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Brydge Hacks #102: The hashtag tool you wish you knew about sooner

Updated: Jun 1, 2020

Unpopular opinion time: Hashtags are one of the most underrated Instagram growth tools we all have access to.

There. We said it. And more importantly, we believe it because we’ve seen hashtags drive massive results for our clients and even our personal Instagram accounts.

Before you go rolling your eyes, hear us out:

  • They’re 100% free to use

  • They have the potential to grow your following hundreds to thousands a month

  • They allow you to reach and attract very niche, targeted leads

  • They take under 10 seconds to use, then do all the heavy lifting for you

Sounds like a no-brainer, right? But here’s the catch, and why we think the topic of hashtags turns many off–– they’re confusing af to use properly. You could easily get lost if you make your way far enough down the rabbit hole of hashtag education. It’s like one source tells you one way of using them, while another suggests a complete opposite method. Before you know it you’re back to that *facepalm* feeling.

So how do you use these magical little pound signs effectively? WE'VE GOT YOU.

There are a few tried & tested ways to go about hashtags on Instagram, and we’ve seen consistent success with the help of a few digital tools. We recorded a Screen-share (otherwise known as Brydge Hacks #102) to show you one tool in particular that’s super helpful–– It shows other relevant tags, leaves out spammy tags, and maps out how hashtags are connected. And today we’re breaking it down for you.

Key takeaways:

  • Use up to 30 hashtags that are relative + ranked well (done & done for you when you enter just a few relevant hashtags into the main search!)

  • Include audience specific, visual reference specific, and geographical specific hashtags

  • Use 5 periods before the 30 hashtags & insert in comments, not caption

You’re probably aware that you can use up to 30 hashtags. The question is, how do you optimize your hashtag choice?

We suggest a mix of overt + covert hashtags––

Overt Hashtags: Hashtags that appear in the caption of your image itself & meant for your audience to see. Example: #youruniquehashtag, or collaborations like #athletaambassador

Covert Hashtags: Hashtags meant to show up in search results & placed in the first comment with five periods above them. It’s ideal to ensure you post the first comment with covert hashtags immediately (within 10 seconds) after your post is live.

For your hashtag selection, consider the audience you’re looking to reach and the hashtags they’re searching. For instance, someone we’d like to find value in our content at Brydge may search the hashtag #growyourbrand like we used in the video. Or let’s say you’re an elopement photographer - someone searching for #elopementphotography may very well find you among 150K other posts. An audience of this size versus a hashtag that has over 1M followers will likely be of greater benefit to you because you have a better chance of climbing up to the “top posts” when gaining traction with a smaller, engaged audience. In other words, whisper to your tribe instead of shouting to the masses.

We also suggest your hashtags make direct references that are relative to the visual itself. For example, in the screenshare video you saw we also included the hashtag #marketingtips<