Best Practices for Building Your Instagram Account – By Debbie Bookstaber

by Sara Szado on April 20, 2019

As the founder of a digital marketing agency and the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of, I spend a lot of time evaluating social media accounts and studying the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) in account growth and discovery.

While I consistently recommend Instagram advertising to clients looking to grow their accounts and increase their engagement, organic growth is still possible on Instagram.

Hashtags are integral to almost everything you do on Instagram. Even if you aren’t using hashtags in your posts, Instagram’s

AI (artificial intelligence) is studying how you use hashtags. When you follow an account, like a post, comment or engage, the AI recognizes and remembers when you engage with a hashtag. The AI looks for patterns in use of and interaction with hashtags.

These patterns help Instagram deliver personalized content to users, based on their relationships and activity.

Instagram currently allows up to 30 hashtags per post. There   are many differing schools of thought about how many hashtags     to use, but the studies don’t all agree. This is probably because  the quality of the hashtags used is at least as important, if not    more important, than the quantity.

I advise using all 30 hashtags if you can identify the appropriate hashtags  for  your  post.  Why  not  take  advantage of every opportunity for discovery and engagement? But every hashtag should be there for a reason. Don’t use hashtags

gratuitously or inaccurately as it will hinder the growth of your account.

Beware of using banned hashtags as it will result in your posts being hidden from the hashtag feeds entirely.

The size of a hashtag predicts how long your post stays visible in that hashtag’s feed. By mixing a small amount of large and small tags, with a majority of medium-sized tags, you will ensure your posts stay in the hashtag feeds as long as possible and reach the greatest number of people.

You can research hashtags manually or use a tool such as Vitamin H by, which provides a mix of relevant small/medium/large hashtags for posting into your posts when you are in a hurry. Hashtag research for Instagram gives you a critical advantage in the same way that researching keywords is essential for website search engine optimization (SEO).

Debbie Bookstaber is President of, a digital marketing agency, and CMO of This article appeared in issue 46 of FeedFront Magazine, which was published in April 2019. Visit here for the full edition.

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