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Instagram basics: How to use hashtags


A surefire way to increase your reach on Instagram is by using hashtags. But what in the world is a hashtag and why do we need them anyway?

What is it?
A hashtag is a word or phrase with the pound sign in front of it. Adding the pound sign makes it a clickable link. Tap on that, and you can see every post that includes that same hashtag.

Why use one?
But why bother? Many people use hashtags to find other people and organizations that share their interests. Adding hashtags to your captions instantly casts a global net. Whereas a post without a hashtag will likely only be seen by those who come directly to your account - and since your account is new, that would be limited to just the small group of people who know about it.

Which ones should you use?
So, which hashtags should you use? You’ll definitely want to join other United Methodists by adding #UMC. Beyond that? Search for keywords that are relevant to your particular post. Before adding any hashtag, you’ll want to make sure it is appropriate. Do a little research. Tap on the magnifying glass, and then enter a keyword into the search field. For example, #church. You’ll see that there are more than 16 million posts with that hashtag. Look for hashtags with high numbers. The more popular it is, the bigger the potential reach.

Other hashtag ideas might include #ministry #Christianity and #Bible. But you don’t have to limit yourself to church-related topics. For example, a popular hashtag among all audiences is #TBT, which stands for Throwback Thursday. Use this weekly to feature historic photos of your church or pics from past events.

Don’t go overboard. If you use too many hashtags or ones that aren’t relevant to your post, you’ll look like you’re just spamming for followers.

Speaking of followers… stay tuned to find out how to get them!

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