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The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Hashtags

Social Media Marketing Trends for 2021

Let’s talk about hashtags.

In 2021, Instagram hashtags are a great way to get more eyes (and engagement!) on your posts. Instagram has undergone a number of changes since 2010, but one thing has remained unchanged across it all: the popularity of Instagram hashtags.

One of the easiest ways to get more views and followers on Instagram is to use appropriate, targeted hashtags in your posts and stories. Instagram has the highest rate of brand-to-customer engagement of any social media platform, and strategically integrating these hashtag techniques into your social campaign will help you increase your visibility and engagement.

To use hashtags for Instagram effectively, you need to understand exactly how they work and put some thought into a strategy.

So, let’s start at the beginning…

What are Instagram hashtags?

A hashtag (e.g. #MotivationMonday) is a list of letters, numbers, and/or emojis accompanied by a # symbol. They're used to organise content to make it easier to find it.

Anyone who searches for or clicks on an Instagram hashtag will be taken to a page containing all the posts labelled with that hashtag. An Instagram post with at least one hashtag receives 12.6 percent more engagement than one without.

Instagram hashtags are powerful. If you want to expand your account, it's well worth developing a hashtag strategy for your brand!

Why Should I Be Using Hashtags?

Instagram's search system focuses on hashtags. It's hard for Instagram to successfully deliver the right content to the right people with about 95 million photos posted every day. Further, hashtags will boost the discovery of your post by viewers who are most interested in seeing it.

How many hashtags can I use on Instagram?

You can use up to 30 hashtags on an Instagram post. But, many social media marketers say overusing hashtags can look like spam. A recent study of hashtag engagement shows these results:

  • 0 Hashtags – 18% interaction per 1k followers

  • 5 Hashtags – 43% interaction per 1k followers

  • 8 Hashtags – 39.5% interaction per 1k followers

  • 11 Hashtags – 79.5% interaction per 1k followers

Using 11 or more hashtags means 442% more engagement than using none at all and about double the engagement rate over 1 – 10 hashtags.

What are the top Instagram hashtags?

If you want some ideas about what's relevant to your brand, search what your competitors and influencers are posting as hashtags.

If you are still struggling for ideas, why not try the most popular hashtags of 2021:





















Types of Instagram hashtags:

The key to creating a successful Instagram hashtag strategy is to understand the various types of hashtags and their corresponding audiences:

#1: Community Hashtags

Community hashtags are hashtags that bring together users who share a mutual interest in a particular subject. It's a great way to connect with others, make your posts more searchable, gain followers, and expand your own community.

You can use three different types of community hashtags for your business:

#2: Branded Hashtags

When using Instagram for business, a branded hashtag is specific to your company. Your business name, tagline, or the name of one of your products or promotions can all be used, for example: #swypecreative

#3: Campaign Hashtags

As seen above, branded and community hashtags are intended to last a long time, whereas campaign hashtags are usually only active for a few days, a season, or a year. Since campaign hashtags are typically linked to particular promotions, such as new product launches, special events, or collaborations, they are shorter-term. As a result, they're excellent for generating a lot of interest in a short period of time!

A few things to keep in mind when planning your Instagram hashtag strategy:

  • When people with private profile tag posts do not appear publicly on the hashtag lists.

  • Numbers are allowed in hashtags. However, spaces and special characters, like $ or %, won’t work.

  • Study your competitors and top influencers to find the best hashtags.

  • You can use up to 30 hashtags on a post, the average user posts 11 hashtags.

  • Looking at the performance of the hashtags you’ve used in the past can be a great way to decide what hashtags to use again in the future.

If you follow this guide you'll be well on your way to improving your Instagram following by using the tips and strategies you've learned here!


Have you been inspired or would you like a more detailed and personalised approach to your social media management?

Click here to contact one of our social media marketers today.

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