One of the most effective ways to get free Instagram followers is to use hashtags in order to bring your posts up in hashtag searches. Adding in a hashtag infinitely boosts the visibility of your posts, resulting in higher engagement and eyes on your profile. Directing users to your profile is how you obtain free Instagram followers, and these are often more attractive than buying them because it means they are genuinely interested in your posts and so will often comment and like posts, and follow you for the long-term.

Getting started using hashtags for your business account can be relatively simple as long as you follow these five rules.

Hashtag Rule #1 – Be Goal Oriented

Perhaps the number one rule of using hashtags for business when you are trying to get more Instagram followers is to always ask yourself what the hashtag is going to do for your account. Perhaps you’re launching a line of bikinis and post a photo of a gorgeous model frolicking in the waves. You’re tempted to add in #Sun #Beach after your witty caption.

Stop and ask yourself, what are these hashtags going to gain me? Certainly not any eyes on your post because these hashtags yield over 200 million posts. Not only will they get lost in the all of the results but people searching for #Sun and #Beach aren’t necessarily looking to buy a bikini, they might be looking for a beach to visit or photos of a sunset.

Successful business accounts on Instagram are always asking what they can get out of a hashtag, they don’t just add them in because they sound somewhat related to the content. Each hashtag is carefully selected with a goal in mind.

Hashtag Rule #2 – Be Specific

Leading on from the last point, the more specific you are, the more effective the hashtag will be. Using the same example again, if you change #Beach to #BeachWear the search results drop from 200 million results to four million results. Obviously, four million results is still too many but the point is that by adding in ‘wear’ it makes it more relevant to the goal of your post (to sell beachwear) and reduces the search pool significantly.

There is a balance you need to find because if you were to add in the hashtags #BeachBikiniMomma or #BeachBikiniAthlete these yield under 200 results. This might work if you have literally just created your business account and are working on getting those first 100 followers; but if your account is up and running, it could be too small.

The important takeaway is to play around with your hashtags so they are not too general, but not so specific not many people are searching for them. You want your posts to appear in front of a small pool of people, but don’t want the hashtag to be so overly specific that no one is actually searching for it.

Hashtag Rule #3 – Keep It Short

While trying to be specific, it’s also important to make sure you’re not writing out a long hashtag. Why? Because people don’t search for overly long hashtags. Users may add them into their posts, but they don’t search for them. When running a business account on Instagram, you always need to keep the point of view of the browsing user, not the posting user.

An example to demonstrate this is that a user is unlikely to have the inclination to search for something like #BeachBikiniBabeMagazine because it’s not one that springs to mind; and it is hard to quickly type out four words without spaces, avoiding spelling mistakes. So even if you are posting a photo of your bikini being modeled in a magazine on the beach and it seems like a totally relevant hashtag to add, think about whether the user would be searching for it.

Shorter hashtags that yield moderate results (70,000 plus) are: #BikiniWeather #BikiniLover #BikiniAddict #BikiniTime #BikiniStore #BikiniShoot.

Hashtag Rule #4 – Maintain Relevance

This leads on from being goal-oriented. By thinking about what your hashtags can do for the goal of your business account on Instagram, keeping the hashtags relevant can likely help with this.

By ensuring the hashtags you use are relevant, it helps get your posts in front of the people you want to see them. For example, if you’re selling bikinis, don’t add in #Sunset, #Sandcastles or #Thailand. These could be rationalized as being related to bikinis, but in terms of Instagram search results, they would be completely irrelevant.

Anyone who wants to browse bikinis or buy a bikini isn’t searching for locations where one might wear a bikini, or things they might see at a beach. The people who are searching #Thailand are probably not looking for a place to buy bikinis online, the same goes for #Sunsets and #Sandcastles.

Put yourself in the shoes of your audience, if they wanted to browse or buy a bikini on Instagram, what would they be searching for? It wouldn’t be #Beach or #Ocean or #Majorca. It would be #Bikini #Bikinis #BikiniStyle #BikiniStyles #BikiniTops #BeachWear #SwimWear etc…

Once you’ve decided upon a number of hashtags you think are relevant, as well as goal-oriented, run them through the search in Instagram to see how many results are coming up and the kinds of posts that are cropping up.

Hashtag Rule #5 – Use A Hashtag Generator

Many businesses and Influencers on Instagram use free hashtag generators to help them come up with additional hashtags. Instagram allows each post to have up to 30 hashtags, however about 10 is considering optimum.

If you’ve come up with a couple of great hashtags for your post but need more, enter one of your hashtags into the search and it’ll generate similar and suggested hashtags for you. You can also just add in the topic and see what comes up.

Some generators like HashtagsForLikes.Co offer options like the top 10 hashtags for a particular topic or related hashtag. This can really help you out when looking for additional hashtags or if you are just getting started and really don’t know which ones to use.

These five rules are the basic starting points when using hashtags for a business account on Instagram. Using hashtags effectively will help get you free Instagram followers by boosting the number of people viewing your posts and profile. The main factors to remember when selecting hashtags for each post are if it helps you achieve your goal, if it’s relevant to your post, whether people are going to be searching for it and if it’s short enough without being too general.

Instagram Business Account Basics: Hashtags
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Instagram Business Account Basics: Hashtags
Using hashtags is a vital part of using Instagram for business. This guide details the first five rules to follow for success.
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