November 6, 2018 ByCheryl Dykstra
There are countless hashtags that your business could use on
Instagram, so how do you know which ones to use to get the best results?
In this article, you’ll learn how to use hashtags in order to gain visibility
and get the best results from your Instagram posts.
Building an Effective
The basic idea of any social media platform is to connect
with your audience. With Instagram in particular, one way to connect with a
larger audience than just your followers is through the use of hashtags.
Finding the right hashtags can take some time and research,
but with a well-crafted strategy you can gain new followers, drive more traffic
and even make sales through Instagram.
Instagram lets you include up to 30 hashtags per post. A
search of any Instagram hashtag will show you how many posts are associated
with that hashtag.
In order to build the perfect hashtag strategy, you’ll need
to combine hashtags from four different categories. Each category brings a new
level of optimization and will maximize your performance and reach.
Using this formula, you can identify 15-20 hashtags for each
of your posts:
- 5-7 extremely popular hashtags - This includes hashtags
that have anywhere from about 100,000 to 500,000 posts associated with them. Try
not to go over 500,000 though or you’ll just get buried in the archives within
a few seconds of posting.
- 5-7 moderately popular hashtags - Moderately popular
hashtags likely have 10,000 to 100,000 posts associated with them.
- 3-5 niche-specific hashtags - These hashtags likely
have fewer than 10,000 posts associated with them and are more targeted to your
core business and the things your target audience would be searching for.
- 1-3 branded hashtags - These hashtags are the ones you
use exclusively for your brand. They could be brand-specific and/or
The reason behind this strategy is related to how
Instagram’s algorithm works. Instagram reviews each piece of content for
performance, looking at the engagement it generates from both your followers
When you use popular hashtags, your content appears in
higher volume searches, giving you the ability to generate an immediate burst
of activity on your post. When you include moderately popular hashtags, it
helps to keep your content active in those search results for hours, telling
Instagram that your content has a long lifespan. Finally in the niche tags, you
can stand out more. The spike in activity from the start will help you show up
higher in those niche-specific hashtag results.
Here is an example of a brand that executed this strategy:
In this example from @britjaye, you can see how they incorporate a variety of
hashtags related to the content of the image, the industry, and the target
- Popular hashtags include: #bridetobe, #weddingideas,
- Moderately popular hashtags include: #weddingceremony,
#weddingflowers, #weddingbouquet and #instawedding
- Niche hashtags include: #ohioweddingphotographer,
#cincinnatiweddingphotographer, and #columbusweddingphotographer
- Branded hashtags include: #britjaye
You niche and branded hashtags should remain relatively consistent throughout each of your
posts, while your popular and moderately popular hashtags can change
depending on the content of your photo or video.
If you’re struggling to find hashtags that fall into the
different size criteria related to your brand, look at the suggested and
related hashtags in the Instagram search results. You can also look for
inspiration from others in your industry and find the hashtags that might be
good for your brand.
Hiding Your Hashtags
In September 2018, a few people discovered that Instagram
was testing out a new way to use hashtags without needing to show all of the
carefully formulated tags. An app researcher, Jane Manchun Wong, posted
screenshots to Twitter of the functionality being tested.
This is how the hashtags would be displayed on the finished
While this feature isn’t live yet, it would be a great way
to simplify and clean up the app.
For now, the way that most Instagrammers are “hiding” their
hashtags is by placing them as the first comment and adding five dots above
them in a vertical pattern, which causes the comment to display as “…” unless
You can see an example of this in the @britjaye example from
If you’re curious if marketing on Instagram is right for you
or are looking to take your social media marketing to the next level, call
Sales & Marketing Technologies today at 407-682-2222 to schedule a free
strategy session with one of our expert social media marketers.