According to the report, while Instagram hashtags are helpful in that they group similar posts together, letting users browse images and videos by subject, using hashtags does NOT increase the engagement rate for posts (cue gasps)!
Most people believe that because hashtags make posts easier to find, this alone should help to increase engagement. Wrong! Mention states that they “found no clear correlation between the number of hashtags in a posts and the number of engagements.”
Even more perplexing… the report suggests that it is actually better to use no hashtags if you want higher engagement.
Should We Eliminate Using Hashtags on Instagram?
Not necessarily. Users might just be using the wrong hashtags, which is why they aren’t garnering more engagement from their followers. Mention identified the hashtags with the highest average number of engagements. Among the top 20 are…
So How Can You Increase Engagement on Instagram?
Abandoning hashtags altogether is not the answer. Instead, use the right ones (less may be more in this case) and follow these other tidbits of advice.
Tag Other Accounts
This tactic has been shown to increase likes and comments on posts, especially if you get the attention of a popular Instagram user (a.k.a. a micro-influencer) by tagging them in your post. Keep in mind that you can tag up to 20 accounts on each Instagram post.
Speaking of Micro-Influencers…
Turn to them! A micro-influencer is someone who has followings between 1,000 and 50,000. About 21.4 percent of Instagram users fall into this category. Why micro-influencers as opposed to users with larger followings? The higher the number, the more it costs to endorse you or your brand.
Micro-influencers often have more targeted followings and engaged communities. In fact, Mention reports that the top 15 percent of posts with the most engagement came from Instagram users with 10,000 to 50,000 followers.
Make Sure Your Content is Spectacular
This comes from knowing your audience and what they want to see. Moreover, know the peak time to post to your account. According to Mention, these are between 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
If your content isn’t compelling enough on its own, no amount of hashtags will be able to save it. Once you identify your Insta account’s brand, post wisely and with relevant and popular hashtags.