How good is your hashtag game?

Hey booklovers!

I hope you have had a great week so far.

Today’s bookstagram tip/discussion is about hashtags and how to make the most of them.
This will come in handy if you are newer to bookstagram or if you have noticed a drop in reach since Instagram hit us with another update.

When I started I wasn’t too sure about hashtags. I clicked on a few I knew like #books #reader #reading #booklover and made myself a list of ones I thought related to my pics most. I changed them up every post so I didn’t get my account flagged for spam but other than that I didn’t really know much or how to make them work for me.
So here are some of the hashtag basics:

What is a hashtag?
Simply put a hashtag (pound symbol #) is a key word or phrase that is used to sort and group data online. This is so you can find and discover topics, information, items, trends etc. that you are interested in easily.

Why are hashtags important?
Using the right hashtags will increase the views of your post online and increase engagement. This in turn will help grow your account to a point where you can make money off posts/receive free items to feature.

Can I create my own hashtags?
You sure can. I have done this with #enchantedbookshelf for when I host photo challenges and competitions.

Some of the top posts under #enchantedbookshelf

Are banned hashtags a thing?
Yes they are. These are hashtags limited and disabled by Instagram for various reasons. These are usually hashtags that go against community guidelines. If you use one of these hashtags your post will be hidden and this will hinder your account growth. There are new ones being added all the time so check the ones you are using.
Some banned hashtags are #besties #snapchat #valentinesday #newyearsday #beautyblogger

Have a think about how you choose your hashtags for your posts? Do you mix them up with general bookish words, use ones you see on other bookstagrammer posts or do you research them?

I research mine and while it sounds really strange, it works.
I grew my account from 10K to 25K over the last 7 months and hashtags really had a lot to do with it.

What do I mean by research?
Review the hashtags you are using and how many posts it has eg #bookstagram has 50.7 Million posts so far, #bookstagrammer has 7.6 Million posts and #bookstagramlife has 5,000+ posts.
You want to look at the hashtags you are using and how many posts there are.

Why bother researching, all hashtags will get views right?
WRONG. For every hashtag there are top pics (the first 9 in the grid). This means that when you view that hashtag your picture will appear in the top half of the screen and anyone who views that hashtag will see your content. This in turn will get your account exposure and growth. You aim with hashtags is to get into that space.

It’s all about balance.
If you are only using hashtags with millions of tags your pics are likely to get buried and you won’t get much engagement or growth.
You want to look at your hashtags and use a mix of small, medium and large tags.
This gives you a better chance of topping the smaller hashtags while still getting a chance at being seen in the bigger ones. Those who follow hashtags are likely to see the newer posts when they are in the Explore function.

Can I use just smaller and middle range ones?
You can but from my experience mixing in the bigger ones helps. If you are getting a great reaction in the smaller hashtags it will boost your post in the bigger hashtag algorithms.
It’s all about balance.

Here is an example of when I was just making them up on the fly. My post got 1,400 impressions from my hashtags.
Here is an example of my hashtag reach after I did the research and combined small, medium and large hashtags. My post got 24,188 impressions from these hashtags.

In summary, you really should research your hashtags.

Research the hashtags you are currently using and how many posts each one has.
Change them up so your account doesn’t get flagged as spam.
Don’t use more than 30 hashtags per post.
Update your account to creator or business so you can view your post
stats. This will help you figure out if your hashtags are working or not.
The algorithm is really hard right now, even for me. But using the right hashtags has certainly helped me along the way.

I hope this helps,
Kimberley xx

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