A Practical Guide on How to Use Hashtags on Instagram

A Practical Guide on How to Use Hashtags on Instagram

As you are very well aware that Instagram is a visual platform, hashtags play an important role in the development of the brand profile. 


Fashion, food and fitness industry can benefit a lot from Instagram if they can incorporate the right hashtags.


You need not worry if your profile does not come under these niches.


Instagram has covered all the niches, and there are quality hashtags in your niche too. All you need is to find shareworthy hashtags, create amazing content and publish along with the content.


Instagram hashtags are the only way to grow your followers organically. But you need not bombard your caption with hundreds of hashtags.

benefits of instagram hashtags


Careful research of a few and targeted hashtags can fetch you results even if you are just starting out.


If you are not aware of the benefits of hashtags, you are leaving a lot of likes and followers on the table.  


In this article, I have done in-depth research on hashtags and how it can help you gain more likes and followers to your profile.


Benefits of Instagram Hashtags


#i. Helps Categorization

Hashtags help you to categorize your post, increase engagement and attract followers within your niche.


For example, a post with the hashtag #InstagramMarketing helps you to identify that your post is related to Instagram Marketing, and you are in the Social Media Marketing niche.


Instagram hashtags deliver the right content to the right people. This simple phenomenon helps to strengthen your brand image and helps you to reach your target audience quickly.


If you have just started your business, Instagram hashtags can help you to expand your audience and increase your brand awareness. 


#ii. Competitor Research 

Hashtags on Instagram, by far, is the best way to research your competitors’ accounts. 


You can identify their top posts and most used hashtags. 


How to do competitor research with Instagram hashtags

  1. Log in to your Instagram account and go to the search bar.
  2. Search for the hashtag in your niche. For example, #SocialMediaAgency
  3. In the top posts section, you can find the posts which received the maximum number of likes.
  4. Discard those posts which have nothing to do with your niche and pick the rest.
  5. Go to their profile and visit each post.
  6. Not down the hashtags which they use in each of their posts.
  7. Include those hashtags in your post which has the minimum number of posts.

how to do competitor research on instagram


#iii. Great Campaign Visibility

A well-researched hashtag(s) provides great visibility for your brand’s campaign. It helps you reach your target audience, who then can include those hashtags in their posts. 


It would have been a massive hit if #BreakTheBeard challenge was promoted by Gillette or any razor brand. 

hashtags tips and tricks to get more likes and followers on instagram


The followers of these celebrities started posting their pictures and videos while including the hashtag, only to boost the brand presence. 


Now that you know the benefits of hashtags, let us look which hashtags to go after and which ones to avoid.


Top 30 hashtags of all time

These are the top 30 hashtags which you can find in any post which falls under their respective niches. 

Best general Instagram hashtags

  1. #photooftheday
  2. #instagood
  3. #instamood
  4. #picoftheday
  5. #nofilter
  6. #igers
  7. #tbt

Best Fashion hashtags

  1. #ootd
  2. #outfitoftheday 
  3. #instastyle 
  4. #currentlywearing 
  5. #shoppingaddict

 Best Food hashtags

  1. #instafood
  2. #foodporn
  3. #vegan
  4. #omnomnom
  5. #foodie
  6. #healthyeats

Best Travel hashtags

  1. #travel
  2. #vacation
  3. #solotravel
  4. #wanderlust
  5. #travelgram
  6. #tourist

Best Fitness hashtags

  1. #fitfam
  2. #yogafordays
  3. #fitlife
  4. #trainhard
  5. #feeltheburn
  6. #fitlife

Hashtags to avoid on Instagram

There are many hashtags which are used just to increase likes and followers.

For example, #follow4follow – a common hashtag you may use to get more followers, in return of a follow back.

These hashtags sound spammy and serve no significant purpose to your profile. After all, you are trying to build a community of people interested in your niche. 

Avoid hashtags such as

  1. #followme
  2. #follow4follow
  3. #followforfollow
  4. #f4f
  5. #like4like
  6. #likeforlike

Now that you know which are the hashtags to avoid, the next question is, can you include all the hashtags in your post?



How many hashtags are allowed to use in Instagram 

Honestly, you can target as many hashtags you want in your bio section, caption and comments.

But will that be pleasing to see all the hashtags?

No…remember after Instagram is a visual platform.

You need to limit your hashtags to 30. Anything beyond that you sound spammy and may even face your profile getting disables.

An ideal number is 20 to 25 quality hashtags related to your niche.


How to organize your Instagram hashtags

Organizing your hashtags to make your content visually appealing is a craft which you need to learn to attract followers.


Yes, the job of the hashtags is to bring your target follower to your profile. 


Now does the same follower have to see the hashtags again?




The role of your hashtag ends then and there.


What I mean to say a group of hashtags look cluttered and distracts your follower from the main post. 


Just have a look at this…


best practices for instagram hashtags


Do you find it visually appealing?


If our tastes are similar, you would say ‘No’.


Now you may ask, what is the alternative?


There is an alternative where you can target all the hashtags and not compromise on the aesthetics of the post. And at the same time, it serves all the purpose of the hashtags as well. 


Post all the hashtags in the first comment of your posts.

How to organize your instagram hashtags


Practically, there is no difference on the Instagram algorithm, whether you post your hashtags on your caption or on your first comment.


Look for yourself and see which one is more pleasing and distraction-free.


Now you know where part of the hashtags, the next big thing is the what part?


What hashtags to include to gain maximum ROI?

 A simple hashtag research will make you tame the Instagram algorithm.


How to find the best hashtags on Instagram


Let’s do a simple exercise. 


Follow along with me.


From the above “Top 30 hashtags of all time” select a hashtag from your niche.


For this article purpose, I chose “travel”


Now, search #travel on Instagram. 


I got these results on the ‘Most Recent’ posts

what hashtags to include in instagram


Now immediately, I searched #travel again. 

Best practices for Instagram hashtags


Did you notice it?


In a short span of 10 seconds, all the posts from the above recent results vanished.


Now, this is what happens when you target a generic hashtag which has been targeted by hundreds of thousands of people at this moment.


The only way to tackle this problem is when you have millions of people following you.


In that case, when you include a post with #travel hashtag, it goes in front of your followers, and when they like, can even help you to stay on the ‘top posts’ of Instagram.


Now, I know you do not have that many followers to boast. 


Again, fear not, hashtags are there to rescue you.


This time, instead of concentrating on generic hashtags which every tom, dick and harry uses, I will suggest you to focus on those hashtags which your niche followers can only search. 


Let me elaborate with an example,


Let’s say your travel destination is New York. Now instead of merely hashtagging #travel, I would replace it with #NewYorkTravel.

Look at the differences in the number of posts.

how to use instagram hashtags


The less the number of posts, the more you can stay on top of the search results. 


I would further narrow down the hashtags into the following categories based on the number of posts. 


  1. Red category – 100k to 500k high-quality specific niche posts.
  2. Green category – 50k to 100k high-quality specific niche posts.
  3. Orange category – 10k to 50k high-quality specific niche posts.
  4. Yellow category – 500 to 10k high-quality specific niche posts.


Best practices for Instagram hashtags


Now, when you are just starting out, include 80% of yellow category hashtags and 20% orange hashtags.


As you gain more followers, you can gain up the ladder. 


A sample category-specific hashtags is as shown in this picture.

how to use instagram hashtags for likes and follows


Now If my follower base is less than 1000, I will place 80% hashtags in the yellow category and 20% in the orange category.


As and when my follower base increases, I will include 80% orange category hashtags and 20% green hashtags.


Hashtags tips and tricks to get more likes and followers

Frankly, speaking there is no one specific tips and tricks to get more likes and followers through hashtags. 

All revolves around your Content.


When you have good content in place, and with the help of the hashtag strategy described above, you can gain a sizable following.


Even if you have your hashtag strategy in place, when your content itself sucks, you cannot get anywhere.


Hence, all boils down to quality content along with the rights hashtags to ace up your Instagram profile organically.



With the organic visibility of every social media platform declining day by day, Instagram too is no exception.


You have to invest in paid ads to get more followers, convert them into targeted leads and in turn into your loyal customers.


Instagram is only one way of achieving your goal in the long term.


Follow along all the strategies mentioned in this article and see for yourself what works for you.


Do let me know in the comments, which category you are in and what have you achieved. 


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