Instagram hashtags are among the most effective strategies to lead more traffic to your Instagram posts and increase engagement.
They may assist you with reaching your niche target audience, gaining more followers, increasing engagement, and developing a more favorable and distinctive brand identity, if used correctly!
However, if you use Instagram hashtags inappropriately, they may become ineffective and worthless. In fact, they may even damage your whole marketing strategy by annoying your followers or being punished by Instagram's algorithm.
To use Instagram hashtags efficiently, you should first grasp how they function and then formulate a comprehensive strategy.
Picking the proper Instagram hashtags might be challenging and confusing. But don't worry, you don't have to continue with the trial-and-error method anymore.
In this article, we will cover all the aspects of Instagram hashtags, from what they are to best practices and popular Instagram hashtags in 2023.
What is an Instagram hashtag?
A hashtag (e.g., #tbt) is a grouping of letters, numbers, and emoji followed by the # sign. They're used for content categorization and helping users find relevant posts for a specific subject on social media platforms.
It's possible to click on a hashtag. Anybody who searches for Instagram hashtags or taps on one will be directed to a page with all of the content tagged with the hashtag.
Why are Instagram hashtags important?
Instagram's sorting system relies on hashtags. It's challenging for Instagram to properly provide the appropriate content to the relevant users, with about 95 million posts shared every day. Instagram hashtags help in the discovery of your content by people who are likely to be interested.
Instagram hashtags are an excellent method to grow your Instagram following and reach more people. As you use a hashtag, your post will appear on the hashtag's page. This is also valid for Instagram hashtags used in Stories.
Users can also select to follow hashtags, which implies that even if they don't follow you, they may see your post with the specific hashtag in their feed.
Instagram hashtags may help you develop an online community and encourage your target audience to engage with your brand.
For instance, the #ShotOniPhone campaign began as a competition, with iPhone users being encouraged to post their finest shots on Instagram or Twitter, with a chosen few being exhibited on billboards, Apple retail shops, and online after a team of judges reviewed the submissions.
#ShotOniPhone currently has over 24 million posts (to date) on Instagram only and is probably among the most notable UGC campaigns that started an online trend, and it is still one of the most popular Instagram hashtags.
Types of Instagram hashtags
Instagram categorizes hashtags into nine groups:
Hashtags for your product & service: These are simple terms that define your product or service, such as #lipstick or #diner.
Hashtags identifying your niche: These are a little more specialized hashtags indicating your specific work, such as #beautyblogger or #foodphotographer.
Industry-specific Instagram community hashtags: Instagram has communities gathered around specific hashtags like #dancersofinstagram and #bikersofinstagram.
Hashtags for special events or seasons: Both Instagram hashtags for actual holidays or seasons, such as #winterdays, and all National/International X Day celebrations, such as #internationalwomensday or #nationalrunningday.
Hashtags with locations: Besides adding a geotag on your post, you can also use a hashtag that refers to the specific place, such as #belgiumchocolate or #nyclife.
Hashtags of the day: From #MondayMotivation to #SundayFunday, there are many hashtags for every day of the week.
Hashtags that are related to what you do: such as #pizzalove or #stayactive
Hashtags featuring acronyms: The most well-known ones are #tbt #qotd (quote of the day) or #yolo (you only live once).
Hashtags with emojis: It can be a hashtag only with emojis or a combination of words/phrases and emojis.
Best practices for using Instagram hashtags
Including Instagram hashtags in your post is an easy job, and it is a proven way to reach your target audience. But it doesn't mean that you will be successful with your Instagram hashtags as you use the most popular Instagram hashtags or as much as you want.
That's why we have gathered best practices about how to use Instagram hashtags properly for you.
#1 Use Instagram hashtags in every post
Adding only a couple of words can make a significant difference in your engagement and followers. You can think of Instagram hashtags as a must-have for every single of your posts and Stories.
You should also focus on picking more niche and specific Instagram hashtags, as the fewer postings that a hashtag has, your content has a better chance to stand out. Also, people tend to engage with your post if the topic is narrower.
#2 How many Instagram hashtags you should use
Instagram puts a limit to the number of hashtags you can include in a single post to 30 and 10 for Stories. Your post will not be published if it contains more than 30 hashtags.
Half of the Instagram users include one to three hashtags to their posts, while the average is eleven. The magic number depends on your marketing goals and objectives. But as we have said before, more Instagram hashtags don't always imply better.
Instagram advises its users not to use more than three to five hashtags for each post.
If you still think that you need to use more Instagram hashtags for a specific post, you can also add them as a comment under the post. Don't worry; there is no difference between using Instagram hashtags in the caption or the comment for Instagram's algorithm.
After you write your caption and publish your content, go to the published post and add your hashtags as a comment. Unless your audience opens the comment section, they will be fully concealed.
If you don't want to post Instagram hashtags in the comments area, there is no need to be concerned.
You may either;
- write a caption that is longer than three lines
-add 3-5 empty lines with punctuation.
If you want to use the line break method, simply put the text cursor at the ending of your caption and click "Return." If you don't use punctuation, Instagram can interpret it as an unintentional excess space and erase the line breaks after publishing your content.
#3 Monitor which Instagram hashtags work best
When you switch to an Instagram business profile, you'll have access to post insights, which show you the volume of impressions you got from hashtags.
You can monitor this data for every single post by clicking "View Insights" under the post on the left. You will see a section for hashtags under impressions.
#4 Avoid banned Instagram hashtags
Instagram could restrict a hashtag if it gets connected with undesirable content.
This doesn't imply that you can't use it. Instead, when an Instagram user clicks on the tag, they will only see the top posts, and they won't be able to see any recent content or Stories.
The only way to find whether a hashtag is banned is to look it up when using it. Once you search for the hashtag, you will see the notification below;
If this is the case for your Instagram hashtags, you should avoid using them as they can harm your overall engagement.
You should also not include Instagram hashtags that blatantly beg for likes and followers like #follow4follow, #instantfollow, #followme, #like4like, #tagsforlikes.
If you use these kinds of hashtags, you can draw bots, spammers, and people who actually have any interest in engaging with you. Further, it will surely damage your brand identity as your brand itself will look like a spammer.
#5 Avoid using repetitive hashtags
Many companies prepare a long list of Instagram hashtags and basically copy-paste them under every post they publish. But this is a huge mistake.
It is clearly explained in Instagram's community guidelines that posting repetitive content or comments is no good. In fact, Instagram's algorithm might penalize your content if you use the same hashtags for each post.
Even worse, they may block your account since using repetitive hashtags may appear to be spamming users — or acting like an Instagram bot.
The solution is #becreative! Instead of using the same Instagram hashtags, you can look for more specific and niche hashtags related to your topic.
#6 Support your hashtag strategy by posting at the right time
You can boost the visibility of your tagged content by posting it when your audience is more likely to be online on Instagram. We have a detailed blog about when is the best time to post on Instagram. You can check it for detailed information.
On the other hand, it can be hard for you to be online when you need to post on Instagram. Thankfully, with Circleboom Publish, you can easily schedule Instagram posts for a specific time in the future.
Circleboom Publish can help you focus on more strategic tasks like finding the right Instagram hashtags for your brand by handling the operational workload. You can schedule all your Instagram posts for the week in one sit regarding the best times to post on Instagram.
How to use Instagram hashtags for business?
Instagram hashtags can help businesses reach out to their target audience more efficiently, boost their visibility, build a loyal community around their brand and eventually increase their sales.
Keep up with the guide below to discover more about how to use Instagram hashtags for business.
#1 Boost your visibility & exposure
The most significant reason to use Instagram hashtags is to boost visibility and discoverability. When you click on Instagram hashtags, you'll get a collection of the top and most recent posts that feature the hashtag.
You can then go through all of the relevant posts, making hashtags an excellent method for users already interested in a specific topic which is your target audience. This implies that if you add the proper and most relevant Instagram hashtags for your business, those postings will be found by people looking for the hashtag.
Your audience may also be encouraged to use branded hashtags to share their experiences with your brand for brand advocacy. Let's move on to the second objective to discover this idea in detail.
#2 Encourage audience engagement
As you use branded Instagram hashtags and encourage your audience to use them, you're creating a new type of interaction. While stories with hashtags are shown for 24 hours, tagged feed posts are preserved in search results. So, you can think of the Instagram hashtags strategy as a way of creating a new way for engagement and building a loyal community.
One of the most popular ways to encourage your audience to use branded Instagram hashtags is User Generated Content (UGC). This was the key strategy used in #ShotOniPhone by Apple. They encouraged their audience to share content with the specific branded hashtag by offering them a chance to be shown on billboards and retail shops.
You can also check Ikea's success with User Generated Content for inspiration.
#3 Discover new content ideas
Hashtags can help you explore different content ideas in the same way that SEO keyword research might. Let's say that you are in the sportswear business. But it can be hard to gain good visibility in the sportswear #hashtag since it has been used in over 6.9 million postings.
Nevertheless, you may use the Top tab to discover what the most popular posts have in particular, like a source of inspiration. You can find out what appears to be working for other brands in your sector; do they use a specific style or caption that's popular right now?
More, you might be able to identify more Instagram hashtags that are less popular but just as important to your target audience. Instead of pushing your limits and spending your efforts to get visibility in a more competitive arena, you can go for narrower Instagram hashtags.
#4 Analyze your competitors
Instagram hashtags can help you analyze your brand's share of voice on the platform. There's a good chance that your hashtags and those of your competitors may intersect. In an optimum share of voice scenario, your postings and those tagged by your audience make up the majority of the hashtagged posts.
You can also spot where your brand performs poorly compared to your competitors and develop specific Instagram hashtags strategies.
Which hashtags are trending on Instagram?
Instagram, unlike Twitter, does not give a list of trending hashtags. Nevertheless, when you search for a hashtag on Instagram, you can check how many posts have that hashtag. It also provides you a list of additional popular Instagram hashtags with similar terms with post counts.
If you monitor your Instagram feed carefully, you'll be able to detect trending Instagram hashtags as they surface. But you should only use trending Instagram hashtags if they resonate with your brand and the content.
We have also gathered a list of top trending Instagram hashtags for you below. But keep in mind that every brand is unique, and every content has its own story. It is definitely harder to stand out between posts with trending Instagram hashtags. If you use trending Instagram hashtags, always try to include at least one niche hashtag.
Trending Instagram Hashtags:
What hashtags get the most likes on Instagram?
According to information from the Instagram analytics tool, All Hashtag, here is a list of the greatest Instagram hashtags for likes.
- #like4like (not suggested)
- #followme (not suggested)
- #follow (not suggested)
But even though they are the most popular Instagram hashtags, as we have said before, avoid using spam-like hashtags such as #like4like, #followme, #follow. Also, always check before use if the Instagram hashtags are banned.
How to search for Instagram hashtags?
The reality is you might use one of the various Instagram hashtag generators to get many free hashtag suggestions for your post. However, these ideas will not be as strategic and unique for the brand as they should be.
Instead of using the Instagram hashtag generator tool, first, you can try the suggestions below for a more effective hashtag strategy for your brand.
#1 Use the Related Hashtags feature
This is an excellent method to uncover Instagram hashtags that are a little narrower than the popular Instagram hashtags you were looking for. As a result, you'll reach a more niche audience in a less competitive arena.
#2 See which Instagram hashtags your competitors are using
While we don't suggest you copy your competitors' tactics exactly, you can use them for inspiration, and they can provide you with a starting point.
Even if you don't use the same Instagram hashtags, you can search for them to see similar ones which are also suitable for your brand and content.
#3 Check out your audience's preferences
As your aim with Instagram hashtags is to reach out to your target audience, you can trace your existing audience's preferences. After all, if your followers are already using a hashtag, it's likely that others who are similar to them are as well.
You should monitor your most loyal community to discover what Instagram hashtags they use. Instagram's search feature may provide you with extra info about the hashtags your followers are interested in. As you search for a hashtag on Instagram using a mobile device, the search tool will inform you whether someone you follow also uses that hashtag.
#4 Create your own hashtag from scratch
It may look like the hard way, but the results of creating your own branded Instagram hashtags can be outstanding. You can think of the hashtag as your brand's motto, or you can create a new one to promote an upcoming product line or an event.
You can also use your Instagram hashtag in your bio section and highlight it in your captions and Instagram Stories to create a buzz around it. You can encourage your audience to use your own Instagram hashtags with small contests or user-generated content.
This Instagram hashtags strategy may also help you increase your audience's loyalty to your brand.
Don't forget to follow your own Instagram hashtags so that you can monitor their performance.
Even though Instagram hashtags are usually a word or two, they are the ones making the difference. For this reason, you need to build your own Instagram hashtags strategy by following the proper steps.
One last reminder is that be careful about the popular and trending Instagram hashtags. Their volume might be appealing for you, but always keep in mind that your brand has its own unique voice and identity. The key is finding the relevant audience to increase your engagement & followers and boost your visibility.