you. If your goal is to build awareness (and that should be one of them!) you want to reach more people. Advertising is great, but hashtags are free.

Hashtags can give you real results:

1 – Instagram users follow both people and hashtags. Let’s say someone is scrolling through IG liking posts. Often, they will get a message telling them they’ve liked several posts with the same hashtag – would they like to follow it? It’s common to tap yes. So now people are following the hashtags you’re using, and you could show up in their feed.

2 – Hashtags help tell IG what you’re posting about. When someone does a search, they’re shown accounts and posts similar to who they are following and what they have liked. Use the right hashtags and your account can be one of the accounts they see that way.

3 – You can see who has liked your post – chances are a number of those people aren’t following your page. Follow them and they will follow you back!

Here’s an example of how it can work: I post on Instagram for the Toronto Film Society, which currently has about 1800 followers. One day in July I posted about Celeste Holm. The post reached 2090 people and the analytics told me that 88% of the people it reached were not following the Toronto Film Society. We reached 1403 people who weren’t following the account because of the hashtags we used.

How to get started:

Do a Google search for real estate hashtags.
Visit other realtors’ accounts and see what they’re doing

Go to Instagram on your phone (or computer) and start searching. #(yourcity) #(yourcity)realestate. Instagram will tell you how many posts are using those hashtags and suggest similar hashtags. You want to use hashtags that are popular enough to get you noticed but not too popular that you get lost.

You can use a maximum of 30 hashtags on Instagram, but it’s unlikely that there are 30 hashtags related to what you’re postings about. Ten to fifteen hashtags should do the trick.

Bonus tip #1: Make sure you’re using a professional account. If you’re using a personal account, you can switch it to professional in your settings or while editing your profile.

Bonus tip #2: Don’t forget about geotagging. When you’re posting on IG, identify where you are, whether it’s a specific neighbourhood or location such as a café or park. This helps IG help you reach out to other users who are in the same location.

If you are not using Instagram or you want to know more about maximizing your IG efforts, please be in touch.