What is a hashtag besides a pound sign followed by a string of letters?
Three years ago, I knew diddly squat about hashtags, but then I began blogging and opened an Instagram account to show off pics of my dolls and action figures. Sadly, I knew nothing about the platform. I’d post a picture, write a quick caption, add a generic hashtag (maybe two if I felt bold), and call it a day. How embarrassing?!
The result? My account sat stagnant. No followers, no likes, no comments…nada. I needed an Instagram crash course big-time! Specifically, I needed to learn how to use that funny symbol called the hashtag.
Why should I use hashtags?
You want people to see your photos, right? Then you need to tag them.
Captions and comments are for engaging with your audience, but hashtags are what gets your content to your audience. Knowing how to use hashtags properly is essential to growing your Instagram account.
I admit I was slow jumping on the hashtag bandwagon. I thought they looked spammy; as if I was desperate for someone to notice me. But I was wrong.
Whether it’s on Instagram, Twitter, or even Pinterest, hashtags are a way of categorizing content. They help people find information about certain topics quickly. Tagging your Instagram images with the right hashtags is the only way to ensure they appear when someone searches your niche.
Not only that, brands often create and promote special hashtags so they can find content featuring their products. Using hashtags promoted by brands is one way to get your photos noticed by those brands. Who knows, if they like what they see, they may repost it giving you extra exposure and possibly even new followers.
For instance, Hobby Lobby’s Instagram bio says that images tagged with #HobbyLobbyFinds have a chance of getting featured on their Instagram account.
Of course, the picture needs to showcase a product found at Hobby Lobby?.
How do I use hashtags?
You can put hashtags inside the description, after the description, or (if you don’t want to bog down your caption with hashtags) add them in the comments. Personally, I like doing a mixture of all three. I’ll put a hashtag in the caption, two or three after the caption, and the extras go in the comment section.
Is there such a thing as too many hashtags?
Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags, and most Instagrammers recommend using all 30. But be warned! Overusing the same hashtag can cause the dreaded Instagram Shadowban!
Being shadowbanned means your content does not show in Instagram’s search results and is hidden from everyone except your current followers. Basically, you’re invisible.
Instagram claims to not ban users and that any decline in engagement is likely due to updates to their algorithms; however, many bloggers and expert Instagrammers disagree. They say shadowbanning is real. It’s Instagram’s way of finding and removing unsuitable content. Unfortunately, the methods for deciding what is bad have faults, and sometimes legitimate users get lumped in with the bots and spammers.
How do I avoid being shadowbanned?
Um…don’t post inappropriate content?
Honestly, as long you’re not trying to grow your following by cheating (using bots) or posting nasty content, you shouldn’t worry about shadowbanning. The only thing that could cause an innocent blogger to be shadowbanned is using broken (aka NSFW) hashtags or repeating the same hashtag over and over again.
Because of that, it’s important to diversify your hashtags. Use all 30 if you like, just don’t tag each and every photo #barbie.
So which hashtags are best for doll and toy bloggers?
Well, friends, the answer to that question is easy!
Use these hashtags on your pretty doll pictures!
Use these hashtags on toy pictures other than dolls.
- #onesixthscale (mostly for twelve-inch action figures)
Tag your dolly creations with these!
- #onthecrafttable (usually reserved for images showing a work in progress).
These hashtags are for those one-of-a-kind dolls!
Now that you know which hashtags to use, why not head over to Instagram and give them a try (and don’t forget to follow @pixie.dust.dolls while you’re there😉)!
In fact, there’s a fun photo challenge happening right now called #EverAfterHighJuly. Throughout July, collectors are posting pictures of their Ever After High dolls and recreating favorite moments from the series. You don’t have to post a picture every day–it’s just a fun chance to show off your Ever After High collection!
Finally, here’s one last tip for choosing the perfect hashtags: use Tailwind’s Hashtag Finder. As you all know, I use Tailwind to schedule Pinterest pins, but you can also manage your Instagram account through Tailwind. One of the perks to this is having access to Tailwind’s Hashtag Finder.
I love this nifty tool because it takes the guesswork out of tagging. Just type in a hashtag you know relates to your post (such as #dollphotography), and the Hashtag Finder will recommend similar hashtags for you to use.
I know having relevant hashtags picked for me (and even color-coded!) helped a ton when I was a newbie. If you’d like to give it a try, follow the link below to get a free month of Tailwind for Instagram and Pinterest (no credit card required!).
Disclaimer: This is an affiliate link. If you sign up for Tailwind through this link I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
I sure hope this list helps all you toy Instagrammers out there! And don’t forget to use those brand-specific hashtags like #EverAfterHigh or #marvellegends!
Now, for a little something special to end this post—a Pinterest graphic!
Feel free to pin this and keep it handy so you’ll be ready when comes time to tag your doll’s next selfie!