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What are hashtags, and how can they help me gain exposure? A hashtag is a word or phrase following a # symbol. It helps categorize the topic or theme of your content and is widely used on social media. Hashtags can help gain exposure for your content from many different people who may otherwise never know your content exists. If you click on a hashtag on Instagram, you are taken to a gallery of all of the posts that have used that hashtag. If you are interested in a specific topic, this is a great way to find content and accounts to follow on that topic of interest.

1. Do Your Research

Although it seems easy to think of hashtags that relate to your content, you may be missing out on so many possibilities by not doing your research. Often there are trending hashtags for a specific topic that you would never think of. Many free tools on the internet will help you do proper hashtag research for your topic. An effective, free and easy-to-use tool that helps with hashtag research is called Best Hashtags.

To use this tool, you type the topic of your content into the search bar, and it will generate a few lists. The first list is the thirty most popular hashtags related to your topic. The second list is the thirty 2nd most-liked Instagram hashtags related to your topic. If you are already capped out on research at this point, it is very simple to copy and paste these lists of hashtags and add them to your post, and you already have better hashtag options than you would have if you thought it out yourself. 

If you want to dive deeper or limit the number of hashtags you are using on each post, there are a few more lists further down the page. The next list consists of the top 10 hashtags popular on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr for your topic. Using this list is helpful because it is more compact and only shows the best of the best hashtags. The only thing to consider is if you are only using the most popular hashtags, your content might get lost in the flood of other posts using that hashtag as well. It may be better to use a few of the most popular hashtags and a few other related hashtags that don’t have as much exposure, so your content doesn’t get lost in the numbers. 

That brings us to the next list of hashtags and one of the most helpful features. This section lays out related hashtags for your topic. It also details the amount of Instagram posts that feature those hashtags on the right so you can balance popular hashtags and some less popular ones. 

This tool is easy to use, free and effective, so don’t skimp out on some easy research the next time you post!

2. Hashtag Placement

Many people firmly believe that hashtags are a major eyesore to any caption, especially on Instagram. One of the ways to avoid this eyesore from disrupting your caption is to get creative with hashtag placement.

The simplest two tricks to hide hashtags are putting them deep down at the bottom of your caption or putting them in the first comment.

Putting the hashtags at the bottom of your caption is helpful because if a caption is too long, Instagram will show a little of the caption (likely the part you want your followers to see) and hide the rest under a “show more” button. To do this, you can put the following text a line after your caption to help move the hashtags down:


You can get creative, and instead of bullet points, you can use emojis, periods, asterisks, anything you think looks clean and won’t distract from your caption! 

The second way to hide hashtags is to be your own first comment. To do this, it’s best to comment an emoji related to the content as the first comment. After doing this, you reply to your comment and copy and paste the hashtags there. This works well because followers will see the emoji comment, but the hashtags are hidden unless someone gets nosy and decides to click “view reply.”

Neither option is more effective than the other; it all comes down to aesthetics and personal preference!

3.  Hashtags in Instagram Stories

It may sound crazy to clutter up a beautiful story with hashtags, but there is an easy hack to hide them! The hashtags will still do their job, but they won’t clutter your story or be visible to viewers.

Whether posting a photo, video, or sharing another post, hiding hashtags is pretty easy! Keep in mind that Instagram posts allow up to 30 hashtags but Instagram stories only allow 10. This would be a good time to do your research and pick your ten hashtags carefully.

If you are sharing another post, all you have to do is create the story as you normally would. Once the shared post is on the story editing page, you add text and type in your ten hashtags. Now you have to pinch the text to make it small. Once the text is small, you can place it wherever you are placing the shared post on the screen. Next, click and hold down on the shared post, and it should be moved to the front, covering the hashtags you typed out. From there, you are good to post your story!

If you post a photo or video from your camera roll, there are a few more steps to the process:

  • First, take a picture of absolutely anything with the story editor.
  • Next, select the draw feature, pick an appropriate color, and then hold down on the middle of the screen until the entire screen turns that color. That will be your background!
  • Now, you add text and type in your ten hashtags.
  • Pinch to make the text smaller and place the hashtags wherever the photo or video will cover it up.
  • Now, if you click the square with a smiley face in it, you can scroll down and see a circle with a photo in it and a white icon over it that looks like a square with sun and mountains in it. If you click this, it brings you to your camera roll, where you can select the content you want to post.
  • Once you have your photo or video into the story editor, you can adjust the size and move it wherever you want to cover the hashtags you previously typed.

Once again, you are good to post your story, hashtags hidden and all!

Overall, using hashtags will boost your posts and help you gain exposure from a wider audience. Don’t skimp out on these easy tricks, as they can make a massive difference for your following.

Author Kathryn Arends

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