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Hashtags 101: Instagram Hashtag Best Practices

This article was originally published on November 16, 2014 and has since been updated. 

Top 5 Instagram Hashtag Best Practices

As a follow-up to the posts on Facebook and Twitter hashtag best practices, we’ve put together Instagram hashtag best practices and tips! Instagram thrives on the use of hashtags. In fact, often times people and businesses don’t even add a caption; they just list out a series of hashtags instead.

As with any social network, there is a right way and wrong way to use hashtags on Instagram. With the hashtag max limit set to 30, let’s find out how exactly you can make the most of them.

If you’re looking for a more strategic way to use hashtags, you can discover all your competitors’ tactics using our new hashtag analysis tools. Uncover the hashtags you are, are not, and should be using!

Chanel decided to use no words, only hashtags when posting this video. However, Chanel failed to use proper capitalization which makes the hashtags intimidating.

Chanel decided to use no words, only hashtags when posting this video. However, Chanel failed to use proper capitalization which makes the hashtags intimidating.

#InstaTagTip 1: Use multiple #hashtags, but under 10 is best!

If you’re still establishing your brand on Instagram, use as many relevant hashtags as possible in your posts. If you don’t have many followers on Instagram, try driving traffic towards your Instagram account from your other social media platforms. According to research done by SocialFresh, you’re suggested not exceed 10 hashtags per post to deter the perception that your post could be spam. After researching the habits of various brands on Instagram, the optimum number of hashtags for likes is seven hashtags before they negatively effect engagement.

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On Instagram, people often search for specific hashtags and scroll through the image feed. If they like what you posted, they will actually click “like”.  If they like what they see, they might also click on your username to check out your feed and follow you. As in this case, hashtags help you reach a broader audience and gain followers.

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#InstaTagTip 2: Use your SEO keywords

A great place to start when deciding which hashtags to use is your SEO keywords. Search your keywords on Instagram and see what others are posting. If the majority of content is relevant to your post, and it is an active hashtag, use it! Just remember, research is key! Don’t use hashtags that aren’t active or relevant.

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#InstaTagTip 3: Create custom hashtags

If your brand is already established on Instagram, it is time to consider custom hashtags. Make sure any custom hashtag you create is unique, memorable, and speaks to your brand. Most brands create custom hashtags that are a play on their name, e.g. #ArtoftheTrench (Burberry), #InstaKors (Michael Kors) or #ATiffanyHoliday (Tiffany & Co.).

Oh and don’t forget, like Twitter and Facebook, make sure your hashtag is easy to spell and use capitalization for readability.

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#InstaTagTip 4: Create an Instagram campaign using hashtags

Hashtags are a great way to prompt your followers to get involved with your brand. By doing so, not only are you helping your brand reach your follower’s followers, but you’re also developing a relationship with loyalists by inviting them to feel like they are a part of your brand. Starbucks does a great job of this!

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#InstaTagTip 5: Don’t forget about the classics

There are a few incredibly popular hashtags on Instagram. If executed properly, they can really help your brand engage with existing followers and attract new ones.

  • #Regram: Use this hashtag when you are posting something that was previously posted by a fan. This is a great way to make your brand loyalists feel like they are a part of your brand. Not only will they feel more included, but they’re likely to share with their followers that their post was “regrammed” by your brand! When using #regram make sure to give credit where credit is due. Always ask the original creator for permission (by leaving a commet) and use “Photo Credit:@username”.

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  • #LaterGram: Use this hashtag when posting something from a while back that was never posted before. For example, if I worked for Burberry, and it was the Monday after #FashionWeek, I might decide to post a picture and include #latergram. There are over 32 million public posts on Instagram with this hashtag!
  • #ThrowbackThursday or #TBT: It’s Thursday and a throwback is in order! With nearly 340 million posts, it’s a great way to bring back old memories. #TBT has become a popular hashtag on several social networks, including Instagram.  Join the retro fun!

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  • #NoFilter: Use this filter when posting an image and applying none of the Instagram filters to it. These are great if you are posting about your brand in a scenic setting. It’s one of the most popular hashtags on Instagram with almost 170 million public posts.

May the #HashtagForce be with you!

Instagram is a powerful tool for consumer-oriented brands. With more people responsive to visual posts on all social platforms, it is obvious why Instagram has become one of the main platforms by which consumers engage with brands. Use these Instagram hashtag best practices (and share your own!) to get the most out of this social network and watch your brand make an Insta-statement! #InstaTagFTW

Now, if you’re looking to use hashtags to extend your reach, increase your followers and create better content on Instagram, give our 7-day free trial of Rival IQ a spin . No credit card, just analytics.

About Manpreet Kalra

Manpreet Kalra is a Digital Marketing Superhero at Rival IQ. Her superpowers span the digital universe - she can often be seen doing 50 things at once while posting a 140-character Tweet about it. A Silicon Valley native, her startup journey began in 2008 while working for Togetherville, which was later acquired by the Walt Disney Company. She went on to work as a portfolio Marketing Advisor at Stockford Limited, a UK-based VC firm. Manpreet is also the Co-Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Kaurista, a niche online lifestyle magazine for South Asian women. While she does love superhero capes, Manpreet is more typically seen wearing her raincoat, hiking boots or fleece, all appropriate hero attire for her new home of Seattle.

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Comments

  1. Interesting article. I have been reluctant of using instagram hashtags too much, but from your article am interested to see how it can increase the exposure of my tweets. One problem I have been having is to search for hashtags from a user INCLUDING retweets. Currently it seems to ignore those.. Thanks again!

  2. Thank you very much. This helped me a lot and answered many questions that I had about growing my Instagram account.

  3. This is very eye-opening. Like the first comment, I was also wary of using too many hashtags.. I would’ve thought using more than two would appear “spammy.” I’m now charged up to start using on average seven!

    Thanks!

  4. You added plenty of nice examples. I’m happy that I found and bookmarked this post. Thanks for the content and info.

  5. Thanks a lot for sharing. I found a lot of helpful tips for my Instagram account.

  6. Its a beautiful page thanks we liked it.

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