Best Instagram Hashtag Practices: 5 Golden Rules for Hashtags in 2020

We have seen a lot of articles with a lot of rules for Instagram hashtags that approach the app negatively and pessimistically – but they really can boost your visibility and frankly, so can Instagram, so I say it’s time we embrace that.

Looking for an easy way to pull a crowd to see your latest piece, newest product, or just get your Instagram posts a little more attention? You should be absolutely taking advantage of Instagram hashtags.

There is a long list of rules that really could be broken down into 5 big rules for engagement. In this article, we’re going to give you 5 golden rules for the Best Instagram Hashtag Practices.

But First: What Exactly IS a hashtag?

A hashtag is a combination of letters, numbers, or emoji preceded by the # symbol. Hashtags are generally used to categorize content and make it more discoverable. You can add hashtags in the caption or comments of your post. If you have a public account and add hashtags to a post, the post will be visible on the corresponding page.

The big deal about Hashtags is that Hashtags are clickable. Anyone who clicks on an Instagram hashtag or conducts an Instagram hashtag search will see a page showing all the posts tagged with that hashtag.

Why Should I be using Hashtags?

Why are hashtags so critical to use in your Instagram marketing campaigns? These days People can also choose to follow hashtags alongside searching them out like the earlier days of Instagram, This just means they could see your hashtagged post in their feed even if they don’t follow you. (Bring the right attention though and they just might discover you.) In Fact; Did you know that Instagram posts that use hashtags gain a 12.6% increase in engagement? (compared up to those without.)

Using Hashtags is a key and important way you can expand your Instagram audience. Hashtagging is so effective because it helps categorize similar content and make it even more discoverable. This also applies if you use a hashtag on your Story. This is likely why hashtagged posts get so much more engagement than those without.

Instagram hashtags can be a great way of Joining into or building a community online. People are often encouraged, pushed, and motivated to engage with your Hashtag’s theme, your personal brand, or your intended goal.

How many hashtags should you use on Instagram?

There are some rules first to remember before you get a little wild with the hashtags you use to attract business. You can include up to 30 hashtags on a regular post and up to 10 hashtags on a Story. If you try to include more, your comment or caption won’t post.

However, Just because you can use up to 30 hashtags for Instagram posts, it doesn’t mean you should be using the full 30.

Now There’s no magic or perfect count of how many hashtags you should be using but The general consensus states that you should be using just about 11 hashtags to start with. The most common number of hashtags to use on Instagram however is actually between 1 and 3. You will want to try these numbers out across your profile, your post, and your stories to really get a feel for what is best for your business personally though.

Cartoon Network isn’t shy to crack out their hashtags and they’re already a well-seen account. When there’s a revival of their show happening on another channel though they want to be sure the interested party sees it and put into place multiple relevant hashtags that you’ll find in various parts of the list below. A great example of what a couple of well-placed hashtags can do for your views.

1. Best Instagram Hashtag Practices: Identify what types of Hashtags Should you use for your Business.

Our first focus on the Best Instagram Hashtag Practices begins on the business page directly on the App itself. The Business page for Instagram states that there are 9 key types of hashtags you can use for your business to flourish. When you add those hashtags to your posts, they can appear when people are searching for that hashtag. It’s this simple action you can take to increase your ability to be discovered by different audiences.

  1. Hashtags that indicate your product or service.
  2. Hashtags that indicate your niche in your industry.
  3. Hashtags for Instagram communities within your industry.
  4. Hashtags for seasons or special events.
  5. Hashtags for the location indicated.
  6. Daily Hashtags.
  7. Hashtags with relevant key phrases to what it is you do or offer.
  8. Hashtags with an acronym.
  9. Hashtags that are emojis or feature emojis.

You will want to refer to and utilize this list provided directly by Instagram to start identifying exactly what tags you’ll be wanting to use, Keep a list of tags ready, but be sure to use a variety of hashtags on your posts and stories so your posts can reach different communities.

Be sure to check out the top 100 hashtags trending on Instagram as a part of your research. This list is from October, 28, 2020 but you can check the current list here at Top 100 Hashtags .

2. Best Instagram Hashtag Practices: Get down and do your research

Now that you’ve figured out what kinds of hashtags to use you want to pin down which you should use or you could be using a fistful of tags that will get you nowhere. A good tip to avoid running into that will be to get some research out of the way. Breaking down your research in a few ways should help you figure out which hashtags are going to work best for you.

You should look at the terms your audience and field are using in their successful posts first. You’ll probably see some common trends and it will help give you an idea for the hashtags you will want to use. Just as well, Don’t forget to check your business competitors' hashtags also and what they’re using. Consider following them and the field for good measure to keep up with the ever-changing trends. Look for anything in common between your tags and any of those same trends coming up that you think will help you appeal to your target audience.

You can always use a hashtag research tool. There are many available on the web including Hashtagify which will show you the popularity of each hashtag and their related terms.

Another option that is completely free is to check out the Top 100 HashTags for the day and week surrounding your post, you can use Top-Hashtag at no cost which provides a regularly updated list of the top 100 trending tags on Instagram, as well as has a random Hashtag generator tool and one to help you convert your line of text into what might be a successful tag.

Remember: Create your hashtags lists. Compile the terms you’re collecting into organized lists and Break them down by type of hashtag. Is it a niche interest? Are they targeting users in certain places? Keep them all in a document or program that lets you organize hashtags by category so you can pull them up when needed.

Coca-cola has been known for their infamous hashtag based content marketing campaigns in the past with share-a-coke but focused on bringing people together from across the world this year with the hashtag #MyCocaCola which was used internationally to highlight people across the world and featured select photos from the hashtag.
Coca-Cola is known to have
great branded marketing and has multiple successful hashtag campaigns.

3. Best Instagram Hashtag Practices: Create a Branded Hashtag & Stick with it.

Now that you’ve got an idea of the tags you’ll be using, don’t ever forget your branded hashtag. Branded hashtags generally will contain the name of your brand. But they might also contain your company’s slogan, name of a specific product, or one of your campaigns. A branded hashtag will help you to establish your brand awareness, and it will be an important piece of any contests you run, are run for your product, and the first thing anyone else will be likely to use if they run anything about your service or product.

These are additionally important because It’s an excellent way to help Instagram users and who you’re targeting find feeds of content that’s either created by you or about you. This is also going to make it easy for you to hunt down any user-generated content that people are sharing about your brand, as well.

Remember: Branded hashtags should always be unique to you or your brand. These include the name of your brand, but they may also just be relevant to your business or the campaign you’re running. You should also add your branded hashtag text to your profile bio. As long you add the # sign in front of the text, it will become a clickable hashtag.

This Instagram Influencer may seem a little aggressive when highlighted but actually hides all of these hashtags well by putting them below her initial caption. She has used these tags liberally and by the looks of it, it is paying off. Over 5k likes in 2 hours. You can see she employed several hashtag tactics and her post is blowing up for it.

4. Best Instagram Hashtag Practices: Place Hashtags Below Your Main Caption

This next focus is short and to the point. Your hashtags will generally be most effective in your actual caption. That’s not always aesthetically pleasing though and you don’t want to overwhelm users right away with a brick of hashtags across the bottom.

A good technique to use to avoid that would be one of the ways of putting information such as your website or more information before your hashtags. If you don’t have much to say but still want to make sure you don’t come across like a bot account you can always put at least one line of separation between the main post and the hashtags you don’t necessarily want anyone to see too much of.

We still think it’s a good practice to make your branded hashtags visible but 11 or more branded hashtags are a distraction anyways and you really want your target audience to feel connected and compelled to interact with your account.

Making sure to separate or hide those hashtags makes it easier for users to read the actual caption, and honestly makes them more likely to do so, but it doesn’t hurt your actual reach, just simply hides them out of the way.

Remember: It is very possible that this practice may change slightly. We understand that Instagram is currently testing a post format that would actually allow brands to list their hashtags into a designated block separate from the caption without interfering with the algorithm. This possible change would improve the general aesthetic without changing the reach but we don’t have much news on that to date.

ProCreate only chooses to use a couple of hashtags but does so strategically. They use the main branded ProCreate tag in their profile, on their stories and they go through the list and share and tag brilliant artists who used their program to make their pieces. The only other hashtags they’ve used lately are for the latest update, they place the update first to prioritize it, and subsequently, share the work.

5. Best Instagram Hashtag Practices: Prioritize your tags.

Now that You’ve got yourself a nice block of hashtags ready to go that you want to use, You’ll now want to choose which hashtags you want to use first. More often than not Users aren’t going to want to read through all your hashtags, nor will they. This won’t matter if you’re going for a number as small as 5 or you fill the block with all 30 you can have.

If there’s a hashtag you’d really like to raise the chances of them reading & subsequently using (Like a branded hashtag or a contest for example) You’re going to want to go ahead and use that first.

In the example we’ve chosen, the company procreate focuses primarily on branded hashtags, and pulls artwork from the submissions of millions who use the tag. Their branded tag represents a branded community and they use that advantage. They choose to put their branded tag in their stories, as the only tag on their profile, and actually it is second to their newest update as their first hashtag when reposting artwork from others. This shows great skills in prioritizing what you want specifically to be shared within the community as well as how easily you should be able to find the program behind each image.

Remember: You can utilize your hashtags, even branded hashtags, to connect and build a community around your product. Be consistent and don’t forget to utilize your hashtags in places like your profile, your Instagram stories, and below your captions on your post. These help hashtags do what they’re supposed to do best and keep you organized and connected.

In this article, we went over the most important Instagram hashtag practices or the 5 golden rules of Instagram hashtags. We have given you steps to break down your tags by category, to usage, to make sure you prioritize them as well as a couple of examples of them being used by companies.

Now that you’ve got your list of hashtags and your hashtag strategy ready to go you should make sure to go back and check out our guide on 12 instagram post ideas (and 2 tools to create them easily) so you can put your best foot forward and put everything you’ve learned today to practice.

Got any comments or any other hot tips for Instagram Hashtag Practices? Let us know in the comments.

1 thought on “Best Instagram Hashtag Practices: 5 Golden Rules for Hashtags in 2020”

  1. This is so informative! I never realized the importance of hashtags and felt they would be too complicated, but this article really simplifies the process and I look forward to putting these tips into practice! Thank you, truly! The extensive research is much appreciated!


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