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How to use hashtags

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THIS MONTH'S GUEST CONSULTANT:
HANNAH WEINTRAUB

Hannah is an award-winning social media professional currently working as the Senior Social Media Manager for Well+Good, the premier lifestyle and news publication devoted to covering health & wellness.

Ken Fong, host of Asian American: The Ken Fong Podcast, asks:

I recently started posting episode alerts to Instagram. Before, this just seemed like a superfluous drain on time and energy, but now I’m thinking I might be able to grow my audience by the strategic use of hashtags. Am I correct?

Hannah says:

It’s great that you are sharing your podcast on Instagram. Instagram has a ton of potential for you to reach new listeners. You are right – hashtags should definitely be part of your podcast strategy on Instagram, however that change alone will likely not improve your downloads by a significant margin. That is because a handful of factors determine what makes your post successful: the visual content itself, the format (video, photo, carousel, Reels), the time of day it’s posted, hashtags, etc.

It’s best to think of hashtags like search queries for what people may want to discover on Instagram. The goal is to get hyper-relevant and niche with your hashtags to make sure you are reaching those who are actually going to engage with your content. It’s more important to reach the right people instead of the most people. The hashtags you use will help fuel the search results on the Instagram Explore page, ultimately leading people in your target market to discover your posts. If you think of hashtags in that sense, using “#Podcast” may not be the most strategic because there are likely millions of posts tagged with that hashtag, and your post will be drowned out. Instead, try going a bit more narrow and searching hashtags on Instagram that are similar to your specific podcast or category. Example: if you have a podcast about fashion, try #fashionpodcast, #stylepodcast vs #podcast or #newpodcast. Look for hashtags that have between 5k-100k posts tagged to them to ensure you are casting a wide, but not too wide net.

If you’re still not seeing success after implementing hashtags in 2-3 months, try different hashtags and different content formats. Audiences get fatigued so easily, it’s important to keep the content and format fresh.

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