Hashtag ranking. The main goal of your hashtag strategy, because, if you’ve ranked – your content is going to be shown to whoever is searching the specific hashtag you have ranked on. Furthermore, the more times you rank on a specific hashtag within your niche, the more likely Instagram is to label you as a ‘topical authority’ or expert on that niche/subject. Ranking on a hashtag means more reach, which means more growth – but, how can you tell if you’ve even ranked, and what is the best strategy for ensuring you do rank? We’re here to take you through it – and announce an upcoming Flick feature that will make checking if you’ve ranked a whole lot easier (and less time-consuming) – you’re welcome!
How you can tell if you’ve ranked on a hashtag, and how to do it in the first place
Firstly, what does ‘ranking on a hashtag’ mean? Essentially, it means that your post has ranked in the top 9 posts of a specific hashtag. Let’s get visual:
In the photo above, We’ve searched for the hashtag #beautyhacks. With roughly 430K posts, you want to make sure that when someone searches for #beautyhacks on Instagram that your content is seen – in other words, is one of the top posts out of the 430K. Above, you can see the current top 9 posts for #beautyhacks, at the time that we searched the hashtag. The ranking will frequently change, as more and more posts are uploaded, but the aim when you do post, is to use the right hashtags to make sure you rank, and that your content is seen.
So, how do you rank on a hashtag? 🥇
Your content ranks on a hashtag, if it is A) related to the hashtag group you are posting in, and B) has received good engagement/reception from your followers after you’ve posted it. Here are our top tips on how to make sure you rank on a hashtag:
- If you want to maximize your chances of ranking, you should aim to use all of the hashtags you can (30 in total per post), when you are uploading your content. The more hashtags you use, the more likely you are to rank on one of them. You can either put them in the comment section of your posts or in your captions – it won’t make a difference whichever one you choose!
- By making sure the content you are posting is actually relevant to the hashtag, you are a lot more likely to rank. Just by looking at our example of #beautyhacks above, you can see that the top 9 posts are all exactly that – beauty hacks. You’re not seeing any makeup tutorials, product promos or beauty guru press trips, because the content that is ranking, is related to the hashtag. So, when you are thinking about the hashtags you want to use, think first about the content you want to post. Make your hashtags specific to that content, and frame your research around that.
- This leads us to tip number 3 – make sure you are using hashtags that have high potential reach, and a low competition score. The more specific you get with your hashtags in general, the more likely the competition score on them is to decrease (if you don’t know what competition score is, check out this article). You can still use a few competitive hashtags as if you do rank on them, you’re more likely to get higher reach, but, especially if you are a smaller account – you should focus on hashtags with a lower competition level in comparison to your account. This will give you a much higher chance to rank, as you aren’t likely to be competing with accounts double the size of yours.
- Focus on your engagement. Ranking on a hashtag is, after all, based on the popularity of your content. If your content is performing really well, you are more likely to rank – so you want to make sure you are engaging with your followers and really understanding the type of content they like to see. Take a look at what content your followers or prospective followers are saving and come up with fresh and unique content ideas to keep them talking. Engagement + the right content + the right hashtags = your posts ranking.
What is the best way to check if you have ranked on a hashtag? 🔍
As mentioned above, rankings can change frequently, because people are always uploading content to Instagram. At the moment, checking if you have ranked on a hashtag is a pretty manual process. The good news is that hashtags are clickable.
Firstly, look at your post insights. If your hashtags have brought you a lot of impressions on a specific post, then chances are – you’ve ranked. It is important that you are checking if you’ve ranked or not, shortly after your post goes live and in the hours afterward, because Instagram feeds are constantly being added to. Click on the hashtag you want to check, and you should be able to see if your post is in the top 9 posts of that specific hashtag. Just because it isn’t the first time you check, doesn’t mean you won’t still rank, so make sure to check back every few hours.
The reason why it is important to know which hashtags you are ranking on is that it gives you an indication as to what hashtags are performing the best for you, and giving you the most potential reach. You can refine your hashtag strategy once you know which hashtags you tend to rank on because you can frame your research around your best-performing hashtags. Once you do this, you increase your odds of reaching more of your target audience and gaining new followers that will love your content.
How will Flick make this easier?
As we mentioned earlier, we’ll be releasing a new feature soon, which will actually show you which hashtags you have performed well on, on your specific posts.
Because hashtags can sometimes be trend-related or have an influx of posts at certain times, you might miss whether or not you’ve ranked when you are manually checking. We’ll be making this easier, by showing you, post by post, exactly which hashtags you ranked on (and which ones you didn’t). Join the waiting list, here!