Hashtags seem to have become part of every day language. Understood by some, and a mystery for others, the hashtag is an integral part of using Instagram for business. It can be confusing and there are many factors to consider when it comes to making it work for your business.

  • How many tags should you use?
  • Should you use the same amount in every post?
  • Do they look SPAMMY?
  • Which hashtags are the best for your business?
  • What posts should have which tag?

Understanding their purpose and how they are used is a good place to start.

Tags that make your content discoverable

Quite simply, a hashtag is something that makes your content discoverable. By pre-fixing, a word or combination of letters, symbols and numbers with the hash ‘#’ sign, your content becomes discoverable for that term eg #worldcup2020 #covid2020. The more combinations of these tags that you use, the more discoverable your content becomes.

A simple guide to using hashtags on Instagram

By following a few simple principles and carrying out a little bit of research you can start to compile your own hashtag lists and make your Instagram posts work harder for you. You can build these lists into a note on your phone (or computer if using a publishing tool like Hootsuite) and simply copy and paste, amending as necessary with each Instagram post. 

How many hashtags per post?

There is much research about how many hashtags you should use. You can use up to 30 on a regular post and 10 on an Instagram story. That’s not to say you need to use them all, however. Research from various reputable industry specialists reveals that between 9 and 11 is the optimum amount when it comes to the best engagement.

Where to add the hashtags

If you are sharing your Instagram post to Facebook, you won’t want all of the hashtags to show in the post when shared. In this instance, you can post your picture with a caption and add the hashtags to the comments beneath. Your posts will still be found but you won’t have lots of hashtags appearing. You can also leave a space between your caption and your tags so that they aren’t visible when people see the post. Alternatively, you may be happy to have all your hashtags alongside the caption. Just be wary that when using too many, it can begin to look at bit ‘spammy’.

Which hashtags to use

In order to find the hashtags you are looking for, start by entering a word into the search tab and then clicking on ‘tags’. In this example, we have typed in ‘kitchens’ and the search has returned the most used tags. This gives you an idea of what people are posting about and inspiration for your own hashtag lists. These are quite mainstream so you may want to consider some more options as listed below and use a combination of more specific and localised tags.

using hashtags for Instagram

More specific searches

Some of these will seem like the more obvious tags – why wouldn’t you just type in kitchens for example? You can miss quite a lot by being too generic. If you are looking for a specific item you can narrow your search with specific tags such as #kitchenappliances #kitchenworktops #beigekitchens #brightkitchens #madetomeasurekitchens #kitchentiles

Area/local searches

Unless you are a national brand, you will want to appeal to a geographic location. You may be based in London and want to attract people from across the city. In this instance, you might go for the following: #kitchenslondon #kitchenschelsea #kitchenskensington etc.

Your own brand searches

Perhaps you have a company slogan or a particular logo that you want to use as your hashtag – you might want to try and use hashtags to create a company slogan. Consider the big brands like Nike #justdoit and McDonalds #imlovinit. While these won’t produce direct results in the short term, in the longer term they help to achieve brand recognition.

Using emojis

It is not unusual to find emojis in hashtags either on their own or combine them with a relevant search term such as #wimbledon2019? or simply #?. You can also use numbers, symbols, letters and combinations to produce a variety of similar tweets.

Following your most common hashtags

Just like you can follow other people on Instagram, you can also follow hashtags. This will show a selection of hashtags each day in your Instagram feed and when you click ‘following’ on your own profile, you can see the hashtags that you follow above all of the accounts and check in from time to time to see what everyone else is doing or get inspiration from others. You can also use this to keep an eye on the competitors without following them.

Measuring how effective your Instagram hashtags are

If you click on the insights of your posts, you can not only see how many people have viewed your post, you can also see how effective your hashtags are. The posts that get higher engagement and show the highest number of hashtag searches are those that you should try and emulate. By taking the time to recognise what performs well and what doesn’t, you can soon start to manage your Instagram posts more effectively.

For more information on using Instagram for business and how you can maximise on your efforts, we are more than happy to answer your questions.