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A Guide To Instagram Hashtags

A hashtag is a keyword phrase, spelt out with no spaces and a pound/hash sign (#) in front of it.
For example, #nativebirds and #chocolatelovers are both hashtags.

Instagram hashtags are an effective way to get more engagement on your Instagram posts.
A post with at least one Instagram hashtag gets more engagement than posts without a hashtag.
It is really worth creating a hashtag strategy for your brand if you want to grow your account!

Understanding hashtags will help you to get more followers, improve your posts’ engagement rates, and build a community around your business.

  • A hashtag should contain only one word without spaces.

  • No punctuation should be included.

  • Include the hashtag within or after your message.

  • When people with private profiles tag posts, they won’t appear publicly on hashtag pages.
  • Numbers are allowed in hashtags. However, spaces and special characters, like $ or %, won’t work.
  • You can only add hashtags to your own posts. You can’t tag other people’s photos/videos.
  • You can use up to 30 hashtags on a post and 10 on a story.

Hashtag Basics

You can add hashtags in the caption or comments of your post.
If you have a public account and add hashtags to a post, the post will be visible on the corresponding hashtag page.

To tag a photo or video with a hashtag:

  1. Take or upload a photo or video.
  2. Choose to add a filter, then tap Next.
  3. Tap Write a caption… and type # followed by text or emoji (example: #flower).
  4. Tap Share.

If you want to add a hashtag to a post you’ve already uploaded, edit the caption or include your hashtag in a comment on your photo.

After you tag your post with a hashtag, you’ll be able to tap the hashtag to see a page that shows all photos and videos people have uploaded with that hashtag.

Why Instagram Hashtags Are Important

Using relevant, targeted hashtags on your posts and stories is still one of the best ways to get discovered by new audiences on Instagram.
This can translate into more engagement, more followers, and more customers for your business.

Like on Twitter and other social media platforms, Instagram hashtags work by organizing and categorizing photo and video content.

If you have a public Instagram account and add a hashtag to a post, that post will be visible on the corresponding hashtag page (it’s basically a directory of all the photos and videos that were tagged with that hashtag).

Since hashtags are used with an intent to discover content, the right hashtags can put you in front of your target audience, even if they haven’t connected with you before.

For example, a shoe retailer store called Bakers Shoes & More might post a picture of a gorgeous pair of shoes, and then use the hashtags #loveshoes#shoeaddict, and #nzfashion when it’s uploaded to Instagram.
By using these three hashtags, the image is catalogued so other Instagram users who love shoes and fashion can easily find it.

Best Practices

When Should I Use Instagram Hashtags?”
The short answer? As often as possible!
Whenever you share content on Instagram, whether it’s a post or Instagram story, if your goal is to get it seen by as many people as possible, you need to be using Instagram hashtags.

Creating your own hashtag:
All you have to do is include a “#” before any word in your bio and it will automatically become a clickable link that leads visitors to that hashtag.

Post Your Hashtags in the First Comment:
While adding hashtags to your posts is one of the best ways to boost your engagement and get your posts in front of your target audience, too many hashtags in your captions can look untidy (or worse, spammy!).

Instead, posting your hashtags in the first comment is a great way to make your caption the star of the show, without compromising any of the engagement you can get with hashtags.

Run Hashtag-Based Campaigns & Promotions:
Contests structured around user-generated content (UGC) are all the rage, and with good reason: they’re fun, popular, and great for both driving engagement and reaching a new audience.

Create a contest where your followers upload photos on Instagram and tag their post with your branded hashtag.

The Different Types of Instagram Hashtags

Understanding the different types of hashtags and their corresponding audiences is key to developing an effective Instagram hashtag strategy:

#1: Community Hashtags
Community hashtags are hashtags that connect like-minded users around a specific subject.
They’ are a great way to connect with others, improve the searchability of your posts, gain followers, and grow your own community.

Here are 9 different types of community hashtags you can use for your business:

  1. Hashtags indicating your product or service, like #sweater or #coffeeshop
  2. Hashtags indicating your niche in your industry, like #weddingphotographer or #travelphotographer
  3. Hashtags for Instagram communities in your industry, like #bakersofinstagram or #foodiesofinstagram
  4. Hashtags for special events or seasons, like #whiteday or #nationaldonutday
  5. Hashtags using location, like #pastrynyc, #madeintoronto, or #sydneysweets
  6. Daily hashtags, like #mondaymotivation, #tuesdaytip, or #wellnesswednesday
  7. Hashtags with phrases relevant to what you do, like #becreative or #bakerylove
  8. Hashtags with acronyms, like #qotd (quote of the day) or #ootd (outfit of the day)
  9. Hashtags with emojis, like #👟 or #🌞

I recommend using a variety of hashtags on your posts and stories so your posts can reach different communities.

#2: Branded Hashtags
A branded hashtag is a hashtag that’s unique to your company when using Instagram for business.

It can be as simple as your company name, tagline, or the name of one of your products or campaigns. Or it can be a hashtag that has nothing to do with your brand name but everything to do with your brand identity!

While community hashtags are meant to increase the reach of your message, branded hashtags are designed to connect themes for you and your audience. They can be used to promote a campaign or collect user-generated content (UGC).

For example, the “natural” sneaker company @allbirds uses the hashtag #weareallbirds to drive awareness around their brand by giving their followers a place to share relevant content.

How to Find the Best Instagram Hashtags for Your Account

When used correctly, Instagram hashtags can help you grow your reach, get more engagement, and attract more followers.
But in order to be successful with hashtags, you need to be strategic about what hashtags you use and when you use them.

While the most popular hashtags on Instagram have been used millions of times, that doesn’t mean you’re going to get a ton of likes and comments simply by adding #love, #happy, or #dog to your posts.

Instead of using the most popular Instagram hashtags, it’s better to find and use hashtags that are smaller, more niche, and have an engaged audience that’s relevant to your industry.

So, how can you find these cool, creative, and community-oriented hashtags?
The best way is to look and see what Instagram hashtags your audience, competitors, and industry leaders are already using.