Perhaps excessive, but certainly not idiotic. Let me backtrack a minute and explain.
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It's easy to make assumptions about social media posters. Many of these assumptions are simply insecure rants filled with cynicism and jealousy. Certainly, there are many of you who aren't insecure, and basically share a different philosophy on what social media is, and how it should be approached.
They are only doing it for the views.
Hashtags exist to draw attention to the poster.
All they care about is accruing followers.Certainly, in many cases these statements are true. But so what? If a person is enjoying social media and it brings them happiness, who are we to judge... Right? After all, if someone really annoys us we can simply unfollow them.
But let's consider other possibilities here.
Please follow Tiger Fitness on Instagram for daily inspiration, contests, sales, and deals.Instagram fitness can be life changing. It's full of encouragement, motivation, and support. I see it every day. It's a power community, and many of us enjoy Instagram for this reason.
Hashtags can lead you to new friends. They are Instagram's method of exploration; a harmless tool that assists like-minded fitness freaks in finding one another. I use hashtags for this reason.
Yes, my follower count grows. But really, hashtags serve a much bigger purpose for me. First, growing my follower base provides me with a greater daily resource pool of motivation. I receive so many encouraging comments. It keeps me going (stronger).
Friendships are built. Motivation is fostered. It's such a positive social media platform, especially in the fitness and weight loss realm.
Second, fitness hashtags allow my journey to reach and motivate others. This is the big reason for me. Certainly, I'm no special unicorn. I'm just a man that lost 100 pounds. But each of us has a story, and our stories CAN and DO inspire others.
Instagram is a vehicle for stories. They can change our lives, and the lives of others.
So for me, yes, I want more followers. But I dislike the term followers. Quantity doesn't matter, quality does. While you can call them followers, I consider each and every one of them friends. And if it offends you that myself, and others, are trying to expand our circle of friends...
Well, sorry not sorry.
But what of the folks with big egos that just care about numbers? Who cares. Seriously. It is neither our job to criticize what brings happiness to others, nor our job to assume their intentions. We are complex creatures. Life is hard.
Stop worrying about what others are doing. Relax, lighten up, and enjoy life a little more. Time spent worrying about others is time given to others. If someone bothers you, why are you giving them your free time?
Rant over. Now, let's move on to the science of fitness hashtags.
Hashtags by the NumbersIf you're looking to expand your Instagram reach, consider the following information.
Posts with 11 or more hashtags receive a greater degree of interaction.  This means that adding a few hashtags provides very little benefits. If you really want to increase exposure, set a minimum goal of 11 tags.
Also know this. It's not just hashtag quantity that matters, it's also quality. Here's why... Click on any Instagram hashtag, and you'll find two sections:
- Top Posts
- Recent Posts
This really isn't going to happen, so best to plan accordingly and use hashtags properly.
But if you choose your hashtags properly, and don't aim for the big hitters, there is a solid chance that your picture will land in top posts. Best to start with hashtags that have under 10,000 uses.
Play around, experiment, try different hashtags, and then try slightly more popular fitness hashtags. This process takes time, thought, and constant tinkering, but in the long run it pays off.
Recent posts. To land in recent posts, you need pretty much the same strategy. Unfortunately, the more popular the hashtag is, the shorter the period of time you'll remain in recent posts. For less popular hashtags, you might remain at the top longer, but far fewer people see them.
So, basically, it's better to focus on top posts. The side benefit that comes from landing in recent posts shouldn't be worried about much.
With that said, it is worth your time to include a few major hitting fitness hashtags in your mix. Heck, it 11,000,000 people use a tag, and you land in "recent posts" for even a brief period of time, there is a good chance you'll pick up a few Instagramers that will turn into longterm followers.
As a rule of thumb, for 11 or more hashtags, include a good mix:
- 1-2 top hitters - 1,000,000 plus uses
- 1-2 big hitters - 100,000 to 1,000,000 uses
- 1-2 quality hitters - 10,000 to 100,000 uses
- 5 to 10 minor hitters - 1,000 to 10,000 uses
Editor's Note: Numbers are as of April 24th, 2017.
Tiger Fitness Editorial Director Steve Shaw on Instagram @bendthebarman.
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