How To Create An Instagram Hashtag Strategy

If hashtags are used in the right ways, they can be a great way to promote your brand. That’s why it’s you need an Instagram hashtag strategy. Hashtags allow you to engage your audience, stay updated on a specific trend or topic, brand your content, and align yourself with an audience that’s interested in what you have to offer.

All in all, hashtags can give you visibility in the whirlwind of content on social media.

Here are some of the reasons why you really need to bring your A-game to your Instagram hashtag strategy. 

  • It will help you figure out who your competitors are. And it will show you how they position themselves to their customers. This means some great insights for you.
  • It will help with your branding and visibility on Instagram. 
  • If you are just getting started on Instagram, or looking to increase your presence, you can use hashtags to increase brand awareness. 
  • If you are a socially active brand, the use of hashtags can help you in your cause for activism and bring you the engagement that you need. 

The benefits that we’ve mentioned, and much more, depend on the hashtags that you choose.

How can you choose the right hashtags? 

When you are choosing hashtags, remember that popularity isn’t everything. When there are a large number of posts related to a hashtag, it means that there is also a large number of followers of that hashtag. However, it also means that there is a lot of content related to that hashtag, and your content could just get lost in there. In order to make sure that you gain maximum visibility, Instagram recommends that you use a combo of popular and niche hashtags. This will help you reach diverse audiences ranging from broad to highly specific.

It can be daunting to find out the best hashtags for your business. But there are ways in which you can make sure that this happens. Here are a few tips that you can make use of: 

Consider your competition

You should definitely research the hashtag strategies that your competitors use. However, be careful enough to not follow it too closely. You don’t want to follow it to the tee. What you can do is get some inspiration and also, choose the hashtags that work for you in your niche or industry. This method will allow you to discover new hashtags that will help you improve your reach.

Look to your target audience

Another way you can develop your Instagram hashtag strategy is to see which of them your target audience is using already. If you can find these communities on Instagram, you can expand your business and the market that you are trying to reach online. Who are your top followers? What hashtags are they using? These are two questions that you need to ask yourself. You can use the search tool to give some more info about the various hashtags that your audience follows.

Related hashtags

On Instagram, on any hashtag page, you’ll find related hashtags above the “Top” and “Recent” tabs. To scroll through you’ll just have to swipe left. This feature offers you a fantastic way to find hashtags that could be more specific to a niche. And in turn, these hashtags will help you connect effectively with a more targeted audience with much less competition.

Create a branded hashtag

Creativity and innovation never go unrewarded. So go on and think of creative hashtags for your brand and for each of your campaigns. A branded hashtag means that you are simply making a hashtag to promote your own brand. Include this in your bio and highlight this in all your captions. You can also ask followers to use this when they post user-generated content.

You know now what you can do to locate the best hashtags. But how can you use them correctly? We’ve got some tricks and tips for you!

Developing an Instagram hashtag strategy

Look to insights

If you do have an Instagram business account, you will also have access to post insights that will tell you how many impressions you got from using your #tags. 

  • Select the post that you want to get a read on and tap “View Insights” below the post, towards the left. 
  • You can also swipe up to see all of the insights for that post and that includes the amount of impressions from your hashtags. 

This will help you figure out what hashtags are the most effective for your brand.

Instagram Stories and hashtags 

When it comes to hashtags for your Stories click on the Instagram Story icon at the top of a Hashtag page. You’ll turn up a bunch of Stories that are tagged to help you generate ideas.

To add a hashtag to your Stories you can use fun hashtag stickers. Or you could actually just type out the # symbol and the rest of the text for your hashtag. Try experimenting with both!

A word on spammy hashtags

The only way in which you can find out if a hashtag has been banned is for you to check it before you use it. This is also a great practice for you to get into before you start using a new hashtag. If you do use a hashtag that has been banned, it will definitely cause a drop in the amount of engagement that you have and no matter what right hashtags you use, they too, may become less effective. Some of the banned hashtags that you need to avoid are #followme, #follow4follow, #like4like, #tagsforlike and anything that solicits likes and followers.

Best practices for your Instagram hashtag strategy

So first of all, how many hashtags should you use in any Instagram post? You are allowed up to 30 hashtags on any post. That does not mean that you should. Using too many hashtags can look real spammy, real fast. 

On average two to five hashtags are recommended on each post. To figure out the optimum number of hashtags that will work for your brand, you will need to research and experiment further. Brands can actually get engagement whether they are using just one hashtag or even more than 15. So, be willing to experiment until you hit that perfect number. Don’t overthink the number of hashtags and keep in mind that sometimes ‘less is more’. But not always.

Try using hashtags in your comments

By using hashtags in your comments you won’t end up crowding your captions. Just add a few hashtags to your caption and leave all the rest on the very first comment. A good example of using hashtags in your comments can be taken  from Fender.

Ask and you shall receive 

If you really want to promote your branded hashtags you may have to ask your followers to use them too. In addition to mentioning these hashtags on your Instagram bio, you should also make sure that you promote your hashtag in all of your marketing campaigns. Here is a perfect example.

Match up your hashtags and designs

Keep in mind that while a hashtag will make your visibility better, the actual image in your post is what will grab the attention of your followers. So do some research on IG for the various hashtags that you want to use and check out the posts that show up. If there are loads of similar designs coming up, this could be your call to add something unique and stand out. And if you need some help with creating unique, branded designs, we can help.

Hop on trending topics 

If the hashtag is already trending, it is a guaranteed way to gain some followers. There are two ways in which you can do this. 

  • You can wait until there is something trending related to your business.
  • You can use trending hashtags that are not directly related to your industry or business. 

The difference is that the first method will give you better targeted results.

Keep your hashtags changing 

Yes, we know. Once you get those hashtags that people seem to be reacting to, it might seem like the safest thing to do. To just keep on using them. But you know how they say that results – real results –  lie just outside your comfort zone? That applies to this too. You will have to add some more variation eventually to make sure that you bring in some zest to your posts. Besides, by adding those new hashtags, you increase your chances of adding new groups of people into your audience.

Tools to help you discover the best hashtags

There are tools available that can help you generate and look for the best possible hashtags for your brand. Below you’ll find a few. Take some time to go through them and it’ll help you build a strong Instagram hashtag strategy!

  1. Influencer Marketing Hub Instagram Hashtag Generator (Instagram hashtag generator tool)
  2. All Hashtag (allows you to generate, create, search and analyze top hashtags)
  3. Ritetag ( suggests instant hashtags for captions and images based on real time engagement data)
  4. Instavast Hashtag Generator (complete package for Instagram marketing tools, hashtag generator, lists banned hashtags)
  5. Photerloo Instagram Hashtag and Keyword Generator (Instagram hashtag and keyword generator)
  6. Hashtag Generator #HashMe (AI powered hashtag generator)
  7. Hashtagify (finds, analyzes and amplifies hashtag strategy)
  8. Ingramer (AI powered hashtag generator with a host of smart tools)

Get hashtagging 

Why wait? Your business wants all that extra traction right? So now that you know why hashtags are important, how you can get the right hashtags, the best practices and also the right tools to generate them, there is only one thing left for you to do. No, it’s not procrastinating. It’s time to start hashtagging with a new Instagram hashtag strategy.