Your use of hashtags on Instagram can make or break your Instagram marketing strategy. Using hashtags correctly gives you a better chance of getting your posts seen by people who are likely to be interested in your products or brand.

But if you do it wrong, you can hurt your business more than you could ever imagine – either by annoying potential followers or by getting in trouble with Instagram’s algorithm.

If you want to use hashtags on Instagram effectively, you need to know how they work and come up with a plan. You’ve come to the right place for that.

Read on to learn more and establish your hashtag strategy on the gram.

What are Instagram hashtags anyway?


A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by the symbol # (e.g., #Love). They are used to categorize content allowing all users to find the content they need. Hashtags on Instagram, like those on Twitter, Facebook, and social media platforms are clickable and increase your post’s discoverability and engagement when directed to the right audience.

Why should you use hashtags in your posts?

Boost your post and page discoverability almost effortlessly

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Hashtags can help you reach more people on Instagram. When you use a hashtag, your post will be featured on that hashtag’s page, which can drive people to your profile.

And if you’re not using hashtags, only your followers can see your posts on their newsfeed without going to your actual Instagram page. However, let’s not forget that the Algorithm suppresses all posts to around 9-12% of your followers only in terms of discoverability during its first few hours. This is because the algorithm wants to evaluate the quality of your content first as we have discussed in our previous vlog here The algorithm only shows your post to 9-12% of your followers.

It’s almost a social media rule of thumb: hashtags are used to gain exposure. Without them, your post might as well not have been posted at all: people will never know it even exists. When you use a hashtag in your post, you’re effectively telling people to find out more details about it. So if you use it well, it can be an effective tool in driving traffic to your site.

You can build your own community by having your own hashtag

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People can also select to follow hashtags, so your hashtagged post could appear in their feed even if they don’t follow you (yet).

Hashtags on Instagram may be an excellent approach to establish an online community that encourages people to participate with your company – just like how Nike Los Angeles utilised the #playinside hashtag to highlight locals engaging in physical activity in their homes in 2020 when the manner people exercised unexpectedly shifted.

Here’s your guide to successfully developing your own hashtag strategy on Instagram

  1. Don’t use too many hashtags

Using too many hashtags can dilute your message, making your brand look less trustworthy and your post look spammy. 

Hashtags are a powerful tool for increasing engagement on Instagram, but using too many can be off-putting to users. Your followers want captions that are thoughtful and entertaining, not a jumble of hashtags.

  1. Narrow down your hashtags to the most specific one and related to your niche


Don’t just tag #every #possible #word; that won’t help you find engaged followers. And don’t spam popular hashtags like #love and #happy; they’re too general. Instead, try searching for hashtags that have an engaged community behind them and are specific to your audience!

When choosing a hashtag for your post, consider the size of the audience and how much content is on the hashtag. Using a combination of popular and niche hashtags is one strategy for reaching different audiences.

  1. Avoid using densely populated hashtags

For business owners, increasing Instagram followers is the highest priority. The biggest mistake we see is using generic “popular” hashtags that don’t target their ideal customer.

Remember that the most popular hashtags on Instagram are not necessarily the most effective.

A huge number of posts may indicate that a significant number of users follow that hashtag, but it also indicates that there is a great deal of material on it, and your postings may be lost. Instagram advocates employing a blend of popular and specialty hashtags to reach a variety of audiences, ranging from wide to narrow.

  1. Use local hashtags

Local hashtags are location-based ones. To find local hashtags, use the search bar on Instagram and type in keywords related to your area. Here’s how: Look at the suggested tags that Instagram gives you. Type in your state or city, then take note of the hashtags related to your industry.

As a digital marketing agency in Melbourne and our target audiences are small businesses and business owners, we find local hashtags very effective for us to use such as:

  1. #smallbizau
  2. #smallbizaustralia
  3. #melbournesmallbiz or #smallbizmelbourne
  4. #melbourneagency
  5. #melbournebusiness
  6. #melbournebusinessowners
  7. #marketingaustralia
  1. Avoid banned and spammy hashtags

When Instagram detects inappropriate content connected with a hashtag, it may restrict that hashtag.

Usage isn’t affected, people can still use it. However, it indicates that just the most popular posts would be displayed if the tag is clicked. You will not see recent posts will be tagged with the hashtag nor displaying on the page.

Here is what it looks like when you see a prohibited hashtag:

  1. Stop using the same hashtags on every post

It may be tempting to copy and paste the same lengthy list of hashtags onto every post, but resist the urge. The Instagram community standards expressly prohibit “publishing repetitious comments or material.” If you use the same hashtags for every post, the algorithm will punish your content.

When creating a post, just use relevant hashtags. For example, if you tag a post with #wanderlust, your content must be something that travel enthusiasts would want to discover, like, and share.

It is not about being noticed by a large number of people, but rather by the appropriate individuals. This is how hashtags increase interaction and the number of followers. Select the appropriate keywords for each article separately.

  1. Lastly, your analytics is your best friend

Analytics of your Instagram is key for figuring out which hashtags will give you the biggest boost in reach. These Insights determine the most effective hashtags and help you maneuver your hashtag strategy and help increase your post reach.

Final thoughts

Obviously, there’s no guarantee you’ll get massive exposure and overnight success if you think you’re using hashtags correctly.

But if you don’t use them at all, your chances of getting exposure to fall dramatically. So it’s plain and simply an experiment for you to explore what works best for you and your business on the platform.

The key to hashtag use is to strike a healthy balance between using hashtags enough to get your posts seen by the people who are likely to be interested in your products or brand, and using these keywords so that potential followers and customers may discover your business page.

Not sure where to start?

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