The Roarsome Guide to Instagram Hashtags for Small Business: The Fundamentals of Generating Leads Through Hashtags
Hashtags on Instagram are effective!
Hashtags have the potential to enhance your company’s reach; on the other hand, if you use them time and again without a particular purpose or strategy in mind, they tend to be worthless and ineffective.
But how should you use hashtags on Instagram? What is the best way to find the best hashtags for your Instagram account? Which particular hashtags are prevalent right now? Also, should they be displayed in the comments or in the captions section??
Keep reading to discover how to use Instagram hashtags to expand your list of followers, lock in your group of onlookers and develop your brand.
What Is an Instagram Hashtag?
Do you see that number (#) symbol on your keyboard? Basically, place it before a word to create a hashtag.
A word, expression, or combination of letters, numbers and/or emojis following the # sign is called a hashtag (for example, #StartUp). Hashtags do not allow punctuation marks or spaces.
The main function of hashtags is to help social networks deliver superior content organisation by categorising data and expanding its discoverability.
Hashtags can often be found in images or in the comments of an Instagram post. To view all the posts on that platform that include a certain hashtag, a customer can tap on it. Thanks to this, customers can quickly identify specific topics in this vast universe of social media posts.
Why Use Instagram Hashtags?
Hashtags play a critical role in Instagram’s sorting process. With 95 million photographs posted on the platform every day, it is a challenge for Instagram to accurately provide the right content to the right people. Hashtags can help your content get discovered by the internet visitors who are most interested in it.
Violet McCay, head of advertising at Conte.ai, describes the significance of hashtags as follows: ‘A hashtag is like a funnel. For instance, the hashtag #restaurant is very general and attracts entries of various types. We've found that hashtags like #restaurantsupply or #italianrestaurant help us reach a specific audience more precisely. In other words, we actually reach the targeted individuals since the people using these hashtags are also attempting to focus their search on what they are looking for.’
- Great coverage:
One of the biggest advantages of hashtags is enhanced exposure. Hashtags are crucial for growing your Instagram following and broadening your audience so that more people can find your content. Hashtags not only help you communicate with your target audience, but they also make it easier for people to locate you online. If they discover that the information you share is relevant to them, they'll probably follow your account.
- Content organisation:
You can also use hashtags to organise your content. For instance, you can group your posts with others who publish content similar to yours by using common hashtags. Alternatively, several companies use niche hashtags to generate interest and group their posts about a certain product or campaign.
Instagram hashtags can be a fantastic tool for growing online communities and encouraging people to associate with your business. For instance, Calvin Klein placed the hashtag #mycalvins directly in their Instagram bio. This is an excellent example of how a company can encourage the creation of user-generated content.
Placing clickable links in your bio is another technique for advertising your business on social media and directing visitors to your website.
- Increasing involvement:
Using branded hashtags is another form of engagement, especially if you encourage their use among your followers. Think of hashtags as an additional way to connect and interact with your audience. By including them in your Instagram posting strategy, you can also increase your revenue, particularly if you identify some of the most popular hashtags for your industry.
- Success check:
If you have a company profile, you can use Instagram Insights to gauge the effectiveness of your hashtag campaigns. Tracking the number of views or impressions your posts receive will help you with this.
- It's like SEO:
You can also look at posts using your pertinent hashtags for content ideas. Hashtags can aid in your content idea research, just like when you work with SEO.
- Following interests:
On Instagram, hashtags have another application; users can ‘follow’ hashtags to see some of that material in their feed. This means that users can follow any community or subject that they are interested in.
How Do Hashtags Work on Instagram?
Basically, hashtags used by users and brands feed the search results on the Instagram Explore page. By choosing the ‘Tags’ option, users can search for hashtags and associated hashtags depending on their popularity.
The Instagram algorithm also uses hashtags to categorise your material and recommend it to users who may find it of interest.
You can also open a gallery of the most popular and recently added posts using a given hashtag by simply clicking on it. Therefore, hashtags are a fantastic tool that helps people who are interested in a certain topic find new accounts to follow. From this gallery, you can also see all the correspondence about the hashtag. It's worth noting that all posts from the hashtagged feed are saved in the search results.
You can make your posts visible to readers who share your interests by including relevant hashtags in your article. As this hashtag aligns with a topic of interest to users, these individuals are more inclined to interact with your article and follow you in the hopes of seeing more content on the same subject.
Likewise, users can simply follow your hashtag to see the associated posts in their feed, even if they're not subscribed to you. This makes hashtags very effective for promotion. Merely by using a hashtag, you can end up in the feed of users who didn't know anything about you before.
How to Use Hashtags on Instagram
Placing a number sign in front of a word or phrase is all it takes to add a hashtag on Instagram.
If you want to write an Instagram caption, type the hash character #, then write your catchphrase.
As you write your hashtag, Instagram will display frequently used hashtags, letting you know how many posts are using them. When you see the hashtag you want, click on it, and it will appear in the post:
You can also attach hashtags in comments, although they can only be added to your own posts.
A few things worth noting:
- Hashtags use their own grammar, so don't add spaces or punctuation. For example, #no-space or #we-play are incorrect. The correct hashtag is #weplay.
- Sometimes you can use capitalisation to separate words in hashtags; this can be very helpful in making them clearer. For example, compare #veganrestaurant and #VeganRestaurant. It is worth noting that capitalisation has no effect on the hashtag itself.
- Be attentive to detail and double-check your hashtags, because sometimes combining multiple words can make something sound strange or, even worse, inappropriate.
- Don't overuse the same hashtag in one post; the number of repeated hashtags has no effect on your chances of being found in the feed.
Should I use hashtags in my Instagram signature or in the comments section?
We've already seen that using hashtags in captions or comments is equally effective, so it is a matter of personal choice where to use them.
But it's worth noting that it's important you do everything quickly. If you decide to manually enter a hashtag, make sure you do so immediately after publishing the post.
Hashtags can also be included in your bio:
Instagram has a handy option to put hashtags or usernames into your profile bio. This allows you to create an extremely effective bio and promote your hashtag.
Also, don't forget that stories in highlight bubbles are a great way to attract customers to your profile; they are constant and shown right below the bio.
Is it possible to add hashtags to a video after it has been published?
Yes, it is. To add captions to an Instagram reel, go to the reel's caption section and click ‘edit’. Hashtags added to the reel itself are not recognised by Instagram, so insert them in the caption area.
Is it possible to add hashtags to a post after publication?
You can add a hashtag after posting, but it's worth noting that the photo or video will appear in the hashtag feed along with other content published at the original posting time.
As Instagram puts it:
‘Remember that even if you've hashtagged a photo after you published it, the photo will still display on the hashtag page based on when it was originally published, not when you added the hashtag.’
However, there are some amazing, really niche hashtags with only a few hundred to a few thousand entries. Some of these have devoted followers!
How Many Hashtags to Use on Instagram
A hashtag with many posts may indicate that many people follow it, but it also suggests that it has a lot of material, and your content may be lost in it. Instagram advises combining popular and specialised hashtags to target a wider range of audiences, from general to specialised.
You can use up to 30 hashtags. Your caption or comment won't be published if you attempt to add more.
However, this doesn’t mean that you should use that many hashtags in a single post. There is no such thing as the perfect number of hashtags for every post a company makes.
About half of Instagram users use between one and three hashtags, with an average of 11 hashtags. Depending on your Instagram marketing objectives, you may choose to use more or less. As we all know, more doesn't always mean better; therefore, even Instagram recommends using only three to five hashtags per post.
So, how many hashtags you should use on Instagram posts? For the time being, the best tactic to improve your reach and interaction on Instagram feed posts is to include more hashtags. However, it would be worthwhile to test the technique of concentrating on fewer, extremely relevant hashtags as soon as Instagram begins to broaden its recommended content stream.
Best Instagram Hashtags for Likes and Follows in 2022
With these top hashtags, small business owners can succeed on Instagram. It's a great way to keep your audience's attention as well as attract new followers. Check out this list of the most popular hashtags on Instagram divided by topiс:
Best Instagram Hashtags for Food and Restaurants:
Best Instagram Hashtags for Health and Wellness
Best Instagram Hashtags for SaaS
Best Instagram Hashtags for the Education Industry
Best Instagram Hashtags for Property and Construction
Best Instagram Hashtags for Recruitment
Best Instagram Hashtags for Legal
Best Instagram Hashtags for Logistics
Types of Instagram Hashtags for Small Businesses
Hashtags are incredibly handy keywords. They can create a community, increase the visibility of your account, or simply draw in like-minded people.
Take a look at the most popular hashtags you can use and their classifications before deciding on a collection of hashtags for your posts.
- Product hashtags:
Some businesses use product hashtags to announce what they sell, and this can also apply to services. Often something basic like #italianfood or #supplychain is used.
- Niche hashtags:
Niche hashtags are a bit more targeted and help you position yourself within the context of your industry. Examples are #matchalatte and #supplychainsolutions.
- Brand hashtags:
Sometimes you'll find that branded hashtags can help create a community focused on your company or brand. This can be the name of the product you sell, your company name, or even your slogan. For example, Huda Kattan adds brand hashtags to her profile for every product she releases, encouraging others to use them by resharing user-generated material in her feed:
- Community hashtags:
Hashtags for Instagram communities in your industry can help you locate and join these communities. Think #bartendersofinstagram or #floristsofinstagram.
- Event hashtags:
Hashtags for special occasions or seasons can be used to refer to actual seasons, such as #autumnvibes, or they can be used to describe holidays, such as #halloweencostume or #thanksgivingdinner.
For instance, Mother’s Day is on 19 March, and the hashtag has over 13.8 million user-generated posts on Instagram. To join, all you have to do is have a product that has something to do with the day, you don't even have to own a specialised business. Maybe your restaurant has a family dish, or you have an item that would make a great gift for a mother. The best way to promote these hashtags is to include them in posts.
- Location-specific hashtags:
One helpful tip is to use location-specific hashtags, such as #nailslondon or #nycstreetfood. This can be a good idea even if you're geotagging your Instagram posts.
A perfect example is #nycstreetfood, shown above. Quite a useful hashtag that includes both theme and location. With a hashtag like this, you can attract audiences related to location and food. Also, don’t forget about the branded hashtags used by all kinds of travel agencies in your area.
- Day hashtags:
Did you know that each day has its own hashtags? From #TGIF to #SundaySelfie
There are also daily hashtags targeting specific interests. For example, balanced lifestyle fans who regularly jog use the hashtag #ThursdayRun to inspire each other. More than 25,900 posts have been made on #ThursdayRun. These daily hashtags require a bit more research, but if you follow popular people in certain industries, you’ll see them pop up.
- Keyword hashtags:
There are also hashtags that use relevant phrases. These incorporate community, product and niche hashtag keywords. For example, hashtags like #ilovechrochet or #greenliving allow people on Instagram to connect to existing groups in a slightly ‘insider’ way.
Although there is no magic number for how many of each type of hashtag to use, keeping the various categories in mind may help you find inspiration and direct your strategy.
How to Hide Hashtags on Instagram
Do the hashtags in your signature look like spam? There's a way to hide them!
Here’s how to hide Instagram hashtags in a comment in a few steps:
Since Instagram doesn't distinguish between hashtags in the caption and in the comments, you can simply put them in the comments and hide them.
- Do not include any hashtags when writing your signature.
- After publishing your post, click on the speech bubble button below your post, which will let you leave a comment.
- Specify the hashtags you want to see in the comment box, then click ‘Post’.
- Mobile users won't see these hashtags unless they open all comments; however, PC users will still see your comment at the top first, so this tip works best for a mobile audience.
How to hide Instagram hashtags in your caption:
It is possible, however, to add hashtags in the caption itself that won't be particularly visible.
- Press Return or Enter when you reach the end of the caption. If nothing appears, press 123 to display the Return or Enter button.
- First, enter a punctuation mark (you can try a dash, a bullet or a period), then press Return again.
- Repeat Step 2 at least three times.
- After three lines, Instagram starts to hide the caption, so that no one will see the hashtags you've specified – at least not unless they click on it. But, on the plus side, since the hashtags are visually separated from the caption, they do not distract readers and the result looks stylish.
Tips on How to Search for Hashtags on Instagram
You can search for hashtags on Instagram
For your convenience, Instagram has made it extremely easy to find the perfect hashtags for your post. First, open the Instagram mobile app, then find the magnifying glass at the very bottom of the screen to get started:
At the top of the screen, you'll see a search bar.
The Instagram search page may take you to a page similar to a news feed. Use the search bar at the top of that page to switch to hashtag search and enter the hashtag you're interested in there.
Click on ‘Tags’.
At the top, you’ll see a search bar; after tapping it, Instagram will bring up several search filter options. As shown in the screenshot below, hashtags on Instagram are referred to simply as ‘Tags’. To locate a popular hashtag for a certain topic, hit this ‘Tags’ option, then press the search bar above.
When searching for a hashtag, you can also see how many posts have used it. In addition, you'll see a list of similar, commonly used Instagram hashtags with the number of posts:
The results of your search will be the same with or without the number symbol (#), but after you select a hashtag, you must use this sign in your image caption.
So how can you find the best hashtags for your specific company on Instagram?
When using Instagram for your business, it's a good idea to invest some time in researching the top hashtags, especially those that are pertinent to your speciality and target market. Always make decisions based on facts when you're promoting your company. Therefore, the following are our top recommendations for discovering the ideal Instagram hashtags for your content
Use a tool that suggests hashtags
You can find the most popular Instagram hashtags for your speciality using various Instagram tools. Here are some tools you can use to identify hashtags based on the content of your article and related hashtags in your industry: Hootsuite, Later, SproutSocial, Agorapulse, Buzzsumo, Hashtagify, Keyhole and Brand24.
Examine the Instagram Explore page
Your Instagram hashtag approach might benefit greatly from the ideas found on the Explore page.
Check out the ‘Top’ results when conducting a keyword search for your brand or content to get the best results.
Observe the competition
You can successfully determine which Instagram hashtags get the most views just by studying your competitors and their hashtags. Most big companies do just that to determine the best Instagram hashtag options for their industry. It doesn't mean you have to copy those hashtags, but it can help you improve your recognition nonetheless.
Research the hashtags your target market is currently using
In all likelihood, you won't achieve much by closing your posts with a set of random Instagram hashtags. It's crucial to take into account what your audience is looking for. To greatly increase your chances of being found, add hashtags with the keywords your audience often searches for.
Be sure to keep track of which hashtags your top followers are using. You can find out more about the hashtags your followers are interested in by using the Instagram search feature. If any of your followers follow a given hashtag, the search engine will let you know when you apply that hashtag on Instagram. (Note that this only works in the mobile app; unfortunately, it doesn't work that way on PCs.)
Here is a screenshot showing related Instagram hashtags for a particular hashtag search:
Look at Instagram influencers
The people who do extraordinarily well on social media are known as Instagram influencers. They frequently have a large following and place a lot of emphasis on developing messages that connect with their audience, including Instagram hashtags. Look at the top influencers that are related to your brand to understand which Instagram hashtags to use. By studying the hashtags they use and the interaction they get from their posts, you can learn quite a bit.
Which hashtags are banned on Instagram?
Instagram may restrict a hashtag used in conjunction with offensive content.
This does not preclude you from using it in any way. What it means is that clicking on the tag will display only the most recent posts. There will be no subsequent posts or stories using this inappropriate hashtag.
Here's what a prohibited hashtag looks like when it is entered:
If you want to know whether your hashtag is banned, you can check it. It is a good idea to check every time you want to use a new hashtag because using banned hashtags will quickly decrease your reach, as you will be less likely to participate in Instagram's algorithms.
You should also stay away from hashtags that blatantly ask for likes and followers, even if they are not prohibited. The hashtags #follow4follow, #like4like, #followme and #tagsforlikes are some examples.
There are three ways to avoid using prohibited hashtags:
- Use none of the most widely used Instagram hashtags.
- Before using any hashtag, do your research.
- Use a program such as Tailwind Hashtag Finder. If you do, you will never encounter a banned hashtag.
To learn about hashtags that are currently banned:
- Use the search bar to find a specific hashtag.
- Click the hashtag to view the images that come up.
- You can also see that a hashtag is banned if you scroll down and see that the publication is ‘hidden’.
Fundamentals of Building a Hashtag Strategy for Your Business
Instagram hashtag strategies are a way to calculate the most appropriate method of using hashtags on Instagram. Strategising, instead of randomly choosing hashtags, will help you plan your content. Your Instagram marketing will become much more strategic.
Determine what you want to be associated with on Instagram.
When developing a plan for your company, you must consider your ethical limits. There are occasions when you can hashtag, like fashion week or a significant news item, but only if you do it within the restrictions you have set.
Kenneth Cole, for example, used the hashtag #Cairo to promote his product instead of to discuss events in Egypt. He wrote on Twitter: ‘Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumour is they heard our new spring collection is now available online at...’ This is a terrible example of using a hashtag for advertising, which is why Kenneth Cole was heavily criticised online and by the media.
A well-thought-out plan will help your company prevent catastrophes of this nature. Businesses may join larger debates by using well-known social media hashtags, but only if done appropriately, which should be determined upfront.
Examine your marketing strategy.
Since many of your hashtag goals will be the same as your overall social media marketing goals, it is crucial to start by analysing your marketing plan to establish your goals. Decide what your business needs, such as more internet traffic, increased engagement and interaction with clients, or something else.
Pick hashtags that will stick around.
By researching the best hashtags, you can choose ones that are memorable to subscribers due to their originality and relevance. Don't overuse hashtags; not every campaign needs its own hashtag. Choose a few that you can use and modify frequently to make it easier for your audience to follow your content.
Use hashtags in offline marketing events.
You can also spread awareness of your hashtags in your offline marketing approach. You can expand their usage and reach by including them in other marketing materials, such as magazine or newspaper ads, TV commercials or internet advertisements.
Refine your strategy based on an analysis of your hashtag outcomes.
Never forget that a successful Instagram hashtag strategy requires trial and error! Progress never stands still, always keep developing your strategy. Try not to repeat the same hashtags. One of the best ways to figure out the reach of hashtags is to use Instagram stats for each of your posts.
Keep track of your insights to monitor performance and decide which hashtags to reuse. By observing the level of interaction they generate, monitoring engagement rates and making adjustments to your strategy, you can gauge the success of your hashtag campaign.
Track your performance again after making changes to discover which hashtags are helping your page. Ultimately, you’ll come up with a successful method of choosing hashtags that generate the most engagement with your business profile.
Best Practices for Using Instagram Hashtags (for Small Businesses)
Insights are the best way to study which tags are most beneficial.
By switching to an Instagram business profile, you will gain access to post analytics that show your hashtag statistics.
Choose the post for which you want to see the data, then press View Insights on the left, just below the post.
Swiping up will give you all the post data, along with the number of hashtag impressions.
Organising your hashtags will simplify your analytics.
You can use Excel or an Instagram analytics application to establish an effective hashtag system. If you decide to use an Excel sheet, you'll have to manually keep track of the hashtags you employ, how frequently you use them, and which ones are associated with your most successful posts. Over time, you'll notice connections between particular hashtags and your most popular posts, which can help you decide which hashtags are most effective for your brand.
But remember that relevance matters. If the hashtag doesn't fit your brand, remove it from your list. If someone researching the hashtag comes across your brand and it is unrelated, it might make your brand seem unreliable and/or desperate.
Refining hashtags will help you gather the right target audience.
By using relevant and targeted hashtags, you can connect with folks who are specifically searching for what you're sharing.
More precise, lower-volume hashtags are preferable for your brand; you can precisely target your audience.
Dora, Conte.ai marketing specialist, explains: ‘Aligning the hashtag with your brand's interests is helpful. Usually, we try to apply hashtags to specific topics and then narrow them down to a precise designation – for example, if our posts are about social media updates we use #socialmediatools, #instagramupdate or #instagrampinpost.’
Consider this: #coffee has a large audience, yet it is a very broad topic. I'm more inclined to interact with your article if I search for #coffeeroasterylab and discover it because it's precisely what I was looking for.
Avoid using old or repetitive hashtags.
Under no circumstances should you reuse the same list of hashtags. The community rules for Instagram make it very clear that ‘posting repetitive comments or content’ is not acceptable. Your content will be penalised by the algorithm if you continually use the same hashtags in your posts.
Use only relevant hashtags when you compose a post. For instance, if you use the hashtag #bookworm, your material should be something readers would want to share, like and comment on.
Verify your hashtag's meaning before using it.
Check your spelling. Combining two words into one can occasionally lead to undesirable outcomes. Before publishing your hashtags, especially bespoke ones, read them out loud to make sure there are no accidental words or phrases that might negatively reflect on your business (or even turn you into a viral internet sensation for all the wrong reasons).
Dodge consistently sponsors Roadkill Nights every year, using the hashtag #RoadKillNights to advertise their vehicles. Unfortunately, one year, a citizen murdered a demonstrator and wounded 19 others while driving a Dodge car. Dodge has just started promoting #RoadKillNights the same day.
Although the word ‘Road Kill’ was the only connection between the two incidents, Instagram and Twitter users criticised Dodge for using it.
Look into the hashtags that other people are using.
One simple method to come up with hashtag ideas is to make a list of your followers or rivals and research the hashtags they use on their own images. Researching the hashtags used by influencers in your business can also be very beneficial since they must be doing something right to gain a significant social media following, which is what defines influencers in the first place.
Alternatively, sign up for Conte.ai and get help from a team of social media experts, backed up by private artificial intelligence technologies, who will do the benchmarking on Instagram for you.
Follow relevant hashtags.
There are a few hashtags you should follow on Instagram.
- Your own hashtags: To keep track of engagement and reputation management. Users might not always mention your company in the same post when they use your hashtag.
- Your rivals’ hashtags: To monitor them.
- Niche hashtags: To keep up with news and trends in your area of expertise.
Simply enter the hashtag in the search engine and click the ‘follow’ button to start following it.
The hashtag in the above illustration is #legaladvice. Simply click the ‘Follow’ icon to start following it.
Create your own branded hashtags.
The most effective hashtag for your company could be one you come up with yourself. Simply put, a customised hashtag is a tag you develop to advertise your own company or campaign.
Make sure to begin using your list of branded hashtags in all pertinent posts as soon as you create them. A call to action to use the hashtags is frequently included in the Instagram bio, along with the generic branded hashtags.
In the example above, Disneyland includes its trademarked hashtag in the bio. And, for a chance to be featured, users are told to use this hashtag anytime they post about the company.
Suggestions for developing a recognisable Instagram hashtag:
- Make it distinctive. Include your company name.
- Make it simple to recall. Your followers won't use or remember a hashtag like #usethistipwheneveryouneedtofocus because it's too complicated.
- Be careful. It's definitely worth researching the hashtag to check whether it's being used for something inappropriate.
Frequently Asked Questions about Hashtags
- What is a hashtag?
A hashtag is usually a keyword or specific phrase (often up to a maximum of three words) preceded by a number or hash sign (#). They are used on social platforms like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to group posts by topic.
- How do I follow a hashtag on Instagram?
Like following a buddy, you can follow a hashtag. Start by searching for a subject that interests you or tapping on a hashtag in any post. In your search results, you'll notice connected accounts and hashtags that are pertinent to your query. Open the hashtag page after you find a hashtag you like and tap the ‘Follow’ button.
- Is there a hashtag limit on Instagram?
A standard post can have up to 30 hashtags, while a story can have up to 10 hashtags. Your caption or comment won't be published if you try to add more.
- Should I post Instagram hashtags in captions or in comments?
It is entirely up to you where you share hashtags. Instagram has confirmed that they work in both the post description and the comments.
- Can I add hashtags to Instagram after posting?
Regular Instagram posts can have hashtags added at any time, even after the initial publication of the post. Generally speaking, it is better to include them late rather than never at all. But if you are just getting started, move quickly!
A solid Instagram marketing plan must include the use of hashtags. By using best practices, you can grow your Instagram following and enhance the number of leads it generates. Here’s to hashtagging!