Instagram hashtags can decide the fate of a marketing strategy, as they are what experts call organic reach boosters. If you harness their power and use them accurately, your content will reach the right audience and attract potential followers and clients.
But embed the wrong ones, and you will lose potential followers and invite the wrath of the Instagram algorithm. Therefore, you must find out how to use hashtags effectively, how they work, and their role in a social media marketing strategy.
Fortunately, this comprehensive guide can help you with that. Here you’ll learn every possible thing about Instagram hashtags, including their types, their correct placement for better exposure, etc. So, let’s get right to it, shall we?
What are Instagram Hashtags?
An Instagram hashtag is a phrase, keyword, or combination of characters with a “#” symbol before it. Their basic purpose is to categorize the content and make it more discoverable for the relevant audience. For instance, if you embed #blacklivesmatter in your post, the Instagram algorithm will ensure that it reaches the people interested in this particular tag.
Moreover, Instagram hashtags are clickable, and let’s say if you click on #instagood, you will see all the posts tagged with this hashtag. The platform also allows users to follow hashtags, so they can see the latest content about topics they like.
Why Use Instagram Hashtags?
Instagram hashtags are the key to increasing your content’s organic reach and expanding your network on the platform. By using relevant hashtags in your posts, stories, and reels, you can ensure that they reach your target audience and gain more views. Let’s take an example here.
Suppose you’re a small business owner who sells t-shirts or a fitness influencer running a gym. Now, if you embed relevant hashtags in your posts, they will eventually reach the feed of people interested in t-shirts or fitness. This means more exposure and potential clients for you!
Instagram hashtags are also great for building community, as people can follow them to check up on the latest content. Ergo, if someone follows your hashtag, he will see all the posts with that tag on his feed.
To sum it up, you should use Instagram hashtags because they can:
- Boost content reach
- Expand social network
- Build community
- Establishing online presence
Popular Hashtags on Instagram
Here’s a list of hashtags that are pretty much always trending on the platform.
Remember that these might be the most popular hashtags, but they might not go well with your posts. Imagine embedding #fashion in your fitness posts – it won’t make any sense, nor will it reach the right audience. The best way is to embed niche hashtags in your posts, so they can reach the interested audience and help achieve desired goals.
Types of Instagram Hashtags
Instagram hashtags are divided into fundamental categories based on their function. Here’s a brief account of some types.
1. Industry Hashtags
These hashtags are used to show your relation to an industry. For example, if you are a wedding planner, the industry hashtags for your account would be #weddingideas, #instagwedding, etc.
2. Niche hashtags
Niche hashtags are a bit more specific and relate to the sub-category of your primary industry. For example, the main industry in the previous example was the wedding, but this time you have to specify your niche. Like #weddingphotography, #weddingcake, etc.
3. Branded Hashtags
A branded hashtag is a tag a business owner creates to promote his brand directly. For instance, famous brands like Zara and Coca-Cola use hashtags #Zarabeauty and #ShareACoke, respectively, to engage the audience and promote their business.
4. Community Hashtags
Community hashtags define your association with a particular social movement, public class, or ideology. Their prominent examples are #feminist, #supermom, #Marxist, etc.
5. Descriptive Hashtags
These hashtags are used to describe the basic nature of your content and invoke a particular sentiment in the audience. For example, when you embed a hashtag like #beautiful, the viewer subconsciously associates your post with the word beauty and gets attracted to it. Its other prominent examples are #cute, #aesthetic, #fun, etc.
6. Location Hashtags
As the name suggests, these hashtags are used to tell the audience about your location. For example, #bakesandcakesnewjersy, #portlandcraftgin, etc.
How to Find the Best Hashtags for Your Post?
So far, we have established that the key to the effective use of Instagram hashtags is embedding the appropriate and trending tags. But now the question is, how exactly do you find them? Well, here are a couple of ways you can use to find the appropriate and relevant hashtags for your Instagram posts.
1. Use Instagram Explore Page
The Instagram explore page is where you see all the top posts regarding your niche and the topics you keenly follow. Now, this makes it a perfect place for conducting a tag search.
Simply open the most attractive and highly-liked posts on the page and note down their tags. Later, embed the most relevant ones to your posts so they can also get on Instagram explore page and get discovered by the audience.
2. Check Your Competitors and Influencers
Keep a close eye on your competitors and influencers to see what hashtags they are using to attract the audience. It will allow you to explore new hashtags and see where you are falling short. This competitor analysis will also enable you to develop a counter-marketing strategy to attract the audience to your account.
3. Use Branded Hashtags
Create a branded hashtag specifically for your business or account to expand its reach and fan following. It’s a great way to stand apart from the crowd and create your distinct identity. Simply create a branded hashtag and embed it in your posts and account bio to let the audience know about it.
Now, the next part is to generate some buzz around your hashtag. For that, you can hold contests, virtual events, or giveaways, so people use the branded hashtag to get your attention. Also, follow your own hashtag to monitor the activity on it and see if it’s a success or not.
4. Check Your Audience
Keep a close eye on your audience and see what hashtags they are currently using. Doing so will give you an idea of the audience’s interest and a chance to extract the top hashtags that they use the most. Now, it doesn’t mean that you have to go through thousands of accounts in search of hashtags.
Just observe the recent posts of your top followers, and shortlist the hashtags that resonate with your niche. Use them in your posts later to target the audience perfectly.
5. Follow Hashtags
Follow the most popular hashtags in your niche to stay updated and keep an eye on the latest tags. This will not only allow you to discover newly emerged hashtags but learn new content ideas as well. To follow a hashtag, simply click on it, and once the page is open, click on the blue “Follow” button.
How Many Hashtags Can You Use?
Instagram allows you to embed up to 30 hashtags in posts and ten hashtags in stories. Exceed this number, and the platform won’t allow you to publish the content. However, having this liberty does not mean that you have to exercise it till the very last digit. It means that experts suggest embedding only 1 to 3 hashtags most relevant to your content.
Some also say that going up to 11 hashtags is good for more engagement. So, what exactly is the ideal number? Well, the truth is that there isn’t one. But you can shortlist the top hashtags and experiment with each to determine whether to use them or lose them. Doing so will give you a pretty good idea of which hashtags work well for your account.
Where and How to Use Instagram Hashtags?
So now that we have seen how to find the best hashtags, it is time to learn how to embed them properly. Here are some best practices for embedding hashtags in your Instagram content for better exposure and engagement.
1. Using Hashtags on Captions
A caption describes the content of your Instagram post or reel and plays a vital role in explaining the idea. Remember to add hashtags in the first line of a caption to emphasize the keywords and spike the audience’s interest.
Adding them in the first line is essential because Instagram hides the rest of the caption after 125 characters. Make sure that you only embed tags that are relevant to your brand and describe the content perfectly. This way, your posts and videos will be discovered by the target audience and gain more exposure and engagement.
2. Using Hashtags on a Comment
Experts also recommend adding your main hashtag to the first comment of a post or reel. It is not so different from adding tags in the caption, as it generates the same positive results. However, many veterans prefer it because comments boost exposure quickly as they are noticed by the audience more often.
Also, the caption has a limit of 150 characters, so you have to embed hashtags carefully. But in the comments, you can go all out and embed several hashtags in multiple comments. Therefore, remember to add your main hashtag (preferably branded hashtag) in the first comment, so the people follow it and get the latest posts from your side.
3. Using Hashtags in Stories
Studies show that Instagram users prefer watching stories to get updates about their favorite brands or influencers. Hence, it’s important that you embed hashtags in stories, so they boost your overall engagement rate. Now, there are two ways to add hashtags to a story.
Either you can use a hashtag sticker, which is more attractive and aesthetic. Or you can simply type the hashtag using the text tool. No matter what way you choose, just ensure to add the right hashtags and get more story views for maximum public exposure.
4. Does using Hashtags on Account Profile Work?
Yes! Adding hashtags to your Instagram profile works. See, when you add a prominent hashtag in your bio, the algorithm puts your account in a specific category.
For instance, if you add “#Marxist” in your bio, the next time someone clicks on this hashtag, most of your posts will appear on the hashtag page. Ergo, adding hashtags in your profile improves the visibility and exposure of your overall account, which is something to aim for.
5. Avoid using Banned Hashtags
Banned hashtags are the ones that get associated with inappropriate content or give rise to negative behavior. So, in order to protect the community, the Instagram algorithm stops showing the stories that contain them. Embedding banned hashtags can cause a drop in engagement, decreased searchability, and less exposure.
Therefore, refrain from using them and double-check all your tags to ensure they are not banned. Also, avoid using desperate or spammy hashtags like #follow4follow, #like4like, #tags4like, etc. They drastically affect your credibility and show the audience that you just care about numbers, which is bad publicity – something that you don’t want.
6. Avoid Using Repetitive and Irrelevant Hashtags
Using irrelevant or repetitive hashtags is a serious offense, according to the Instagram community guidelines. If you simply copy and paste the same set of hashtags for all your posts, the algorithm will start throwing your content in the back. As a result, your account’s reach and exposure will drop significantly.
The same will happen if you keep embedding irrelevant hashtags in your posts. They will mislead the algorithm, and your content will appear in front of the wrong audience. So, conduct thorough hashtag research every time and avoid using irrelevant or repetitive hashtags over and over.
Analyze Your Hashtags
The job doesn’t end with effectively embedding the hashtags – you have to monitor their performance as well. Analyzing your hashtags is necessary to find out if they are getting impressions and engagement or just taking space. It helps you identify idle tags and replace them with better ones that show promise.
Now, if you have an Instagram business profile, you can simply use insight to analyze the hashtags. Here’s how it works.
Step 1: Select a post and tap on the “View Insights” banner at its bottom.
Step 2: The insights page will open, and you will see a list of stats there. Swipe up, and you’ll reach the “Discovery” section.
Step 3: Now, notice the “From Hashtags” subheading to see whether your hashtags are increasing reach or not.
If the numbers are positive, all is well and good – if not, curate hashtags better than the previous ones and embed them.
How to Hide Instagram Hashtags?
No doubt Instagram hashtags enhance content reach, but let’s be honest, they don’t look exactly aesthetic. Sometimes embedding two or three hashtags in a single line can mess up the whole vibe of the content. Fortunately, you can hide the hashtags to maintain a post’s original look and feel. Here’s how you can do it.
1. Hiding Instagram Hashtags in the Caption
- After typing your caption, tap return (on mobile) or enter (for pc).
- Now, keep tapping the return until you skip at least five to six lines.
- Once you stop seeing the original caption text, enter your hashtags on the seventh or eighth line.
Since Instagram only shows the first two lines of a caption, the audience won’t see the hashtags unless they tap on the “More” button.
2. Hiding Hashtags on Stories
There are multiple ways you can use to hide hashtags in Instagram stories.
- You can easily hide hashtags on stories by making them smaller. Just pinch a hashtag and move the fingers closer to shrink it down.
- Place an emoji or sticker on top of it.
- Tap on the hashtag sticker and change its background from white to semi-transparent. Shrink it down after that, and it would be hard to notice.
3. Hiding Hashtags in Comments
Once you post the content, leave a comment and embed hashtags in it. Now, the mobile viewers won’t be able to see it unless they tap on the “view all comments” option, which makes your comment as good as hidden.
However, desktop users will be able to see it in the comment section directly. But since most Instagram users access the platform through mobile phones, it’s not really a problem.
To attain maximum benefit from Instagram hashtags, ensure to follow the three best practices that we shared today.
- Choose hashtags carefully
- Embed them accurately
- Analyze them frequently
Of course, there’s a lot more to it than these three points, but these are the key takeaways. Utilize them wisely to devise a clever marketing strategy and enhance your online presence and account growth. How do you plan to use Instagram hashtags? Let us know in the comments section, or reach us on our social media pages.
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