How to Find the Right Hashtags for Your Church

It’s a brand new year and like almost everything else related to Instagram, best practices that worked in the past just aren’t as effective anymore.

From following hashtags to adding them to your Instagram Stories, we’re showing you all of the new ways that you can use Instagram hashtags to help you grow your churches influence this year, as well as sharing helpful hashtag tips to ensure that you’re using hashtags strategically to help people discover your church.


Keeping Your Instagram Hashtags Relevant

Instagram recently rolled out the ability to follow hashtags which means that instead of a user having to search for an Instagram hashtag and scroll through an endless feed to (hopefully) land on your content, your posts could now show up automatically in the feeds of potential new followers.

While Instagrams Algorithm has always favoured the use of specific and relevant hashtags, this new feature makes using hashtags that make sense an even bigger deal.

That’s because users now have the power to mark your hashtagged content as something they don’t want to see!

Once a user is following a specific hashtag and suggested posts begin to show up in their feed, they’ll have the ability to select a new “Don’t Show for This Hashtag” option to mark the content not interesting or not relevant.

While this information is meant to tell the Instagram algorithm what sort of content a user enjoys, having too many of your posts marked in this manner could potentially raise a red flag on your account and negatively affect all of your other content as well.

Switch Up Your Instagram Hashtags in Every Post

One thing is clear– you can no longer just copy and paste the exact same list of Instagram hashtags into every single post and call it a day. 

In fact, doing so might be seen as spam by the Instagram algorithm and could affect your post’s visibility, which is why the new rules for Instagram hashtags include switching up your hashtags for each post. 

Avoid gimmicky tags such as #likeforlike as well as hashtags that have been used a million or more times. While these tags might get you a few extra likes, they aren’t going to help you grow a highly engaged, targeted following.

Next, choose tags that describe your church, and your target market. 

Community Hashtags are Instagram hashtags that connect like-minded users around a specific subject.  They’re a great way to connect with others, improve the search-ability of your posts, gain followers, and grow your own community. 

Look to industry leaders and other influencers (Visual Media Church) and churches to find out what community hashtags they’re using so you can add those to your hashtag lists as well!

Finally, with the ability to follow hashtags comes a brand new way to research additional hashtags to add to your posts. Once you start following a hashtag (#vmchurch), you can click on your followings from your profile and toggle from the users that you follow to the hashtags you follow.

By following hashtags related to your church, you’ll be able to gather these new suggestions (deemed by Instagram as highly relevant) and add them into your posts!


Following Instagram Hashtags is a Thing Now

Following a hashtag works just like following a user’s profile. When you find a hashtag you’d like to follow you simply open the hashtag page and tap on the follow button.

Once you’ve selected to follow a hashtag you’ll begin seeing top posts from that hashtag in your feed and some of the latest stories in your stories bar.

You can encourage your existing audience to follow your branded hashtags so that you connect more easily with your community. 

You can also use this new feature to keep a close eye on competitors and even discover potential partners by choosing to follow industry-specific hashtags.


You Can Now Add Instagram Hashtags to Your Instagram Stories, Too 

Did you know that you can add hashtags to Instagram Stories?

By using Instagram hashtags within your Instagram Stories, you give your content yet another way to be discovered by a new audience.

If you didn’t know, most Instagram Geo-Locations and Hashtags have their own stories attached to them. While this is an under-utilized Instagram feature, we expect it to become more popular in the coming year as Instagram users get more comfortable with watching and creating stories.

When people search for the hashtag on Instagram, if it’s popular enough they will be able to view an active, real time Instagram story on the hashtag! Hashtag stories show up across the top bar of the hashtag page along with the new follow button.

You can add hashtags into your story two different ways. One is by using the hashtag sticker, and the other is by using the text tool and simply typing your hashtags out. 

What a lot of people don’t know is that you can add up to 10 hashtags into a single story! However, visually this can get really messy, so consider shrinking your hashtags down and hiding under a sticker or emoji.


How Many Hashtags is The Right Amount of Instagram Hashtags?

There’s a lot of conflicting information out there about how many Instagram hashtags is the “right” amount. 

So if you’re wondering how many hashtags you should be using on each post, the jury is still out! 

Use the maximum number of hashtags allowed by Instagram, which is thirty. While thirty tags may seem like a lot, using the maximum amount of Instagram hashtags gives you more opportunities to be discovered. 

We’ve seen all sorts of strategies and ideas on how many hashtags make the difference, but at the end of the day, it’s really up to you. If you can find thirty super relevant hashtags to add to each post, then you should definitely go for it.

However, if you don’t feel comfortable using that many, feel free to opt for less. It’s always okay to experiment with the amount of hashtags you use on a post in the search to finding your hashtag sweet spot. 

The most important thing to keep in mind is that you’re being intentional with your hashtag selection and you’re using hashtags that your target audience is searching for and following.

Regardless of what you might have heard, Instagram hashtags do still work!

Using Instagram hashtags strategically is still a great way to connect with people, find inspiration, and help others discover your church. Hopefully these new rules for using Instagram hashtags have sparked some new ideas that you can begin to implement around your own hashtag strategy!

NewsJames Adams