What The Heck Are Hashtags And How Do They Work On Instagram?

social media Nov 09, 2021

Our focus today is HASHTAGS!

Hashtags are used to categorize posts and stories and make them more discoverable. This is an excellent strategy to use on Instagram because it expands your reach beyond your followers. When you use a hashtag on your post or story it will appear on the hashtag page for that hashtag.

If people are following the hashtag, they will see your post or story even if they aren’t directly following you. This is a great way of building a community online and getting new people engaged with your brand.

There are types of hashtags you can use:

  • Product or service hashtags like #runningshoes or #hairsalon
  • Niche hashtags #travelblogger or #foodblogger
  • Industry hashtags #gardenersofinstagram or #craftersofinstagram
  • Special event or seasonal hashtags #nationaldoggieday
  • Location #stpaulcraftbeers
  • Daily hashtags #selfcaresunday #mondaymotivation #thankfulthursday #fridayfunday
  • Acronym hashtags #TBT #throwbackthursday
  • Branded hashtags are a great option for starting follower engagement on Instagram.

How many should you use?

The maximum hashtags you can use is 30 on a post and 10 on a story. Just because you can use that many doesn’t mean you should. The average is 11 which is a good number to start with and the most common number is 1-3 hashtags per post.

FSDM Tip: A way to keep your post content streamlined is to add your hashtags in the comments after you post the content. In a story, you can pinch and shrink the hashtag to make it small or place an emoji, stick, or gif over them. 

Trending Hashtags

Instagram doesn’t offer a list of what is trending, you will have to search for hashtags. I did a quick search and today here are the top 5 hashtags on Instagram.

#love (1.9 B)

#instagood (1.7 B)

#photooftheday (842 M)

#beautiful (691 M)

FSDM Tip: Keep an eye on what your top followers are following and determine if you should use that hashtag with your posts.

Banned hashtags and spammy hashtags are to be avoided. How do you know a hashtag is banned? With a functioning hashtag, you will see top posts, recent posts, and stories associated with the hashtag on the hashtag page. A hashtag that is banned will only have top posts and nothing else. 

Make sure to not use irrelevant or repetitive hashtags. It might be tempting to copy and paste the same long list of hashtags…but don’t do it. Instagram’s community guidelines stay posting this way is not OK. If you use the same hashtags for every post, you will be penalized by the algorithm.

The algorithm dictates the order of the posts that users see when they are scrolling through your feed.  

Make sure the hashtag means what you think it means.

An example of this is Burger King back in 2014 used and acronym hashtag What the French Fry by using #WTFF. Well if you know what #WTF stands for…you can see the problem!

FSDM Tip: Create a list of hashtags that are ready to add to your posts. Pick and choose which ones will be relevant to your post and not be repetitive. Freshen it up each time and watch your community of followers grow.

We want to know… how you are using this content in your social media strategy to put you Full Stride Head! Tag us on Instagram and use #fullstrideahead

Check out our podcast, The Full Stride Minute, where we offer bite-sized social media and other digital marketing tips for the busy business owner. 



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