Hashtags are still an effective way to help increase your reach and the chances of your posts being seen on Instagram. But people often ask the same questions when it comes to Instagram hashtags: How many hashtags should you use? Where should you put your hashtags? What hashtags should you use? Keep reading as we answer all these questions and more in this ultimate guide to Instagram hashtags in 2024!
What are hashtags on Instagram?
Let’s start at the very beginning! Hashtags on Instagram are essentially a way of categorising your content and making it easier for people to discover you! For example, someone searching for recipe inspiration on Instagram can search a hashtag like #PastaRecipes and find an abundance of posts & recipes they can use. Hashtags can include letters, numbers and even emojis. When you tap on a hashtag, you will be taken to that hashtags page where you will be able to browse posts using that tag. “Top posts” (i.e., popular posts) will be shown first but you also have the option to filter what you see and view the most recent posts using that tag first. You also have the option to follow hashtags which are of interest to you. Instagram will then show you popular posts using that tag in your main feed.
Why use hashtags on Instagram?
In recent years, users have doubted the effectiveness of hashtags on Instagram, but we are here to tell you they still matter! More and more often, people are turning to social media rather than the internet to search for places to go, eat, shop and more. Hashtags serve not only as a way for people to discover content but also help SEO on Instagram. They act as a way to tell Instagram what your post is about so they know the type of people to show it to. Not using hashtags means you could be missing out on a valuable way to reach new people and give Instagram a nudge to tell it who to show your content to.
It is important to understand the different types of hashtags and when to use them. There are different Instagram categories to be aware of when choosing which ones to use in your content:
- Location – city, country, town, village, places e.g. #BrooklynNYC
- Branded – tags for specific brands, businesses, events and campaigns
- Community – a specific group of people e.g. #NailTech, #CoffeeLovers
- Industry – related to your niche e.g. #SocialMediaManager
- Descriptive – describes what your post is about e.g. #VegetarianRecipe
There’s no fast rule that you have to use them all in each post you use but being aware of them will help you understand more about which ones to use and when.
How to find the best hashtags to use for your business on Instagram?
It can often be confusing knowing not only what hashtags to use but where to find them! Let’s look in more detail at how to find the best hashtags for your business.
One of the easiest ways to find hashtags to use on Instagram is to simply search for them using the search function on Instagram itself. Here you will be able to see similar hashtags you can also use and how many posts there currently are using that particular tag. We recommend avoiding hashtags with millions of posts as there will be a lot of competition for you to compete with for visibility.
Another way to look for effective hashtags to use is to do some competitor research and look at what tags similar businesses in your niche are using.
How many hashtags should you use on Instagram?
The maximum number of hashtags you can use in a post is 30. There’s a lot of debate around what the optimum number of tags to use in posts is. Instagram themselves stated that creators should use between 3 and 5 but some users report that using a maximum of 30 tags benefits them and gives them more reach with their posts. The answer is…it doesn’t really matter! Use a handful or use the full amount to maximise the chances of being seen.
We advise that while hashtags are important on Instagram, not to overthink them or spend too much time trying to find the right ones. Content is king so pour your efforts into creating killer content instead!
How can you tell if your hashtags are performing?
While you cannot see which individual hashtags have brought people to a particular post, you can analyse the overall performance of a group of hashtags on an Instagram post. Tap on the “View Insights” button under your post and you will see a variety of stats about the performance of your post including how many impressions (the number of times your content), whether a post or a story, was shown to users have come from hashtags.
Where should your hashtags go on Instagram?
For many years it was believed it didn’t matter whether hashtags were included in the caption itself or as a comment. Many users opted to put them in the comments to keep their captions looking tidier. However, Instagram confirmed recently that for hashtags to be searchable, they must be included in the CAPTION. Therefore, if you are still adding them as a comment – stop now! This will render them pointless and put your efforts to waste.
Hashtag Strategy for 2024
So what does all this mean for your overall Instagram strategy? When it comes to hashtags, it’s important to remember a few points to build an effective bank of hashtags that will work for your content & business:
- Research. Using Instagram itself, online tools (like rapidely's # generator) and market research, build a bank of hashtags you can use which relate directly to each of your content pillars.
- Use relevant tags. Use hashtags relevant to your post & industry and avoid using generic and unrelated hashtags and be as specific and niche as possible to increase your chances of being seen via hashtags.
- Don’t rely solely on hashtags! Hashtags can act like a cherry on the top of a great post or reel giving it a little boost, but the most important thing is to create great content so pour most of your effort and energy into that. Hashtags alone will not bring more eyes on your posts, they need to be part of an overall strategy.
- Stay organised. Use an online tool like rapidely to save your groups of hashtags, add them quickly to posts and then schedule ready for posting!
There you have it! All you need to know about hashtags and how to incorporate them into your social media strategy! Our advice is not to write off hashtags, they can still be a powerful way of leveraging your content but it takes time, effort and patience to see results. For help with an overall custom strategy, tailored post ideas, hashtag generator and more – check out rapidely (it’s free to sign up!).