May 01, 2019

Best practices for building your Instagram account'

Debbie Bookstaber

Did you know that an estimated 70% of images posted on Instagram go unseen? Instagram posts don't disappear after 24 hours, but they do get buried, and in most cases lost from view forever. So how do you stand out from the crowd and grow your account?


As the founder of a digital marketing agency and the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of, I spend a lot of time evaluating social media accounts and studying the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) in account growth and discovery.

While I consistently recommend Instagram advertising to clients looking to grow their accounts and increase their engagement, organic growth is still possible on Instagram. Hashtags are integral to almost everything you do on Instagram.

Even if you aren't using hashtags in your posts, Instagram's AI (artificial intelligence) is studying how you use hashtags. When you follow an account, like a post, comment or engage, the AI recognizes and remembers when you engage with a hashtag. The AI looks for patterns in use of and interaction with hashtags.

These patterns help Instagram deliver personalized content to users, based on their relationships and activity.

Instagram currently allows up to 30 hashtags per post. There are many differing schools of thought about how many hashtags to use, but the studies don't all agree. This is probably because the quality of the hashtags used is at least as important, if not more important, than the quantity.

I advise using all 30 hashtags if you can identify the appropriate hashtags for your post. Why not take advantage of every opportunity for discovery and engagement? But every hashtag should be there for a reason. Don't use hashtags gratuitously or inaccurately as it will hinder the growth of your account.

Beware of using banned hashtags as it will result in your posts being hidden from the hashtag feeds entirely.

The size of a hashtag predicts how long your post stays visible in that hashtag's feed. By mixing a small amount of large and small tags, with a majority of medium-sized tags, you will ensure your posts stay in the hashtag feeds as long as possible and reach the greatest number of people.

You can research hashtags manually or use a tool such as Vitamin H by, which provides a mix of relevant small/medium/large hashtags for posting into your posts when you are in a hurry. Hashtag research for Instagram gives you a critical advantage in the same way that researching keywords is essential for website search engine optimization (SEO). [FF]


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