Hashtags, Captions & Beyond - Boosting Instagram Engagement For Your Etsy Shop

Last Updated:

September 26, 2023

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Marketing & Promotion
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Here’s the engagement of some of my recent Instagram content:



If you are struggling to get engagement on Instagram, then you are in the right place.


There are some clear steps you can follow to maximise your reach and engagement on Instagram.


In this article, you’ll learn the practical strategies that I use to boost engagement and growth for handmade brand's Instagram accounts.


Let’s dive in.



Crafting Your Perfect Caption

Your post caption serves two main purpose: Give your viewers important information, and help Instagram understand what your post is about.


A good caption can capture people’s attention, provide them value and prompt them to take action.


Here are 3 things you need to think about when writing captions:


First Sentence: Grab Attention Immediately

Your first sentence is an important hook to capture the attention of people viewing your content. It should encourage them to read the rest.


It can be a descriptive sentence that summarise your content. For example: “Make this cute amethyst necklace with me ✨” or “The most satisfying soldering reel you’ve seen”. Take this popular reel from juliettedavin as an example:


Or it can be something that’s a bit more cryptic to create a curiosity gap with your audience: “I’ll let you in on a secret...”, “I can’t believe THIS is the bestseller in my shop”.


Put Call-To-Action At the End Of Caption

Right before you put your hashtags, the last sentence of your caption can be a call-to-action (CTA).


It doesn’t need to be a ‘buy now’. A call-to-action can be a lot of things, from asking them to share with a friend or save the post for later. Here are some examples you can copy for your next post:



Use Simple & Easy-To-Read Language

You write your caption to be understood. Writing in a straight-forward manner can ensure your message resonates with your audience more effectively. Here are a few tips to make sure your captions are easily readable:





Hashtag Strategies For Etsy Sellers

Hashtags helps Instagram determine what your post is about, and possibly increase your post’s reach and discoverability. So make sure your hashtags are highly relevant to your content, just like your caption.

One of the mistakes I see many Etsy sellers make is that they use generic hashtags like #love or #handmade. Using them can hurt your potential reach.


No Need To Use All 30 Hashtags

Using all 30 hashtags used to be the optimal strategies for Instagram growth, but now most experts recommend 8-15 hashtags. You can experiment with more or fewer hashtags to see if there's any changes in your reach.


Maximise Reach By Mixing Different Sized Hashtags

Use a mix of hashtags of different sizes. By diversifying the size of your hashtags, it helps your content to have a balance between reaching niche audience and helping Instagram categorise your content. Here is my recommended hashtag strategy:


This product showcase Instagram reel by fubsies uses a good mix of hashtags of different sizes:



Other Techniques To Boost Your Engagement

Tagging & Mentioning Relevant Accounts

You can tag or mention relevant accounts in your content, but you should only do so for relevant accounts. For example, if you collaborate with another creator on a product, then it makes sense to tag and mention them in your post.


You can also consider tagging accounts like @etsy or @etsyuk so that your content appear in the tagged posts in those accounts. It can give you a slight bump in visibility, but from my experience, the effect is very small.


However, tagging or mentioning a bunch of random accounts could make your post look spammy, but could hurt your brand image without giving you many benefits.



Geotagging Relevant Locations

If you’re posting from an interesting location, or if your product is highly relevant to a particular place, then it’d make sense to geotag the location.



Putting Alt-Text For Accessibility

You can also provide alt-text for your photos on Instagram, which is a feature that allow you to describe what your photo is about.


Alt-text enhances the accessibility for users with visual impairment. They often require a screen reader to read out the description of posts, and alt-text can help them understand the photo of your post.


So if you have time, write short descriptive alt-text for your photo posts. But from my experience, this doesn’t change the reach or engagement of posts.



When Should You Post On Instagram

You should post when most of your followers are online, or just before they’re about to.


Here are 2 ways to help you determine your optimal posting time:


How Do You Know When Your Followers Are Online

Method 1 - Instagram professional dashboard

(You’d need a creator or business account to access your professional dashboard.)


Here’s how you can see the popular time that most of your followers are online:

  1. Go to your profile and click “Professional Dashboard”
  2. Click total followers
  3. Scroll to the bottom, then you can see the most active times of your followers


For my accounts, the most popular time are 6pm - 9pm. And because of that, I usually post around 5-6pm to get higher reach and engagement for my content. Here's how to do it using my GYC Instagram account that I recently started:



Method 2 - Real time data using Instagram Live

You can also check the real time data of how many of your followers are online at a certain time by using the Instagram Live function.


On your Instagram app, go to your post tab (plus sign) and click Live at the bottom, you can then see how many people are online at that time.


But I wouldn’t stress too much about this, because it doesn’t tell you how many of your followers are about to go online, or whether it’s your most loyal followers (the ones that engage with your posts most) that are online.



Ultimately, you should choose a time that you can post consistently. Maybe it’s the half an hour break when you are on the train, or right after you wake up in the morning. Posting consistently is more important than finding the most optimal time to post.



How Often Should You Post On Instagram

It’s about quality not quantity.


Instead of posting multiple times a day, focus on posting consistent and high quality content that resonates with your target audience, even if that means you are not posting every day.


For your main feed (reels or photos), the maximum I’d recommend is posting once a day. You need to have time in between your content to let your followers engage with them.


If you are busy, don’t force yourself to post once a day. It’s better to post one good piece of content that connects with your audience than 7 mediocre reels.


You can increase the frequency when you have more practice creating content for instagram.



What’s Next

When used correctly, Instagram has great potential of being a marketing tool for your Etsy shop that brings in extra traffic and sales.


In this article, I’m only able to touch on a small portion of the overall strategy - what to do when you’re posting. There are still many aspects that can make or break your Instagram:



If you are ready to turn your Instagram account into a powerful marketing tool for you Etsy shop, then you’ll love the new Instagram course I’ve created specifically for sellers like you. The course will be available for GYC Etsy Academy members very soon.

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