Instagram hashtags are the best way to reach more followers, increase engagement to your posts and create more attractive post descriptions.
Some people love piling hashtags in their posts and videos, and some avoid them at all costs. But the fact remains that hashtags help you reach more eyeballs with your posts.
In fact, the first thing that pops up in your mind when you think of Instagram, besides captivating photos and videos - is hashtags. The platform is optimized for hashtag usage. So even if you are not a big fan, you better get on board with using them if you want to boost your profile, because hashtags are the main method Instagram sorts and filters content.
This is especially true if you are looking to grow and promote your personal brand or business. However, with 1.16 billion Instagram accounts fighting for users’ attention, getting the spotlight on your content is extremely challenging. Nevertheless, just throwing in several pointless hashtags that come up on top of your mind won’t do the trick. There are some proven best practices for using hashtags that will help you get more attention and engagement for your posts if you follow them carefully.
This is why in this guide, we’ll go over everything you need to know in order to be a pro in using Instagram hashtags.
As we mentioned earlier, hashtags are Instagram’s way of sorting content - they organize all the content by topic and help Instagram understand what your post is about. Every day, around 95 million photos are posted on Instagram. With this amount of content, it’s impossible for Instagram to deliver the right content to the right people.
This is where hashtags play a crucial role - they help your posts to get discovered by people who are interested in the topics connected to your content.
Hashtags play 3 important roles on Instagram:
Before putting any random hashtags on your post, reel or story, you should know there are different types of hashtags that are essential to know, particularly if you are looking to grow your personal or company brand.
In terms of volume and usage, you can use:
It’s recommended that you use a combination of popular and specific hashtags to achieve the best outcome with your content.
Apart from the generic and subject-related hashtags that the majority of people can use, there are special hashtags that have a specific purpose for brands:
Now that we’ve seen why hashtags are important and how they work, let’s dive into some best practices that will help you make the most out of Instagram hashtags.
First of all, let’s tackle the most asked questions among Instagrammers and brands - How many hashtags is best to use? The answer is not straightforward and there are many factors to consider, as well see below.
More and more, Instagram moves towards semantic keyword search, meaning that the words in your post captions or the topics in your videos will become searchable too.
However, despite these developments in the social media platform, experts say that hashtags will remain a relevant and important part of Instagram content in 2022. And if used correctly, they can bring impressive results.
The maximum number of hashtags you can use per post is 30. However, in a recent post on their Creators account, Instagram recommended that people use between 3-5 hashtags per post and that using 10-20 additional hashtags won’t help you get more reach and distribution.
This is surprising, especially when Instagram allegedly told creators to use between 8-15 hashtags last year.
Nevertheless, Instagrammers and brands have different experiences and suggestions as to the appropriate number of hashtags used in different types of content.
To test Instagram’s recommendation, Later analyzed over 18 million Instagram feed posts (excluding Instagram Videos, Reels, and Stories. The takeaway was that the reach rate increases as the number of hashtags grows from one to 30. So for now, using more hashtags is still the best strategy for increasing your reach and engagement on Instagram feed posts.
But how many hashtags are best to use for different types of content? Here are some general tips for how many hashtags you should use in different places on Instagram.
Instagram hashtags can be used in 4 places on Instagram – in Instagram posts, Instagram Stories, on IGTV, and in Reels. Besides including hashtags, this is what brands suggest you can do to make sure you get higher engagement with your content.
Tip: Big brands such as Adidas and Michael Kors have included their branded hashtag in their bio. So, this can be a good indicator as to how many hashtags are best to use in your bio.
Considering that you can use up to 30 hashtags in a post and that you also need to write a captivating caption, you might be wondering where is the right place to put your hashtags.
Experts advise that you can put hashtags in the post caption as well as in the first comment of that post.
Some users choose to put hashtags in a comment so as not to distract readers with a block of hashtags. However, Instagram cuts the caption after the first 2 lines of text, so the hashtags won’t be visible if you write a longer caption. So it comes down to the people’s preference whether to put the hashtags in the caption or in the comment.
The good news is that Instagram doesn’t distinguish between caption hashtags and comment hashtags, so wherever you decide to put your hashtags, they would still have the same effect on users - they would help users find you through them and if they click on a hashtag, they will be taken to that hashtag page.
Apart from using hashtags in your Instagram post, you should also make sure to write killer captions to increase engagement and build stronger relationships with your followers.
If you don’t want to post hashtags in the comments, you can hide them in the caption by:
You can add a line break by placing the text cursor at the end of the caption and hitting Return. Also, you have to add a period, a dash, an asterisk, or a tilde to ensure that that line stays there.
The discovery that you can use up to 30 hashtags in your post may sound amazing at the beginning, but it may also feel overwhelming when you realize that you can’t use the same set of hashtags in all the posts.
In fact, Instagram’s algorithm may penalize you for using the same hashtags over and over again, by pushing your posts down so they don’t show up for those tags. You might even get your account banned, as using identical hashtags may seem like you’re spamming users or make you look like an Instagram bot.
So if you are posting regularly and want to use hashtags to increase your reach, you need to roll up your sleeves and do some research in order to create a nice library of relevant hashtags.
You can later use this library to combine and rotate the hashtags for your posts to increase reach and engagement.
However, how can you exactly find the most suitable and relevant hashtags? Here are some ideas:
Quick tip: When searching, you don't have to include the pound sign (#), your results will be the same with or without it. You will need to use this pound sign in the caption of your post though.
Try to find hashtags with reasonable usage and use those that are not so popular that your post disappears in the ocean of posts. A good starting point is to use hashtags with slightly fewer posts that include photos or videos that are more in line with the content you're posting.
For now, Instagram allows searching one hashtag at once, which leads users to posts, places, accounts, and tagged posts that contain that hashtag. However, there’s an easy workaround you can use if you want to search multiple hashtags on Instagram.
You can also follow hashtags you are interested in in order to be in the loop with the content people post that includes these hashtags.
Bonus: Explore how to create Instagram Guides: Instagram's hidden feature.
As we’ve mentioned, it’s best to include hashtags with moderate usage so your posts have more chances to be seen. This means, using the most popular hashtags may not bring your content to the eyeballs interested in the subject you post about and the wanted engagement.
However, it’s good to know the top-trending hashtags in case you want to keep up with the most popular trends on Instagram. These are the top 100 most popular hashtags on Instagram at the moment:
If you have a business profile on Instagram, you have access to Instagram Insights - analytics and performance statistics beyond those available to ordinary Instagram users. Remember that Instagram Insights is available only to users with a business account.
One of the most helpful features of Instagram Insights is the option to analyze how successful your hashtags have been in increasing the number of views and impressions of your posts.
To find this information, tap on “View Insights” underneath a specific post. In the data, you’ll see the number of impressions for the post, divided by source, including impressions from hashtags.
Note: The insights don’t provide you with the performance of specific hashtags, but they give you a guide to the effectiveness of the overall group of hashtags you used for the post.
Instagram hashtags are a great way to increase the views and engagement of your posts, as well as reach people that are interested in what you post.
Above, we’ve given you some general guidelines to help you use hashtags in your posts, videos, stories and reels. However, the number and type of hashtags you will use will largely depend on your strategy and what you are trying to achieve with your personal or brand account.
For more tips on how to use Instagram hashtags, watch the below video on How to Use Instagram Hashtags for Maximum Exposure: