Top Tips for Instagram Hashtags in 2020

Top Tips for Instagram Hashtags in 2020

Instagram hashtags are an effective way to increase engagement on your Instagram posts in 2020. Using relevant, targeted hashtags on your posts and stories is still one of the best ways to get discovered by new audiences. And this can translate into more engagement, more followers, and more customers for your business.  Recent studies showed that a post with at least one Instagram hashtag averages 12.6% more engagement than posts without a hashtag. So it really is worth creating a hashtag strategy for your brand if you want to grow your account!


Similar to Twitter and other social media platforms, Instagram hashtags work by organizing and categorizing photo and video content. If you have a public Instagram account and add a hashtag to a post, that post will be visible on the corresponding hashtag page, which is basically a directory of all the photos and videos that were tagged with that hashtag.

Since hashtags are used with an intent to discover content, the right hashtags can put you in front of your target audience, even if they haven’t connected with you before.

For example, a yoga studio might post a picture of a yoga pose and then use the hashtags #yoga, #getfit, and #eatright when creating the Instagram post. By using those three hashtags, the image is cataloged so other Instagram users can see the post who enjoy yoga, are interesting in fitness programs, and are conscious of eating right.

Tips to Keep in Mind When Using Hashtags:

  • When people with private profiles tag posts, they won’t appear publicly on hashtag pages.
  • Numbers are allowed in hashtags. However, spaces and special characters, like $ or %, are not .
  • You can only add hashtags to your own posts. You can’t tag other people’s posts.
  • You can use up to 30 hashtags on a post and 10 on a story.
  • Using ultra-popular hashtags isn’t always the best strategy for getting more engagement on your posts and stories.
  • Understanding different types of hashtags and their corresponding audiences is key to developing an effective Instagram hashtag strategy.

Hashtag Strategies

There are a number of different approaches for maximizing the effectiveness of hashtags. Each should be considered given your business objectives and the target market you are trying to reach.

#1: Community Hashtags

Community hashtags are hashtags that connect like-minded users around a specific subject. They’re a great way to connect with others, improve the search ability of your posts, gain followers, and grow your own community.  Below are 9 different types of community hashtags you can use for your business:

  1. Hashtags indicating your product or service, like #sweater or #coffeeshop.
  2. Hashtags indicating your niche in your industry, like #weddingphotographer or #travelphotographer.
  3. Hashtags for Instagram communities in your industry, like #bakersofinstagram or #foodiesofinstagram.
  4. Hashtags for special events or seasons, like #whiteday or #nationaldonutday.
  5. Hashtags using location, like #pastrynyc, #madeintoronto, or #sydneysweets.
  6. Daily hashtags, like #mondaymotivation, #tuesdaytip, or #wellnesswednesday.
  7. Hashtags with phrases relevant to what you do, like #becreative or #bakerylove.
  8. Hashtags with acronyms, like #qotd (quote of the day) or #ootd (outfit of the day).
  9. Hashtags with emojis, like #???? or #????.

Consider using a variety of hashtags on your posts and stories so your posts can reach different communities. For instance, if you have a restaurant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, you can use #chattanoogaeats to reach those looking specifically for restaurants in Chattanooga, and also use #restaurantlife for those who are interested in your day-to-day life as a restaurateur.

The best way to find these community-oriented hashtags is by looking to see which hashtags your audience or favorite accounts are already using. If you’re thinking about creating your own community hashtag, remember that the narrower the scope of the hashtag, the more engaged the users tend to be. Don’t be afraid to find a niche interest or topic that you’d like to build an Instagram community around.

2: Branded Hashtags

A branded hashtag is a hashtag that’s unique to your company when using Instagram for business.

It can be as simple as your company name, tagline, or the name of one of your products or campaigns. Or it can be a hashtag that has nothing to do with your brand name but everything to do with your brand identity!

While community hashtags are meant to increase the reach of your message, branded hashtags are designed to connect themes between you and your audience. They can be used to promote a campaign or collect user-generated content (UGC).

Getting your Instagram followers to use your branded hashtag in their posts and stories is key to getting discovered on Instagram by new audiences. Once you create your hashtag, remind customers they can use your business’ hashtag by sharing it on your stories or calling it out in your captions. This way, your followers can tap the hashtag and see other posts about your business.

It’s also a good idea to follow your branded hashtag to keep track of new content that’s being shared!

#3: Campaign Hashtags

While branded and community hashtags are meant to last, campaign hashtags are usually shorter-term and run for just a few days, a season, or a year. The reason campaign hashtags are shorter-term is that they’re usually tied to specific campaigns, like new product launches, special events, or partnerships.

How to Find the Best Instagram Hashtags for Your Account

When used correctly, Instagram hashtags can help you grow your reach, get more engagement, and attract more followers. But in order to be successful with hashtags, you need to be strategic about what hashtags you use and when you use them.

While the most popular hashtags on Instagram have been used millions of times, that doesn’t mean you’re going to get a ton of likes and comments simply by adding #love, #happy, or your posts. Instead of using the most popular hashtags, it’s better to find and use hashtags that are smaller, more niche, and have an engaged audience that’s relevant to your industry.

So, how can you find these cool, creative, and community-oriented hashtags? The best way is to look and see what hashtags your audience, competitors, and industry leaders are already using on Instagram.

You will notice that the more niche the topic, the more conversations users will have around it, so it pays off to hone-in on a topic or theme.

Here are 5 ways to find the best Instagram hashtags for your account:

#1: Use Hashtag Research Tools
If you need some help finding niche and industry-specific hashtags there are several different research tools available, including Hashtagify, Ritetag, and Sked Social.

#2: Research Your Audience
Find out what hashtags your audience is using and see which ones fit the content that you’re publishing. Your hashtags should be relevant and contain keywords that your audience is actually searching for.

#3: Research Your Competitors
It’s always smart to find out what hashtags your competitors are using. By doing so, you can determine which hashtags provide the most engagement. While it may not be your intention to compete on those hashtags, you could still end up figuring out what your potential customers are talking about and which hashtags they’re using. And maybe you’ll discover new hashtags to add to your repertoire!

#4: Research Industry Leaders
One of the best ways to find relevant hashtags is by following Instagram influencers that have the same (or similar) target audience as you. Every industry has its respective key influencers. Find out who these people are in your niche and use their posts as inspiration. These people are already well-established with your target audience, so why not learn from the best?

#5: Find Related Hashtags
Surveying the landscape of trends that are relevant to your own hashtag is an easy and effective way to grow your community. Simply type your hashtag into the search bar, and then select “tags”. You’ll then be able to see all of the top hashtags that are closely related to your own hashtag, revealing additional ways to reach your community.

You can also browse through posts containing a hashtag you’re already having success with. Do you see a trend of any other common hashtags that could be included in future posts? If yes, write them down.

Follow this advice and you will be well on your way to building an effective hashtag plan for your business.

For more information about our digital marketing services, contact us today.

This is an edited version of the article “The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Hashtags in 2020,” by Benjamin Chacon, February, 2020.

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