Photo: Adam Hoglund (Shutterstock)
If you’re trying to get new Instagram followers, hashtags are one of your top tools in 2021 too. But where should you put your hashtags? For years there has been heated debate about where to place these hash marks: team signature versus team comment. And for years, most sources claimed there was no functional difference between captions and comments when it came to hashtag effectiveness. So what is the truth?
Instagram finally gave us a response through her @Creator Account that offers tips and tricks for all types of content creators trying to get more followers and engagement. (Interestingly, @creators doesn’t use any visible hashtags in a post about using hashtags … but maybe that’s an advantage if you already have 6.2 million followers).
Why you should include your hashtags in your caption
Without revealing much about how “the algorithm“Actually works (in quotes as Instagram rejects the idea of a singular, almighty algorithm), the official guide is that“ for a post to be found in search, put keywords and hashtags in the caption, not the one Comments.”
You can also find this advice on the official Instagram blogwhere they go into more detail about how search results are ranked, whether you’re finding new accounts to follow, or trying to get followers to find you.
Given the importance Instagram’s search function seems to have in building your audience, it looks like including #hashtags in a comment rather than a caption might hold you back.
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It’s not clear to what extent hashtags in subtitles are more effective than comments, but for now Instagram has tipped the scales in favor of Team Caption. Still, the quality of the hashtags is probably more important than where you place them.
How to hashtag wisely
Another insight from Instagram that sheds light on the search function is the importance of keywords. In addition to relevant hashtags, you can benefit from including keywords related to your content in your handle, profile name, and bio.
When it comes to finding relevant keywords, find a niche for yourself if you want to grow your audience. If you’ve ever used the Instagram search bar, you’ve known the daunting sight of millions of hits for tags like “#Fitness“,”#Gourmet“And even (or maybe especially)” #feet “. How can your content stand out with so much competition?
The bad news: That probably won’t work – at least not with hashtags alone. The good news: you can work smarter and find a niche that you have a better chance of showing up on someone’s Search or Discover pages. For example, your post could be buried in #dogs (doesn’t that sound like a dream?), But you actually have the chance to target a more targeted audience with something specific, like #Saint Bernard (a day that I may or may not have just spent a few hours).
But be careful: don’t clog a bunch of unrelated tags in the hopes of getting random calls. You could get annoyed and lose or even risk potential followers the infamous Schattenban. You may also want to read tips to make your hashtags more reader-friendly in general.
Use line breaks if you’re concerned about aesthetics
Instagram is home to one of the biggest paradoxes of being a successful online presence: the need to really make an effort while looking like you’re not trying at all. As we covered in the pastAuthenticity can go a long way in attracting and retaining your loyal followers. If you use too many hashtags, you risk becoming outdated, spammy, or, in the biggest cybercrime of all, terrifying.
What many content creators have learned is that posting all of your hashtags in one comment will help keep your caption (and brand) looking clear and effortless. So what should Team Caption do? Well, if you’ve ever wondered why some accounts use this dot line to hide their hashtags, this is what it looks like when an influencer eats their #cake and eats it too (#foodporn #marieantoinette). These classic closed caption points are difficult to format in the app, so the easiest hack is to have a Notes app ready to copy / paste once you’re ready to post.
Ultimately, hashtags are like underwear: yes, we should all use them, yes, they serve a noble purpose, but no, I don’t want to see yours.