When Instagram launched in 2010, I was very uninterested in creating an account on the social media platform. I couldn’t be bothered and simply was not ready to add an additional source of “distraction” to my life. I survived until 2014 when a sister-friend encouraged me to join and even at that I was not fully active. The online world was becoming something else and I was just tired of trying to keep up with everything going on. However, I had to make a U-turn in 2015 when I conducted a survey and found out that apart from Facebook, Instagram was the next platform my target audience spend their time online.  I began to pay attention and decided to build my Instagram account.

In the beginning stages, I didn’t understand how important it was for me to include hashtags in my posts and wondered why I was not getting customers via Instagram despite the fact that I knew from survey results that I had lots of people who matched the description of my target audience on Instagram. I was confused until I attended a training where someone mentioned hashtags in passing and I decided to research all about hashtags and their importance to being found by Instagram prospects.

Imagine you are getting married in New York and you are in need of a vendor who sells wedding bands in New York and you do not know any vendor. How would you solve this problem?

Let me guess. You will probably go to and type in “wedding band vendors in New York”. Once you type in your search criteria, Google will come up with a list of vendors who sell wedding bands in New York and that will be the beginning of your search towards purchasing the perfect wedding band.

The same way you type in your search criteria in Google is the same way you find vendors on Instagram and this is where the hashtags come in.

Let’s assume that you are a New-York based wedding band vendor who does not use hashtags. Each time someone goes on Instagram to search for “wedding band vendors in New York”, you will not show up in search results because search results on Instagram are curated using hashtags. No one (who is not already following you) will find you and prospects will go on and patronize your competitors.

What does this mean?

You won’t generate new leads who have the potential of becoming your customers. Or worse still, you are losing customers and money. It is that serious!

It does not matter how quality your products are if people can’t find you, your dreams of building a profitable brand won’t come true.

That’s why I always share with anyone who cares to listen that your efforts are meaningless when you are not doing it the right. Can you imagine how much work it takes to create posts day in day out that no one will see? That’s highly frustrating! It bothers me a lot when I see people putting in efforts where it doesn’t count and that’s why I take my time to explain to those who truly want to learn.

In order to make your Instagram efforts count, you need to start including hashtags in your posts that will ensure that you are found in search results.

Instagram allows a maximum of 30 hashtags per posts and you can use different combinations to increase your chances of being found. The key to being found is to use hashtags that your prospects are likely to search for. One way I like to explain this is that, think like you are the one who needs your products. What will you likely type in the “search” area if you need the products you are selling? Come up with different combinations and try them out until you find combinations that work for you.

You can also take a look at your competitor’s hashtags too so you can learn how they are showing up in Instagram search results. Posting on Instagram without hashtags is like pouring water in a basket so the next time you post on Instagram, remember to use your hashtags.

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