How To Use Instagram Hashtags For More Followers

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I'm gonna give you a deep dive into how to use Instagram hashtags for followers and more overall engagement with each new Instagram post.  This is one of the topics I tend to get some of the most questions about when it comes to using Instagram to market a business.  A lot of people really don't understand the "why's and how's" of using Instagram hashtags and today my goal will be to pull back the curtain on using Instagram hashtags to get more likes, followers, and engagement.  Be sure to comment below and tell me which tip you'll be trying first.


1. Why Use Instagram Hashtags
2. Instagram Hashtag Strategy
3. How Many Hashtags Should You Use On Instagram Posts?
4. Instagram Hashtags In Comments Or Caption?
5. How To Do Hashtag Research For Business
6. How To Organize Instagram Hashtags?
7. Best Instagram Hashtag Research Tools
8. How To Use Instagram Hashtags To Spy On Your Competition?
9. How To Use Instagram Hashtags For Local Exposure


1. Instagram Hashtags For Followers: Why Use Instagram Hashtags?


I was watching a YouTube video the other day and the person was telling her audience that SEO doesn’t exist on Instagram.  I wanted to reach through the screen and scream “are you serious?”

For those of you that don’t know, SEO or search engine optimization, in short, is optimizing your content so that people who don’t know your brand or don’t follow you can find your business based on interests and keywords.


How to use Instagram SEO in your Instagram Bio


Anyway, back to hashtags.  Hashtags on Instagram are HUGE and if you're not using them at all, or not using them strategically, your account is missing out on all kinds of IG love!


Hashtags allow you to get discovered on Instagram similar to the way keywords allow you to get discovered on Google.  By using hashtags in your posts, you are allowing your posts to be discovered by people who don't already follow your account.


How To Use Instagram Hashtags For More Followers



Proper use of hashtags can help you get new followers and more engagement on your Instagram account.  That can lead to brand awareness and new customers.


Let’s start by taking a look at how Instagram hashtags work when you are searching for content.  After you click on the search icon (that little magnifying glass at the bottom of your home screen) there will be 5 things to pay attention to.  Top, people, tags, places and suggested.





"Suggested" is a list of accounts that Instagram thinks you will be interested in based on previous engagement and search history.  Now once you start typing in search terms this will change and give you accounts that more than likely match the keywords you were searching for.

Now here’s where the SEO comes in, you can and should use industry keywords in your Instagram username so that you have more of a chance to show up for your industry.  The 2 places you’ll have the most chance of appearing will be in “Top and People”.

If you tap “Tags”, you’ll see the top hashtags for the keyword you typed in the search bar. 


2.Instagram Hashtags For Followers: Instagram Hashtag Strategy


Now there’s actually a strategy when it comes to using hashtags.  Rule number one. When using hashtags for business, it's not about using the most popular hashtags out there. Think about it, the #1 hashtag on Instagram at the time of this writing was #love and there were over a Billion (that's right billion with a capital B) searches for that hashtag. What do you think the odds of your account showing up in the feed are? I'll break it to, your chances are slim at best.


popular instagram hashtags


This is why you want to be strategic by researching hashtags that get a decent amount of traffic, and you have more of an opportunity to be found by new people. These types of hashtags will give your small business or fairly new account a better chance of showing up in top posts and most recent posts. 


If you're really lucky...I mean strategic, you may even hit the explore page, the "holy grail" of Instagram search.  Landing a post on the explore page that also gets great engagement can be a game changer for your account.


Try to use laser focused hashtags relevant to your industry that have between 2000 and 500,000 results. It's ok to have a few really popular hashtags sprinkled in, but I would keep those to around 5-7 of the 30 hashtags that you are able to use on each post.


You can even use what I like to call "hyper-targeted" hashtags that are extremely relevant to your industry or target audience and they may have as little as 1,000 -2,000 search results.


Here's another thing you'll want to avoid when it comes to using hashtags for followers on Instagram.  Don’t use hashtags like #likeforlike, #followforfollow #followme and etc.


These hashtags attract spammers and you’ll get buried among popular hashtags with millions upon millions of search results.

3. Instagram Hashtags For Followers: How Many Hashtags Should You Use On Instagram Posts?



Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags on each post.  So how many should you actually use?  It depends on who you ask. I firmly believe that if you have a chance of being found for 30 keywords, why not use them all?  I have tried using less and I find that the type of hashtags, not the quantity have the most impact on overall engagement.  This is especially true for smaller accounts and people just getting started. 


Here's what Instagram says:   “you can use up to 30 tags on a post. If you include more than 30 tags on a single photo/video, your  comment won’t post.”  Nowhere do they say not to use 30 hashtags on a post.


Don’t be afraid to mix it up, try new hashtags and use different numbers to see what works best for your account.


You Might Also Like Instagram Bio Tips and Tricks For Growth.


4. Instagram Hashtags In Comments Or Caption?




When discussing how to use hashtags on Instagram, one of the most common questions is "should I put hashtags in the first comment or in the caption?"


Either way is ok, however, most people put their hashtags in the first comment if they are using all or most of the 30 hashtags allowed.  There's one reason to do this, it just makes your post look less spammy and cleaner.  It does not have any effect on your ability to be discovered for the hashtag.  



5. Instagram For Followers 2018: How To Do Hashtag Research For Business

I've tried a lot of Instagram hashtag tools that are supposed to generate the best Instagram hashtags for you, however, there's one tool that rises above them all and that's the Instagram app.


To do hashtag research in the Instagram app just click on the search icon on the bottom of the screen, next start typing your hashtag (make sure that you are looking at tags at the top of the page).  After that take a look at the hashtags that Instagram is suggesting and the number of results.  


Now just click on the hashtag and another page will open that features top and recent posts, right above that you'll see suggested hashtags from Instagram.  This is a great way to find other hashtags you may not have considered.


Another way to find hashtags is to include your city name, emoji's and try narrowing your search by making it more niche specific.


Click here to download your Free copy of the Instagram Hashtag Industry Guide for 2018! Hashtags for almost 50 industries already researched! - Free for a limited time only.


6. How To Organize Instagram Hashtags?


I like to keep my Instagram hashtags organized in my notes app on my iPhone for easy "copy and paste" when I need them.


I keep my hashtags organized by categories/ topics and targeted geographies.  This helps to quickly access the best hashtags for the type of post I'm using.  It takes a bit of work on the front end, but it saves a ton of time in the end because I don't have to do hashtag research for each new post.  


You can always add a few trending hashtags as they apply and mix them with the ones you have already researched.


Another way to organize your Instagram hashtags includes using Evernote or any other notes application that will allow you to save and categorize hashtags and copy and paste them from the app to your IG post.


7. Instagram Hashtags For Followers 2018: Best Instagram Hashtag Research Tools.


I've researched numerous tools for doing proper Instagram hashtag research for business and what I've found is that the best tool by far is Instagram itself.  However, there are a number of tools that made my list for offering pretty good suggestions.  A couple of major considerations for me: did the tool have an answer for business hashtags?  Were most of the hashtag results what I would identify as being a good target hashtag in terms of the potential for an account to be found?


Here are my top 5 picks for best Instagram hashtag research tools for 2018.


  1. All-Hashtag

    is a hashtag generating tool that offers a wide variety of suggested hashtags for various search queries. You can search by top hashtags, random or live.

  2. Hashtagify 

    Shows several related hashtags, whether it’s trending, top influencers using the hashtag on Twitter, top countries and more. Overall it’s a decent place to gather information.

  3. For Display Purposes Only

    They say that spammy and banned hashtags are filtered out. Has a good mode to copy the hashtags. I found that it included very broad hashtags with tons of searches

  4. HashAtIt 

    HashtAtIt claims to be the social search engine of the internet.  This tool finds people/accounts who are currently using the hashtag on the internet. It’s a great way to see what other hashtags they are using as well and discover new influencers.

  5. Keyhole 

    Offers live hashtag tracking,  gives the number of posts, users, top posts and etc. (also offers a paid version).



8. How To Use Instagram Hashtags To Spy On Your Competition?


Well not exactly to spy on them, but to see which hashtags are working for their account.  When you take a look at accounts similar to yours you can discover new hashtags and also see what's working and not working for them.  You can also follow relevant hashtags to get content ideas for future posts.



9. How To Use Instagram Hashtags For Local Exposure


If you're a location-based business, a good strategy is to use city names in your hashtags.  I like to use the city name before the hashtag and/or after depending on the search volume.


You can also use abbreviations as they apply as well (example: instead of Atlanta you would use atl).  This can give you great exposure on a local level that you may not reach using more general hashtags.


Search for local hashtags in the search bar on Instagram to come up with some creative hashtags for your local business.  You can also use sports teams and major destinations if it makes sense and relates to your post.  An example of this might be to use the hashtag of a sports team if you provide services or products for people who may be interested in sports or that tourists may be interested in.


The big thing to remember is that nothing is ground in stone.  Try different variations of hashtags to find out what delivers the best results for your Instagram account.




In conclusion


There really is no right or wrong answers when it comes to using Instagram hashtags for business. Aside from the obvious,  you have to experiment and see what works best for YOUR account.  If it works, try repeating the process


I'll leave you with a few bonus tips for using Instagram hashtags for followers.


Use different relevant hashtags on different posts - This will help you get exposure to more audience types.


Check out trending Hashtags  - Try blending in trending hashtags with your list of "go-to's".  This can also increase the chances of your account getting discovered.  


Post More Often - The more you post - the more hashtags you can use. If you use this technique, I would suggest that you spread out the time frames.  Keep the post hours apart, maybe (morning and evening or morning, afternoon and evening).  There's nothing more frustrating than to scroll through your feed and see the same person over and over.  It may seem like a good strategy at first until your Instagram followers start dropping like flies.


Use 5 Dots before your Hashtags - This will make your comment look cleaner when adding hashtags to the 1st comment.


Add New Hashtags To Older Posts - This is a strategy I use from time to time.  Did you know that you can go back to some of your older posts and delete the hashtags and add new hashtags?  This will actually expose that same post to a new audience without losing the current engagement! Booyah!


Which of these Instagram hashtag for followers strategies will you try first?  Leave me a comment and let me know.


  1. Kelly on June 1, 2018 at 5:26 pm

    Great read! I will definitely try some of these tricks.

  2. Tonya - Your Marketing Lady on June 2, 2018 at 12:44 am

    Thank you and yes you can use up to 3o hashtags in each post.