Above is a photo of what will happen.
And this matters because the amount of engagement you get within the first hour of posting is VITAL to moving your content higher up into the feeds of your audience to be seen by more people.
This concept is basically "the algorithm 101": The more comments and likes you get on your photo within an hour of posting, the more people within your audience will actually see your new post. So we definitely don’t want to be preventing anyones comments from getting through.
The second reason you want to use only 25-28 hashtags instead of the previous recommendation of 60 is that it keeps you in the safe zone, away from being ‘shadowbanned’.
Now I know what you’re probably wondering...
WTF is a shadowban?!
A shadowban is basically Instagram’s way of cracking down on potentially spammy or “bot”-like behavior, which is great - because it means hopefully we’ll be seeing less fake and automated comments like “nice pic” on our photos. But it also means that we have to be super careful to make sure that none of our actions (as legitimate accounts) APPEAR to be spammy or "bot"-like, otherwise Instagram will temporarily suspend our accounts from being seen by new traffic.
So if you’ve noticed that once and awhile your engagement drops drastically and the only people that are liking or commenting on your photos are people that ALREADY follow you (no new accounts) there is a good chance you’ve been shadowbanned. (I teach a way to check if you've been shadowbanned for sure inside my InstaPreneur course)
Now obviously there are a ton of different ways that your account can potentially be flagged as spam on Instagram, but since the topic of todays training is hashtags, i’m going to be focusing less on avoiding the shadowban and more on how to create a hashtag strategy that is in alignment with Instagram's new algorithm.
Where should you put your hashtags?
Now that we know how many hashtags to use, you’re probably wondering WHERE to put them. In the first comment or in the caption?
And the answer is, according to help.Instagram.com, that either one actually still works. However, I am part of the camp that believes that Instagram *may* not always be telling us as the public the complete truth - because if they were to tell everyone exactly how the algorithm works, there would be no need to pay for Instagram ads (<<< smart business people!) So just because both the caption and first comment will still work, doesn’t mean that both are optimal.
According to my experimentation and testing, i’ve found that photos posted with the hashtags in the caption get higher reach and better engagement - due to the fact that hashtags posted in the first comment don’t always show up in the hashtag search.
This means that if you aren’t showing up in the hashtag search, that means less new eyes on your photos and part of the reason why your engagement could be down.
But: Don't edit your caption after posting
This does come with a caveat though: if you’re posting your hashtags in your CAPTION: you’re going to want to make sure and proof read your caption and MAKE sure the hashtags you use are correct BEFORE posting - because the more times you go in and edit your caption or photo after it has been posted, the less people you’ll reach. I have no idea why this is, but Instagram seems to penalize you if you do things like edit your caption, or even delete your post and repost it.
So even if you make a mistake, just leave it for at least 24 hours before editing. I know this is cringe worthy for those of you who are Type A, but just trust me :)
Which hashtags should you avoid?
Now when it comes to which hashtags to use and which ones to avoid, i’m going to be talking specifically about which ones to avoid in today's post, but if you want to learn more about which ones TO use, be sure to grab my list of copy and paste hashtags below! (But remember, only use 25-38 not all 30. And PS this list should be used as a general guide, make sure to do your own research!)