You use Instagram to promote your biz, right?
Do you have a system for organizing your hashtags?
If you don’t (or if your current system leaves much to be desired), you’re in luck, because I wrote today’s post just for you.
Why should you bother organizing your hashtags?
Well, if you are trying to capitalize on your blog and are hoping to draw traffic to it through Instagram, you MUST have a system in place.
My system was handed down to me through an awesome friend and strategist (more on this later). The takeaway is that in order to create the optimal combination of hashtags you ought to use for any given post, you need to have available some information about your pool of potential hashtags.
So for now, we’re going to create a spreadsheet that organizes this information.
Here’s how to create a spreadsheet to organize your hashtags:
We are going to use Google Sheets to create today’s Instagram #hashtag spreadsheet. That’s because Instagram requires you post from a mobile device, and Google Sheets is inherently more mobile-friendly than Excel.
If you dig Excel and want to replicate these steps in that program, by all means please do!
All steps except for the final sorting step will be identical or nearly identical.
A final note: we won’t be making our spreadsheet pink. If you need help making your spreadsheet pretty, check out this post (specifically for Excel users) and/or my FREE From Spreadsheet Virgin to Goddess in 30 Minutes. Or, just download mine here (no email required). The added benefit of downloading mine is that you’ll get my list of 46 hashtags in an already-organized format.
Step 1: Create a new spreadsheet and add your headers.
- Open Google Sheets (or Excel) and create a new workbook.
- Add these column headers in cells A1 through E1:
- # of Posts…
- …on this Date
- CommentsStep 2: Format your spreadsheet.
- Select row 1 => click the ‘B’ icon to bold it.
- Freeze frames so that if you scroll down or to the right, you will always see column A and row 1:
- Click ‘View’ in the menu => ‘Freeze’ => 1 row; AND
- Click ‘View’ again => ‘Freeze’ => 1 column.
Here is what this all looks like:
Step 3: Enter your hashtags and their relevant info*:
- Type each hashtag exactly like this: #hashtag (replace ‘hashtag’ with the actual hashtag name) – one hashtag per row, and all in column A.
- Now, go to Instagram and in the search bar, enter the hashtag you entered in A2 => click on the correct hashtag from the selection that you are presented. Then,
- Determine the most appropriate category you would place this hashtag in (judging by the images, etc.) and enter this category name in B2;
- Enter the number of posts in C2;
- Enter today’s date in D2; AND
- Enter any comments you want about this particular hashtag in E2 (e.g. the nature of the photography, it’s relevance to you, etc.).
- Finally, expand your columns so that everything you entered is visible: select/highlight all of your columns => hover at the outer edge of column E until an arrow appears (it may be single or double-ended, depending on whether you are on a pc or Mac) => double-click.
In case you aren’t already keen on how Instagram works, here are a few screenshots:
And, here’s a screenshot of the spreadsheet:
*If you don’t yet know which hashtags you ought to be using, click on images that are related to your niche and see what hashtags your favorite, most relevant images (or posters) are using. You will probably have to go to the image’s first comment to find this list. We’ll delve into hashtag strategy more in a future post.
Step 4: Sort your hashtag list.
Now, let’s organize this list of hashtags so that it makes sense to us. Because Excel differs substantially from Google Sheets when it comes to sorting, I’m going to walk you through both.
For Google Sheets:
- Click the arrow to the right of the filter icon => ‘Create new filter view’ => click the drop-down arrow in column C => choose ‘Sort A -> Z’. Then,
- Click the drop-down arrow in column B => choose ‘Sort A -> Z’.
*Note that once you close out of the spreadsheet, your filter view “deactivates”. Next time you open up your spreadsheet, click on the filter icon => click on ‘Filter 1’ (it’s probably the third option from the top). That’s it!
Here are a few visuals:
Note how lovely the screen gets when it’s in filter view.
Sorting A -> Z first by # of posts, and then by category, ensures that your categories remain grouped together.
- Select your whole table (A1:E47 in my case) and in the ‘Data’ tab (for Mac users), click the sort icon => choose ‘Custom Sort…’. Then,
- Choose ‘Column B’ from the drop-down list under ‘Column’, and choose ‘Values’ from the drop-down list under ‘Sort On’. Then,
- Click the ‘+’ sign, choose ‘Column C’ and then ‘Values’. Then,
- Click on the check box at the upper right ‘My list has headers’, and click ‘OK’.
The following are Excel screenshots of the process:
Now, my friends, it’s time to put this list of organized hashtags to use!
For you Insta newbies, know that Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags per image (at least without employing workarounds).
To use this list in a way that will bring traffic to your site, you will want to use a variety of hashtags in the different categories. You will also want to choose hashtags with varying amounts of posts.
For now, simply select those hashtags you want to use, using the ‘Category’ and ‘# of Posts…’ to assist you => copy => paste into column A in another (blank) spreadsheet. Repeat until you have a list of 30 hashtags.
You shouldn’t have any blank rows, but if you do, simply delete them.
Now, go into your text editor, notepad, or the like:
- Enter a dot ‘.’ and hit ‘Enter’. Then,
- Repeat four times. Then,
- Go back to your spreadsheet and select/highlight your list of 30 hashtags => right-click => copy. Then,
- Go back to your text editor/notepad and paste into the sixth row.
Finally, it’s time to post a photo with a caption and your hashtags in Instagram.
- Prep your photo the way you normally would, including your caption. Do not include hashtags in your caption.
- Post your image to Instagram. Then,
- Immediately copy your five dots and 30 hashtags from your text editor/notepad and paste them into the first comment of your new post.
If you’d like to download this complete spreadsheet with 46 hashtags that may be relevant to your niche, you can do so by clicking here (no email required).
[UPDATE: My premium No-Fuss Instagram Hashtag Manager is no longer available for purchase.]
Before I leave you to your own devices, I have to be honest in that this spreadsheet (and another series of spreadsheets that I cannot wait to share with you!) were inspired by the Instagram strategy with which my friend and strategist Cristy Cates provided me.
Let me just say that the gal is brilliant, and it would behoove you to sign up at Wildheart Moguls so that you can be notified of her pending launch. Everything you love about Darling Little Spreadsheets first passed through Cristy’s filter and was often the result of our strategy sessions (yep – I told you she was brilliant!), so I really do mean it when I say that you ought to swing by her site.
Anyhow, I’d love to get your feedback! Do you have a favorite set of hashtags you’d like to share? Did you find this post helpful? Please share in the comments below.