Nothing divides social media users like asking how many hashtags should be used on an Instagram post. Especially if those users have been on social media for more than five years.

It’s easy to see why. Like Google, Instagram has an algorithm that is designed to help us use it more. For the most part, it’s secret, so we guess how it works. Some people run experiments. Unfortunately, many of those experiments test more than just hashtags so conclusions are at best, unhelpful. At worst, they send the online world into a frenzy of unsubstantiated click-baity claims.

Let’s start with what we do know: what Instagram tells us.

How many hashtags to use on your Instagram captions - the definitive answer to help your posts be seen in 2018.

On Instagram’s website, the hashtag instructions are simple: you can put them in a caption or comment, they’re seen unless your post is private and you can use up to 30. Instagram won’t let you post any more than that.

Q. So why are the number of hashtags you use on Instagram so divisive?

ANSWER 1: They’re spammy. To be fair, they can detract from a well-worded caption. That isn’t a great reason not to use them though. To overcome this issue, you can put your hashtags in a comment or use the five full stop/period with returns so that your comments are split from your caption.

ANSWER 2: It shows you’re desperate. Really? If you have a great message, product or service, you want to share that on Instagram, right? Sure, some bigger brands don’t use many hashtags or only their own hashtag but that doesn’t mean that everyone else is desperate.

ANSWER 3: You’ll attract spammers. Well, not quite. Spammers tend to hang out on the more popular hashtags such as those with millions of followers. But any time you post, you can receive attention you don’t like: spammers, people following to see if you follow them, bot comments (‘great pic’) and trolls. That’s just part of showing up on any social media platform. Instagram gives you tools to report spammers, block follow/unfollowers and delete bot comments so you can deal with this.

So how many Instagram hashtags should you use on your posts? Anywhere between zero and 30. You choose – that’s frreedom for you.







What to put in your Instagram bio link takes on critical importance given that you can’t put clickable links in Instagram posts. So here some pointers on making the most from the one clickable link you have.

What? Instagram only gives me one link in my bio? Yes, that’s true. You get one clickable link in your bio. Although once you have more than 10,000 followers, in Stories, you can send viewers elsewhere with the ‘swipe up’ option.

The default place to send people in your Instagram bio is to your website home page. But that isn’t always relevant to what you’re writing in your captions. You might be promoting a special offer one day, a blog post another and a new product on the third.

To make things easy for your readers, you want to link directly to the relevant place they should go if they’re clicking through from Instagram. One option is to keep changing the link in your Instagram bio to suit your latest photo. Yay – sorted!

Not so fast.  If a reader clicks on an old post and wants the relevant link for that, what happens? Epic fail, that’s what.


You have multiple ways of making the most of your Instagram bio link which include paid and free services and DIY. All of them essentially give you a page to link to which contains multiple links.

Here are five of those options:


Linktree is a service that provides a web page with all your relevant links. It has free and paid options, with the paid options giving you more choice over styling. On the plus side, it is relatively easy to set up and you can add your Facebook Pixel ID for retargeting. On the down side, visitors are not going to your website, the page is a distinctive bright green (which is unlikely to match most brands) and the layout is fixed.


OPTION TWO: LNK.BIO is a similar service designed to run multiple accounts. It also has free and paid options.



Like options one and two, but with photos, Link in Profile is easy for visitors to find the link they want. This offers a free trial.


OPTION FOUR: TAP.BIO offers a swipe-through option that looks like Instagram Stories. It has free and paid options.



This is my favourite way of using your Instagram bio link. It gives you:
– Complete control over the design / branding
– Allows you to have a lead magnet for email sign-up
– Includes your Google analytics, cookies and Facebook pixels for knowing who is visiting so that you can serve them well
– Part of your existing business infrastructure
– Built-in trust because it’s going to your website
– It’s free

This is the option I’ve chosen, for all of the above reasons. And if for any reason, the visitor can’t find what they’re looking for, they’re on my website, so can browse the menu and search.

If you want to have a look at what I built for my Instagram bio – here’s the page.

Top tip: if you’re referring to the link in your bio in your caption, put your own Instagram handle there, such as @livingabstracts, so that readers can click on that to go straight through to your bio.

Many of your caption’s readers will be scrolling through hashtag feeds or their home feeds and adding this link makes it easier to get to your bio than scrolling up a little and clicking on your user name.



If you’re a wedding photographer wondering how much leverage you’re getting from Instagram and if it’s really worth it,  here are three ways you can book clients from using Instagram.

It might seem you should have Instagram nailed, right? After all, you have great photos and you just need to say how lovely everyone looked; how hard can it really be? And why don’t you have the bookings and followings you expect?

Here are three ways that you can use Instagram to get yourself more leads and bookings from Instagram.


One of the tricky things about wedding photography marketing is that you tend not to get repeat bookings from the same clients – or at least not that often! So you need a constant stream of new potential clients.

On your side, however, you have great photos – a necessity for Instagram. Why not help out fellow suppliers such as venues, florists, makeup artists and wedding planners by making sure that you get great photos they can use?

You could even start the relationship before the wedding, finding out the suppliers before the wedding and touching base with them. You might ask if there are any particular photos they would like that would be useful for their marketing and talk about turnaround times. Note their Instagram handle so that you can mention them on your Instagram feed and let them know how you would like to be credited for the photo in their caption.

Photographers sometimes complain how other suppliers seem to expect or demand photos as if it is a right. Calling other suppliers before the day allows you and them time to get to know each other a little beforehand without the stress and rush of a wedding day. You can step in and be the hero, offering first. Does that feel better?

Once the wedding is over, mention them and comment and engage on the photos of the other suppliers, as well as follow them. Now you’re showing up in their feed, leveraging their followers and other supplier relationships, in a good light rather than as an uninvited guest. And you’re top of mind if someone asks them about wedding photographers.

How to promote your wedding photography with Instagram - three helpful tips from a wedding photographer


Once you’re building your relationships with other suppliers, how could you help even more? Is it time to suggest coffee? Perhaps there are challenges you both face that the two of you could work on together or set up a styled shoot? Or maybe you just like each other!

This is an especially useful strategy if you’re starting out or in a new location and finding it hard to join the established eco-system of existing suppliers already in close working relationships. You could find some less established suppliers and build your tribe from those, all the time thinking about how you can help them.

The stronger your relationships outside Instagram, the more likely those people are to stay engaging with your Instagram content

Keep in mind there are at least two bonuses with building supplier relationships: one is that you’re future-proofing platform changes, such as something else replacing Instagram. Your relationships will move past that.

And you’re going to be staying in touch with wedding industry news and trends that are relevant to you.


A funnel is simply a way of mapping the journey from a potential client who has no clue who you are to booking you for their wedding. Instagram can perform the role of bringing you to the attention of people who have no idea who you are AND allow them to get to know you as they look through your Instagram feed.

To move them towards being a potential client, you need to have a strategy in place. This is often a call to action in your bio with a link to something of value for them, like a guide to wedding photography, for which they submit their email address.

From there, you might have further contact with them either in emails (sometimes automated) or phone calls, so that you can learn more about each other. If there is a good fit and you’re available, ideally you have a new client!

So there you have three major ways of using Instagram for your wedding photography business. I do hope they’re useful and easy for you to put into action.




Let’s talk for a moment about healthy food hashtags for Instagram – and in fact, all food hashtags for Instagram. We’re going to look at some of the most popular food hashtags and how to find the hashtags that will work best for your food, nutrition or wellness Instagram account.



Hashtags are signposts or descriptions used on photos and videos to help Instagram users find photos. On Instagram, you can use up to 30 hashtags either in your caption or in a comment. Hashtags start with the # sign and don’t have any spaces. When you click on a hashtag, you’re taken to a page showing all of the public photos and videos with that hashtag. Instagram selects the most engaging photos to be at the top of the page and the rest are in chronological order. Because of the higher visibility of those top photos, which can remain for a few hours or days, many Instagram users want to appear there.



This differs for everyone. Most of your hashtags are going to be the ones that your target market uses, so that you show up in their feed searches. You can also mix in some trending hashtags or ones that celebrate a particular occasion or season. Bear in mind that the most popular hashtags with millions of photos move quickly, so that in even a few minutes, you’re likely to disappear from the top 50 of a feed. You might want to experiment with different sets of hashtags, finding out which ones give you most visibility for your kind of photos, your food niche and your number of followers.



It can be useful to keep different groups of Instagram hashtags for your account. If you’re a food blogger, for instance, you might post about healthy family recipes, slow cooker recipes and meal plans for fussy eaters. While there might be some hashtags you could use across all three posts, you are going to want to add in the niche hashtags for just slow cooker recipes or meal plans for fussy eaters.

Once you have created a set of hashtags, you can store them simply in the notes in your phone, ready to cut and paste. Schedulers such as Later, Plann and Planoly also can store your sets of hashtags. You can read how to use these schedulers for sets of hashtags below:

Using sets of hashtags in Plann

Using sets of hashtags in Planoly

Using sets of hashtags in Later


Once you have your sets of hashtags and are using them, don’t forget to visit those hashtag streams and engage with others there every day. It is easy to think of Instagram as a platform simply as a traffic source and in fact, it is a place for making connections. It is a place for us to find our tribe, so please reach out with likes and meaningful comments. As there are so many spam robots posting comments like ‘nice pik’, when we comment in a real way, sharing our feelings about a photo in the stream or our thoughts on the caption, it can be a breath of fresh air.

It also means, if that person is monitoring their comments, they’re more than likely to look at your Instagram profile to see who you are. If you have a clear bio that spells out who you are and who you serve, if they are your tribe, they are likely to follow you and at least like and comment back on your account.

The bonus of leaving real comments with a spirit of generosity is also a ‘feel good’ task – you have the ability to make someone’s day, even if you aren’t getting the likes or comments you might like on your Instagram account and that can feel rather wonderful.





If you’re wondering how to upload photos to Instagram from your desktop computer, you’re not alone. It is a frequently asked Instagram question in Facebook groups and luckily, one of the easiest to answer.

You have two main options for uploading your photos to Instagram: Dropbox and Instagram schedulers.


Dropbox is a great tool if all you want to do is move your Instagram photos from your desktop PC or Mac and nothing else. You will need a Dropbox account, which is free for up to 2GB of storage and the Dropbox account on your phone (iPhone or Android).

How to transfer Instagram photos to your phone with Dropbox

1. Copy the Instagram photos you want to share into a Dropbox folder.
2. Make sure your phone’s Dropbox settings allow access to your photos
3. Log into the app on your phone.
4. Navigate to the photo you want to transfer to your phone
5. Touch the photo and hold so that the option to ‘Copy’ or ‘Save to Camera Roll’ appears. Click on ‘Save to Camera Roll’. You should see an ‘Exporting’ message then a tick box confirming that the photo has been ‘Saved to Photos’.
6. Repeat for remaining photos you want to download for Instagram.


Schedulers are my preferred option for their ease and efficiency:
– It’s easy to transfer photos taken with 35mm/mirrorless cameras from a Mac/PC to the scheduler via a web browser.
– The caption is typed with a regular keyboard – faster and more accurate than typing on a phone.
– Schedulers can allow you to preview your feed with the scheduled photos and save captions/hashtags for quick and efficient posting.
– Given that Instagram does not allow automated posting, if you plan your posts in any way, you’re likely to use a scheduler anyway so let’s get it to all the work in one app.

Here are three of the most popular schedulers available.

Planoly  has a free plan and paid upgrades with uploads, feed preview and can help you manage comments.

Hoot suite has a paid service starting around $10. The upside of this service is that HootSuite can also be used for scheduling all your other social media. The downside in comparison with Planoly and Later, is that you can’t preview your feed.

Later has a free service for up to 30 Instagram posts a month – perfect if you’re posting once a day or less. It’s paid plans start at $9 a month for 100 posts. Later will save sets of captions or hashtags for you, preview your feed with the scheduled photos and offers auto scheduling.

So there you have some of the easiest options to upload photos to Instagram from your desktop computer to help save you time and frustration with tech and transfers. I hope you find it useful.




When you’re posting to Instagram every day, it can be tough to feel inspired. You want to post photos that reflect your brand but coming up with fresh ideas can be a challenge, especially when there are so many other parts of your business or blog that demand your attention. So here’s a three-point plan you can set up so that you always have inspiration to hand for your Instagram feed.

Whether you consider yourself a creative or not, if you’re putting out original content for your blog on a daily or weekly basis, it can be helpful to have creative practices to support you.

Julia Cameron, in her book The Artist’s Way, talks about continuously filling your creative well so that you always have something to draw on when creating. So we’re going to set up a couple of ‘wells’ that you can draw on for your Instagram creativity.


The first is to have a notebook where you keep ideas for photos or captions. For me, if this a blank notebook rather than lined or gridded, I find it easier to draw and collect ideas. Also, if it is a soft cover notebook, rather than an extra special one, it is easier to be messy and write/draw thoughts. Just choose one that you’re happy to scribble in and is easy to carry around. This is going to be a bucket for your ideas.

Things you might want collect in your notebook include:
– Possible captions
– Styling/prop ideas
– Flatlay layouts
– Backgrounds
– Compositions you like

Even if an idea doesn’t seem quite right for your brand, it can be worth adding it to your notebook as it may spark other ideas that are better suited.


Take five selfish minutes every day to be inspired from Instagram. What hashtags or accounts do you really love to look at? It can be because you love the lifestyle they’re portraying, the styling or simply great photography. You don’t need a reason – just whatever you like. If you find yourself going into business social mode, commenting and liking photos with your engagement hat on, you could set up a separate Instagram account for your five selfish minutes.

You can set up a second account by clicking on your settings, scrolling down near the bottom of the page to ‘Add account’. Once you have it set up, you can switch between your business and personal accounts by clicking on your name at the top of your phone screen.

To start, search for some of your favourite interests, themes or hashtags. When you click on a result, Instagram will show you related hashtags across the top of your screen. If you really have no idea to start, you can pick your favourite colour and go from there, finding accounts and hashtags.

You can find more great accounts once you have found the first, by clicking the dropdown menu to the right of the account name – Instagram gives you similar accounts. Aim to follow 20 or more accounts that post regularly for your daily fix.

By taking this time every day, perhaps with a coffee or tea or even in your waiting time on the school run, you’re filling your head with ideas you can draw on at a later time. A lot of this process is unconscious, which means you don’t have to think; ideas are just going into your head, quenching your inspiration thirst. You also may find ideas that you want to add to your notebook.


Sometimes there are just so many beautiful pins you want to save and a notebook just doesn’t cover it. This is where you can curate your favourites onto secret Pinterest boards. Perhaps start with one board and then add others as needed. I have a secret Pinterest board for styling, which is a bit of a catch-all, one for beautiful food and another for backgrounds. You can save Instagram photos to Pinterest with Instagram on your desktop using the Chrome Pinterest extension. The Tailwind Chrome extension also has this functionality, but it involves more scrolling down the page.

After a few weeks of taking your selfish five minutes, you should have a stash of ideas in your notebook and Pinterest so that you always have inspiration at your fingertips.

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