How to Create and Use Hashtags on Instagram

How many hashtags should be used in an Instagram post? How to create a smart hashtag? What are prohibited hashtags? If you’re promoting your business online, you’ve probably wondered about these and many other things. This article contains the answers to all questions about hashtags. Read on to find out how to improve your online presence and reach new people!

Tipos de hashtags

The hashtag is a combination of letters, digits, and emojis preceded by the # symbol. By clicking on a hashtag, you are redirected to a page that contains all the content of the platform that is also using that hashtag. For example, if you click on #winterclothes, you will have access to several outfit ideas for the coldest season of the year. By clicking on #memes, you will see fun or cute images and videos that are trending on the internet. This is how hashtags work in both Instagram posts and stories.

Hashtags aim to increase the reach of your posts on your Instagram and attract a part of your target audience that still doesn’t know your business. You can do a search by hashtags. Additionally, you can “follow” a specific hashtag to see all the content that is published with it in your feed. Let’s say you have a dog care business. In this case, your potential customers will be able to find your business on Instagram by the following hashtags: #dog, #doglovers, #vidacao, #doglove, and similar.

Hashtags can be divided into several types:

  • Goods and services. Keywords that characterize your product or service (#bag, #psychology).
  • Niche. Words that specify exactly what you’re doing (#foodblog, #weddingphotographer).
  • Community. Groups of people engaged in the same work or craft (#estilistasdoinstagram, #padariasdoinstagram).
  • Event. Hashtags that refer to holidays or seasons of the year (#humordeautono, #dianacionaldosice cream, #entaoenatal).
  • Local. Hashtags that specify where your business is (#pastelariario, #comidasdesp, #belaportoalegre).
  • Lifestyle. Hashtags that describe your lifestyle (#motivated, #sextou, #sundayfunday).
  • Words that indicate a specific activity (#docesfeitosemcasa, #souescritor).
  • Abbreviation. Abbreviated forms of commonly used phrases. Examples: #tbt (Throwback Thursday) to refer to nostalgic memories; #OOTD (Outfit Of The Day) to indicate the outfit of the day.
  • emoji. Emojis can also be used, either alone or combined with a word (#??, #sunglasses?).

The optimal number of hashtags and banned hashtags.

There is no single answer to how many hashtags you should use. The exact number depends on the type of your content. For example, the maximum number of hashtags for an Instagram post is 30. For an Instagram story, you can’t use more than 10. However, that doesn’t mean you should always keep using the maximum allowed hashtags.

On average, an Instagram post contains 10.7 hashtags. At the same time, there is research that shows that posts with 6 or more hashtags tend to have lower user engagement. The only way to determine the optimal number of hashtags is by trial and error. Publish content with different numbers of hashtags and see which posts and stories generate the most likes, comments, and new followers.

However, it’s not just quantity that you should think about. Quality is equally important. Avoid so-called “prohibited hashtags”. These are the tags that have been blacklisted by Instagram because posts using them go against Instagram rules.

Instagram users cannot see content that contains banned hashtags in their feed. The content will only be displayed on your page and in the list of posts with the same hashtag.

The list of banned hashtags is constantly changing, so it makes sense to check each tag before publishing. Enter the hashtag in the search field and Instagram will tell you if you can use it or not.

How to create smart hashtags for your business

To take full advantage of the power of hashtags, the best tactic is to combine popular ones with your niche ones. Here are some more specific tips:

  • Start with keywords. Make a list of the most popular hashtags related to your business. Enter a keyword in the Instagram search field and see how often it is used.
  • Remember that the trending and most popular words (e.g. #love, #selfie, #smile) are not necessarily the ones with the highest KPI. This is because your post can easily get lost among the millions of posts that use the same hashtag.
  • So, take advantage of niche hashtags, that is, those with medium or low frequency of use. Let’s say you make and sell candy. In addition to using the hashtag #food (245 million posts) which is super popular, also use #docesdoinstagram (181,000 posts), #docescaseiros (218,000 posts) and #docesparavender (1,000 posts).
  • Find out which hashtags are used by your target audience, competitors, and industry leaders.
  • Create a unique hashtag to promote your brand or run your advertising campaign. Let’s delve deeper into this issue.

8 tips for using hashtags

Creating the right hashtags is only half the business. You also need to use them correctly. This is where our tips come in!

1. Don’t repeat yourself

Avoid using the same set of hashtags throughout your post. Otherwise, Instagram may mark your content as spam. Make sure your tags line up with your text and images. This is a surefire way to attract your target audience and avoid shadowban.

If you’re using #traveltips hashtags, make sure your post actually offers valuable information to travelers. Use #weddingdress only if there is a wedding dress in your photo or image.

Lifehack. Work out a 1-2 week content plan in advance. Make sure your posts cover a wide range of topics. This is how you avoid using the same hashtags all the time.

2. Make a list

To save time, make a list of 20-30 tags that you will use in your posts. We recommend doing this in Google Tables. In column 1, write all hashtags. In column 2, write the frequency of use of each word. In column 3, list topics related to each tag.

Lifehack. When making a post, simply copy the correct tags from the table and paste them into the post.

3. Custom coin hashtags

It could be a word or phrase related to your company, product, or promotion. For example, Nike uses a tag with its iconic slogan, #justdoit. During the Covid lockdown in 2020, the company created the tag #playinside to encourage people to train at home. Starbucks, on the other hand, offered each drink with an individual hashtag.

Custom hashtags are great for business promotion. Ask your followers to also follow your unique hashtag. Run a contest for the best post that contains a unique hashtag. Ideas are endless!

Lifehack. Follow your unique tag yourself so you can control how it’s being used. Also, leave a comment on the content of the user who used your hashtag and shares the best posts.

4. Brand your Instagram page

Your bio (or profile description) is the first thing users notice when they visit your Instagram page. Don’t miss the opportunity to spread your brand on your Instagram profile. One of the things you can do is add your custom hashtag to your bio and use your logo as a profile picture. This will help users to memorize your brand.

Lifehack. To come up with the best hashtag for your Instagram bio, think of the word or phrase that sums up the unique essence of your business and makes it stand out. It could be your slogan or the name of your main product. To create a professional logo optimized for Instagram, use the logo maker logo creation service.

5. Use hashtags in Instagram Stories

Make sure your hashtags are suitable for your stories. Avoid excessive use of the same tag. Make an effort to make your hashtag look good in a photo or video. Move the tag around the image, trying different points. Increase and decrease the size of the hashtag. Also, it might be a good idea to make the hashtag semi-transparent.

Lifehack. To hide the tag, cover it with a sticker or animation.

6. Save space

The size of an Instagram post should be limited to 2,200 characters. If you don’t have room for hashtags, feel free to publish your post without them. You can always post the hashtags in the first comment.

Lifehack. The best way to do this is to insert hashtags directly into the text. This can easily be done with popular words like #house, #sun, #winter.

7. Check the blacklist

If your Instagram views are decreasing, check your hashtags. It could be that one of your hashtags has been banned for violating Instagram guidelines. In this case, stop using the invalid hashtag and replace it with a new one.

Lifehack. To avoid shadowban, make it a habit to check the banned tag list regularly.

8. Track statistics

Take time to review the statistics available on your Instagram profile. Find out which tags improve your reach and increase user engagement. Choose any post, click the three dots icon and select “View Stats”.

Lifehack. If you have a personal Instagram profile, you may want to switch to a business profile so you can better promote your brand. Don’t worry, your content will stay the same.

In short

Hashtags are a powerful tool to attract new followers and increase your reach on Instagram. Devise a smart promotion strategy, build a content plan, and make a list of hashtags that can be used. Like any social network, Instagram is constantly changing its rules and guidelines. Stay on top of news and updates to avoid problems.

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