A beginner’s guide to choosing the right hashtags for Instagram

When it comes to Instagram, it’s all about the hashtags. That’s one of the best ways to ensure your content is seen. It will increase your chances of being featured on the explore page. Of course, this is depending on which ones you choose. Not all of them are helpful.

Hashtag symbol
Credit: Tenor sticker edited in PhotoMosh

👇 A breakdown

When it comes to hashtags, it can be tempting to just go for it. It doesn’t seem like a difficult process, and it certainly doesn’t look like it would take much effort. Just tag the first things that come to mind when you look at the image, right? No, unfortunately that doesn’t work. You might strike lucky and get some views through your choices, but it isn’t going to push your post out there to the likes of the explore page. To achieve this, you need to know what you’re doing. Pick the right hashtags for your content. There are many ways you can discover what will work for you. Most of it comes down to giving it a go. What might work for you may not work for someone else, especially if their content is different.

Here are some dos and don’ts when it comes down to the hashtag game. ⬇

✔ Do’s

There are far more positives to hashtags than there are negatives. We all went through a stage where we thought they were slightly cringe and avoided them. It’s 2021 guys, hashtags are back in, and they’re far more useful than we used to believe.

  • Check out websites such as Display Purposes that generate hashtags for free that relate to your content. Any free tools are a massive bonus.
  • Try different numbers of hashtags. We think 10+ is a good amount. However, try it for yourself and see.
  • Follow your favourite hashtags on Instagram. It will help you keep an eye on the competition you have and see what other people are posting for these categories. You’ll probably gain inspiration this way.
  • Keep an eye on your success through your insights. It won’t tell you exactly how each hashtag has helped you, but you will start to see some patterns. For example a post with #fallvibes might do really well, but your next one without that hashtag might not achieve as much.
  • Add hashtags to your stories. There’s a bigger chance you’ll get featured on Instagram’s explore page.

❌ Don’ts

When it comes to hashtags, it can be easy to get carried away. Some hashtags do more damage than good. Here are some things to avoid when adding them to your posts.

  • Adding everything you can think of. Less can be more. We know this doesn’t seem possible because by adding lots of hashtags, more people are likely to see it, right? Unfortunately not. Instagram only allows up to 30 hashtags per post and sometimes adding everything that comes to mind can drag your post down. It looks like spam.
  • Hashtagging everything that comes to mind. Some people will upload a photo of themselves and hashtag every single thing in the image. #sky #grass #green #tshirt #sunglasses #boardshorts #pebbles – you get where we’re going with this. Of course, some obvious hashtags might perform well but hashtagging the entire image almost as alt text isn’t going to boost your post.
  • Don’t ignore the numbers. When you go to type in a hashtag, you will see just how popular it is. The higher the popularity, the more chance it will be viewed. If it’s only got a small number, it isn’t likely people will be searching for it.

✨ Tips and tricks

So, we’ve given you some ideas of what to do and what not to do. Now we’re here to give you some secret info that could boost your posts. It’s probably not that secret if we’re honest, but it is useful. These are some things you don’t want to ignore. ⬇

  • Adding hashtags into your story – You can hide them, that way no one will know they’re there. Pop up to 10 hashtags in your story using the text option. Shrink them down and then use a GIF or sticker to place over the top. You’re more likely to appear on the explore page with your story containing hashtags.
  • Stick to what’s popular – #photooftheday #mootd #independentartist #instagood #happy etc. There are a whole heap of generic hashtags that can cover most content. These are typically what performs best.
  • Give yourself line breaks after your caption – When adding hashtags into your caption, a simple space won’t cut it. Instagram will remove any gaps. However, if you put a few gaps underneath and then an emoji you can add hashtags underneath this. That way your caption doesn’t get crowded.
  • Post hashtags as your comment – As soon as your post is up on Instagram, add your hashtags to the comments section. It allows more flexibility. You can remove it easily if you want, and it won’t clog up your caption. When the comments start to roll in, you’ll hardly notice it’s there.

Hopefully this information will help you boost your posts. It’s important to remember your hashtag choices are possibly more important than your caption. They’re one of the easiest ways to get your content viewed, which can be a struggle normally. When you’re first starting out on Instagram, it seems impossible to get people to interact with your work. However, this really isn’t the case.

Some people will comment on anything containing a certain hashtag they follow. Give them a comment back from time to time, and you’ll see relationships start to form. Although watch out for all this #likeforlike stuff on the platform because some people take that really seriously and if you don’t post to their photo within minutes, they’ll call you out.

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