Why Instagram hashtags won’t work for small users

I’m using the popular hashtags, why aren’t I getting likes?

Well, to answer that question, firstly what do hashtags do? Hashtags are all about joining a conversation. Think of it as a crowd of people. If you join a large crowd of people, it’s more difficult to be heard but if you join a small crowd and you have a big voice, or in this case a fantastic picture, then you’re more likely to grab the attention of that group than the large crowd.

The thing is, the hashtag along is not enough to get your picture likes, it’s about what hashtag you use and when you use it. Ignore all the algorithm stuff, that’s only really going to affect you when you have a bigger following or once you get some traction. The difficult bit for a new user is how you get that traction in the first place.

Focus on getting that traction in this first place by building up your audience and posting to them. The more audience you build, the more they’ll engage with your posts, the more the algorithm’s will start to come into effect.

An hour after posting this picture, hashtags only account for 6% of my traffic.

For starters, make sure you’re posting on the right days and at the right time of day. Sit down once a week and put together your week’s images, plan them out based on the days and times that are popular. For starters aim for first thing in the morning and at the end of the night.

My most popular time is first thing at 6am and then later after 9pm because that’s when the US audience comes online again. Remember most people use Instagram in down times, not when they’re busy at work.

Post when your audience is active

The key thing to remember is that you’re throwing your image into a pool of many other images, the bigger the pool the more it will get lost in the crowd so choose tags that are more specific rather than broad popular ones.

The smaller user you are, the smaller groups you need to aim at because you don’t have the audience to lift your image.

I know what you’re thinking ‘but how do then grow my audience if I can’t get traction?’.

As with any business, you either need to spend money on marketing and put some funds behind finding an audience or spend a lot of time engaging with the platform, liking and commenting for example.

My follow up article will go through the time vs money ways of building an audience.

Oh, and give me a follow on Instagram if you liked this 🙂


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