Hashtags are an extremely important part of your visibility on Instagram.
According to various studies, an Instagram post with at least 1 hashtag gets approximately 12.6% more engagement compared to a post without a hashtag.
From these statistics, it’s no doubt that hashtags are a powerful marketing tool.
When used well, hashtags can help you increase your overall reach, build brand awareness and help you connect with a wider target audience.
This, in turn, can result in more followers, more engagement and more clients for your business.
In this guide, we are going to explain to you what Instagram hashtags are, why you need them, and how to choose the best hashtags for maximum impact.
What Is An Instagram Hashtag?
Hashtags are Instagram’s main content sorting process.
This is the way they specify what picture contains what content.
With more than 95 million photos posted on the platform every day, it can be difficult for Instagram to deliver the right content to audiences that are interested in that particular niche.
Hashtags provide Instagram with an effective way to deliver your content to the users most interested in it.
For instance, a travel blogger can post a picture of their current location and then use the hashtags #exoticdestinations, #hawaii, and #travelonabudget alongside a photo.
With these hashtags, the post will be cataloged so that other Instagram users looking to travel on a budget or to Hawaii can find it.
Instagram hashtags provide you with an efficient way to reach your target audience.
It also makes it easy for your target audience to find you.
Such users are more likely to engage with your post since it is exactly what they need at that particular moment.
Why do Instagram Hashtags Matter?
They Provide A Sure Fire Way To Grow Your Targeted Audience
While one of the most basic uses of Instagram hashtags is growing your following, make sure not to get wrapped up in the numbers.
Your goal is not just to get a bunch of followers, but rather, to generate a positive return on investment.
Whether this investment is paying for a service or just your valuable time, it must generate a return.
Therefore, as you grow your brand, it is imperative that you focus on the community aspect and foster genuine relationships with your followers.
One way to achieve this is by using hashtags to encourage users to engage with your brand.
For example, you can ask your followers to use your hashtag in their post for a chance to win something.
This will not only encourage your following to create user-generated content, but you will also get more followers.
Building your following through hashtags works best when you promote the followers and give them valuable content.
They Increase Your Chances Of Being Featured
Instagram is home to a plethora of featured hashtag pages.
A feature page basically acts as a modern-day magazine.
Here, top-quality content is collected and put into one page for users to enjoy.
The benefits of your content being featured on these pages are many with the most important being the exposure you get to a wider, targeted user base.
If your content is of the right quality you can actually get featured in front of thousands of users.
They Improve Your Chance Of Being Discovered
Instagram hashtags can make your brand more discoverable.
Since it uses hashtags to categorize content, using the right hashtag makes your content available to users actively searching for you, your product or service.
If you are a local business you can use local hashtags for your business.
This will help you engage any users who follow those local hashtags and get your business on their discover page.
Let’s say you are a business located within Huston, Texas.
Using the hashtag #Huston will make sure any locals who follow that will get a chance to see your content.
This is one of the best ways to easily promote your content to locals and drive more foot traffic.
Hashtags Build Community Engagement
Hashtags promote community engagement.
Whenever you include a hashtag in your post, promotions or commentary, you not only pull a conversation together, but also make it easy for users to find you and interact with your post.
If you want more comments and also more engagements use hashtags.
People love to see great, relevant content and they will reward you with a friendly comment praising you.
Getting comments is amazing because Instagram will also reward you with showing this content to more people.
This causes a chain reaction by gets you even more engagements and reach.
So What Are The Best Instagram Hashtags?
There are a number of factors that you need to take into consideration to find the best Instagram hashtags for your post.
If you can include all of these into your Instagram posting strategy you will have a massive advantage.
These benefits include;
Instagram Hashtag Popularity
The number of posts under a specific hashtag matters greatly.
You need to make sure the hashtags you choose aren’t too over inflated but also still have enough content.
The rule of thumb when it comes to numbers and hashtags is to avoid those that contain more than 5 million posts.
When you use such a hashtag, your content will be bogged down into oblivion within seconds of posting it since many users are posting the same hashtag at the same time as you.
Ideally, you want to use a hashtag that will leave your post at the hashtag feed for as long as possible so that it is visible to your target audience.
Which Hashtags Get The Most Engagement
Usually, the more niche-oriented a hashtag is, the more engagement it receives.
This is majorly because the people who search for these hashtags genuinely care about the content it caters to.
You however need to make sure that your content is relate able to that niche hashtag.
It wont help you if your content is barley related to that individual niche.
So make sure that when you create this content to have your audience in mind.
If you can keep their interests in mind you will reap the benefits from this niche.
How To Find The Best Instagram Hashtags:
Do Your Research
Without proper research, you can end up using many hashtags that do little to nothing for your brand.
When doing your research, the goal is to get an idea of the best hashtags to use for maximum impact.
For best results, break your hashtag research into three main categories:
• Market research:
This entails looking at the terms your audience and using research tools to find ideal hashtags.
This gives you some common Instagram hashtag trends, providing you with ideas on some of the best hashtags to use for maximum engagement.
Use tools like All Hashtag to see analytics on what different hashtags will give you.
Finding the optimal hashtags will raise your chances to get on the discover page.
• Competitor research:
Although this is part of the market research, it focuses solely on your competitors.
Remember that their target audience is the same audience you are targeting.
Competitor research helps you identify high visibility and high performing hashtags that can help you reach and gain new, targeted followers. So find a competitor that is doing great on Instagram and take note of the hashtags they use.
• Target audience research:
Finally, find the people you aim to reach with your post and see what hashtags they use on the regular.
Think in terms of their interests and lifestyle and research the hashtags around these topics.
How Instagram hashtags can help you grow your business
Create A Branded Hashtag
#Airbnb is an amazing example of an extremely well branded hashtag.
Branded Instagram hashtags help you create brand awareness.
They also play a major role in gathering user-generated content.
Branded hashtags provide an excellent way for the user to access feeds of content created by you or others, and those that are about you.
When creating a branded Instagram hashtag, make sure it is unique to your brand.
The hashtag can include your name, or just be relevant to your campaign, brand or business.
Use Instagram Hashtags In Your Bio
Instagram allows users to include one clickable hashtag in their bio.
Instagram bios are an amazing way to help promote many things and hashtags are one.
This gives you a chance to create custom hashtags that link to all the posts you’ve used it in, directly from your bio.
You can also use this spot to highlight a special hashtag that is associated with your brand.
This will improve the chances of users familiarizing with the content and increase their chances of using it in their own posts.
In business, your customer is usually your best form of marketing.
Instagram hashtags provide the easiest and most effective way to trace user-generated content.
For instance, photos of happy customers who have used your product or service provide truly valuable content.
The best way to encourage users to create content based on your product is by providing them with value in return.
A way to do this would be to offer a discount or a sponsored post on your brand page.
Also, make sure that you use unique, fun and memorable hashtags.
Keep An Eye On The Hashtag Trends
Trending hashtags are a great way to make your posts go viral!
Keep a close eye on the most relevant and trending hashtags related to your brand to utilize them.
Here are some great examples of hashtags that usually trend:
Just make sure to find relevant and inventive ways to get your content involved with these trending hashtags.
When used well, Instagram hashtag trends can drive more leads and put your exposure on autopilot.
Follow And Analyze Hashtags
Just like you can follow an account on Instagram, so can you follow a hashtag.
Follow key and relevant Instagram hashtags in your niche to stay up to date with new trends, updates or announcements.
You can also follow competitor hashtags to see what your competition is doing.
Staying up to date on the current hashtags will give you a better idea of what content to make.
If you can replicate what your competition is doing well then you will also benefit from their hard work.
Add Them To Your Instagram Stories
Instagram stories provide a great way to pass a message to your followers.
Including hashtags in your Instagram stories also lets people discover them.
Remember that all your Instagram hashtags are searchable to allow your story to show up in relevant search searches.
Getting your story on the discover page can boost your views by thousands if the hashtag is highly relevant.
Find Out Your Magic Hashtag Number
Although Instagram allows the use of up to 30 hashtags per post, that doesn’t mean you need to use all of them.
When using hashtags, it is easy to get carried away once you start including them in your post.
But remember, using too many of them might make you look spammy and turn off potential clients.
Ideally, you want to find a number that works best for your brand.
According to various studies, most of the top brands, 91% to be precise, use no more than seven hashtags per post.
However, we cannot assume that this is the right number for everyone on the platform.
There are other brands on Instagram such as HubSpot who have been more successful with 20 or more hashtags.
Therefore, to find the best one for you, you will need to do some testing.
When testing, give yourself flexibility by ranging the hashtags from 7 to 30 to find your magic number.
An important thing to note is that you should not use the same hashtags over and over again as Instagram might mistake you for a spammer.
Ensure you change them up slightly for every post.
Use Highly Specific Instagram Hashtags
Always include a selection of highly relevant, low volume hashtags for your post.
There are two main reasons why smaller-volume hashtags are highly preferred;
• Firstly, it allows you to compete in a smaller pool.
Competing in a smaller pool will give your brand even more of a chance to be seen by a more targeted audience.
A great example of a hashtag that is not targeted enough is #marketing.
This hashtag is too broad since if you search for it, you will find photos of airlines, foods, inspirational quotes, salons, memes and so much more.
Such a hashtag provides random results from a range of industries and niches.
• The second reason is that a user is more likely to find what they are looking for if they use a more specific hashtag. And, if your business appears for that hashtag, they are more likely to engage with the post.
Therefore, when creating a hashtag, keep it as close as possible to the interest of your brand.
For instance, if your a guide and your post is about travel, #travelguide will suffice.
Although these hashtags might not have a huge following, at least you know the people who take a liking in them will make a perfect match for your business.
Follow Your Own Branded Hashtag
Another way you can use hashtags to better your business is by following your branded hashtag.
This will help you find anyone who is talking about you and connect with them.
Following your hashtag provides an effective way to engage with those talking about you and develop long term business relationships with them.
If someone is consistently posting with your hashtag it would be beneficial to contact them.
Once in contact you can help give them a promotion by uploading their content to your main page.
Mix It Up
Except for your branded hashtag, you need to switch the hashtags you use for maximum reach.
This will give you the best chance of reaching a wider audience.
As stated before if you consistently use the same hashtags Instagram may see you as a spammer.
This will blacklist your posts for a certain period of time drastically reducing your reach.
Not effectively changing your hashtags will go completely against your goals of getting in front of more users.
Only Use Relevant Instagram Hashtags
Always treat Instagram hashtags as keywords.
They should always be specific to your business and content.
That said, you can always use generic keywords alongside specific keywords to increase your discover ability.
If your content is promoting a restaurant, the #Food, #tasty, #flavor will do very well.
This makes sure that it will only have the chance to get in front of the right audience.
The best Instagram hashtags for growing your following are those that are relative to you, your brand and what you do.
To find the best hashtags for your Instagram posts, keep track of those you are already using and their engagement rates.
Fortunately, there are many analytics tools out there that you can use to track their performance by different metrics, including impressions, engagement and reach.
Keeping track of this data enables you to improve and optimize your Instagram hashtag strategy.
Although a relatively simple concept, Instagram hashtags can get your posts off the ground, and straight into the hands of your target audience.
But, at the end of the day, no matter how good your hashtags are, it is the content in your post that will pull in and engage your desired audience.
Therefore, as you research the best Instagram hashtags, pay attention to the content that will show up.
Doing extensive research will ensure your hashtags and content are being effectively posted on Instagram.