Instagram hashtags remain effective at getting more people to see your photo-based social media content.
Twitter posts with Instagram hashtags are found to be 12.6% more engaging than those without a hashtag. Creating a hashtag strategy for your brand is recommended if you want to grow your fan base or followings.
This ultimate guide to Instagram hashtags will demonstrate how to use hashtags to get more followers, improve your engagement rate, and build an online community.
Ready for a primer on how to optimally use Instagram hashtags? I bet you are!
Table of Contents
Why hashtags on Instagram are important
Instagram has evolved greatly since its inception in 2010, but its hashtag feature has remained constant in importance.
Even today, being well-versed in relevant, targeted hashtags is one of the most effective ways to reach more people on Instagram. Allowing others to access your content can lead to more engagement, followers, and customers.
Hashtags allow people to categorize and organize photos and videos.
If you have a public Instagram account, and add a hashtag to your photo, that photo will be visible on the Instagram hashtag page (a directory of all the photos and videos about that hashtag).
Since hashtags are used for discovery, hashtags can connect you with your target audience even if they’ve never engaged with you before.
A food blogger might post a picture of a gorgeous smoothie bowl where it is tagged with the #superfoods, #cleaneating and #vegansofig.
By using these three hashtags, the image is featured on Instagram which makes it easy for other Instagram users who enjoy healthy foods to find it.
Important points to keep in mind:.
- Tag posts in the profile won’t be visible to others on hashtag pages.
- Numbers are permissible in hashtags. However, spaces and special characters such as $ or % won’t work due to this format.
- You cannot add hashtags to your own posts. You can’t tag other people’s photos/videos.
- Posting up to 30 hashtags and 10 on Instagram’s Stories is possible.
The top 50 hashtags you’ll use in 2025.
While using ultra-popular hashtags isn’t always the best strategy for getting more engagement on your posts and stories, here is a list of the top 50 Instagram hashtags of 2021 which are each trending.
The Top 50 Instagram Hashtags of All Time
The different types of Instagram hashtags examined.
Understanding the different types of hashtags and the groups they’re geared towards is important for optimizing hashtag promotion.
#: Social Hashtags
Community hashtags encourage users to connect with people who share interest in an area. They’re a great way to connect with others, and help feed your social media presence for a small fee.
Here are 9 different ways you can follow the popular community hashtags
- Hashtags for your product or service, such as #sweater, #coffee, or #Mecca
- Hashtags that indicate your industry or vertical, like #photoadvisor or #travelphotography.
- Hashtag communities on Instagram like Foodies of Instagram or Bakers of Instagram.
- Hashtags for special occasions including holidays like #nationaldonutday and #whiteday.
- Hashtags picked for geographic areas, like #pastrynyc, #madeintoronto, and #sydneysweets.
- Everyday hashtags, like #MondayMotivation or #TuesdayTip.
- Keywords relevant to your field, like #bakerylove or #creative.
- Hashtags with acronyms, like QOTD (Quotation of the Day) or OOTD (Outfit of the Day) (outfit of the day)
- Hashtags with emojis, like #???????? OR ??????
- We recommend that users use multiple hashtags on their posts and stories to reach different communities. For example, if you are in charge of a food account, you could use #sweettooth or #cleaneating to reach your target audience.
A brand hashtag is a unique hashtag that only your company has where they post on Instagram.
Your company name, tagline, or name of one of your products can be substituted for this. Or it can be an idea tied to your slogan, but unrelated to your brand name or slogan.
#2 Branding Hashtags
A brand hashtag is a unique hashtag that only your company has where they post on Instagram.
It can be as simple as your company name, tagline, or product name or campaign name. Or, it can just be a hashtag that’s associated with you but has nothing to do with your brand.
Hashtags are meant for increasing the scope of your message, but branded hashtags are designed to bind your brand to your message. They can be used to market and collect content from the Internet (UGC).
The natural sneaker company Allbirds uses the hashtag #weareallbirds which allows them to increase awareness across their social media platforms for their brand.
Having your branded hashtag included in a user’s Instagram post and story is key to getting discovered by new audiences.
To help spread your hashtag, customers can tag your stories on Facebook or tweet it out with the hashtag. This way, your followers can easily find other posts about your business by tapping on the hashtag.
For better visibility, it’s also a good idea to explore the hashtag for any new content that’s being shared.
#3 Campaign hashtags
Branded and community hashtags are meant to be around for a while, whereas campaign hashtags are shorter-lived and only used during specific campaigns.
Campaign hashtags have a shorter lifespan as they are often tied to launch campaigns, special events and partnerships. They’re a great way of making students feel involved over a short period of time.
For example, Tezza App recently released a promotion campaign that used the hashtag #12daysoftezzaapp to advertise.
How to search for the best Instagram hashtags.
When used properly, using Instagram hashtags can help target your audience and grow your social engagement.
But in order to be successful utilizing hashtags, you must intelligently develop a strategy to utilize the hashtag.
The most popular hashtags on Instagram have been utilized millions of times, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get a lot of likes and comments using these hashtags on your posts.
Instead of using the most popular Instagram hashtags, use smaller, less popular hashtags that have unique audiences and have relevance to your industry.
Where can you find these creative, community-oriented and highly specific hashtags?
The best way to find influencers is to look and see what hashtags the influencers already use.
We’ve noticed that the more niche the topic, the more people post about it, so it is best to really focus on a topic or theme. Also, you’ll be surprised by how niche some hashtags can get!
Let’s say you are posting a picture of a French Bulldog. Instead of just tagging #dogstagram, you can also use the hashtag #pupsofinsta and #frenchiegram, which are popular hashtags encompassing people who really love French Bulldogs. This is the best way to make new and engaged followers on your posts.
Here are 4 ways to find the best Instagram hashtags for your account:
#1 Identify Your Audience
Shoveming random hashtags at the end of your Instagram posts isn’t going to improve audience growth. Instead, use the hashtags that your audience is using, and see how they can present your content best.
Your hashtags should be relevant to your industry and contain relevant and high traffic keywords.
#2 Surveying the competition
The best way to get inspiration for using hashtags is by looking into what other brands are using.
See competitors with similar products and consumer groups and evaluate their marketing strategies.
Focus on the particular posts that they liked, and choose hashtags that would work best for you.
#3 (Industry Leaders):
One of the best ways to find relevant hashtags for your Instagram captions is by following accounts that have similar or the same target audience.
Each industry requires influential people. Identify who your competitors are in your niche and learn from their posts. Already well established with your target audience, it makes sense to learn from them.
#4 Find related hashtags
Surveying the landscape of relevant trends associated with your hashtag is an effective way to expand your fan base.
Simply search the hashtag by typing it into the app’s search bar, and then use the dropdown menu to select ‘tags’. You’ll be able to see all of the top hashtags surrounding your hashtag, making it easier to find the people who might be interested in your hashtag.
You can browse through posts that have hashtags that have been successful for other people. Does anyone else see trends that could be common hashtags in the future? If yes, please list them.
How to organize Instagram hashtags.
It was once the standard way to organize hashtags to keep them sorted in a spreadsheet. You would create an Excel spreadsheet with headers such as “hashtags,” “category,” “# of posts,” and more, and you would actively fill it out as you found new effective hashtags for your posts.
For example, if you are a travel branding agency, you can utilize Saved Captions to organize the multiple hashtags related to your work.
If you want to schedule photos of a beach in San Diego, you can use hashtags for beaches, California, travel, and San Diego with a single click of the button.
After you have written your caption, you should click on ‘saved captions’ and then the hashtag list to populate it with the appropriate hashtags.
8 Ways to optimize your hashtag
Hashtags on Instagram really are effective at growing both your following and engagement, be sure to keep up with the latest trends.
Targeting a hashtag with great strategy can reach the right people for your business. Here are 8 tips to optimize your content so that you reach your market and are successful.
#1 Check Your Social Media Hashtags Analytics.
Looking at a hashtag’s past performance can be a helpful way of choosing which hashtag to use in the future.
From Instagram’s native analytics tool, some of the insight is offered, but the information is limited.
Also, as you continue to add words to the hashtag, you can evaluate the performance of the tag over time.
#2 Try to get a top one or two positions for a hashtag
When you search for a hashtag on Instagram, the results will be placed at the top of the page.
A hashtag that appears high in a search can be a great way to get found by a new audience. It results in an immediate and potential network effect that makes your post go viral on Instagram.
When analyzing posts to determine which ones go into the top posts of a hashtag, we look at how much engagement that post gets, as well as how quickly it gets that engagement.
The most popular posts generally take their position within the first 24 hours of posting, so you need those likes and comments to roll in quickly after posting. If your Instagram post garners a significant level of engagement shortly after posting, it signals to Instagram that your content is of high-quality.
#3 Consider including your brand in your Instagram Profile Photo
As of late, you can now include clickable hashtags in your Instagram bio, which helps make your Instagram bio more likely to convert into website visits.
It’s a great feature because it allows your bio to be more functional — you can use hashtags for everything from promoting your Instagram community to highlighting your branded content and announcing your Instagram campaigns.
By adding “#” to any word in your bio, it’ll turn that word into a hyperlink that takes the reader directly to that hashtag.
#4 Make sure to post your hashtags in the first comment
While posting hashtags in your posts is one of the best ways to increase your engagement and get your post in front of your target audience, too many hashtags in your caption can feel spammy.
Instead of posting your hashtags right in the caption, it’s better to post them in the comments so that your caption gets the most attention.
#5 Take advantage of #hashtags on Instagram Stories
Do you know that it is also possible to add hashtags to Instagram Stories?
Appending hashtags to your story will make your content visible to a wider group of potential readers.
When people search for a hashtag on Instagram, Instagram will provide a list of tagged stories on the search results page—including your listed story!
To post a story, you can add as many as 10 hashtags which can include one clickable hashtag sticker.
If you are worried about how hashtags will impact a carefully crafted aesthetic, there are a few hashtags hacks to make them seamlessly fit the post, or be hidden completely.
For example, you can change your text-based hashtags to be smaller and tucked at the bottom of the screen under a sticker or GIF.
If you make your hashtag text too small, Instagram won’t recognize it, it will be hard for others to read it, and you won’t show up in hashtag searches.
#6 To increase followers, encourage them to follow your branded hashtag
In a 2019 update, Instagram added the ability to follow hashtags. This allows users to keep track of hashtags related to their interests or topics.
Using a hashtag like a user’s profile is simple. To follow a hashtag, you simply open the hashtag page and touch the Follow button.
For brands and businesses, this opens up an opportunity for them to be included in someone’s social media feeds regularly. Aside from your own unique brand hashtag, you can also invite your followers to follow a unique hashtag solely for them.
This means that your content may be seen twice by a follower in their timelines and once in the hashtag feed. It quadruples your odds of being engaged.
#7 Run hashtag-based campaigns and promotions
Contests structured around user-generated content (UGC) are extremely popular and fun, and are just as effective in reaching new audiences.
The easiest way to do this is by encouraging your audience to tag relevant content with a branded hashtag — they’re like a filing system that everyone in your community can use to help you collect UGC.
For example, Sezane has sponsored a weekly giveaway, in which people can enter by posting a photo with the hashtag #SezaneLovers.
Create a contest where you send out a branded hashtag to your followers to submit photos on Instagram.
#8 Avoid using banned hashtags in Instagram
Our last tip is to avoid using banned hashtags on your Instagram posts in order to avoid penalty.
Banned hashtags have been identified, and have been disabled due to failing to meet Instagram’s community guidelines, thus making them useless for your brand exposure.
Moreover, even seemingly benign hashtags are forbidden, such as #humpday and #elevator, so it’s worthwhile to double check your hashtags!
Top tips for Instagram hashtags in 2021
Hashtags can be a powerful tool when they are used appropriately. When used incorrectly, hashtags can damage your brand perception.
Below are some rules to help you be more successful on Instagram in 2021.
#1 How is best to use Instagram hashtags?
The brief answer? Sincerely, as often as possible! When you post content to Instagram, whether it’s a post or Instagram story, if your goal is to get it seen by as many people as possible, you need to use the right hashtags.
It is also helpful to avoid hashtags if you are sharing something particularly sensitive or personal.
At the end of the day, it is best to think about the tone or topic of your post and then decide if your post makes sense to use hashtags.
#2 How many hashtags should I use?
Unfortunately, there is no set number of hashtags to include in your tweets. While some experts recommend using the maximum number of hashtags allowed, the purpose of the hashtag is to be discoverable, so fewer hashtags is fine.
We’ve seen all kinds of strategies and ideas on how many hashtags make the difference, but at the end of the day, it’s really up to you. If you can add 30 relevant hashtags to each post, then it will be more engaging to your audience.
However, if you do not feel completely comfortable with using twenty, then use only ten. It is okay to experiment to see what ratios and combinations of hashtags work best for your posts.
#3 Which hashtags should you use?
The most important thing to keep in mind is that you are being intentional and using hashtags that your target audience actually searches for and uses.
It’s important to switch up your Instagram hashtags in every post to avoid being “spammy,” as well as to avoid tags that have been used 1 million times. While these hashtag trends might be trending on Twitter, they won’t help you grow a highly interested, engaged following.
Instead, look for a particular niche hashtag relevant to your post content. It is wise to make many lists using Saved Captions so that they can be organized by theme or category.
This business is interested in the fashion industry and therefore has different hashtags that they use for different topics.
While these resources will be helpful for small business, they are also applicable to fashion and e-commerce. If you are going to use GIF images, make sure that you collect and categorize them so that they are easy to use in posts.
And remember to use a hashtag whenever it is applicable The first step to get users to share a hashtag using your branded hashtag is for you to use your branded hashtag.
#4 Should my hashtag be visible on Facebook?
Instagram advises that you may include hashtags in the post caption or comments.
However, by including hashtags in captions, you will get immediate feedback on your post, as opposed to waiting for your comment to be posted.
If you prefer a tidier caption, avoid using a hashtag at the beginning of your caption, and add line breaks in-between the hashtags. This will keep your hashtags tucked away so you can have an organized and streamlined aesthetic.
Using Instagram hashtags strategically is a great way to connect with customers, find content created about you by your followers, and build long-term relationships with influential partners!