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The Key to Succeeding on Instagram in 2018

  • December 29, 2017
  • 4 min read

According to Instagram, 15 million businesses have joined since July 2017, and that number is just going to keep growing.

Succeeding on Instagram is  important for brands, and will become even more important as brand friendly features are added and user levels keep growing in 2018. So, if you’re new to Instagram, or are struggling to gain traction, read on. Those of you who put into practice what we discuss today will see growth and ROI like you never thought possible.

The Number 1 Thing Brands Succeeding on Instagram Are Doing

The one thing all brands that are succeeding on Instagram have in common is that they consistently get their posts into the Top Posts category for relevant hashtags. If you’re not sure what that is, go ahead and look at any hashtag. If it has enough posts, there will be two feeds on its page each featuring photos tagged with that particular hashtag.

The difference between the two is that the one at the the top features just 9 posts chosen based on engagement and how recent the post was made, while the bottom is an unfiltered collection of recent posts for that hashtag. It looks like this:

What’s so special about top posts?

When your image or video becomes a top post, you get a number of powerful benefits.

First, your post’s lifespan (the time during which it receives engagement) increases. Once you’re in the top post category, your post will continue to gain likes, comments, and followers for your page long after it’s no longer visible in your followers feeds. There’s no set rule for how long your post will stay here, but in my experience a post typically stays or 24 hours or more — a big deal when some social platform’s post lifespans are as short as 18 minutes!

Another important benefit is the ability to reach a wider audience than you would normally. Typically, your posts would just end up in the feed of your followers, but now your posts will be seen by individuals who don’t follow your profile, resulting in more followers gained for each post.

The third benefit is increased engagement. A top post is more likely to receive comments and likes than one which never achieves top post status. How much more engagement? A 3–5x increase in our own experience.

Okay, I’m sold, but how do you get a post to the top?

It’s actually easier than it seems. It starts with understanding the basics of Instagram hashtags.

On Instagram, each post you create can have up to 30 hashtags. In both research by others and experiments done here at Arora Project, the more hashtags you use, the better. Most recommend using at least 11, but you have nothing to lose (and everything to gain) by using all 30 hashtags per post.

If you’re worried that it may make the post look bad, no worries; they’re surprisingly easy to hide. Simply paste your hashtags in a comment instead of the description and they’ll be hidden by more recent comments.

But, just telling you the number of hashtags to use isn’t enough. You need to know how to choose optimal hashtags. The best hashtags will help catapult your post to the top for even some of the most crowded hashtags, so this step is important.

The easiest way to pick a hashtag is by looking at the post count. For smaller or new pages, you’ll want to keep the majority of your hashtags on the smaller side. Those in the range of 1,000 posts to 10,000 are easy to get top post for and provide a big enough level of engagement boost that they can propel your post to the top for other, larger hashtags.

Try to choose a mixture of five 1,000–10,000 post hashtags, twenty 10,000 to 100,000 post hashtags, and 5 100,000+ post hashtags. This will provide a good chance at getting top post status for multiple hashtags.

I advise you create a list of the 30 hashtags you want to use on each post and copy and paste it in the comment below using the Instagram website. This’ll save you time and help keep posts consistent.


If you want begin succeeding on Instagram in 2018, you need to be getting top posts. They’ll help increase the lifespan of each photo/video, increase engagement, and increase follower growth. Plus, the tasks you need to do to achieve it are relatively simple and quick to do.

If you want to see this technique in action, follow the Arora Project Instagram. We just started it in December, giving you a great chance to see how just how effective this technique is.

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