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The 2021 Definitve Guide to Instagram Hashtags

Anna Collins, Senior Support Specialist

03 June 2021

It’s no secret that Instagram hashtags are an essential part of Instagram marketing. They help you reach more people and make your posts visible to a wider audience that’s not limited to your friends.

Did you know that a single hashtag can increase post engagement by 12.6%? Well, it can! As a comparison, posts with two hashtags increase engagement by 41% whereas posts with 11 or more hashtags increase engagement by 80%.

With all these impressive stats, it’s no wonder influencers and brands invest in finding the perfect hashtags for their posts for the goal of more effective Instagram marketing.

If you also want to promote your Instagram content, in this post, you’ll find everything you need to know about hashtags and their use. So, let’s get started!

What Are Hashtags?

Instagram hashtags are words or short phrases of up to three words that have a number sign (#) in front of them. By adding that sign to any word you write on your Instagram post, it will turn blue which means your post is now discoverable by the hashtags used. And, while they can be used on various social media platforms, Instagram is the “mother platform” they are used on.

Why Are Instagram Hashtags Important?

At first, hashtags were used to categorize the content. Instagram used and still uses them to sort all published posts and understand their content and aim.

But, they’ve become an inevitable part of Instagram marketing because they make your posts visible. In fact, they are probably the best way to get your posts discovered by a wider audience without spending a dime.

Moreover, they help your posts reach all people looking for the hashtags you’ve used. This helps you drive more traffic to your account and get new followers. Also, it helps you raise awareness about your brand, whether as an influencer or a brand (company).

What’s more important is that hashtags help you target a specific group of people, who are interested in the type of content you post or your brand. And, yes, they are a great Instagram SEO strategy since their function is similar to keywords in website SEO.

Types of Instagram Hashtags

There are 7 main types of Instagram hashtags for brands:

1. Industry Hashtags

These a kind of general hashtags, which is why the competition is high. But using 1 or 2 of them is recommended as it tells the audience in which industry you’re in.

Examples: #blogger and #marketer

2. Niche Hashtags
These hashtags narrow down your industry to the niche. Using them tells your audience what’s your specialty.

Examples: #foodblogger or #digitalmarketer

3. Branded Hashtags

These hashtags are unique for each brand. They help raise brand awareness, get more followers, and turn the target audience into customers. They can be as simple as the brand’s name or more complex, referring to everything related to your brand identity.

Examples from Nike: #nike and #justdoit

4. Product or Service Hashtags
These hashtags help companies to promote their products or services or to relate a post to them.

Examples: #coffeeshop or #cakes

5. Campaign Hashtags
Brands use this type of hashtags when they run campaigns. They are short-term and related to a specific campaign like product launches, partnerships, or sales. Due to being used for a short time and with a specific purpose, they are perfect for increasing engagement during a specific time and, eventually, getting more sales.

Example: #ShareACoke (Coca Cola) or #OpenYourWorld (Heineken)

6. Community Hashtags
These hashtags allow individuals and brands to connect with Instagram communities in their industry. They are great for making your posts visible to those who do the same thing as you.

Examples: #bloggersofinstagram #knittersofinstagram

7. Location Hashtags

These hashtags help you get discovered locally and target users in your area.

Examples: #nycweddingphotographer or #londonbakery

How to Find the Best Instagram Hashtags?

There are various ways to find the best Instagram hashtags for your posts:

1. Search for Hashtags on Instagram

The most common way to find suitable hashtags for your posts is by searching Instagram. To do that, click the magnifying glass icon on the bar at the bottom of the screen. On the search menu, click the Tags section, and write some hashtags you think are most suitable for your post and/or brand.

For example, if you are a food blogger, you could start typing “food…” in the search bar and hashtags will start appearing below. Look at the ones that best fit the content of your post and add them.

HINT: The shorter the word, the greater the density is. And, the greater the density, the lower the chance your post will be in the top results of that hashtag’s page. This means the smaller your post reach will be.

SUGGESTION: When choosing which hashtags to use, go for those that are among the popular ones but have lower density. Choose more niche ones that have enough relevant audience.

2. Analyse Your Audience

Another method is to analyse your audience. Find out which hashtags they use the search for the most and choose the ones that best fit your content

3. Analyse Your Competitors
A similar approach to the previous one is to analyse your competitors. Check out their profiles, their posts, and see which hashtags they’ve used on the posts with the highest engagement.

4. Analyse the Top Brands in Your Industry
Learning from the best is the best way to learn and improve! So, take a look at the profiles of the brands in your industry, check their bio (you can use hashtags there, too!) and their posts, and find which hashtags they use to promote their content and get high engagement.

Does this sound like a daunting job?!

Well, manually searching for hashtags and analyzing the top brands, your competitors, and your audience will certainly take quite some time.

But, there’s a shortcut!

You can use our Hashtag Wizzard app to find the best hashtags for your posts. Our app allows you to search for keywords in any language and immediately suggests the related ones. Even if you’re in a hurry, our wizard will automatically select the best hashtags from your keywords.

Furthermore, it’s Magic Score feature allows you to easily and quickly find out which hashtags could bring you the most views, likes, reach, and followers. Once you find the best hashtags, you can easily insert them into your post or save them for later. In fact, you can organize your hashtags by saving them into hashtag collections.

And, most importantly, you don’t have to worry about banned hashtags! Our app doesn’t show them to you at all.

Optimising Instagram Hashtags

Look at hashtags like at keywords, because their function is more or less the same – both of them are essential in marketing your brand online and help you drive more visits (traffic) to your profile and/or site. And, since we optimise keywords for search engines, we also need to optimise the hashtags.

Here’s how you can do that!

Add Your Branded Hashtag Into Your Profile Bio

You can do this by adding # before each word you include in your bio. In that way, you will bring your hashtag in the focus and make it more visible.

Add Your Hashtags in the First Comment

Instead of adding your hashtags below the citations, add them in the first comment. This will make your citations appealing and clean and will still optimize your post for hashtags.

Add Your Hashtags to Your Stories

This is a great way to make your content visible to the audience and “highlight” your main hashtags. You can add up to 10 hashtags to each story and one clickable hashtag sticker.

Run Campaigns Involving Your Branded Hashtag

If you want to become recognizable by your hashtag and make people aware of it at the same time, you can organize a giveaway, a contest, or simply run an ad including the hashtag. For example, if you are a retailer of baby clothes, you could organize a giveaway. To be able to participate, your followers have to share their favorite product from your posts as a post and a story and use your branded hashtag on both.

Use Various Types of Hashtags

When adding your hashtags, make sure you use various types of them, including branded, industry, niche, location, and audience. This will increase the chances of your post reaching the top results and with that its outreach and engagement.

Don’t Use the Banned Instagram Hashtags

If you want to make sure your posts don’t get reported by the audience and hidden, you should never use the banned Instagram hashtags. To ensure you don’t do this, you can either find all banned hashtags manually online or let our Hashtag Wizard app find the best hashtags for you. Plus, you’ll never have to worry about the banned hashtags since our app doesn’t show them at all.

6 Tips for Using Hashtags Like a Pro

1. Do Proper Research to Find Relevant Hashtags

You have to understand that simply adding # in front of any word you want won’t produce relevant hashtags. That’s why you have to do good research, which includes your competitors, audience, and industry leaders, to find the best hashtags for your business. Also, you can use a hashtag app like our Hashtag WIzard to find the most relevant hashtags for your type of business and content in no time.

2. Use Instagram Hashtags as Often as Possible
If you want your content to be noticed, you have to add hashtags to all(most) all your content, including your posts and stories. This will increase the chances of your content being seen by more people, even reach the top results. Also, it will help increase engagement and followers.

3. Don’t Over-Hashtag It
While adding hashtags to your posts is essential to get them in front of your audience, you have to be careful about how many hashtags you add. The maximum number of hashtags per post is 30.

4. Your Hashtags Are Visible
If you want to create a hashtag-optimized post, you need to make sure your hashtags are visible. According to Instagram’s rules, you can add hashtags in the post’s caption or the comments, better said in the first comment.

Which one you choose depends on your preference. Namely, if you want your captions to look neatly, you should either add the hashtags a few rows below the caption or in the first comment. On the other hand, if you don’t mind the mix of colors (blue for the hashtags, black for the regular text) in your captions, you can blend them within the caption.

5. Don’t Use the Same Hashtags All the Time
While being consistent in your hashtags is important for marketing your brand, you shouldn’t use the same hashtags for all your posts. This will not only make your posts boring but may also result in Instagram penalizing you for constantly using the same hashtags. It can even lead to Instagram banning your account. So, make sure you use similar, not the same, hashtags for your posts even if they are similar.

6. Create a Catchy Branded Hashtag

When coming up with your branded hashtag, try to think of one that is creative and catchy. It should relate to your brand’s name but not be the same. One of the best examples of this is the #ShareACoke hashtag by Coca-Cola. They’ve created this branded hashtag to promote their new cokes with names and titles on them.
By creating a hashtag that included the company’s name still was related to promoting their products, Coca-Cola generated an immense number of sales and user-generated content on social media channels.
Instagram hashtags are a crucial part of an effective and strong Instagram marketing strategy. If you use the right ones, they will help you promote your content to a wider audience, increase your post engagement, boost your brand visibility. They also help you connect with customers, build communities around your brand, and much more. So, what are you waiting for?


Go hashtag hunting

“Finding the best hashtags has never been so easy”