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Hashtag or Keyword? 7 Keys to Growing Your Instagram Following

Updated: Oct 4, 2022

Confused by Instagram’s new Keyword Search?

Instagram Keyword Search is a new feature on Instagram that allows users to type in a keyword to search, instead of only using hashtags for searching.

What does this mean for you as a marketer?

You’ll find the answer to that and strategy recommendations to improve your visibility and grow your Instagram following in this post.

Instagram’s Keyword Search

In the past, if you wanted to optimize your Instagram account for SEO, your only option was to use hashtags. The results would come back with a list of posts and profiles with that hashtag.

Now, Instagram is introducing a new Keyword Search feature, allowing users to search by keyword- resulting in a list of posts with the keywords in:

  • Captions

  • Profiles

  • Hashtags.

This is a big deal if you create a mini-blog in your caption, as many of us are. Think of all the potential ways this might benefit you.

But there are limitations.

To avoid these limitations from causing problems for your Instagram growth, it might be a good idea to keep using hashtags.

That way, if your posts are found through keyword search, that will be a bonus, but you can be proactive by adding hashtags to make your posts visible.

The following is a list of recommendations of how you can make your hashtags work for you.

7 Keys Growing Your Instagram Following

1. Remember why you are posting:

  • Do you want to increase your following?

  • Are you aiming to sell a product?

  • Who are you posting for? Who is your target market?

  • Are you trying to build your brand?

  • Is your aim to be a thought leader in your industry?

2. Set milestones to your goals, like reaching a certain number of followers.

Start small. The point is to gauge progress and keep yourself motivated.

3. Learn all you can about using hashtags.

4. Research relevant keywords for SEO purposes.

5. Research hashtags that include those keywords by starting to type in a hashtag.

A list of hashtags will come up with the number of times directly correlates to how long your post will be on the feed. If you use only hashtags that have been used millions of times and you don’t rank higher in impression rate than most people who have used the hashtag, your post might only have a milli-second lifespan in the feed.

Since you can use up to 30 tags, you can increase the time your post is at the top by using hashtags with various numbers of times the tags have been used.

6. A Simple Hashtag Formula for Increasing Visibility and Building Your Following:

  • Select 3-5 tags that have been used less than 1,000 times. This will get you more views for those tags, keep you at the top of the feed longer for those tags, and affect your impression rate and even the length of time your post is at the top of the feed for the higher ranking tags you will use.

  • Use at least 1 branded tag with your company name and 1 with your product name.

  • Use 3-5 tags with between 1,000 and 10,000 uses.

  • Use 3-5 tags with between 10,000 and 100,000 uses.

  • Use 3-5 tags with between 100,000 and 1 million uses.

  • Use 3-5 tags that are the most popular.

7. Use your caption space for micro-blogging to keep prospects on your posts longer.

This improves your impression rate- which means Instagram will see that you have valuable content people are engaging with and will suggest your posts higher in the feed. The higher your position in the feed, the longer it will be visible to people interested in your topic.

Do carousel posts with multiple photos to swipe through.

People looking at your photos will take longer if there is more than one, boosting your impression rate and signaling to Instagram that your content is engaging.

To sum it up:

In this post, you learned to let Instagram handle the keyword search and act proactively by using hashtags to make your account more visible and how to engage your audience through micro-blogging and carousel posts. Meaning, you can increase your following and your authority in your industry, so you can help more people with your excellent products and services.

For more tips for digital marketing or to get marketing help for your brand, click here.

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