It’s clear that Instagram hashtags are an important part of the platform, judging by the multiple hashtags used on most posts. But do they really make a difference, or are they mostly for show?
Data shows that Instagram posts with 11 or more hashtags get the most interaction, and even including just one hashtag can yield 29% more interactions than posts that don’t include any. Therefore, using hashtags on Instagram can help you build a community of engaged followers and boost your marketing strategy.
In this detailed guide, we cover the following Instagram hashtag must-have information:
- Benefits of Instagram Hashtags
- Types of Instagram Hashtags
- How to Use Instagram Hashtags to Get Results
- Best Instagram Hashtags to Use Right Now
- More Resources on Instagram Marketing
The Benefits of Instagram Hashtags
Screenshot from @chanelofficial via Instagram
In case you’re on the fence about whether to use Instagram hashtags in your posts, consider the following benefits that Instagram’s top experts and influencers agree with.
They Attract an Audience
Building an Instagram following organically can be difficult, as the algorithm favors engagement. With little to no audience, it’s challenging to get engagement. However, Instagram hashtags increase your organic reach, allowing others to discover your profile based on their interests and the relevant Instagram hashtags they follow.
When you use some of the most popular Instagram hashtags, your posts are more likely to show up when users search for them, which can help boost your visibility. That said, make sure you’re using relevant hashtags rather than just tacking on popular hashtags in an effort to game the algorithm.
They Increase Engagement
When your follower count increases, so can your engagement because more people will see your posts in their feeds, even when you don’t use hashtags. Use hashtags as an integral part of your Instagram growth strategy to build an audience and yield better engagement.
Hashtags can also boost engagement on their own by finding people with like interests who might be inclined to start conversations on your posts.
They Can Build Brand Awareness
Screenshot from @lays via Instagram
Draw awareness around your brand by using a few hashtags that relate to your mission and niche. Opt for highly relevant hashtags that your ideal audience will be searching for if they wanted to discover a brand like yours.
Instagram hashtags also have the power to create a community around your brand or niche. Once you start learning what hashtags bring in your ideal audience, you can keep using those hashtags to strengthen your community.
Creating hashtags that are exclusive to your brand and not likely to be associated with another company or topic is a great way to boost brand awareness and engagement. You can create custom hashtags for product launches, giveaway posts on Instagram, events you’re hosting, or your brand as a whole to generate interest and promote your products and services.
They Categorize Posts
Brands often add different types of posts to their feeds, like video clips, informational carousels, or shoppable posts. Use Instagram hashtags to categorize them by type, which could help your audience find the posts they’re most interested in. Hashtags can also give a bit more information about a post to people who might not be as familiar with your brand yet.
They Help You Research
You don’t have to use Instagram hashtags yourself to notice the benefits. They can also be useful tools for competitor analysis or product research.
Search hashtags that competitors in your niche would likely use to see what they’re posting and keep up with their latest offerings to inspire ways to make your brand even better. Do the same for products and services from competitors to help your newest creations stand out. There are also various tools you can use to find your competitors and analyze their Instagram accounts, including social media listening tools and tools designed to help you identify users within a niche and discover the hashtags and types of content they’re posting.
They Help You Participate in Conversations and Trends
Want to join in important conversations or the latest trends? You can do that easily by including popular hashtags in your Instagram posts. Doing so is especially helpful if your business is in a niche that doesn’t typically start a lot of trends itself, like finance or insurance.
Types of Instagram Hashtags
We can split Instagram hashtags up into categories based on how Instagram users typically use them. Depending on your goal for each Instagram post, you can decide which types of Instagram hashtags might work best to increase engagement and awareness.
Screenshot of #realestate via Instagram
Industry hashtags are those usually used by companies in a specific sector, like insurance, real estate, or bloggers. Using industry hashtags can help Instagram learn what your business is about and what industry it falls into. These are more for Instagram’s algorithm than anything else, as industry hashtags are usually more competitive than others. For example, #realestate has more than 75 million posts on the platform.
Niche or Interest Hashtags
Niche or interest hashtags are those that indicate a specific interest. They’re a bit more specific than industry hashtags and are, therefore, less competitive. For example, #realestatemarketing has about 1 million posts, compared to the 75 million posts of #realestate as an industry hashtag. Other examples of niche or interest hashtags include #familyphotography, #beautytools, and #fitnessblogger.
When you run a marketing campaign, including a campaign hashtag can help you track it and bring awareness to it. These hashtags are specific to your campaign, so partnered influencers may also use them to promote it. Use these hashtags when running a giveaway or contest relating to your campaign. Other users can also join in by sharing the hashtag with their posts. Some examples of successful campaign hashtags include #ShareACoke by Coca-Cola, #IceBucketChallenge by ALS Association and #ShareYourEars by Disney.
Trending hashtags on Instagram are those that are currently trending on the platform. Using trending hashtags can be an excellent way to hop on those trends, but the hashtags you use should still be relevant to your niche and posts. Check your Instagram Explore page to see the top posts that Instagram curated for you. Then, look at the hashtags those posts use to find hashtags that might be currently trending in your niche.
Screenshot of #shareacoke via Instagram
Branded hashtags, like #ShareACoke (Coca-Cola) and #TodaysTopHits (Spotify), are created by brands to enhance brand awareness. The brands often share posts using these hashtags, and Instagram users chime in with their own posts. Branded hashtags build a sense of community and engagement. To encourage others to use your brand hashtag, add it to marketing materials, emails, and social posts for more visibility.
Location hashtags can pull in audiences from specific geographic areas, which can help brands build awareness in a targeted location. Photographers, lawn care specialists, fitness trainers, and other service-focused brands and entrepreneurs use these hashtags to draw in customers from their area. #NewYorkBraider, #TorontoTattoo, and #OhioRestaurants are good examples.
Seasonal or Celebratory Hashtags
Instagram posts that relate to seasonal, holiday, or limited-time celebratory events can use hashtags like #InternationalWomensDay, #SummerLook, or #HalloweenCountdown to promote time-targeted events or campaigns. For example, Dooped Donuts used the #NationalDonutDay hashtag to piggyback on the popularity of the holiday while also celebrating the opening of its new location.
7 Tips: How to Use Instagram Hashtags to Get Results
To get the most out of using Instagram Hashtags, you need to know how to use them to achieve the results you want, like more engagement, brand awareness, or audience growth.
- Use the Ideal Number of Instagram Hashtags
Screenshot from @lepetitmouse via Instagram
The rules on how many Instagram hashtags are best for growing your audience and increasing engagement have changed a lot as the algorithm updates. So, we scoured the research to find out how many Instagram hashtags it takes to see the best results.
According to this post from Instagram’s @creators account, users should limit the number of hashtags they use to 3-5 per post. However, Later’s deep dive into Instagram hashtags found that posts using 20 hashtags had the best reach rates, with those using 30 hashtags (the maximum allowed) close behind. But other data from Socialinsider reports that posts with 3-4 hashtags get the highest engagement per impression rates.
What none of this data shows is the kind of hashtags each post used and what their overall strategy was for their hashtags. Nor does the data report on the industry, niche, etc. of the posts.
What does this mean for you? You’ll need to experiment to determine how many hashtags to use and what hashtags work best. Eventually, you’ll hit your stride with the perfect hashtag blend.
Be sure to use just 1-2 high-competition hashtags (those with more than 500,000 posts) and the rest low-competition hashtags (those with fewer than 500,000 posts).
- Learn How to Research Your Best Instagram Hashtags
Possibly the best way to research hashtags you should use on Instagram is to look at your competitors. Find popular accounts in your niche and see which hashtags they’re using to increase their engagement. Then, use variations of those hashtags that are as relevant to your business as possible.
You can also search on Instagram for keywords your business uses to find hashtags using those keywords. Do the same on Google to find relevant phrases and words that you could incorporate into your strategy.
- Avoid Reusing the Same Hashtags
Instagram has been known to penalize accounts in its algorithm when they consistently use the same hashtags, too many hashtags, or irrelevant hashtags, as this can come across as spammy. While it’s okay to use your favorite or most relevant hashtags occasionally, avoid using them on every post.
Instead, keep a long list of all of your best-performing hashtags, perhaps in a spreadsheet organized by category. Then, pull from that list as needed, choosing only the most relevant hashtags for your post. Additionally, keep up on your research strategy to continue finding more hashtags to add to posts.
- How to Place Instagram Hashtags
Instagram hashtags are for more than just post captions. You can also place hashtags in your post’s first comment slot to keep them out of your caption altogether. Some users prefer this placement to keep their captions clean and concise.
Or, add hashtags to your Instagram Stories. Just like posts, Stories can show up in hashtag search results, so it’s a good way to expand your reach. Some Instagrammers hide multiple hashtags behind a sticker so that they don’t clutter the Story.
- Following Instagram Hashtags
When you find Instagram hashtags that you want to use or hashtags that can assist your competitive research, follow them. To do this, tap or search a hashtag to follow. At the top of the hashtag page, tap Follow.
Now, select posts from that hashtag will appear in your feed, just like posts from accounts you follow. As your hashtag strategy changes, you can follow more hashtags or unfollow specific hashtags that no longer fit your brand.
- Creating a Brand Hashtag
Screenshot of #heretocreate via Instagram
A branded hashtag is one that your business creates to promote a campaign or bring awareness to your brand, such as Adidas’ #heretocreate campaign. To make one, all you need to do is start using it.
Remember, you’re not limited to putting your branded hashtag in your post captions. You can also include it in comments on other posts, replies to your post comments, or in Instagram Stories. Be sure to use the hashtag across your other social media channels, too, if it fits your purpose.
- Analyzing Your Hashtags
Are the hashtags you’re using working to build your audience and grow your brand awareness? You can find out by using Instagram’s built-in analytics.
To use it, open a post you’d like to evaluate. Then, tap View Insights. Scroll down to the Impressions section to find how many impressions came from your hashtags. Do the same with other posts, taking note of the hashtags you’ve used in posts that are performing better based on impressions and engagement.
The Best Instagram Hashtags to Use Right Now
Screenshot of #instadaily via Instagram
The best Instagram hashtags for you to use are those that are hyper-relevant to your business. However, it can also be helpful to add a few popular and trending hashtags into your posts or comments to get more eyes on your Instagram account.
If getting more likes on your post is your goal, use hashtags like #like4like, #instadaily, #instalike, and #photography. These are some of the best for quick likes, which increases your engagement.
Businesses can also use #business, #businessminded, #businessowner, and relevant business hashtags to find other entrepreneurial-minded accounts. These hashtags can assist in building a community of business owners and can be especially beneficial for B2B business owners.
Finally, think about using some hashtags that can pull in potential customers to increase sales. These are hashtags like #fitnessfashion, #homestorage, and #productivitysoftware that target specific interests and people interested in searching for relevant products or services.
More Resources on Instagram Hashtags
Now that you know the basics of Instagram hashtags, how to use them, and how to find them, explore these additional resources to dive deeper into using these helpful words and phrases:
- Instagram’s Help Center for Hashtags (Instagram)
- The Marketer’s Guide to Instagram Hashtags (ShareThis)
- How Do I Use Hashtags on Instagram? (Facebook)
- Top Instagram Hashtags in 2022 (Shopify)
- How to Create a Business Hashtag (Facebook)
Now that you’re a master of Instagram hashtags, you’re ready to start growing and engaging your audience.
Beyond all of that, if you’re looking for even more ideas on how to grow your Instagram following, we’ve also created a series of free Instagram resources, including: our guide to the Instagram character limit, our guide on how to share a post on Instagram, and our guide to creating a great Instagram profile picture.
Install the Instagram follow button on your blog or website to boost your Instagram following effortlessly. It’s easy to install and free to use. Best of all, all it takes is a single click for visitors to follow your Instagram profile.