Since its launch in 2010, Instagram has become one of the biggest social media platforms. Its broad customer base has made it the marketing platform of choice for many brands and organizations.
In 2021, there were over 1.21 billion monthly active Instagram users. For this reason, launching digital marketing strategies on Instagram allows brands to reach their target audience effectively.
Hashtags are one feature businesses, and marketers could use to reach new people. While anyone can add hashtags to their Instagram posts, it can take a bit of strategy to make them an effective marketing tool.
Keep reading to learn more about trending hashtags and how you can maximize their use in your brand's Instagram marketing efforts.
Instagram hashtags refer to strings of alphanumeric characters with a hashtag (#) symbol at the beginning. This symbol turns the following characters into a clickable hyperlink, leading users to see posts that use the same hashtag.
Hashtags are one way Instagram users can categorize and label their content. They also help interested users find Instagram posts, reels, and stories that fit their interests and preferences.
To create a hashtag, you only need to type in the hashtag symbol and the word or phrase you want to use. You can use hashtags on Instagram reels, posts, stories, comments, and nearly any space where you can type in text.
Incorporating hashtags into your brand's online activities offers several benefits to businesses and organizations. When used correctly and with the right strategies, hashtags can significantly boost the reach and effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.
Here are some main advantages of using Instagram hashtags in your brand's online presence.
One of the biggest reasons brands and marketers use hashtags on Instagram is to reach more people. Hashtags allow Instagram users to search for and discover content that piques their interests. Users can also follow hashtags, allowing them to see relevant content.
For this reason, you can use hashtags to target specific niches and reach your preferred audiences. If people search for keywords that you've targeted through your hashtags, they might come across your account and initiate contact.
Branded hashtags have become commonplace in social media marketing, particularly on Instagram. Using and promoting your brand-specific hashtags can encourage your audience to use them, making it another form of audience engagement.
Existing customers and clients can use your branded hashtags for user-generated content (UGC). This practice can extend your reach, especially if they use other relevant hashtags. Other users can come across your customers' UGC and lead them to your brand.
Aside from aiding your brand's campaigns, you can use hashtags to improve your knowledge base through competitor analysis.
You and your competitors are likely using similar strategies and hashtags. You can use this knowledge to see and analyze your competitors' Instagram marketing strategies. What hashtags are they using? How is their audience responding to their posts?
Hashtags can help you gain a more comprehensive view of your competitor's marketing tactics. You can then analyze their strengths and weaknesses to help you optimize and improve your campaigns.
Hashtag usage can be similar to search engine optimization (SEO) in that you target specific keywords to reach your audience. Like SEO, you can use hashtags to conduct content research and see what types of content would resonate with your target audience.
For example, you could type in one of your target hashtags in the search bar and see what shows up. The top posts are usually the most popular and engaging ones. You can then try to analyze how these accounts gained such engagement by looking at their photos, videos, copy, and the hashtags they use.
Doing content research regularly through hashtags can help your brand's marketing team keep abreast of Instagram marketing trends. As a result, you can keep up with changing audience preferences and consistently attract new customers.
As a business, having a diverse arsenal of marketing platforms and strategies is essential. Aside from Instagram, it's also important to explore other marketing channels, whether in-person or digital.
However, as you explore various marketing channels, finding ways to link them together and remain consistent is important. Using hashtags is one way to achieve this goal.
Let's say your brand organized an in-person event for your customers and clients. You can place signs throughout the venue encouraging people to use your branded hashtags if they post on social media. Your marketing team can also use these hashtags when posting updates on your account.
In these instances, hashtags are a great way to engage your audience, promote your brand, and encourage people to interact with your brand's Instagram account.
Instagram users can create any hashtag they like. You can technically place any string of letters and numbers after a hashtag symbol and turn it into a working hashtag. However, some hashtags gain more attention than others.
Trending hashtags can help you become part of specific communities and reach more people. Here are some of the most popular Instagram hashtags your brand might consider using.
As of writing, here are the 50 top hashtags on Instagram.
Some Instagram users post hashtags to help them gain likes and followers, such as the ones below.
B2B companies have also established a community on Instagram using the following hashtags.
Like B2B brands, B2C companies have hashtags specific to their industry that help them reach new customers. Here is a list of hashtags for B2C content on Instagram.
The food and beverage niche is popular on Instagram. Instagram users taking pictures of their food has become a popular stereotype.
Here are some of the platform's most commonly used food and beverage hashtags.
Travel is another popular niche on Instagram. Many users love to post and share travel content on the platform.
Here are some of the most popular travel hashtags you can use on Instagram.
Many brands use Instagram to stage contests and giveaways. These campaigns help brands gain more exposure and boost their online following.
If you plan to organize a contest or giveaway for your brand on Instagram, here are some hashtags you can use.
You can technically turn any word and number into a hashtag, making hashtag creation full of possibilities. Instagram hashtags can fall under specific categories depending on how they are used.
Considering how people and businesses use hashtags in today's digital marketing landscape, here are the most common Instagram hashtag categories.
If your brand has been on the internet for some time, you will likely already have branded hashtags.
Branded hashtags cover unique hashtags brands have created for their company, products, or services. The most common branded hashtags are usually the business's name. You can also create branded hashtags for specific products, services, and company events.
As your online following grows, you will notice that your customers, clients, and followers will also use your branded hashtags. Using them consistently can help establish your brand identity and encourage your audience to use them.
Campaign hashtags are similar to branded hashtags, except that you use them for individual marketing campaigns.
You can use them to link your campaigns across different marketing platforms. For example, if you post a television advertisement, you can add campaign hashtags to your visual content, encouraging audiences to use them.
These hashtags are also helpful in tracking the performance of specific marketing campaigns. You can use them to analyze your posts and to see if audiences have picked up on your campaign.
Instagram is not just a place for business. It is primarily a social networking site, which means people use it to connect with friends, family, and like-minded people. For this reason, industry and community hashtags are highly popular on the platform.
These hashtags are used by different companies, organizations, or individuals that are part of particular industries or communities. They are often straightforward, covering typical niches like #art, #music, #fashion, #film, #smallbusiness, and many others.
While these niche hashtags are not specific to businesses, brands often use them to reach target audiences. If your brand sells outdoor gear, you might stand to benefit from using hashtags like #travel, #outdoor, and #nature.
Trending hashtags can be difficult to spot if you're not consistently keeping tabs on online conversations and knowing how to apply them to your content. These hashtags might not have the most posts, but they get the most activity for a specific period.
For example, #BarbenHeimer has been a trending hashtag and meme in the past few weeks. Audiences have been anticipating the premiere of both Barbie and Oppenheimer in theaters. While most content has come from fans of both movies, brands have also been keen on jumping on the trend.
Trendspotting skills are essential when using these hashtags. You must have a firm grasp of the zeitgeist to create content that resonates seamlessly with audiences.
Themed hashtags often revolve around certain seasons, events, or holidays (even made-up ones). Take note of these holidays to ensure you can schedule content relevant to these themed hashtags.
Let's take National Food Day as an example. Held on October 24th each year, this holiday encourages people to incorporate more whole foods into their diets.
If you're running a restaurant or food business, this holiday is an excellent way to promote your content. You can use the #NationalFoodDay hashtag to remind people of the holiday's significance while promoting your business.
Location hashtags are pretty straightforward. As the name suggests, these hashtags indicate physical locations, such as cities, countries, neighborhoods, etc.
These hashtags are an excellent way to promote brick-and-mortar stores or facilitate travel and tourism. For example, if you run a restaurant or food truck in New York City, you can use the hashtags #nyeats or #nyfoodie to reach potential customers.
Daily hashtags incorporate the day of the week alongside specific interests. The most popular daily hashtags include #mondaymotivation, #throwbackthursday or #tbt, and #tgif.
However, users and brands can get creative with them, as well. For example, the hashtag #wipwednesday has especially been popular amongst crafting and art circles to show off their work.
Commentary hashtags often indicate humor and irony, not as a means of promotion. People often use them to add humor to their posts or as part of an inside joke.
Many brands don't use commentary hashtags, as they don't do much for reach and discoverability. However, if your brand voice is humorous, you could use commentary or ironic hashtags to engage with your audience.
Using the most popular hashtags won't always guarantee results. Every brand is different and will require unique hashtags to reach its target audience.
Finding the right hashtags for your business will take a bit of research and effort. Here are some methods you can explore to help you through the process.
The Instagram app's search or discover feature can help you find hashtags useful for your brand's account.
Go to the search tool indicated by the magnifying glass icon on the app. Type in your desired keyword and then tap the "Tags" section. You will see a list of relevant hashtags and the corresponding number of posts under each one.
You can type in the hashtag symbol when writing captions, and different hashtags will appear. This function can help you find hashtags relevant to your content.
Another good way to find hashtags relevant to your business is by watching what other people are doing. You can follow hashtags and influencers that work within your niche to see what hashtags they use.
You can find a wealth of hashtag knowledge with a simple Google search. Many writers, bloggers, and publishers have published articles on popular hashtags relevant to your niche.
Explore online lists and recommendations to see what experts and analysts say about relevant hashtags within your industry.
You can use Instagram hashtags any way you want. However, certain practices can help improve your account's performance when using hashtags. Here are some tips and best practices you might want to incorporate into your brand's hashtag strategy.
While it can be tempting to use as many hashtags as possible to cover more ground, this practice can be harmful. Users might perceive the blue wall of text as spammy and ignore your content as a result.
When writing your captions, keep hashtags to a minimum. Around one to five hashtags are enough to get your point across.
Five hashtags can be limiting, especially if you want to reach as many people as possible. While it's best to use a maximum of five hashtags in your main caption, you can use your comments section to your benefit.
Add your extra hashtags as a comment. You can add as many hashtags as the app will allow, and the Instagram algorithm will still detect them.
Copying and pasting popular hashtags might not always work in reaching your target audience. Many popular hashtags are generic and may not be as effective in helping you achieve your marketing goals.
Set some time to research the best hashtags for your brand. The hashtags you end up with might not have the most posts, but they can be more effective and help you stand out.
Hashtags also work in stories and can help you find new audiences. Use the Instagram story text tool or a hashtag sticker to add hashtags to your stories.
Create branded hashtags and use them everywhere to encourage your audience to use them. Add them to your profile bio, under each post caption, and on your Instagram stories to maximize your reach.
Instagram still doesn't have features that allow you to analyze individual hashtags. However, you can still get a general idea of your account's performance as you change your hashtag strategy.
Look at your account's analytics to see if your hashtag usage is working to your benefit. Check individual posts and assess accordingly.
Pro Tip: Hashtag generators are valuable tools to help you find appropriate hashtags for your content. Check trends regularly and measure your progress to keep up with changing audience preferences.
Incorporating the right hashtags into your brand content can help you reach more people and boost brand awareness, among other benefits. They also encourage user-generated content and audience engagement.
UGC can be an excellent resource for your brand's online marketing efforts, so tracking and collecting them is essential.
Archive helps you track UGC from your online communities, allowing you to leverage them for your marketing campaigns. It automatically detects Instagram and TikTok posts featuring your brand, helping you save time and effort when looking for UGC.
Users can add a maximum of 30 hashtags in Instagram captions and comments. However, sticking with a few hashtags is best to avoid overwhelming your audiences.
You can "hide" hashtags in your comments section instead of your caption.
Banned hashtags are those restricted by Instagram due to inappropriate usage and content. Examples of banned hashtags include #nudity, #antivax, and #youngmodel.