The Best Hashtag Strategy for Engagement on Instagram

Social media hashtags have only been around for eleven years, but are now a powerful marketing tool. Every social media post can be categorized with specific hashtags that expand your reach and attract potential customers. Hashtags are a great way to target a brand’s specific niche. It’s no wonder that they’ve become so popular in digital marketing campaigns over the last decade.

If you incorporate trending hashtags into your social media strategy correctly, your posts are far more likely to receive higher engagement. The key is to select the best hashtags for your target audience. It’s essential to use the right amount of targeted hashtags per post because using too many looks spammy, lowers your brand’s credibility, and in some cases- your Instagram account could become shadowbanned. Shadowbanning is when your post isn’t showing up under the hashtag you use. This could happen for a number of reasons such as using broken hashtags or using a bot or third-party marketing app. With all of the various factors that could impact your Instagram hashtag strategy, you have to understand how hashtags work & how to use them effectively for your campaign. Click To Tweet

How to Use Hashtags on Instagram

Instagram has become a popular social media platform among business owners because of how effective it is in marketing to a target demographic. Adding hashtags can help you organize your posts while attracting new leads. For instance, if you design custom pools and outdoor kitchens, you can try the hashtags #CustomPool or #OutdoorKitchen so that when users are looking for those exact things, they’ll find you. The options are limitless and can range from #BeautyProducts to #SportsGear, and so much more! You can even create a branded hashtag to draw awareness and create a buzz around your company’s offerings. Use your company name or something similar for your unique brand hashtag.


Pro Tip: After you’ve created your specific brand’s hashtag, add it in your social media bios and if applicable on product packaging. This will give customers an easy way to share posts about your products and brand.

Hashtag Rules

Before you go any further, make sure that you have a business Instagram account and that your posts are not private. Now then, what rules should you follow when choosing your hashtags?

How many hashtags? Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post, but this doesn’t mean you should utilize all 30. If your posts are crowded with hashtags, people are likely to be distracted and won’t engage with your posts.

Which hashtags should you use? Think of your target keywords and use them to see how they perform. In Instagram, you can type a potential hashtag into the search bar and see how many posts are using that hashtag. You don’t want to use a broad hashtag such as #healthy that’s reaching millions of people. With so many people using that hashtag, your post will get lost in the sea of posts. Instead, be more specific with something like #healthyweightloss or #healthyfoodie. These hashtags are reaching thousands instead of millions which is more realistic, especially for businesses that are just starting their social media marketing strategy.

Where should you put the hashtags: comments or captions? Some users chose to put their hashtags in as the first comment because it makes the posts look cleaner. However, rumors suggest that this may not be the most effective method. Instead, format your posts to include space between the caption and the hashtags so that they’re not distracting the reader from your content.

When and where should you incorporate hashtags? By this point, you probably know to use hashtags in each post, but you can also add clickable hashtags into your bio. You can follow Instagram hashtags that you frequently use to get ideas on what’s trending and performing well in your industry. Instagram stories are another great place to use hashtags.

Can you use hashtag locations? You can absolutely use specific locations as hashtags, but even better- you can tag a specific location in your post. That way, when users are local, they can easily find your content.

Instagram Hashtags Cheat Sheet

Now that you understand how Instagram hashtags work, it’s time to follow a cheat sheet.

  1. Follow niche hashtags
  2. Follow industry influencers
  3. Create a list of popular hashtags in a spreadsheet and include how many posts are under each hashtag. You want to choose hashtags that have between 500-500,000 posts.
  4. Use your specific hashtags frequently so that you can begin to track the data
  5. Utilize your Instagram Insights to track which hashtags are getting the greatest reach and impressions
  6. Continue tracking and make changes accordingly.

Hashtags: A Powerful Content Marketing Tool

Once you understand how hashtags work, you can begin to use them in your social media campaign. When used right, hashtags can reach a broader audience, build brand awareness, and attract new potential leads. Instagram hashtags are a beneficial tool that can be used in almost any industry.

Want to learn more about hashtag strategies for great engagement on Instagram? Join the conversation to speak with our team of marketing experts.

Amanda King

Amanda King is a Content & SEO Manager at ITVibes in The Woodlands, TX. She graduated from Texas State University with a degree in mass communication and electronic media. She’s always had a passion for writing, but her education at Texas State helped turn that passion into a career. She enjoys photography, fashion and spending cozy evenings with her Teacup Chihuahua.

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