Hashtag Strategy

Overview

Hashtags allow you to curate your content for your potential followers.

Though this is not the only way of reaching a new audience, it is a necessary pillar of marketing on Instagram and growing your following.

This article is an easy and quick guide to creating the best hashtag strategies and tools for your brand or startup.

Takeaway skills

  • Defining Instagram hashtag strategy
  • Everything you need to know about Instagram Hashtags
  • Reaching new audience with Instagram hashtags
  • Using hashtags in various Instagram posts

We’ll cover the following:

  1. What are Instagram hashtags and how do they work?
  2. Why it is important to define Instagram hashtag strategy?
  3. How does Instagram use hashtags?
  4. Why using too many hashtags can actually hurt your engagement?
  5. What are the top Instagram hashtags?
  6. What are some popular types of Instagram hashtags?
  7. What is the best way to use hashtags on Instagram?
  8. How to find the best Instagram hashtags for your business?
  9. What can be a useful way to search for hashtags?
  10. How to use hashtags in all content formats?
  11. Where to place hashtags on Instagram?
  12. What are the rules for good hashtags?
  13. How to test hashtag effectiveness?
  14. Summary
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The 2022 Guide to Using Instagram Hashtags

If you depend on learnings from How to use hashtags on Instagram in 2021, you may end up impacting your growth negatively.

Some may say hashtags are things of the past but it is vital for your online presence in general.

Tell me the best way to use an Instagram hashtag? In this guide, we will cover what is needed for Instagram and how to avoid using it in the wrong way.

What are Instagram hashtags and how do they work?

Hashtags organize content according to topic allowing Instagram to see what you post. Hashtags are widely used since the start of Twitter.

What makes hashtag usage so widespread in the industry? It's because in the early days of social media it helped people find content easily with a keyword i.e. hashtag.

On Instagram, a topic can easily be searched or clicked by adding a hashtag (#) before any topic.

Instagram hashtag search

Instagram users can not only search but follow hashtags to get the latest on a particular topic they are interested in.

Instagram uses hashtags among other parameters to decide what posts go into the explore page of users.

Basically, Instagram wants to ensure that it only shows relevant content and topics of interest to its users.

They can be added to all types of Instagram content - Posts, Stories, Reels, or Videos.

Even someone who is not following you gets to see your content, if they like it, they may get tempted to visit your account and potentially follow your account.

Why it is important to define Instagram hashtag strategy?

Most Instagram posts are hashtagged. Instagram is a very competitive social channel when it comes to marketing. You may want to use it for branding, growing followers, or just for sales.

According to statistics, Instagram posts with at least one hashtag receive 12.6% more engagement than those without hashtags.

But everything starts with finding the right audience for your brand, product, or service.

Instagram understands the interests of each of its users, you may have already seen that your explore page typically displays content as per your interest.

In this competitive space to attract attention, you need to employ all strategies available to you, and Instagram hashtags are one of the most important.

It is very easy to find hashtags and use them in your content and when properly implemented, hashtags improve attention and engagement in your content.

How does Instagram use hashtags?

Creators and businesses on Instagram want their content to be discovered by other potential followers and customers.

Instagram uses various algorithms and technologies to find relevant content for any particular user. So they look into the post itself - the images or a video, captions, locations, and hashtags to determine what the content is about.

Once Instagram knows more about the content, it then places the content in front of the users based on their preferences and what they want to see and interact with.

Hashtags in particular help Instagram categorize any given content, such as, what industry, niche, or sub-niche it belongs to.

If you create any content and post it, you would like for Instagram to easily catalog it, so the chances of it being shown to relevant users increases.

Why using too many hashtags can actually hurt your engagement?

There was a time hashtags were very important for the discovery of content posted on Instagram. It was the primary way Instagram understood what the content is about.

People were using 30 hashtags (maximum allowed by Instagram) on all their posts and it worked. The idea was to put all relevant hashtags along with trending and popular hashtags so that more and more people can see them.

30 instagram hashtags in caption

But as Instagram has become more intelligent and now uses AI and SEO to understand the content and doesn't rely on hashtags anymore.

If you use non-relevant hashtags in your posts the Instagram algorithm will think you a spamming and that's not a good thing. It will significantly impact your post reach on the platform.

To avoid such situations always use very specific and relevant hashtags, so that Instagram can catalog them better and help your account grow.

What are the top Instagram hashtags?

Below are some of the top hashtags on Instagram,

#instagram #instagood #love #like #follow #photography #photooftheday #instadaily #likeforlikes #picoftheday #fashion #instalike #beautiful #bhfyp #followforfollowback #likes #art #photo #me #followme #smile #happy #insta #nature #style #life #myself #india #likeforfollow #l

The most popular Instagram hashtags are not necessarily the most effective. Keep in mind that the most popular Instagram hashtags aren't always the best.

A lot of people may be following a hashtag if there are a large number of posts, but it also implies that there's a lot of content on it, which means your posts may go unnoticed.

To appeal to a wide range of consumers, Instagram suggests including popular as well as niche hashtags.

What are some popular types of Instagram hashtags?

Below are some notable distinct Instagram hashtags types:

  • Daily hashtags: Every day of the week has plenty of its own trending hashtags, such as #MotivationMonday or #SundayFunday. A simple google search will give you plenty of options.
  • Special holiday hashtags: These refer to all kinds of celebrated days, there are 100s of occasions. We have a free calendar for you to download, just click here.
  • Location hashtags: Generally you should geotag your Instagram post, though you can still use a location-based trending hashtag, like #nycgraffiti or #londonbridge
  • Industry or community hashtags: Your brand or post may be relevant to a specific community and this may help you get those eyes on your post. For example, #artistsoninstagram
  • Product or service-based hashtags: These hashtags are simply to pinpoint the products or services you offer. For example, #blogger or #pizza
  • Niche based hashtags: You can also further narrow down the industry you are serving, like #foodblogger #mentalhealthapp
  • Acronym hashtags: Some hashtags are too big and so acronym-based hashtags are also popular such as #TBT for Throwback Thursday.

What is the best way to use hashtags on Instagram?

Less is more should be your mantra. Generally speaking 3 to 5 hashtags is what is being suggested.

Our suggestion is to not focus on a number of hashtags but think holistically about what you want to achieve.

Better use of instgarma hashtags on Instagram posts

We have talked a good bit about setting up your goals and objectives in this ------------ article.

Let's do a short primer to get a high-level understanding of what you need to do first before coming up with all the hashtags you must use.

What are your goals for using hashtags on Instagram?

Are you looking to increase brand awareness, drive traffic to your website, or get more leads? Hashtags can help you achieve all of these goals, but it's important to tailor your hashtag strategy accordingly.

What is your target audience?

Who are you trying to reach with your Instagram content? Hashtags can help you target specific demographics and interests.

For example, if you're a startup looking to attract tech enthusiasts, you might use hashtags like #tech and #startup. Conversely, if you're a fashion brand targeting women aged 18-34, you might use hashtags like #fashionista and #style.

What industry do you serve?

You may be serving the fashion industry, health, or have a mobile app startup. Your industry is relevant and a relevant hashtag helps Instagram to show your content to the users who would be interested in your content.

What niche do you serve?

Always remember to narrow it down to a very specific group of people. You may be serving the health domain and within that, you may be serving people who are interested in mental health.

In fact, you can go further to a sub-niche where you help young people overcome anxiety issues.

Once you've answered these questions, it's time to start creating hashtags!

How to find the best Instagram hashtags for your business?

Every day hundreds of Instagrams hashtags can be used. To identify a top-quality and relevant hashtag for business, you may be tempted to look only at trending hashtags relating to your business and audience.

As we said before, Instagram primarily use hashtags to categorize your content and your job is to help them do it better.

Think about a set of hashtags that are relevant to your account, these hashtags can be used in all your posts on Instagram.

Then think about hashtags specific to the post itself, these tell Instagram more about the content.

Hashtags relevant to your account

You can look into these as a tree, starting with your industry and going down the chain of niches. Ideally, you'll end up with 2 to 3 common hashtags, you'll be using in all your content.

Let's see an example of a tech startup helping people create more meaningful connections through kindness.

Example: #mobileapp #kindness

Hashtags relevant to your content

Now, the content can be very specific, looking into the example above, it can be about relationships and specifically related to mothers day. So you can then use the following hashtags,

#relationships #mom

Trending Hashtags that are relevant

There may be trending hashtags very relevant to your posts and always use them at the right time, as they may be relevant for just a day or two.

Example: #mothersday

In total, we have 5 hashtags so far and that would help Instagram and you would not look like spam.

Branded Hashtags

There is one more very important hashtag i.e. branded hashtag which you must use. Creating a branded hashtag is no different than Nike using #nike. Come up with your own hashtag, for your brand.

Always use your branded hashtag in all your content, they are unique to your account and will categories all your content under that one hashtag.

Branded hashtags also help when you ask users to generate content for you. It's as simple as asking your followers to use the branded hashtag so that you can repost or share them from your account.

What can be a useful way to search for hashtags?

So, how do you go about finding hashtags on Instagram? Say you run a business that sells products for dogs. Your target market is dog owners.

A great place to start is searching for #dogs on Instagram. The way to do this is to go to your Instagram feed and type "#dogs" into your search bar.

You'll see the dropdown list of similar hashtags, It also includes how many times they have been utilized in posts.

You can also check out the Instagram accounts of individuals in your industry or competitors to discover additional hashtags.

You don't want to choose ones that have too many or too few posts; rather, you should pick a variety of minor-to-medium competition ones that are just proper.

If you use hashtags that are too popular (for example, hundreds of thousands of posts), your content will be overwhelmed by other people's postings and will go unnoticed.

However, if you're utilizing hashtags that are so niche and specialized that they're only mentioned a few times, it's extremely unlikely anyone will search for them.

We recommend that you use Instagram hashtags with under 500,000 posts on them to attract individuals who are genuinely interested in your postings.

Don't hesitate to include some that are 20,000 or fewer — these may be the ideal spot for highly engaged individuals.

How to use hashtags in all content formats?

Hashtags can also be used in a variety of other content formats on Instagram to improve reach, including:

  • Instagram Stories: You can just type in a hashtag as a text overlaying the story or use the sticker provided by Instagram.
  • Instagram Reels: If you have not heard yet, Instagram Reels are the future of the platform and they get tons of engagement, so also use hashtags to help Instagram categorize them and sow them to your potential followers.
  • Shoppable posts: Instagram is big on shopping, so to get your products in front of your target audience, do use hashtags.

Where to place hashtags on Instagram?

You might not want to finish your post with a large number of spammy-looking hashtags if you've spent time creating a fantastic Instagram caption.

As a general rule try to have no more than 5 hashtags and all of them are carefully chosen to be relevant.

You can use the captions themselves to put some hashtags. Either within the caption statement or at the end of it, just do not have too many hashtags.

Also, if you want to put in more hashtags, you can leave them as a comment under your own post. Though we are not sure if it would be much helpful.

On Instagram stories, if you want to hide the hashtags, you can pinch them and make them smaller or hide them under a sticker or a GIF.

What are the rules for a good hashtag strategy?

Keep it short

The ideal hashtag should be less than six characters long, yet you may use up to 30 characters if required. Keep it under 25 as research shows beyond that reduces engagement significantly.

Make sure it's relevant

The last thing you want is for the Instagram algorithm to be uncertain about what your hashtag is intended for.

Use branded hashtags

In all your posts, they provide your account its own unique category within Instagram.

Many companies develop their own hashtags as a method to curate content around a certain event, product, or marketing campaign. The brand can look through the hashtag results pages for user-generated content to repost on its own page.

Be consistent

Always put an effort to use the right hashtags before you post, every little detail counts when AI and algorithm are in play.

Always save hashtags for future use

If you tend to use the same hashtags frequently, create a note with them so you don't have to type them in time and time again.

Instagrumpy has a dedicated template to build and manage hashtag sets.

Don't be too repetitive

Make sure you do not use the same hashtags over and over again and create multiple sets of hashtags for your usage.

Use tools

if you have access to paid social media management tools, some of them do provide you with insights on hashtags used by your target audience along with popular and trending hashtags you can use.

Here are some of the tools you can try,

How to test hashtag effectiveness?

This is where insights and analytics come into play, they help you figure out what's working and what's not.

If you're using an Instagram business profile, you can see how many impressions hashtags have generated for your posts.

  1. Scroll to the post you want to investigate and then tap View Insights below the post on the left.
  2. Scroll all the way up to see how many views and impressions the post has from hashtags.

This statistic can't help you determine which specific hashtag is the most productive. You can only derive that the entire hashtag set you used produced that result.

Which hashtags you should not use?

As a general rule avoid banned or spammy hashtags. You may be wondering what banned hashtags are, they may be the result of inappropriate content becoming associated with a hashtag.

The Instagram algorithm will not increase your reach in such cases and instead may penalize you by restricting your reach altogether.

You can always search for a hashtag to check if the hashtag is banned by Instagram.

You should also avoid spammy hashtags, which may not be banned by Instagram but may trigger the Instagram algorithm to think that your content is spam.

Examples include but are not limited to, #follow4follow, #like4like, #followme, etc.

Summary

Instagram hashtags are incredibly essential in any social media marketing campaign. The feature gained popularity through Twitter and migrated to all other social networking sites.

You may have seen, the 2021 Instagram Hashtag Guide or How to Get More Reach using hashtag strategy. But in 2022 all that has changed, previously Instagram hashtags were make or break and were important to your marketing plans.

But now, you must use them well and Instagram hashtags should add to your Instagram content. Use it properly and you can get your content noticed by those who have an interest in the product you offer.

If you use old tactics and make mistakes, then your account may get hit with serious consequences. To use hashtags on Instagram properly you must understand exactly why they are used.

FAQs

How many hashtags to use on Instagram?

You can use up to 30 hashtags in the regular posts and up to ten hashtags on stories. That said, using an Instagram hashtag is not a necessity. How many hashtags are effective on Instagram?

The consensus is that there should be 3 to 5 hashtags. Eventually, you must test out different hashtags for a better outcome.

How to create an Instagram hashtag strategy?

After you finish searching for your hashtag based on your industry, niche, and brand, you can create a shortlist of possible hashtags for Instagram.

Should you use always use hashtags on Instagram?

When it is relevant for your Instagram posts you must use a hashtag. Sometimes a post may have no hashtags and that is ok too.

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