Instagram hashtags can make or break your marketing strategy on Instagram. If you use them properly, your posts will be seen by more people who are likely to be interested in your products or brand.
However, if you use the incorrect one, you can cause harm, from annoying potential followers to being penalized by Instagram’s algorithm.
To use hashtags effectively on Instagram, you must first understand how they work and devise a strategy.
What exactly are hashtags on Instagram?
A hashtag is a string of letters, numbers, and/or emoji followed by the symbol # (for example, #NoFilter). They are used to organize content and make it easier to find.
Hashtags can be clicked. Anyone who clicks on an Instagram hashtag or conducts an Instagram hashtag search will be directed to a page that displays all of the posts that have that hashtag in them.
How many hashtags am I allowed to use on Instagram?
The maximum number of hashtags you can use is thirty.
The average is eleven, and half of Instagram accounts use one to three. Depending on your Instagram marketing goals, you can use more or less. More does not always imply better. Instagram actually recommends that users use no more than three to five hashtags per post.
Should I include hashtags in all of my Instagram posts?
Yes! You absolutely should.
Choose hashtags that are as specific or niche as possible. The fewer posts a hashtag has, the more likely you are to be seen by those who follow them. Furthermore, people are more likely to engage with your post if the subject matter is highly specific.
Why use Instagram hashtags?
Hashtags are an important way to increase your Instagram audience and reach. When you use a hashtag, your post will appear on the page for that hashtag. If you use a hashtag in your Story, it may be included in the relevant hashtag Story, which also appears on the hashtag page.
People can also choose to follow hashtags, which means they may see your hashtagged post in their feed even if they do not follow you (yet).
Instagram hashtags can be a great way to build an online community and motivate people to interact with your brand. For example, as people’s workout habits shifted in 2020, Nike Los Angeles used the #playinside hashtag to highlight locals getting active at home.
How many hashtags should I use on Instagram?
A regular post can have up to 30 hashtags, and a Story can have up to 10 hashtags. If you try to include more, your comment or caption will not be posted.
That being said, just because you can use that many hashtags on Instagram doesn’t mean you should. There is no optimal number of hashtags for each business or even for each post by the same business.
The general consensus is that 11 hashtags are a good place to start. However, the most common hashtag count on Instagram is between 1 and 3.
You’ll need to experiment to see what works best for your specific business.
Instagram Hashtag Hide
You may not want to end your Instagram post with a prominent collection of hashtags if you’ve spent time crafting a great caption. Fortunately, there are a few simple ways to hide your hashtags.
In order to hide Instagram hashtags in a comment, follow these steps:
Write your caption normally, but leave out the hashtags.
To leave a comment after your post has been published, simply click the speech bubble icon under your post.
In the comment box, type or paste the hashtags you want to use, then tap Post.
Your hashtags will not be visible on mobile unless a user selects View all comments. However, your comment will remain at the top of the page on desktop, so this trick is more effective if you are targeting a mobile audience.
Instagram Hashtags for Business
Organize your hashtags.
You can use Excel or an Instagram analytics tool to create an effective hashtag system. If you use an excel sheet, you’ll have to manually keep track of which hashtags you use, how frequently, and which ones correlate to your most popular posts. You’ll notice relationships between certain hashtags and your most popular posts over time, which can help you decide which hashtags work best for your brand.
When you get more advanced, I highly recommend using a tool to track the data. When you’re posting three times per day and using about 20 hashtags per post, a manual system can become overwhelming.”
Determine your magical number.
The point is, you won’t know how many hashtags work best for you until you test them. For HubSpot, it took the team several months to find the best number, and during our trial period, we ranged from seven to thirty. Allow yourself the same latitude for trial and error.
Narrow down your hashtags.
There are two major reasons why more specific, smaller-volume hashtags are better for your brand: First, you can compete in a smaller pool. HubSpot, for example, does not typically use the hashtag #marketing because it is too broad. When you search #marketing, you’ll find images of restaurants, inspirational quotes, before-and-after hairstyle photos, and memes.
The randomness of the marketing leads me to the second reason specific hashtags are a good idea: as a user, I’m more likely to find what I need if I search for something specific, and when your business comes up for my specific search request, I’m more likely to be satisfied with what I found.
“Keeping a hashtag relevant to your brand’s interests is extremely beneficial. We try to use hashtags that are specific to a topic and then narrow it down further — for example, if our marketing post was mostly about SEO, we’d use #SEOTips.”
Consider this: #dogs is more popular, but it has a broad demographic. If I search #goldenretrieverpuppies and come across your post, I’m more likely to interact with it because it’s exactly what I’m looking for.
Look at what other people are hashtagging.
Make a list of your followers or competitors and research what they’re hashtagging on their own photos for inspiration. It can also be beneficial to investigate what hashtags influencers in your industry are using — by definition, influencers have a large social media following, so they must be doing something right.
Try out some related hashtags.
When you type a hashtag into Instagram’s search bar, it displays related hashtags in the scroll-down menu. After you click on a hashtag, Instagram will show you related hashtags on the next page. This is a quick way to generate a larger list of hashtags to experiment with.