instagram hashtags

How to Use Hashtags on Instagram

Strategized hashtags are a critical part of amplifying your content on Instagram and positioning yourself in front of relevant and engaged audiences. Think of them as a built-in search engine or catalog right in the Instagram app – they allow you to categorize your content and make it searchable by keywords (which is something that Instagram marketers have been struggling with for a long time). 

How Do I Know Which Hashtags to Use?

First and foremost, the most important thing is to use hashtags that are somehow relevant to you and your brand. For example, if you’re a fitness business, you wouldn’t use #beautyblogger because it wouldn’t position your content in front of a relevant audience, and therefore would be a waste of a hashtag. 

A good place to start is by analyzing your competitor’s hashtags. Check out what they’re using on their page and consider using 5-10 of the ones you find there (provided they fit the following criteria). 

You’ll also want to type your keywords, location, and niche into the search bar and see which hashtags come up. For example, #BoulderFitness (which has 9.6k posts) would be a great tag for a Boulder-based fitness business to use, whereas #BoulderFitnessBlogger (with 9 posts), is not a good tag to use. 

A good rule of thumb is to use hashtags that have no less than 10k posts tagged, and no more than 500k – and then vary the size within that. Here are some general best practices to follow:

  • Use no more than 5 hashtags that have over 200k posts
  • Don’t use hashtags with under 10k posts unless they are location-specific or specific to an event
  • Vary tags between niche, location, and keywords (i.e. – don’t use 30 location-based hashtags and nothing else)

It’s likely that if a hashtag has less than 10k posts, nobody is looking for that hashtag, therefore nobody will see your post. On the flip side, if a hashtag has more than 500k posts, there are constantly posts being tagged with that same hashtag, which will lead to your post quickly being buried and therefore nobody (or very few people) will see your post.

Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post. We recommend using all 30 in order to increase your reach the most, quickly.  

Where Can I Use Hashtags? 

In-feed is likely the place you see the most hashtags. While you should be using hashtags on your in-feed posts, you can also use them on:

  • Stories (the limit is 10 hashtags here)
  • Reels
  • IGTV

I’ve Heard That Hashtags Don’t Work?

It’s true, hashtags are not a get-you-famous-overnight quick fix solution to becoming Instagram famous. However, hashtags do increase your reach, position your content in front of relevant, interested, and engaged audiences, and ultimately bring in new followers (therefore leads and potential clients) over time. Not only that, but they also help to increase your engagement statistics, meaning that Instagram will rank your content higher in the algorithm.