At the end of 2021, I stopped using hashtags on Instagram as a strategy to grow my account. And, spoiler alert: it hasn’t affected my ability to grow at all. I’m still reaching lots of new accounts and followers all while basically ditching hashtags! Today, I wanted to share why I’m not using Instagram hashtags, when you might want to consider using them, and what I’m doing instead. I hope that all of my thoughts on this topic help you make your own decision about whether or not putting your energy into using hashtags on Instagram is the best use of your time to grow your account!
Why I Stopped Using Hashtags
I made the decision to stop worrying about hashtags after I realized that I wasn’t really seeing a return on my time and investment. I’m not saying they don’t work, but I didn’t feel I was getting the reach I wanted for the amount of time I put into it. When I look at other aspects of Instagram, like Instagram Reels, I’m seeing a bigger return on investment. All that means is that I’m seeing a bigger reach through those actions than I am from my hashtag strategy. For me, it makes more sense to put my energy into my Reel strategy, instead of hashtags. I want to be clear: I’m not saying hashtags never work… but for me, the time is better spent on my Instagram Reels for growth.
It’s important to remember that Instagram is prioritizing video content – and that’s how we’re reaching new accounts. There’s so many ways to create Reels content that feels genuine to you, so it’s going to be worth the effort of creating this content for growth. Don’t forget – if you want some extra help to create Instagram Reels I have a FREE CLASS you can watch to learn more about using them to grow your account strategically.
When should you use them?
After saying all of that, I do want to express that I think there are certain brands and businesses where hashtags can be really impactful. If you’re a service or location based business that’s very searchable, then hashtags may still serve you well. This really applies to businesses like photographers, brick and mortar shops, and businesses of that nature. If you know that your ideal client is still searching hashtags to find you, then definitely still use them!
When I was photographing weddings, I knew that I got inquiries because of the hashtags I was using. Because a lot of the tags I was using had fewer posts associated with them, it was easy for ideal clients to locate me. But, when I think about the tags I would use now as an educator, I know that my content would get lost because there’s just so many more posts per tag. It’s not as much of a niche.
So, what do I do?
First and foremost, do what works for you and your business. If hashtags are reaping benefits for you, then keep with them. If they’re not helping you, here’s your permission slip to let them go. I personally think at the end of the day, Instagram wants to keep people in their app. And if you’re doing a good job of that by creating engaging content, they’re going to push your content out for you. Those hashtags aren’t really making a huge difference – it’s about the content that you create.
Ask yourself if you would rather try to figure out the latest hashtag strategy, or simply make engaging, amazing content with Instagram Reels to grow your account. I truly don’t believe that hashtags play a huge piece of the puzzle in this content, like they might have before. Your Instagram strategy should be based on what generates the most return on your time and energy, so look at your analytics and determine what that is. Building a community on Instagram is what matters – not using the perfect hashtag.