How to Use Instagram Hashtags in 2019
By: Sophie Maerowitz
July 24, 2019
Much like finding the right search keywords for your brand, figuring out the best approach to hashtags on Instagram can be more challenging than it appears at first glance.
Instagram allows for up to 30 hashtags per post, but should you use all 30 to maximize exposure, or just a select few? And how best to determine which hashtags are the right fit for your brand’s objectives?
For those seeking direction on a standardized approach for brands, e-commerce brand Printful offered The Social Shake-Up several best practices for hashtag use on the platform. Here are some of their top tips:
Don’t go overboard. While 30 hashtags is the upper limit for Instagram feed posts, using irrelevant hashtags to reach that quota does more harm than good. Instagram users can now alert Instagram to misuse of hashtags while scrolling through their feed. A good rule of thumb: If a theme is not mentioned or visible in the post, don’t use that hashtag to describe it. If you get caught, the algorithm could throttle your future posts’ reach.
Build a hashtag wishlist, separated by target audience. As is the case with most social media efforts, smart hashtag strategy starts with goal setting. Are you looking to raise awareness of your company name? Do you want to start a movement? Or are you simply looking to grow your reach? Once you determine your objectives, you can start building lists of hashtags for each. Printful breaks down hashtags into five categories:
- Branded: A hashtag unique to your business. It should be simple to remember and easy to recognize. It can be your brand name, slogan or “a concept focal to your Instagram account.” Examples: #supercuts, #SuperIntoHair.
- Industry: A vertical-specific hashtag. These are wildly popular, so don’t rely on them too heavily if you want to avoid getting lost in the feed. Using one or two relevant industry hashtags is sufficient. Examples: #barbershop, #haircut, #beauty.
- Community: A word or phrase connecting groups of likeminded users. These are useful for organic growth, both within a niche target audience and a specific geographic locale. Examples: #barberfan, #atlantabarbers, #hairaddict.
- Content: A word or phrase that your target customer would search for. These can be “how-to” in nature, offering direction, inspiration or instructions. Examples: #beardcare, #howtofadehair, #cuttingbangs.
- Campaign: A hashtag specific to a campaign, product launch or event. Ask your community to engage with it (e.g., run a contest offering a freebie to anyone who uses the hashtag), or jump on a hashtag for a global campaign relevant to your industry for exposure to new potential followers.
Mix high- and low-density hashtags. As with SEO, where popular search terms are more expensive ad buys, using hashtags that are used by millions will not likely land you in the top nine spots on Instagram’s Explore page. However, employing a mix of niche hashtags used by smaller target audiences and more heavily used hashtags can benefit both your wider reach and increase the chance that your target customers will be able to find you on Instagram.
Use a hashtag generator app. Feeling stuck? Printful offers the following recommendations for hashtag generation: