The reason for these numbers is simple – hashtags are designed to help Instagram users find your account.
📚 Definition: Hashtags are categories that posts get filed under in Instagram’s system.
When someone searches the hashtag #baseball on Instagram, all the public posts that have used this tag will populate the search results. We should note that posts from private accounts won’t show up in these searches.
By using hashtags, your objective should be ranking as highly as you can in those search results.
Hashtags also factor into Instagram’s Explore algorithm. Your tags help identify what your content is about, and Instagram will use this information to suggest your content to users who already follow similar accounts.
Hashtags are a great way to increase discoverability on Instagram.
By using hashtags, you’re more likely to end up with followers who are interested in the topics you’re posting about.
And even if people are searching for your tags directly, there’s still a chance your content will be seen on the Explore page.
#Getting Started – Building an Effective Baseball and Softball Hashtag Strategy on Instagram
Before you start crafting your Instagram strategy, you should know which hashtags to use.
Feed posts and Reels allow for up to 30 hashtags and Stories allow up to 10.
Opinions differ on how many hashtags you should actually use though.
Some influencers say to max out at 30, so you increase your chances for visibility as much as possible.
Others say that closer to 10-15 is better, to avoid making content that appears too spammy.
Ultimately, the number of hashtags per post is up to you.
Quality is more important than quantity here, as you’ll want to include tags that are relevant to your content and that pinpoint your target audience.
🚨 Important Note: If you post a video of a fielding drill, for example, adding hashtags like #hittingdrill or #hittingpractice just to get to 30 would be ineffective. In fact, doing so may even be penalized by an Instagram algorithm that has ever-improving image and video recognition capabilities – since the content of this hypothetical post isn’t about hitting at all.
When creating your hashtags, there are a few very basic things to keep in mind:
Profiles set to private won’t appear in hashtag searches
You can place numbers (1,2,3…) in hashtags but not special characters ($,%,&, etc.)
You can’t add hashtags to other people’s posts, only your own
But to craft your professional baseball or softball hashtag strategy, you need to rely on 4 different categories of hashtags.
Moderately popular tags have between 10k to 100k posts associated with them.
These will often be general and industry-relevant tags, as well as content-specific ones.
Terms like #baseballpractice, #baseballgames, #softballers, #baseballboys, #travelballparent, #homeruns, and #catchers are good examples. They’re all roughly between 10k-100k posts and they’re all general while still being relevant to the content.
You’d want to choose 5-7 moderately popular hashtags per post.
These hashtags are the most specific to your niche or industry.
With less than 10k posts, they should be laser-focused on your unique target audience.
These terms should directly address what your audience is searching for.
On the softball side, the profile @360u_softball uses the tag #onlinehittinglessons because she offers this service to her clients.
This is a great niche term because it has fewer than 5k associated posts and it speaks directly to what she offers. And people searching for a virtual hitting work will easily find the @360u_softbal account.
You should try to use between 3-5 of these niche hashtags in each post.
As previously mentioned, you should add extremely popular and industry hashtags to your posts.
You should also be following these hashtags, so you can find content that’s similar to yours.
🧢 Pro Tip: A great way to improve engagement is to search the most recently added posts for your target hashtag, just after you post. Then, give a like or comment to some of these posts, as these users are still online and might reciprocate with a like on your new post.
When you add comments to posts that are related to your brand, you show both instagram and people in your space that you’re informed and engaged when it comes to your industry.
Adding useful – not spammy – comments to other accounts is another great way to get more followers.
As people within your target audience who are also following our industry leaders may see the intelligent comment that you’ve left and get interested enough to check out your profile.
The account @tornadobaseballtraining does a good job using creative hashtags, like #powerhitter and #stronglegs, which are directly related to the content they’re posting.
By using more creative, community-oriented hashtags, you’re likely to reach more people.
If you consistently post good content, users who discover one of your posts through your hashtags will follow you.
Having the right hashtags pays off because they can bring more – and better engaged – followers.
#How to Improve Engagement Rates with Hashtags on Instagram
Not only do you want more followers on Instagram, you also want people liking and commenting on your content as well.
Higher engagement leads to more exposure, enriching your profile and establishing your brand as more authoritative.
There are a few specific hashtag strategies you can use to boost engagement on Instagram.
It’s likely your content will be relevant to more than one specific area, so don’t pigeon-hole yourself with your hashtags.
If you’re a personal trainer specializing in working with baseball and softball athletes, your hashtags could include #baseballtraining and #softballtraining to reach these specific athletes.
But you could also use #athletictraining to broaden your scope beyond just baseball and softball athletes.
Cross-referencing hashtags this way helps you tap into more than one audience, building up your brand’s Instagram community further.
#How to Track and Organize Your Instagram Hashtags
What use is any strategy if you’re too disorganized to execute it effectively?
The same hard truth holds true for Instagram hashtags strategies.
We know that it can seem overwhelming – researching the right hashtags and using them correctly.
There are ways to keep your hashtags orderly though, and even ways to save your frequently used hashtags so you don’t have to type them in on every new post.
Of course, you can just keep lists of hashtag clusters for free in your phone’s Notes app and many do.
But, if you want a more robust solution, we’ll describe two useful tools for organizing your Instagram hashtags: Later and TextExpander.
With a tool like Later, you can create lists of saved hashtags, sorted by subject. You could make lists for posts about hitting, pitching, fielding, baseball products, training, advice, or whatever type of content you post often.
If you posted a video of a pitching lesson, for example, all you’d have to do with Later is type out your caption and just insert your saved list of pitching hashtags, then hit share.
Later syncs with your Instagram account, so you’ll no longer have to keep phone notes or a spreadsheet of your target hashtags and do the additional step of copying and pasting them over.
TextExpander is a software and an app that works on Mac, Windows, and your iPhone or iPad.
It allows you to create a set of shortcuts for pre-set words, phrases, or even blocks of text. You can use it to add a set of 30 hashtags to your Instagram post.
For example, you’d create a group of hashtags for your posts about pitching lessons and designate it as “pitching”, so every time you type the word “pitching” into your Instagram caption, you would have the option to populate it with all of your well-chosen hashtags.
The tool syncs across devices, so you can type out all your hashtags on a laptop, then your groups will be saved and ready to use when you post a photo or video in the Instagram app on your phone.
Tools like Later and TextExpander are great for saving you time and helping you focus your larger Instagram hashtag strategy.
But, it’s important not to let yourself become too complacent when relying on these tools.
Save a list of your hashtag clusters after researching which hashtags are the best for your content, but don’t forget to stay updated on the latest hashtag trends in your subject area.
🚨 Important Note: Hashtags are dynamic, with new ones being invented constantly. At a minimum of once per month, you should modify your saved hashtag clusters to better reflect current trends.
Besides the necessity to tap into dynamic industry trends, if you needed even more inspiration to keep changing and updating your hashtag clusters regularly, some marketers have postulated – though it’s still unverified by the platform – that Instagram’s algorithm actually penalizes your account’s reach as spam if you use many of the same hashtags on multiple posts for too long a time.
So make small adjustments and rotations on all of your hashtags on at least a monthly basis.
#How To Optimize Instagram Hashtags for Your Baseball and Softball Account
To get the most out of your Instagram hashtags, you need to optimize them for maximum reach.
Here are five additional things you can do to make your hashtags work for you.
Another important thing to look out for when choosing hashtags is banned hashtags.
You don’t want to go to the trouble of researching and adding hashtags to your post – not to mention, crafting its visual and composing its caption – only to find out that they won’t deliver any results.
Some say that using a banned hashtag can completely keep your post off of your followers’ and anyone else’s feed—meaning no one will see your post.
Using banned hashtags on multiple occasions can even lead to a full “shadowban” on your account.
You can use 30 hashtags maximum on your Feed posts and Reels, and 10 hashtags maximum on your stories.
It’s up to you how many you want to use, the focus here is ensuring that your hashtags are super relevant to your target audience.
Some experts say you should always use 30 hashtags on each post, to better your chances of being discovered.
But if you don’t have 30 relevant hashtags to add to your content, it’s alright to do fewer.
If you just use the formula we described at the beginning of the chapter, you’ll easily end up with between 14-24 hashtags per post.
#Should I Put Hashtags in the Comments or as the Caption?
There’s a debate amongst Instagram experts about whether putting hashtags in the caption or the comments is better.
The concern with adding hashtags to your content is that it’ll make your caption look cluttered or spammy.
But with both the caption and comments methods, you can avoid making your post look too busy.
If you include your hashtags in the caption, you can add a series of periods and hard returns to space the text of your caption from your hashtag cluster.
When users scroll past your post in their feeds, you want them to focus on your carefully-crafted caption, not so much on your hashtags.
By putting the cluster of hashtags after the series of periods and hard returns, Instagram will hide the hashtags when the post appears in the home feed, and users will have to tap on “more” to see the hashtags.
Unfortunately, in order to save server space, Instagram usually will not respect your regular spacing attempts, i.e. just hitting enter or return.
But, if you paste your caption here and then copy it to your device’s clipboard and put it back into Instagram, your desired spacing choices will be honored.
That’s the first solution to avoid cluttered-looking hashtags. The second is adding your list of hashtags as the first comment on your post.
You post your photo or video, then immediately after, comment on it yourself, with your prepared cluster of hashtags.
This method also hides your clunky list of hashtags from users when they see your post in the home feed. As they’ll have to open the comments to see them.
Both methods work equally fine, and it’s up to you to decide which works best for you.