Whether you’re looking to improve engagement or to grow your followers, the impact of finding and using the best Instagram hashtags can’t be overstated.
Your Instagram hashtag game should be a key component in your marketing strategy. The hashtags you use can make or break your post, and can have a huge impact on your reach. It’s vital that you learn how to find the best Instagram hashtags to reach your desired audience on Instagram.
What are Instagram hashtags?
An Instagram hashtag is a word or series of words that is preceded by the hash or pound (#) sign that is designed to show users specific types of content.
How Do Instagram Hashtags Work?
Instagram hashtags are designed to simply categorize different types of content. They make it easy for users to browse and discover new photos and videos related to their interests. You can search for a particular tag, or follow one to have the posts show up in your news feed. Hashtags must be used strategically in order for your content to be discovered on your personal or Instagram business page.
The main categories of Instagram hashtags are:
Popular hashtags: Hashtags that have gone viral or are quickly tending, like #photooftheday or #instagood
Niche hashtags: Used to reach a specific audience or industry, like #savetheelephants or #veganrecipes
Location hashtags: Meant to group together localized content, like #sandiegolife or #newyorkfoodie
In order for your tagged content to be discovered by users, hashtags can be placed in a few different areas on Instagram.
The most common and effective way to use hashtags is to include them in the caption of your posts. This can help boost engagement and reach on a specific photo or video. @greenchef uses a mix of its branded hashtag and tags related to the recipe they are posting.
You can also include Instagram hashtags in your Instagram Story using the hashtag sticker. This will make your story more discoverable to new users. Tag the location of a specific place for a chance to be shown in that Featured Story!
Now that you know how Instagram hashtags work, it’s just as important to know which to use.
How to Pick the Best Instagram Hashtags
Every Instagram account requires a unique set of hashtags that will work best for their targeted audience. You should find hashtags that will attract your ideal follower, customer, or fan.
There are a few different ways to go about finding what hashtags to use. You can use different analysis tools, look at what competitors and other accounts in your industry are using, or simply browse through the Instagram app itself.
Methods for Finding Instagram Hashtags
There are several methods to help find the best Instagram hashtags.
Searching for Hashtags on Instagram
One of the best ways to find hashtags is to simply search on the Instagram app. When you search for a keyword, it will also display a list of suggested ones underneath.
You will also see the number of posts that are associated with the tags underneath. (Try to avoid choosing hashtags that are too big, otherwise your post might be lost in the sea of competition.)
Another tip is to browse through the “top posts” section of a hashtag, and look at what other hashtags those people are using.
Looking at Competitor’s Hashtags
Take a look at some other Instagram accounts that in your niche, and see what hashtags they are using. If you come across an account that is getting great engagement on their posts, the hashtags they are using are most likely successful ones, so use that as inspiration for your list.
Using Tools to Find Hashtags
There are many resources available to help you pick hashtags for certain subjects and industries. Hashtag generator tools will quickly give you a selection of tags that you can use in your posts. Just be sure to check them out to make sure they are on-brand before using them on your posts!
Creating Branded Hashtags
A branded hashtag is a unique tag that users can post on content related to your brand. It can be your company name, a slogan, or anything that you want to encourage people to use. You can add this to your bio section, and promote it in your caption, so more people are aware and begin to use the Instagram hashtag. This now allows you access to tons of user-generated content that you can shout out on your page.
As you research and gather more hashtags to use, be sure to store them somewhere you can easily access (like the notes section on your phone). It is also a good idea to break them up into different sets, so that you are not using the same exact hashtags on every post. So once you have accumulated a mass list, try breaking it up into 3 or 4 different sets of about 15-20 hashtags each. Then every time you post, you can rotate between the sets. Just don't be among the 27% of marketers who use fewer than 3 hashtags per post, according to Tailwind.
Picking the Most Successful Hashtags
In order for hashtags to successfully boost your content, you need to figure out which work. It may seem like a good idea to use a very popular Instagram hashtag, however that is not always the case. There is a strategy behind picking the best hashtags, which depends on the type of Instagram you have and who you are trying to reach. Take a look at these two accounts and the strategy behind picking their hashtags:
Example 1: The Small Business
Let’s say you are a beauty salon located in the city of Boston. You want to attract potential local clients as well as the general hair and beauty population on Instagram. Plus, you may want to attract the attention of some people searching for specific hair care and makeup brands that you carry. So, it would be a good idea to use a mix of these different types of hashtags on your posts. For example:
Local hashtags: #bostonhairsalon #bostonstylist
Industry hashtags: #haircolorideas #makeuplooks #haircolorgoals
Product hashtags: #lorealparis #olaplex #revlon
Example 2. The Food Blogger
If you are local food blogger who posts about different restaurants and eats around New York City, your use of Instagram hashtags will also be a mix of some different types of categories. You could use localized Instagram hashtags to attract residents or people visiting NYC that might want to try out your suggestions. You could also use general food-related tags for people that are interested in food content on Instagram. Lastly, you may want to use specific restaurant names for the chance to be re-posted. For example:
Local hashtags: #newyorkcityfoodie #newyorkcityeats #yelpeatsnyc
General hashtags: #foodiesofinstagram #goodeats
Specific hashtags: #dylanscandybar #carbone
Depending on who you are trying to reach, you should be using a mix of a few different types of hashtags. This ensures you will be reaching a variety of different users who potentially will want to follow your page or engage with your content. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box!
Instagram hashtags are one of the easiest and most effective ways to expand your reach. Make your content more more discoverable by finding related terms that your ideal audience is searching for. Whether you’re a brand or an influencer trying to grow your audience, make hashtags is an essential part of your Instagram marketing strategy.
Nicole Gilmore is the Customer Success Manager at Kicksta. Kicksta is an Instagram growth service that helps connects you to your ideal audience. Thousands of brands and influencers have used Kicksta to grow their accounts organically - leading to more gigs, paid partnerships, and sales.