Dominate Instagram: master hashtags for explosive growth 

7 min


In a world where millions of users compete for attention every day, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to make yourself visible. But there is one effective tool that can help you stand out from the crowd — hashtags.

Hashtags are key to expanding your audience and increasing engagement. In this article, we’ll explain why hashtags are so important on Instagram and why they remain relevant in our ever-changing digital environment.

instagram hashtags
Instagram hashtags can help a lot in promoting a profile. Image: Freepik

Hashtags Demystified

Instagram hashtags are words or phrases starting with the grid symbol (#) used to categorise and organise content on platforms such as Instagram, YouTube, TikTok and many others. They are needed so that users can find the content they are interested in.

The role of hashtags in categorising content cannot be overemphasised. Users can search for content related to specific hashtags, find new, interesting topics, or simply do research on the content available on Instagram. 

For example, if the hashtag «#sunset» is added to a photo of a sunset, it will be available to anyone searching for photos of sunsets and looking for similar content on that topic. Similarly, if a brand uses the hashtag «#newcollection» users interested in new arrivals can easily find that content.

By using hashtags effectively, you can expand the reach of your content, attract new audiences, and increase the engagement of your subscribers. 

Types of hashtags in Instagram

All hashtags are divided into several groups that differ in their intended purpose. Here are the main types of hashtags:

Popular hashtags

They have a high frequency of use and a wide audience reach. They are often related to common themes such as «#love», «#instagood», «#photooftheday» and «#beautiful». Using the most popular hashtags can increase your content’s visibility, as many users search for and use them to interact on Instagram.

Niche hashtags

These tags represent more specialised topics or interests. They target specific audiences or communities and may include hashtags related to specific hobbies, industries, or lifestyles. For example «#plantmom» for plant enthusiasts, «#bulletjournal» for journaling fans, or «#fitfam» for fitness enthusiasts.

Branded hashtags

This type of tags are created by companies to promote their products or services. They often contain a brand name or company motto and can be used in marketing campaigns or promotions. Examples of branded hashtags include «#JustDoIt» by Nike or «#ShareACoke» by Coca-Cola.

Location-based hashtags

Location-based hashtags help users find content related to a specific place or location. They can include the name of a city, neighbourhood, landmark or event associated with a location. Examples include #NYC, #Paris, or #BeachDay.

Community hashtags

Those aim to unite users around common interests. They can include hashtags related to specific groups, cultures, or movements. For example, «#BlackLivesMatter», «#LGBTQ», and «#Feminism».

Seasonal and event hashtags

This type refer to specific time periods and events. They can be related to holidays, seasons of the year, cultural events, or recent news. Examples include «#Christmas», «#SummerFun», and «#Olympics».

Banned and hidden hashtags

Instagram has a set of rules and restrictions regarding hashtags, and some may be banned or hidden. Banned hashtags include those that violate Instagram’s community rules, contain profanity, or promote negative behaviour such as insults or bullying. Hidden hashtags do not show up in search or in general content views.

good hashtags for instagram
Choose the right hashtags to make your promotion more effective. Image: Freepik

Finding the perfect hashtags

Various free tools and resources can assist in finding the perfect hashtags for your content. Here are a few of them:

  • Display Purposes — free online tool that generates a set of relevant hashtags based on a keyword or phrase. It uses a machine learning algorithm to suggest the most relevant hashtags and allows you to filter results by popularity and relevance;
  • Hashtagify — another free online resource that helps you research and analyse trends in hashtag usage. You can search most popular instagram hashtags by keyword, check their popularity and related hashtags, and track changes in their popularity over time;
  • RiteTag — provides analytics and recommendations for hashtags on social media, including Instagram. This tool allows you to research the popularity and effectiveness of hashtags, offering recommendations on how to choose the best instagram tags for your content;
  • Seekmetric —  free tool that helps you research most popular instagram hashtags and trends on Instagram. It provides information on the popularity and usage of best instagram hashtags, as well as analytics on their effectiveness in engaging audiences;
  • Instagram Explore. Instagram tool wi can also be a great source for finding the most popular hashtags. The Explore feature allows you to browse through popular posts and themed sections where you can find new and most popular hashtags related to your content.

Hashtag research best practices

Hashtag research is an important step in your Instagram promotion strategy. Effective research will help you find the right most used hashtags on instagram for your content. Here’s a step-by-step guide to hashtag research best practices:

Identify your target audience

Before you start researching tags for instagram, determine who your target audience is and what their interests and preferences are. This will help you choose relevant hashtags that will appeal to your key audience.

Research your competitors’ hashtags

Research the hashtags used by your competitors or similar brands. This will allow you to understand which hashtags are popular in your niche and which can be effective for your content. Also, besides just using competitors’ hashtags, it’s important to adapt them to your content, otherwise the promotion won’t be as successful.

Use the Instagram Explore page

Spend time on the Instagram Explore page to research popular hashtags and topics. This way, you’ll understand all the current topics that are popular among Instagram users, as well as keep up to date with new, ever-evolving trends.

Use social listening tools

Social listening tools like Mention, Hootsuite or Brandwatch can help you track discussions and mentions of certain best IG hashtags. With their help, you’ll have an idea of what hashtags are being used in your niche and how they interact with your audience.

Mix popular and niche hashtags

Try using a combination of trending hashtags and niche hashtags to achieve the best balance between a broad audience and a highly specialised audience. This will help your content be visible to different users and increase its effectiveness.

Test and analyse the results

Don’t dwell on the same hashtags. Test different combinations and analyse their effectiveness using Instagram analytics. By running tests regularly, you will identify the most effective hashtags for your content and gradually improve your hashtag strategy.

For example, at the initial stages of promotion, you can conduct testing once every few weeks or month, and then switch to a frequency of once every 2-3 months.

fashion hashtags instagram
Always test hashtags, improving your hashtag strategy and increasing your audience reach. Image: Freepik

Unlocking the success of hashtags

Using hashtags requires some skill and strategy to get the best results. Let’s take a look at a few key aspects of using trending hashtags correctly:

The ideal number of hashtags

Find your balance between having enough tags for maximum visibility and avoiding hashtag stuffing, which can look intrusive or spammy. It’s generally recommended to use between 5 and 30 hashtags per post, but it’s important that they are related to the content of your post and relevant to your audience. It’s important to pick separate hashtags for each post and make changes each time, even if it seems like the perfect metrics have been reached.

Relevancy and audience targeting

Choosing relevant hashtags is a very important aspect of using this tool successfully. Hashtags should be closely related to your content and the interests of your target audience. For instance, if you are posting content about fashion, using hashtags associated with this topic will be more effective than using generic or irrelevant tags.

Using location-specific hashtags

Location-specific hashtags play an important role in attracting local audiences and increasing engagement. For example, using hashtags with the name of your city or neighbourhood will help attract locals or tourists interested in your location. This is especially helpful for local businesses, restaurants, shops, and other establishments looking to attract customers from their area.

Use a variety of hashtags

Aim to use a variety of hashtags to expand the reach of your content and appeal to different audience segments. Include generic hashtags, niche tags, local tags, popular tags and branded tags for maximum impact.

Measuring the effectiveness of hashtags

Tracking hashtag effectiveness is essential to creating an effective Instagram promotion strategy. By using analytics tools like Instagram Insights, you can gain valuable data into how your hashtags are performing and how they affect your audience’s engagement.

Tracking with Instagram Insights

Instagram Insights provides detailed analytics about your account, including audience engagement, reach, and actions. To track the effectiveness of hashtags, go to the «Posts» section and select a specific post. Here you’ll discover information about how many people viewed your post via trending hashtags, along with data on interactions like likes, comments, and saves. 

Analyse engagement metrics and identify high-performing hashtags

After collecting data from Instagram Insights, analyse engagement metrics received through different hashtags. Identify the hashtags that have attracted the most attention from your audience and highlight them as high performing. This will allow you to focus on using the highest performing hashtags in future posts.

Common mistakes when using hashtags

When using hashtags, there are a few common mistakes to avoid:

  • Using irrelevant hashtags. Use hashtags that are closely related to your content and your audience’s interests. Using irrelevant hashtags may result in decreased engagement and dissatisfaction among your audience;
  • Overuse of hashtags. Use only as many trending hashtags on instagram as necessary for your content. Overuse of instagram top hashtags can make your post unattractive and intrusive;
  • Relying solely on popular instagram hashtags. While using popular instagram hashtags can attract more attention, they can also be overwhelming and competitive. Instead, trying to find a balance between best hashtags to use on instagram and niche tags will help you achieve the best results.
insta hashtags
Geotagging is particularly useful for local businesses or event organisations as it helps to engage local audiences. Image: Freepik

Alternatives to hashtags

In addition to using hashtags, there are other strategies for increasing the reach and engagement of your content on Instagram. Here are a few alternative approaches:

Optimising keywords in captions

Optimising keywords in the captions of your posts is one way to increase the visibility of your content in Instagram search without using the best instagram hashtags. Including keywords in your captions will help your posts be more visible. Be careful and organic in your use of keywords so that you don’t overdo it and keep your content natural.

Geotagging

Geotagging is adding a geographical tag to your posts. This allows your content to be discovered by users who are looking for content related to specific locations. Geotagging is particularly useful for local businesses or event organisations as it helps to engage local audiences. In some cases, it is appropriate to use GEO in hashtags with an ironic subtext or as a play on words to keep users’ attention.

Collaborate with influencers

Collaborating with influencers can help your content reach a wider audience and increase its credibility and authority. When engaging with influencers, they could spotlight your brand in their posts, amplify your content, or join forces in collaborative events, ultimately directing their followers’ gaze towards your account.

Using stories and reels

Stories and IGTV are two more powerful tools for increasing the reach of your content on Instagram. They have a greater organic reach than regular photos in the feed. Use these formats to create engaging and compelling content captivating and compelling content that not only intrigues your current audience but also entices new followers.

Conclusion

Using hashtags on Instagram is crucial for strategic content promotion. Hashtags are not just a reference point for users, but a very useful tool for promotion, increasing content reach and increasing audience engagement.

To make the most of the best instagram hashtags, you need to combine popular, niche and other types of hashtags to maximise reach to followers. Explore and discover the optimal hashtag strategy tailored to your unique niche and target audience.

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