Everything you need to know about using hashtags on Instagram

A lot of my clients ask me why hashtags are important when posting on Instagram.

I often answer with this:

Hashtags are to Instagram what SEO is to Google

Without good SEO, or search engine optimisation, your website won’t come up in search engine results.

Without hashtags, your content will not be seen by anyone who doesn’t follow you, which does nothing to grow your business on Instagram.


How to use hashtags on Instagram


How many hashtags to use on Instagram?

You can use up to 30 hashtags, and there’s no reason not to use them all. Most people like to post hashtags as the first comment to keep their posts looking clean but it won’t affect your hashtag effectiveness whether you post your Instagram tags in the caption or as the first comment.

I also recommend having multiple hashtag lists you can alternate to maximise their potential. These should be refreshed every 4 weeks or so as well.


What hashtags to use to get followers?

There are three categories of hashtags and you should always use a mix of the first two, and the third when appropriate.

1. Branded hashtags – these are specific to your business. They might include your business name, products, or promotions you’re running (such as #socialsensebrandrep).

2. Community hashtags – these are less specific to your business and are more generic. Community hashtags are what make you discoverable to a wider audience. Keep it relevant though!

3. Trending hashtags – these are hashtags that are popular at the time of posting. Think along the lines of #valentinesday, #giftsformum, #teachergifts, or #hellospring.

How to search for Instagram hashtags?

Use Instagram’s built-in search function to see what hashtags come up. Find hashtags that are popular – but not too popular (you’ll just get lost in the crowd). Avoid hashtags that have been used more than 1 million times.

I always research competitors as well to see what they’re using. The Plann app has a function where you can suss out what hashtags are working well for your competitors (it’s also an awesome way to store and post your hashtags).

Lastly, you can use other third party hashtag generating apps. I don’t love these as they tend to churn out broad and saturated hashtags, but they can still provide a bit of inspiration.

Also, I have hashtag guides containing hundreds of researched hashtags available here – all you need to do is copy and paste!


Still confused about Instagram hashtags?

Want some more help? With my Hashtags Handled service, I conduct all the hashtag research for you and deliver 3 hashtag lists tailored to your business and industry. Doesn’t get any easier than that! Jump over here to find out more.