Instagram hashtags are one of the most misunderstood features on the platform. We’ve all seen that bad mistake where they’re using #kimkardashianand #love in order to be found by a ton of people.
Hashtags are the secret sauce on Instagram, but how many should you use? Where should you use them? Which ones should you use?
In this post, I will share with you my super-secret recipe not only to get your content found more often but also to get more followers and sales.
What is a #hashtag on Instagram?
#hashtagHashtag are keyword or phrase after a hash (#) mark. Clicking a hashtag will discover up all of the Instagram content that tagged with that hashtag.
By including hashtags in your posts, you give people searching for that Hashtag something to see. As a result, you’ll be more visible to a broader range of people.
You can use any hashtags in the post’s caption as well as the comments section. The post will appear on the corresponding hashtag page if you have a public account and use hashtags.
9 Hashtag Ideas for Instagram Post.
The Hashtag effectively populates all the same niche or topic posts from the world in one place.
But also a powerful tool to boost your market penetration and your brand awareness.
Instagram recommended 9 different types of hashtags you can use for your business:
- Hashtags indicating your product or service, like #sweater or #coffeeshop.
- Hashtags indicating your niche in your industry, like #weddingphotographer or #travelphotographer
- Hashtags for Instagram communities in your industry, like #bakersofinstagram or #foodiesofinstagram.
- Hashtags for special events or seasons, like #whiteday or #nationaldonutday.
- Hashtags using location, like #pastrynyc, #madeinToronto, or #sydneysweets.
- Daily hashtags, like #mondaymotivation, #tuesdaytip, or #wellnesswednesday.
- Hashtags with phrases relevant to what you do, like #becreative or #bakerylove.
- Hashtags with acronyms, like #qotd (quote of the day) or #ootd (outfit of the day).
- Hashtags with emojis, like #shoes👟 or #🌞.
How many should you use Hashtag?
You can use up to 30, and anything beyond that won’t show up in search.
But your first 30 are free to use however you want. How many hashtags should you use?
Minimum 15-20 for a better chance to found
Personally, I recommend using at least 15 to 20. Hashtags are a use-it-or-lose-it-type tool, meaning if you use the hashtags, there’s a chance you’re going to get found.
If you don’t, there’s no chance of getting found. So more is better in general. Does that mean you should use all 30? Go for it.
Use as many as you can use strategically and in relevance to your business. But I do recommend about 15 to 20 as the minimum. Now I know you may be freaking out because some people think that’s a lot, and it’s hard to come up with that many hashtags.
You might be able to think of three or four off the top of your head, but how can you come up with 15 to 20 hashtags? That is where the super secret recipe comes into play. Here’s the thing.
Combine the variety of Hashtag
You want to combine a variety of hashtags. To figure out how popular a hashtag is, if you go into the search on Instagram, go to the magnifying glass, and start typing in a hashtag in the search results, it will tell you how many posts are associated with each of those hashtags.
So you’re going to wanna pick three to five popular hashtags. Popularity is defined as something in the low- to mid-hundreds of thousands, up to a million posts, for a specific hashtag.
Anything over a million becomes irrelevant to you because it’s so saturated with content that the only thing you’re going to attract are spambots. And we don’t want that.
Pick the moderately popular Hashtag.
Then you’re going to pick three to five moderately popular. These will be hashtags that fall in the somewhat high tens of thousands into that mid-hundreds of thousands range.
And then you’re going to pick three to five niche-specific. These are super explicitly targeted to your industry, what you do, the solution you provide, and what your customer is looking for.
And then you’re also going to include your one to two branded hashtags. With those tips, you already have up to 12-15 hashtags easily, so you can increase it to 15 – 20.
Find a relevant Hashtag for your business.
Now the key is to find relevant hashtags for your business. We’re not going to use popular hashtags like #loveor #vacation, or something super popular that everybody is using, because it’s related specifically to your business and it’s too concentrated.
Instead, we want to pick something very specific to your industry the content you specifically posted or what you offer as a solution. You’ve chosen your hashtags.
You know you’re going to use all of these different ones; why does this work? The popular hashtags give you an initial burst of activity from non-followers. But within seconds or minutes, your content is going to be buried in the archives of popular hashtags. So moderately popular hashtags are going to keep you active for hours into days.
So it keeps your content still getting activity, and your audience still likes it as they log in to Instagram. Instagram looks at your content and goes, wow, your followers like it consistently, non-followers are seeing it and liking it, you’ve figured this whole thing out.
You’re creating great content that people like. And then what happens is, in those niche-specific hashtags, that very super-targeted topic that you chose, you start ranking as a top-performing post, and top-performing posts can stay in those top placements for months.
If somebody’s looking for that specific Hashtag, they go to that search result, and you’re one of the first ones, if not the first one, they see in that top-performing hashtag tab. And what happens when they see that? They click on your content.
They’re now on your profile and follow you because people realize that you’re relevant to them. You have a product or a service that is valuable to them. They may even email you or call you if you have those action buttons turned on on your profile, and you can close sales with this tactic. And I promise you it works.
- So now you know what hashtags you’re going to use.
- You know how many you’re going to use.
- But where on earth do you put them?
That is the age-old question since hashtags have been used for business on Instagram.
Captions or comments, does it matter?
In all reality, no. There are various studies out there. Some say it’s slightly advantageous to put it in the caption. Some people want to put it in the comment because they want to hide it.
They don’t want to look spammy. Should we rid it from the caption?.
The reality is it doesn’t matter if you use the hashtag recipe that we just talked about before. Whether you put hashtags in the caption or the comment does not have a significant impact. It’s not affected by the algorithm. It’s not affected by search results. They both work.
The caveat, why I say it doesn’t matter, is it does if you’re using popular hashtags.
If you’re using something which I don’t recommend you do base on what we just talked about, but if you’re using a hashtag with five or ten million, that many types of posts associated with it, those are the ones you do want to put in the caption. Because even in the 10 to 15, maybe 30, seconds it takes you to go and put that Hashtag in a comment, you’re losing all the valuable time in that hashtag cup, and you lose that engagement.
In that situation, is it better to leave hashtags on Instagram in the caption?
Yes. Leave them there. They’re more likely to get found quicker for those high-performing hashtags, but if you want to put them in the comment, that’s perfectly okay. Now captions get truncated with a dot-dot-dot more, so people don’t see your hashtags in the caption anyway unless they click the …more to read the whole caption.
How do you know if hashtags are working?
- The easiest way to do it is to go back to the post you uploaded to your feed content, and right below it, you’re going to see the View Insights button.
- Tap on that button, and it’s going to open up a little bit of information, and then you’re going to swipe up on that little menu bar, and when you do that, you’re going to get a whole bunch of information that’s going to tell you how that post performed.
- Down at the bottom, it tells you where your impressions came from.
- And now, if you don’t see the option to click on View Insights, chances are you’re still a personal profile, and View Insights is only available to business profiles and creator profiles.
I have a post that recently went out, and I’ve found over 1,200 views just in hashtags alone. So yes, this system works. But there is a possibility your content is not ranked for hashtags sometimes because your content isn’t that good.
Maybe it’s not performing well with your followers, and if it’s not performing well with your followers, why would they show it to non-followers? Perhaps it’s something in a very saturated environment, where it is just not a good time to show up in those specific hashtag results. Don’t base it all off on one post. You want to go in and look at multiple posts and see how your hashtags are performing for each post. How often did you show up in hashtag searches, and what was the consistency for those higher-performing posts? Was it timely and relevant? Is there something that you got better search results every time you use the color blue in your content?
Best Tips for Hashtags in Instagram
So now it’s time for the bonus. We talked a lot about the hashtags, but here’s the thing. Most people don’t pick the right hashtags for their audience. They only think about their business.
I always use this example of car insurance because car insurance is super sexy for Instagram. Who doesn’t wanna search for car insurance on Instagram? I’m going to tell you, nobody. That’s what Google is for. No one is going to go to Instagram and look for #carinsurance unless they are competitors selling car insurance.
So if that’s what you sell, you don’t want to use #carinsurance. You’re not going to attract your target audience. All you’re going to attract are your competitors. So instead, you want to think about where your audience is.
- What is your audience doing?
- Who is your audience?
If you’re selling car insurance, your audience is people who have cars, and people who have cars are looking for things like #dreamcar or #lamborghinior #newcar, #myfirstcar. And if someone’s buying #myfirstcar, guess what they need?. They need car insurance.
So you get to show up where they already are and give them quality content that’s valuable to them where they’re currently hanging out.
Now, some industries can get away with using hashtags directly related to what they do, like #weddingphotographer. Yes, if I’m looking for a wedding photographer, I will look for that Hashtag specifically. So those industries can use those hashtags.
But you still want to think about people outside of just that realm. If all you do is wedding photography, that’s great, but people will only be searching for you in a minimal scope of time. You can also look at hashtags related to your geographical locations and other ways to serve your audience outside of that particular time they’re looking for your services. So this was a deep-dive into hashtag strategies exclusively for the Instagram feed.