Hashtags: Where should you put them?
As most of you know, I own Digi Digest which has over 700+ entrepreneurial subscribers so I get A LOT of marketing questions. I try to answer them all, and some may be subjective to a lot so please make sure you do your own testing to find out what’s right for you. It’s always a plus that I have clients, team members, and friends in the industry who work for Facebook, Instagram, Hubspot and more so it’s always fun to share the industry secrets as they’re coming out!
The latest question I received was concerning Hashtags: Where to put them, your caption or comments section?
For those of who you don’t know what I’m talking about…it’s important to have a unique hashtag strategy in order to help the right target demographic follow you on Instagram. Using generic hashtags(#fitness #happiness etc) puts you in a position to get drowned immediately by a sea of other accounts using the same hashtags. This means less engagement/reach for your post. Using other irrelevant hashtags will show up on pages that your target demographic doesn’t search for to begin with. Instagram works by showing you accounts that you’re more likely to engage with. It’s crucial that you use a competitive hashtags strategy, but that’s a discussion for another time. For now, most people place their hashtags either below their content in their caption or wait until they post, and quickly add their hashtags as a comment.
Based on most industry tests, there has not yet been any proven research that shows that posts perform any better in either the caption or the comment. NOW there is one exception to this: users who want to use super popular trendy hashtags like #love and #happy.
Keep in mind these types of hashtags attract bots and spammy accounts- when bots follow your accounts it affects your data because you think you’re gaining new followers but they are set to unfollow you a few days/weeks afterwards anyway. You may think you’re growing by using these hashtags, only to find out that you’re back to square one.
Instagram posts appear chronologically in hashtag search galleries based on the chronological time at which the post was shared (not when the hashtag was added)…so if you’re using popular hashtags every second you are or are not receiving engagement MATTERS! This means, taking the time to add the hashtags after, post your comment, add the hashtags etc. you’re just wasting valuable time to get your post noticed EEEK! [This is why your Instagram hashtag strategy matters- if you have a question about yours submit to the Q&A Or comments below!]
Now if you’re using less popular hashtags(ones without millions of posts) then that delay isn’t going to be as great of a deterrence. So what I’m saying is: There is no evidence to suggest that it matters either way unless you are using popular hashtags. It’s purely based on aesthetic and personal preferences.
Some people like using spacing, or dotting below the caption (this is what I do) and others like to put it in the comments to avoid distractions. I personally use Instagram Partner Hootsuite for publishing my posts, so I put all my hashtags in one so I can make sure to schedule at prime peak times of the day, and so I don’t have to go in and manually add hashtags later on. I don’t personally think that people care THAT much about how many hashtags you’re using on Instagram, after all, it’s Instagram (The Home of the Hashtag) and most people are trained to scroll past it or around it.
One thing I would advise is for those of you who have BRANDED HASHTAGS…If you’re still trying to get your branded hashtag popular make sure it’s visible in the caption (especially if you’re putting your hashtags in the comments section). This way, users are used to seeing your branded hashtag everywhere and become more familiar with it…if they’re always scrolling past it along with a bunch of other hashtags, they’re likely not reading it.
I would LOVE to hear from you. What experiences have you seen? Comment below!
One thing we’re currently testing is after the latest Instagram algorithm if the automatic scheduling of posts (outside of Instagram partners) are affecting our ranking for our posts. So far, we haven’t seen any conclusive evidence to this, but then again, we also have always used Instagram partners! Stay tuned