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The Hashtag Hack: How to Bring your Posts to the Top of the Explore Page

With over 1 billion active monthly users, Instagram is the platform of choice for consumers and organizations alike (TechCrunch, 2018). That’s a lot of eyes, and a whole lot of posts. As digital marketers know, this represents the central challenge of Instagram: how to get content in front of the right people. In this post we’ll discuss how to take over hashtags to generate targeted awareness on Instagram using a simple tactic we like to call The Hashtag Hack.

So what are #hashtags? Born on Twitter in 2007 and made famous by Instagram, hashtags are essentially user-generated metadata tags that collect posts into groups that are discoverable by other users (Wikipedia, 2020). When you add a hashtag to your Instagram post, it automatically adds your post to the collection of other content tagged with that same hashtag. Users can search hashtags in Instagram’s Explore feature and view the top or most recent posts tagged with that hashtag. 

It’s easy to see why hashtags are a critical component of any digital marketing strategy. They’re a built-in access point to a brand’s target audience, and if you know how to leverage them, the easiest way to get seen on Instagram. 

One of the issues many organizations encounter is that higher volume niche hashtags are regularly inundated with content, so posts get buried before they’re ever seen. The pages of these popular hashtags are valuable real estate and getting content near the top means it’ll receive more views and engagement, increasing targeted awareness. The strategy we’re about to share is one method to cut through the noise and bring your content to the top of a few of these key targeted hashtags. 

How to take over hashtags to generate targeted awareness

Hashtags are a crucial tool for generating targeted awareness on Instagram. Taking over hashtags is one way to stay on top of the Explore page for some of these higher volume hashtags, generating organic views and exposure for your page. 

We’ll show you how to take over a few key hashtags for a period of time using the AiSchedul app and a simple tactic. If you haven’t already, head to and create your free account to get started. 

Step One

Once you’ve added your Instagram in the AiSchedul app, go to the Posts & Scheduling tab. Select Feed and upload a video or image to post, or search and select an image from the integrated Unsplash database. Remember, your visual should stand out in a crowd and attract the right kind of attention to your page. Tag any accounts you wish, and click save. 

Step Two

Enter a caption. Keep in mind that a great caption can inspire engagement and even convert. Think about your audience and the hashtags you’re aiming to take over. 

Step Three

Here’s the important part: choosing your hashtags. You’ve got 30 hashtags, use them well! AiSchedul can help. Use the built-in hashtag search to search hashtags by keyword. You’ll get a list of the top related hashtags organized by volume. Remember, the rule of thumb is that hashtags used over a million times will be much harder to win, so just select a few of those. Instead, try ultra-niche community hashtags that are relevant to your content. This will ensure your post is closer to the top and gets seen by your target audience. 

Step Four

Select the accounts you want to post this content to, add a location if you desire, and choose to post it as a story as well. 

Now here is the tactic: To make this hack work, be sure to check off the “delete post after a period of time” option. Try setting it to be deleted after 24 hours to start. This makes it so that your post will be automatically deleted after one day.  

Step Five

Lastly, and this is important, schedule your content to post every 24 hours for the next 30 or 60 days, however long you want to take over your selected hashtags. As a result, your post will go live every day and then get deleted the next day, just as a fresh post goes live again to take its place– keeping your content on top of your chosen hashtags. 

When you’re done, click schedule. You’ll see all the scheduled posts you just created. 

That’s it! It’s as simple as scheduling one post. Sit back and track your Instagram insights as the views roll in.


With and this simple hack, you now have the tools to stay on top of your chosen hashtags, gain organic views, grow your audience and gain exposure on Instagram. 

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