Is there something missing in your brand’s Instagram strategy? Are you putting out strong, targeted content, but not getting engagement? Have beautiful pictures, and brilliant words – but no likes, comments, or shares?
The answer could be staring you in the face – hashtags.
So what are Instagram hashtags, and how do they work? What types are they, what are our top tips for using them, and – most importantly – what are the best hashtags for Instagram?
Read on. We’ve pulled together the 15 Instagram hashtags most likely to win the hearts and minds of your audience – and drive the precious likes and comments your brand craves. Let’s dig in!
Instagram hashtags are letters arranged to make words, phrases, names, or sentences, preceded by a ‘#’ symbol.
They’re used throughout social media (including Instagram) as a way of categorizing content. When you post anything on Instagram, you can add hashtags in the photo or video description, or as a comment. This will associate your content with the specific themes those hashtags stand for or relate to.
Instagram users can search hashtags to explore a range of media related to the particular niche, industry, or subject matter they’re most interested in.
Let’s say, for instance, that you have an insatiable desire to look at images of flamingos. You’d simply navigate to Instagram’s search bar, and choose from a drop-down list of popular hashtags. Each one indicates how many posts the particular hashtag features in.
Select a hashtag, and you can follow it – as well as view all of the posts the hashtag has appeared in.
As specified by the platform itself, there are nine different types of Instagram hashtags:
- Product hashtags: think #shoes or #pillows
- Niche/industry hashtags: such as #naturephotographer or #foodblogger
- Instagram community hashtags: like #golfersofinstagram
- Seasonal/special event hashtags: including #christmasday or #fourthofjuly
- Location hashtags: #toronto, #nyc, #paris – you get the picture!
- Daily hashtags: #mondaymotivation, #wellnesswednesday…
- Hashtags relevant to what you do:: #getcreative, or #namaste
- Acronym hashtags: #potd (picoftheday), #qotd (quote of the day)
- Emoji hashtags: why write #coffee when you can write #☕?
Here are some excellent reasons why you should use Instagram hashtags:
- They expand your reach: Hashtags allow Instagram users who may not otherwise come across your brand to access your content – and potentially follow you as a result.
- They can support your advertising: When Coca-Cola launched its ‘Share a Coke’ campaign in 2013, the company supported it with the #shareacoke hashtag. To this day, that hashtag is still attached to over 623,000 posts.
- They can help you analyze your competitors: By exploring other posts tagged with hashtags relevant to your brand and industry, you can take a shortcut to understanding the rivals competing for your slice of the market.
You now know what hashtags are, what varieties they come in, and – most importantly – why they’re important. So let’s take a look at the best hashtags for Instagram to win likes, comments, and followers for your business.
Tagged in more than 108,000,000 posts, #SmallBusiness is an absolute no-brainer. After all, people love feeling like they’re pitching in to help a business find its feet and grow.
Our one suggestion? Only use this hashtag if you actually are a small business. If you’re a larger, well-established business, this hashtag is likely to win you some unwanted attention. Consumer skepticism at best – backlash at worst!
Like #SmallBusiness, #SmallBiz – a shorter, cuter version of its similar counterpart – will help win you friends among people who want to buy into small, independent enterprises. It’s not quite as popular as #SmallBusiness (it’s in around 7,200,000 posts right now), but it’s worth including if your business is still small.
Featuring in over 5,300,000 Instagram posts, #StartUpLife is perfect if you’re sharing insights into the day-to-day life at your startup. Team members drinking coffee in the morning? Video games at the office? Gratuitous pics of Jerry, the oh-so-cute office dog? Add this hashtag!
Appearing in over a trillion Instagram posts already (and counting), #PhotoOfTheDay is an important hashtag to include – if only because of the sheer volume of people it introduces your brand to.
Thematically, it’s eclectic – you’ll see everything from modeling shots and cityscapes to pet pics and pine forests – so it isn’t targeted at businesses. But that doesn’t mean your business can’t use it to build your brand and audience.
Like #SmallBusiness and #SmallBusiness, #SupportSmallBusiness targets your Instagram audience’s philanthropic side. It also works as a compelling CTA (call-to-action), too – imploring the reader to get behind a cause worth fighting for.
If there’s anything shoppers love more than small businesses, it’s local businesses. So adding this hashtag will undoubtedly help your brand resonate with more socially (and locally!) conscious buyers.
#WomenInBusiness (tagged in around 21,500,000 posts) is a beautiful hashtag, because it doesn’t focus solely on the business, but the person running that business – in this case, a woman or women.
And, in a world where men still get paid more than women – where the liberties and statuses of women in many countries across the globe are still suppressed and oppressed – that’s always something worth celebrating.
No one finds emotion and meaning within a product that’s straight off a factory assembly line. Nope – consumers want goods they know have been designed, made, and sold by a real person. (And an even realer pair of hands!)
This hashtag will be particularly useful if you operate a small business selling handmade arts and crafts: such as jewelry, toys, or furniture. But again, the usual warning applies – if your products aren’t handmade, avoid this hashtag. Or risk losing your brand’s authenticity – and your credibility, at that!
The 21st most popular hashtag on Instagram, #InstaDaily (Instagram, daily) allows your business to tap into the trending, the topical, the temporal – and align your brand with ‘what’s hot now’.
Like #PhotoOfTheDay and #InstaLike (which we’ll get to), #InstaDaily isn’t business focused. But, with over 600 million posts to its name, it’s worth taking a punt on!
Calling all creatives! These next couple of hashtags are for you. Featuring in almost two and a half million posts, #MyCreativeBiz aligns your business with all the positive connotations of creativity. You’re creative, and that’s brilliant – so use this hashtag, and go shout about it!
Tagged in just under five million posts, #CalledToBeCreative is around twice as popular as #MyCreativeBiz. It’s an exciting, enticing hashtag – and an absolute must for any and all businesses that are involved with the act of creating!
Appearing in over five million posts, #CommunityOverCompetition is a must-have (must-hash?) – especially if you want to reinforce your business’s community credentials.
Not only will this hashtag help get your brand in front of a community-focused, socially-oriented audience, but it’ll also reinforce your brand’s ethos – something we know increasingly value-oriented Gen Y and Gen Z consumers care about. And show that you care more about bringing the world together – not dividing it.
‘Shop Small’ (on Instagram, @shopsmall) is a trademarked campaign by American Express aimed at encouraging consumers to support small, local businesses.
Yet the hashtag #ShopSmall has taken on a life of its own – one that isn’t tied to the popular credit card provider. And, considering it’s tagged in almost 60 million posts, it’s a hashtag that can put your brand under the noses of the right people.
Like #SmallBusiness, #SmallBiz, and #SupportSmallBusiness, #ShopSmall leans into the love consumers have for shopping at small and independent businesses. If that’s you, well – get hashtagging!
Everyone loves a good story. So why not tell the tale of how your startup came to be? And, when you do, don’t forget to add the hashtag #StartUpStory to your post.
It’s been tagged in over 250,000 posts so far – not a huge amount, by the standards of this list, but still considerable – and it can help put your brand’s narrative in the spotlight.
Having featured in almost 500 million Instagram posts already, #InstaLike makes up for its lack of a business focus with serious popularity.
Like #PhotoOfTheDay and #InstaDaily, #InstaLike attracts an extremely eclectic mix of photos. Well, okay – it’s mainly selfies! But if you’re putting out relevant, interesting content that showcases your brand – while also appealing to the average Instagram user’s love of exciting, digestible snaps – you can make this hashtag work for you.
Now you know which hashtags you’ll be using, here are our top tips as to how to use them in your posts:
- Find the sweet spot: Instagram lets you add up to 30 hashtags per post – but that doesn’t mean you should. Overloading your post with hashtags can make it look spammy, while under-utilizing them can limit their impact. It’s your job to find the middle ground that best suits your brand.
- Do your research: Head to Twitter to explore trending topics and hashtags, and scope out your competitors to see which hashtags they’re using.
- Cut the clutter: Avoid ‘cluttering up’ your Instagram captions with swathes of hashtags. Instead, tuck them strategically below the ‘See More’ fold, so they don’t get in the way of your message. You can also opt to place your hashtags in a separate comment on the post – although the jury’s still out as to whether this technique will limit your hashtags’ effectiveness.
Using hashtags on Instagram can help expand your reach, build a wider, more engaged audience, and increase your brand’s influence on the popular social media platform. So what else can you do to boost your business’ Instagram efforts?
Get started by learning how to create an Instagram content calendar, before getting to grips with how to batch Instagram posts. Of course, your Instagram account will need a bio that’s easy on the eye, too – so check out our top 10 aesthetic Instagram bio ideas, and get inspired!