Social media

Aug 1, 2023

Instagram hashtags: everything you need to know

Maria Ruocco

To grow on instagram it is important to use all the tools that the platform makes available because in the early stages of growth it's unlikely that our potential audience will look for us directly through our name.
But don't worry! This is normal. It happens to everyone at first.

One of the tools that Instagram makes available to you to reach a higher number of people are hashtags.

Despite the familiarity with this concept, there are questions that still raise many doubts such as:

  • how many types of hashtags are there?

  • how many hashtags should I use?

  • How do I figure out the best hashtags for my content?

  • do I have to insert hashtags in the caption or in the comments?

In this article we will try to answer all these questions. Let's start!

What are hashtags and how do they work?

A hashtag is a set of letters, numbers and/or emojis preceded by the pound sign.
Hashtags are labels that we can insert into our content and allow the instagram algorithm to classify our content in a certain category.

Disney Hashtag

Hashtags are clickable. When a user clicks on an Instagram hashtag or performs a search, they will see a page showing all posts tagged with that hashtag.
In this way, when an Instagram user searches for that particular word on Instagram, he could more easily find our post.

Disney Hashtag

It is also possible to insert hashtags in stories.
In this case, the story could be included in the stories hashtag, which also appears on the hashtag page.

The hashtags therefore represent a point of reference for the instagram algorithm which, like a search engine, will be able to more easily suggest these contents to an interested public.

However, the excessive and generalized use of this tool seems to have led to a stalemate in which simply inserting hashtags does not really add any added value to the online growth strategy.

So many wondered if: Do hashtags still work on Instagram in 2023?

The short answer is: yes!
Like any tool, however, casual use adds no value. That's why, despite the apparent simplicity of use, we cannot resort to improvisation if we want to be serious.

What are the benefits of using hashtags on Instagram?

There are many advantages that can derive from the use of hashtags:

  1. Audience
    With our content we can reach people who have never interacted with our audience before. The hashtags therefore represent a bridge between our profile and the reference target. All of which can translate into more engagement, more followers, and more customers for your brand or business.
    Hashtags also have many other uses besides improving your discoverability.

  2. Post Collection
    Hashtags can help you create your community because they can bring together a whole series of contents related to an initiative you have promoted under a single umbrella.
    For example, Disenyland Paris uses the hashtag #DisneylandParis to collect all the content posted by people about her series and her family in order to understand the community's engagement rate.
    Right now, for example, over 6.000.000 posts have been created with this hashtag. Anyone who intends to collaborate with Dsineyland Paris, just through the use of this hashtag, can have a first indication of the degree of loyalty of its community.

  3. Following
    People can also choose to follow hashtags. This way, you may appear in the feed of people who have started following that specific hashtag.

How many Instagram hashtags should you use in your posts?

Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags to be used but has currently recommended creators to use between 3 and 5 in their posts. This is because the platform is trying to optimize search systems that must be able to accurately classify content.

In the past it was recommended to use all the hashtags available (therefore 30) to have greater visibility, today the game has changed. In fact, it seems preferable to use a maximum of ten/eleven hashtags that are highly relevant, i.e. well suited to the published photo.

Furthermore, it is not recommended to always use the same hashtags for different images because the algorithm could penalize the post.

To recap:

  • there is no a priori predefined number of hashtags;

  • to figure out what works best for you you need to experiment and test;

  • according to various researches the correct number of hashtags to use is equal to 11 hashtags;

  • try, in any case, to focus on quality and hyper-relevant hashtags.

How many types of hashtags are there?

Instagram divides hashtags into nine distinct categories:

  • Product or service hashtags: general keywords to describe a product or service (e.g. #shirt, #makeup).

  • Niche hashtags: words related to the context of your industry
    (e.g. #travelblogger or #globetrotter)

  • Instagram industry community hashtags: words that identify communities on Instagram (e.g. #catloversofinstagram)

  • Seasonal or special event hashtags: words that refer to specific events or moments (#summerdays, #womanday, #BelgianGP)

  • Position hashtags: words that identify the position (e.g. #Rome, #Milan, #TimeSquare)

  • Daily hashtags: words that identify specific days (e.g. #MondayBlues, #SundayFunday)

  • Relevant phrase hashtags: words that combine elements of product hashtags + niche hashtags + community hashtags

  • Hashtag with acronym: short words that briefly express a concept
    (e.g. TBT for “Throwback Thursday”; #OOTD for “outfit of the day”)

  • Emoji hashtags: hashtags composed exclusively of emojis or words mixed with emojis (e.g. #😉, #love❤️)

Most Popular Instagram Hashtags in 2023

Obviously, when it comes to numbers and statistics, english appears among the first reference languages. This is why the most used hashtags are almost always in english.

In the following image you will find some of the most popular ones in 2023.

The top most popular instagram hashtag in 2023

Be careful!
Including the most popular hashtags in your caption is not necessarily a winning strategy.

Remember that they are popular because many people are using them and therefore the number of content that flows into that specific hashtag page is also much higher.
Popularity is not synonymous with effectiveness.

What to do?
Try to combine popular hashtags with niche hashtags to try and reach a more specific audience.

The site finds the most popular accounts by industry.

Read more: How to increase instagram engagement: the ultimate guide

Is it possible to hide hashtags on Instagram?

Let's analyze some hypotheses:

If you don't want to insert a list of hashtags in your caption, you can insert them in the comments.

  • On mobile, your hashtags won't be visible unless a user taps "See all comments".

  • On desktop, however, the comment will remain in the top position, so this trick works best if you're targeting a mobile app audience.

If you want to insert your hashtags in the caption without them being too visible, after writing the caption, tap "Enter" at the bottom right to create some space.
Instagram hides captions after three lines, so your hashtags won't be visible unless your followers expand on the description.
Again, your hashtags will be visually separated from your caption.

If you want to hide hashtags in Instagram stories you can:

  • shrink the ashatag until it's almost invisible;

  • you can hide it by pasting on an emoji, sticker or GIF above it to obscure them;

  • enter the text and then click on the photo, this way the hashtag will remain behind the picture.

Tool for content creatore suggestion: to create your content use Editby

How to find the best hashtags for your profile

The relevance of a hashtag to the photo you post is crucial.

We suggest some tricks that will help you increase the coverage of your posts and the engagement of your audience.

  • Analyze and define your niche
    It may seem obvious, but most content creators are not able to define in a detailed and precise form what is the typical person to whom their content is directed.
    Defining our content in a general way is not enough, it is necessary to understand who is the niche we are targeting.
    This analysis will allow you to identify the niche hashtags that will allow you to be more exposed in front of that audience.

  • Analyzed competitors
    To understand which are the most effective hashtags in a sector you can identify your best competitors to understand which are the most effective hashtags.
    This doesn't mean copying their strategy but simply understanding its meaning and drawing some conclusions that could be useful for developing your growth strategy on Instagram.
    In fact, not only can you decide to adopt some of these hashtags that are working for the competition but also to choose other different ones, albeit similar, to try to intercept another portion of the public.

  • Create your own branded hashtag
    Create a hashtag that identifies your personal or commercial brand.
    Creating a hashtag will allow discoverers to see all the posts you've been tagged in that showcase your products or audience chemistry.

Obviously this strategy works well when your brand is already known because people directly type your name into the Instagram search bar.
If you are at an early stage, it will certainly not be the decisive strategy but inserting your hashtag in your bio or in your posts will surely help you.
To make it more effective, you could try to popularize it through contests with a “branded” hashtag.

If you create your own hashtag, remember to follow it so you can. monitor how it is used.
To follow a hashtag within Instagram, simply tap it, then tap the blue Follow button on the hashtag page.

Avoid banned hashtags and spam hashtags

Banned hashtags
There is content that violates Instagram guidelines because it is inappropriate.
When this content is associated with a hashtag (e.g. #onlyfans), Instagram may ban that hashtag.

  • What happens if you use a banned hashtag?
    Instagram does not allow viewing of the most recent posts associated with a banned hashtag so you will not see recent posts and there will be no stories associated with the hashtag.

  • How do I know if a hashtag is banned?
    There is no other way than that of manual control.
    It is important to carry out this check because the use of banned hashtags can cause a drop in engagement.

Spam hashtags
Spam hashtags are those hashtags that solicit people to perform actions such as following their profile (e.g. #followme, #like4like, #follow4follow, #tagsforlikes).
These are hashtags whose use is not prohibited but simply not recommended both because it could compromise your image and because their use will attract bots, spammers and other Instagram users who have no intention of interacting with you in a meaningful way.

Tool for content creatore suggestion: Editby

General guidelines on hashtags and their use

Hashtag pages show all the content associated with a specific hashtag.

In short words:

  • pages associated with a hashtag show results starting from the most recent.
    Use niche hashtags consistently so you can rank among the top results on pages that aren't very crowded;

  • the "recent" section is sorted by when each post was originally shared.
    Adding hashtags later, either via a comment or by changing the caption, will not cause your post to appear in Recents;

  • do not copy and paste the same long list of hashtags under each post because your content will be penalized by the algorithm;

  • only use relevant hashtags that are really capable of describing the content of your post.

Remember: It's not about being seen by many people, it's about being seen by the right people.

Read more: When is the best time to post on Instagram?

Spanish version 🇪🇸

Maria Ruocco