Using Instagram Hashtags: The Complete Guide

Hashtags have been an essential part of the growth of the social media platform, Instagram. Hashtags have also helped average joes, like you and me, become internet sensations, more commonly known as online influencers.

Although it may seem like hashtags don’t really have a purpose, that statement couldn’t be further from the truth. The reality is that Hashtags are massively important within the social media realm, but why is this? To answer this, we need to first look at what a hashtag is.

What is a hashtag

In my blog “Why and When should I use Hashtags” I briefly explained what a hashtag is. This blog is worth a read if you are new to social media marketing. However, I will go over what a hashtag is again in this blog.

So a hashtag starts with a #. Also known as a Hash symbol if you’re from the UK or a Pound sign if you’re from the USA. The # is then followed by an un-spaced word or phrase. So, what does a hashtag? Basically, a hashtag is like a keyword for your social media posts. It’s a way of categorizing your statuses, images and videos on social media.

The rules of Hashtags

You may be surprised to know that there are rules surrounding hashtags. Rules that have been put in place by the developers of social media platforms, as well as unwritten rules that will make your content seem like spam if not followed.

So, what are the rules of hashtags?

First of all, you need to keep your hashtags relevant to the post at hand. You can actually be penalised by posting irrelevant hashtags. Also, it doesn’t look too good for your audience. Imaging seeing a digital agency using the hashtag “#BrickLayer” It just doesn’t look right.

Instagram allows you to have up to 30 Hashtags, so why not make use of them? You don’t have to use all 30, as this could become a bit daunting, but the more hashtags you use, then the better the results as long as the hashtags you use are relevant to your business.

Finding the right hashtags

I can hear you thinking “Ben, how do I find the right hashtags for my posts?”. The easiest way to find the right hashtags for your posts is to see what relevant keywords come to mind by simply looking at the post. For example, if you have a video of a person skateboarding, obvious hashtags would be “#Skateboard, #skateboarding, #Skatepark” etc.

There are tools that you can use to find hashtags that are relevant to other hashtags you’ve used. Take for example. This is a great tool to use and in fact, I use it for the majority of our social media posts.

Simply type in a hashtag that you’re going to be using (Mine is #WebDesign) and then display purposes will display a number of related hashtags. It will even sort them by search, map and in graph format.

User-Generated Content

User Generated Content is a great way to stay active within the community. By using custom hashtags, you can encourage your audience to post to that hashtag. I’ll give you an example. Let’s say that I post a cool drone video to Instagram and I want people to showcase their drone footage, I could use the hashtag #DroneChallenge and use a call to action to prompt other users to post their drone footage.


To conclude, you should be using hashtags, but don’t go overboard. Keep your hashtags relevant to your post. Try to use some generalized hashtags as well a more niche hashtags. This will help you gain more of a reach.

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