Picture this, you’re scrolling through Instagram, looking at whatever algorithm-driven content is being fed to you, and then something catches your eye – a post by a small business perhaps.
You click the comments icon, and see hashtags upon hashtags left by the poster. Some are what you’d expect – #Fun or #Business – while some are downright irrelevant.
Why do people do this, you wonder?
Well as it turns out, flooding your IG posts with hashtags – be it in the caption or comments section – actually leads to better user reach and post engagement on the platform.
In fact, the optimum number of hashtags is actually the maximum – 30!
This is according to popular social media managing app Later, after an analysis of over 18 million unique postings on Instagram.
The company found that using five hashtags on an individual post will see a 24% ‘optimal average reach rate’, while using 20 hashtags bumps the number up to 36%. When using 30 hashtags, the number rises even further.
As for engagement, Later’s analysis also found that the same rule holds true.
“When it comes to average engagement rate, using 30 Instagram hashtags per feed post results in most likes and comments,” the company wrote.
Curiously, Later’s findings are contrary to Instagram’s own recommendations.
Earlier this year, the Facebook-owned company issued an advisory on using hashtags via their @creators account.
In it, they list Hashtags Dos and Don’ts, while recommending only using 3-5 per post.