How to strategically use hashtags on Instagram?

If Instagram is part of your social media strategy, using relevant hashtags on your posts can make your brand get discovered by new audiences. However, if you’re just starting out an IG presence, you must know that there are best practices follow in order to be more effective at it.

Note: This post is ideal for new Instagram users.

As you may know already, Instagram is a great social media platform to promote your brand and build a community around it through gorgeous images and compelling stories. But, how to reach your target audience among 1 billion users, as of june 2018?

Well, here’s where hashtags come to your help.

See, not long ago when I opened my Instagram account, I wanted to get discovered by entrepreneurs who are looking to improve their online presence.

So, that means that I have to stay relevant, and as much as I like fashion, I don’t want to give the wrong impression by using the hashtag #ilovefashion on my posts. Although I could but, from those people who liked my post, none of them would be interested in my digital marketing tips.

Therefore, looking for answers on how to use Instagram hashtags strategically and avoid losing time, I did a research and gathered the following knowledge. Hopefully, it will also help you get the right following crowd.

What is a hashtag?

By definition, a hashtag is “a word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#), used on social media websites and applications, to identify messages on a specific topic. Definition by Google.

How to use Instagram hashtags effectively to attract audiences relevant to your niche.
Use hashtags strategically to attract audiences relevant to your niche. Photo: Elena Koycheva at Unsplash.


These are basic best practices to follow when using hashtags on Instagram.

  1. Place your hashtags below your post description OR in the comment area (immediately after the description).
  2. Avoid using popular hashtags or use them sparely. Because the traffic for these ones is so high, your post may loose visibility very soon. Avoid to use for instance: #beautiful, #pretty, #fashion, #happy #instagood #love #me #selfie #tbt #photooftheday #picoftheday #love
  3. Longer hashtags get more traffic, however those with over 25 characters perform dramatically less.
  4. Hashtags between 20-25 characters get more traffic.
  5. Use up to 30 hashtags per post (too many hashtags kill the hashtag).
  6. Statistically, using 15 hashtags per post perform better. Unfortunately, there’s no hard-and-fast rule when it comes to deciding how many hashtags you should use.
  7. Use hashtags relevant to the post, don’t risk your brand’s credibility with misleading ones just to get more likes.
  8. Avoid using popular hashtags that some people use to encourage followers, such as: #follow #follower, #follow4follow. These hashtags are used by accounts that have no interest in your business; they will follow you and unfollow you afterwards.

Here’s an example of how to use hashtags from my Instagram account:

Use relevant hashtags for your business. Follow me on Instagram.

How to implement an effective hashtag strategy? 

  1. Combine popular hashtags with less popular ones in your posts. The less popular ones will be visible for a longer time.
  2. For accounts with more than 1 thousand followers, the ideal is to place 9 to 12 hashtags to have higher impact.
  3. Create your own hashtags solidify your presence on Instagram and lowering the chances of a competitor to steal your traffic. For instance, even though I’m not a big player (yet😉), I created my own hashtag: #StellaWebStudio.
  4. Stock your hashtags for the future. Write them down in a notes app, or send yourself an email with them.
  5. Create hashtags for giveaways or contests you may run, to differentiate this marketing events from your regular posts. Ex. #StellaWebStudioGiveaway
How to use Instagram hashtags effectively to reach out relevant audiences.


Apply these best practices to your own Instagram posts and see what works best for you. Also, please note that this is a learning process but give it a try, and you’ll see that eventually you will grow a relevant audience.

Finally, if you’d like to learn more about this topic and expand your knowledge in this platform, I recommend you to read Instagram for Business for Dummies. This book has actually helped me a lot in learning a lot of tricks not only in hashtags but also many other features you can use for your own brand.

I hope you found this post useful. Also, you can follow me on my Instagram account to get weekly digital marketing tips for entrepreneurs.

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