How to Use Hashtags on Instagram

Instagram is one of the fastest-growing social platforms for both personal and business use. It’s the perfect platform for photo and (short) video sharing because it has easy-to-use features built right into it. Photo editing and enhancing has never been easier when posting from your mobile device to a social platform. If you’re using Instagram for business, then, it’s a great way to share great photos and video clips with your followers, potential followers, and the world!

One of the key aspects to success on Instagram is the use of hashtags. Without them, your posts will primarily only be shown to your direct followers. That’s not a bad thing, of course, but it makes it difficult to grow your follower base and reach new potential customers and clients.

What are Hashtags?

In case you’re not familiar with them, hashtags are like keywords. Imagine you go onto Google to search for something. You type in keywords to tell Google what you’re looking for, and Google uses those keywords to give you relevant results. Hashtags work in a similar way. On social platforms, people can search for hashtags to see posts using them; this allows them to find things of interest. Additionally, Instagram will automatically show certain posts to certain people because of their assumed interest in the post, based on the hashtags being used.

As a business Instagrammer, then, effective use of hashtags will allow you to reach more people that you otherwise wouldn’t have. Bottom line: hashtags (when used properly) are an excellent way to get your posts in front of more people.

To use them, you simply type the pound sign (#) in front of the text you want to use as a keyword. Keep in mind your hashtags might include multiple words, but you never use spaces between the words. For example, if you’re posting about interior design, you might use the hashtag #interiordesign. Capitalization isn’t important; #interiordesign will yield the same results as #InteriorDesign. However, you may find it easier for your followers to read multiple-word hashtags when each word is capitalized; that’s up to you.

How to Use Them in Your Instagram Posts

Now this is just my personal opinion, but I add hashtags to my Instagram posts in two ways:

#1, In the Post: I like to include 1-3 hashtags (but no more!) right in the text of my post. Typically, I include a personal brand hashtag and one or two others that are relevant to my post. For example, I am a blogger and creator with Simple Family Remedies. I blog about and create and sell all-natural products for healthcare, personal care, pets, cleaning, and more. My Instagram posts for that business typically include my personal brand hashtag, #SimpleFamilyRemedies, as well as one or two others relevant to the post such as #allnatural, #essentialoils, or #chemicalfree.

#2, In the Comments: In addition to the 1-3 hashtags used in the actual post, I also include another 5+ in the comments. I have a note app on my phone, so I have several hashtag groupings typed and saved right in that app. When I post on Instagram, I next open my note app, find the saved grouping that is relevant to that post, copy the text, and paste it in a comment on my Instagram post.

Why do I do it the way I do? Personally, I think it looks cluttered and messy when a whole bunch of hashtags are used right in the original post. That’s why I stick to 1-3 there and then add all the others in the comments. By adding them in a comment, they still get you all the same results mentioned above, but it keeps your post looking cleaner.

What Hashtags Should You Use?

This can be a tricky question, and I’m not convinced there’s even a correct answer! My advice: choose your personal brand hashtag that you’ll use with every post, and do a Google search to come up with the others. For example, if you’re a photographer, simply head to Google and search hashtags for photographers. You’ll find TONS of sites out there that have done the work of determining which hashtags are most popular and thus most likely to get you the engagement and reach you’re looking for.

I also recommend following similar businesses to your own–both competitors and non-competitors. See what they’re using. What seems to work for them? Which posts of theirs get the most engagement? What hashtags did they use? This info can help you better use hashtags in your own posts.

Additionally, be sure to follow local businesses in your area. What hashtags are being used for local engagement? For example, here in Sioux Falls, some of the more popular local hashtags are:

  • #SiouxFalls (and #SiouxFallsSD)
  • #WeAreHereSF
  • #SiouxEmpire
  • #DTSF (downtown Sioux Falls)
  • #SFSD (Sioux Falls, South Dakota)
  • #SiouxFallsFoodie

Need some help getting started and determining which hashtags to use for your particular business? Contact me today!

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