Instagram Hashtags: How to Use Hashtags on Instagram (Effectively)

How to Use Hashtags on Instagram

When it comes to using hashtags for Instagram, there are many strategies. People have been researching what the most popular Instagram hashtags are to use, and how they can use them to increase their followers. The easiest way to get followers on Instagram is to get verified, but this is not easy for everyone.

To start, we must know what hashtags are and how they can help you grow your account. 

What are Instagram Hashtags?

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.

Knowing this, a user can use a hashtag to increase their organic reach and attract new people to their Instagram accounts. By using a hashtag, accounts on Instagram are now connected with a common topic.

For example, if you search #food on Instagram, results will show up of food posts on Instagram that are marked with that same hashtag. Knowing this, you can reach a more select target audience.

#food on Instagram

Hashtags allow you to connect with other users using a relevant keyword. When trying to grow your social media, this is extremely valuable to growing your account.

Now that you know what hashtags are, we can move on to the next step. 

How to Use Hashtags for Instagram

The first thing you will need to do is have Instagram content. Content should not be taken lightly. When it comes to growing on Instagram, you will need to make sure your content is appealing and something people will enjoy. Without good content, hashtags are meaningless.

The key to having good content is something that has bright colors, a good caption, and a picture or video that draws the user’s attention. Also, I recommend using post sizes that are more vertical than horizontal. People will be more likely to double-tap the picture if you have a vertical post.

Next, you will want to pick a word that describes your content. For the purpose of this guide, I will be using #food as the root hashtag. Your root hashtag should be something generic and that can have variations on it easily. If you are having trouble finding hashtags, you can use a hashtag generator service like RiteTag to optimize your content with hashtags.

Step 1: Pick Out Hashtags

Instagram allows you have to have a maximum of 30 hashtags per post. However, it is probably more beneficial to not use all these tags. TrackMaven found the optimal amount of hashtags to use on Instagram is 9.

Using any more than 9 can actually hurt you in the Instagram algorithm, making it less beneficial to use more. Therefore, I recommend you stick with a maximum of 15 hashtags for your content.

When picking out hashtags, I recommend not using any spammy hashtags like #like4like or #follow4follow. These hashtags make you look spammy and will not result in you gaining engaging followers. You want niche specific followers.

First, search your generic hashtag on Instagram. Here, you will find a list of related hashtags.

#Food on Instagram

Above, you will see a list of related hashtags to #food.

Pick out the related hashtags and try to find a mix of low, medium, and high volume tags. You can also search for trending hashtags to maximize your engagement, but only use them if they make sense.

Low Volume Tags – 1000 – 10,000 posts.

Medium Volume Tags – 10,000 – 100,000 posts

High Volume Tags – 100,000 – 100,000,000 posts.

Using a mix is recommended to get the best results on your account. Low volume niche hashtags will give you more select followers, while high volume tags will get you more engagement.

Make sure to use specific hashtags that are relevant to your content to maximize results. If you do not use relevant hashtags, your photos or videos will not get any results. 

Step 2: Use Hashtags Within Your Caption

Now, it’s time to add hashtags to your Instagram posts. The goal is to use hashtags in a way that ranks your post in the top posts section of the hashtag. The way to do this is to use the hashtags in your caption in a way that makes sense.

A lot of people use hashtags at the end of their caption, however, this is not the way to use hashtags. Instagram’s algorithm wants it to make sense. The best way to use them is to write a sentence like this.

#Food is a great way to meet #people. It allows the conversation to flow in an enjoyable manner. I recommend using #spaghetti as the dish of choice!

Using the hashtags where they make sense can provide you with a favorability factor in the Instagram algorithm, allowing you to find more niche followers. When you are done with writing your caption, you may list the rest of your hashtags at the end of your post to fill them in.

Step 3: Post Your Content and Engage With Others

After creating your caption and optimizing it, it is important to post your content and engage with others. I recommend going to one of the hashtags and liking/commenting on other people’s posts in an attempt to get them to return the favor on your account.

You will want to get as much engagement as possible to rank your post on the hashtags.

What is the Best Hashtag Research Tool for Instagram?

The best tool to find the top hashtags to use is probably Instagram itself. Searching for a base hashtag and then using the app to find related ones are probably going to produce you the best results.

You can also search the App Store for a hashtag generator app, but I have not had the best results with these. I prefer to just use the Instagram app to find tags.

Can I Use Hashtags in the Comments?

On your own posts, you can comment hashtags instead of putting them in your caption. If you feel that it will look more professional to add hashtags in your comment section, you may do this.

Hashtag generator apps usually give you a premade comment to do this effectively.

What are the Best Hashtags to Use on Instagram?

The best hashtags to use on Instagram are ones that you can rank for on the top posts section. If you get about 300 likes on Instagram, try to find hashtags that have top posts with 300 likes.

Once your account grows, so does your ability to compete. Instagram users are constantly competing for the top post on a hashtag, so make sure you know what you can honestly compete in before you try.

How to Use a Brand Hashtag on Instagram?

A lot of people and businesses created branded hashtags for their posts. A brand hashtag is a hashtag that connects people to a brand.

For example, Temple University uses the hashtag #TempleMade in their bio. This incentivizes their followers to use that hashtag on their photos from campus to get featured on the University’s Instagram page.

Branded hashtags are a great way to increase engagement and create a community around your page. Using a call to action in your posts telling people to use the hashtag can create a highly engaging community.

Another great strategy is to use your brand hashtag for giveaways. People tend to love free things, so giveaways are a great way to grow your branded hashtag.

What Hashtag Strategies Work Best?

The best hashtag strategies are ones that are effective in getting your posts impressions. I am not here to endorse any other strategies besides the one that I have demonstrated in this guide.

The idea is to create a strategy that works for you and stick with it.

Should I Repeat Hashtags in My Posts?

Repeating the use of the same hashtags can result in a negative effect on your account. Ideally, you will not want to repeat the same hashtag on more than 2 posts.

Instagram does not like when users repeatedly use the same hashtag in an effort to own all the space on the hashtag page. It is wise to switch up your hashtags for each post.

Can I Use Hashtags on Instagram Stories?

Yes, Instagram allows you to use the hashtag sticker on your Instagram stories. This allows you to have your story featured on the hashtag’s page and reach more users. Make sure the hashtag makes sense before using it.


Using hashtags is an effective way to grow your followers. It allows you to reach more targeted users and build a community with people. Everyone should be using hashtags on Instagram if they are looking to grow your account.

Make sure to use hashtags that make sense within your content so people do not react negatively to your posts. Using a hashtag for the purpose of getting impressions is not the point. It is to build a community of niche followers.

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