Yes, there is a right way, and there is a wrong way! Most people are still doing the best practices from a year ago, which in social time is like a decade.
Instagram is the platform of hashtags and because it's still the fastest growing social media app in Australia you have to learn to get it right. The challenge is staying ahead of the curve of a constantly changing algorithm, that Instagram tweaks every few weeks. What we did 12 months ago to get maximum exposure, does not work today, and it's likely what we are doing today wont work in 6 months.
In the OLD DAYS everyone chose the most common, generic and popular hashtags, added those to their posts, no matter what the photo showed. The goal was to get as many eye balls on the post, to get likes, and get followers.
The problem is, Instagram has grown so big that generic hashtags are being over-used by everyone, up to 20,000 times a minute, which means they are all lost in social media white noise within seconds.
EXAMPLE: A great photo shot at the Opera House forecourt. All the above hashtag examples are generic and nonspecific general words that don't relate directly an any photo, ever. They are however all in the top 100 Hashtags used on Instagram, the accounts that use them do so simply to try to get as many likes as possible.
Instagram is very aware of the overuse of rubbish hashtags and is investing massive resources into AI software that will read all posts and automatically file them in the most relevant and accurate searchable hashtags.
To hashtag correctly, simply look at your photo and select a few elements to highlight. In the above "behind the scenes" pic of a photo shoot at the Opera House, there is a lot you can hashtag. By removing rubbish generic hashtags, you are ensuring people that like your photo are engaged with subject matter in the post. Forget #instacool and connect with a relevant community of people searching relevant parts like the #OperaHouse #SydneyHarbour or #OperaKitchen
by Tony Ilbery