Sure, you’ve seen Instagram hashtags around, but can you honestly say you know how they WORK?

If you’re serious about cracking the algorithm and building your following on Instagram, then a solid hashtag strategy is a must.

Perhaps, you’ve been using what you think are top Instagram tags but have yet to tap into any real success. We’re here to fix that.

In this post, we’re revealing the best tools to help you find the right Instagram hashtags.

And, by “right,” we mean the Instagram tags that are going to connect you with your ideal audience and ensure you grow in a meaningful way.

In addition to some way helpful tools, we’re spilling the tea on our top hashtag tips to help you craft a winning strategy.

Hashtags are an important piece in the Instagram algorithm puzzle, and we’ve done all the research so you don’t have to worry.

Just grab your iced coffee, and let’s dive headfirst into Instagram hashtag strategy.

This is about to rock your world and forever change your Insta game. Are you ready?

Wait, What Are Instagram Hashtags?

You know we like to start at the very beginning. We’re not here to shame anyone for not understanding the significance of the number symbol in front of a word.

Sorry to burst your bubbles, but it’s not for playing mini-game of tic-tac-toe.

In a nutshell, hashtags are Instagram’s sorting process.

Instagram hashtags play a major role in ensuring the right content reaches the right users. With around 95 million photos posted on the platform EVERY DAY, that’s no easy task.

Instagram relies on hashtags as a method of categorizing posts.

If it weren’t for hashtags, it would be next to impossible to find content from people you weren’t already following.

OOF, a platform like that sounds pretty lame.

We’d sooner live in a world without matcha lattes than one without hashtags, and that’s saying something.

Instagram hashtags ensure the right content reaches the right users.
Photo by Unsplash

Why Do Instagram Hashtags Matter?

As part of its continuous efforts to keep users happy (and, thus, scrolling longer), hashtags are clearly good for Instagram. Give the people what they want, right?

Instagram hashtags are also good for your brand and business.

In fact, the way you implement them can make or break you on Instagram.

When used properly and with intention, hashtags put your content in front of your ideal audience.

We’re not kidding when we say a solid Instagram hashtag strategy will do wonders for your engagement.

This is going to blow your mind: An Instagram post with at least one hashtag averages 12.6 percent more engagement than a post with no hashtags.

💡 Related Post: How To Double Your Instagram Engagement Organically

That being said, you can’t just tack on the top Instagram hashtags and wait for the likes to roll in.

Middle school logic applies: Just because something is super popular doesn’t necessarily make it a good idea. Think gauchos. Or ponchos. Or, worse yet, wearing the two at the same time.

To be successful on Instagram, it’s essential you find the top Instagram hashtags for your specific niche.

Not sure how to do that? As always, we have you covered.

What Are The “Right” Instagram Hashtags?

Not all Instagram hashtags were created equal.

In fact, by using the most popular hashtags on Instagram, you could actually be hurting yourself and stunting your growth on the platform.

Top Instagram hashtags, like #love and #happy, are used by millions of people. Unless you have an Ariana Grande-esque following (a cool 163 million), your posts are just going to get lost in the shuffle.

Ugh, talk about all your hard work going to waste.

If you want to see a boost in your engagement and connect with people who actually might want to follow you, then you need to narrow your hashtag topics.

When you use more specific, smaller-volume Instagram tags, you increase the chances of your content being seen.

How about this as an example: #travel is one of the most popular hashtags on Instagram. If you use it, chances are you’ll disappear from Recent posts almost immediately and likely never have a shot at a spot on Top posts (a.k.a. Instagram hashtag gold).

However, if you opt for a more specific, smaller-volume tag like #solofemaletraveler (if you are indeed one), then your post is far more likely to be seen.

Better yet, users interested in solo female travel will see it. Since it’s the content they’re already looking for (hence them browsing the hashtag), there’s a much better chance they’ll engage with your post and maybe even follow you.

The Best Tools For Finding The Right Instagram Hashtags

Now that you’re convinced you need to rethink your hashtag strategy, let’s talk about how you can go about finding the right Instagram hashtags for you.

To make your life so much easier, we’re revealing our favorite tools for finding the best Instagram hashtags.

Keyword Tool

In both its free and paid version, Keyword Tool uses Instagram Autocomplete to provide you with relevant hashtags.

Regardless of your niche, Keyword Tool gives you hundreds of hashtags based on the keyword you provide.

For example, a quick search of the word “Mexico” returned more than 300 unique hashtags (plus the number of posts for each).

Thanks to Keyword Tool, you can find all the best Instagram hashtags with low competition.

Use Keyword Tool to find the top Instagram hashtags for your niche!
Screenshot from Keyword Tool

HashAtIt

One of the best ways to learn how to use hashtags is to see how other Instagram accounts are utilizing them.

With HashAtIt, you can search a hashtag and see all the most recent posts for that hashtag.

This tool is a great way to see 1) what kind of content is on a hashtag and 2) what other hashtags people are using with that tag.

Think of this tool like a social media search engine.

Check out HashAtIt to keep up with your favorite trending Instagram hashtags.
Screenshot from HashAtIt

Hashtags.app

When you’re in a hurry and don’t have time for a ton of hashtag research, Hashtags.app is just what you need.

This seriously cool technology keeps track of the trending hashtags for all the most popular niches on Instagram.

From the best drink hashtags to the best wedding hashtags, Hashtags.app provides hashtag suggestions plus helpful tips for how to best use them.

We love that, in a pinch, we can literally just copy and paste the Instagram hashtags from their website.

You’ve gotta love when someone else does all the hard work for you!

Finding the top Instagram hashtags for your niche couldn't be easier thanks to Hashtags.app.
Screenshot from Hashtags.app

More Tips For Finding The Best Instagram Tags

To help you decide what the best Instagram tags are for you, we have a few more tips that are sure to give you some clarity.

As a little precursor, we want to remind you to only use hashtags that are relevant to your post. Don’t try to beat the algorithm by using a hashtag that has nothing to do with your content.

In fact, if you’re not sure about a hashtag, it’s better to err on the side of caution and not use it rather than run the risk of Instagram penalizing you.

Now, the tips! We promise all this hashtag talk isn’t as confusing as some social media strategists make it out to be.

Instagram Hashtags Tip #1: Aim To Be A Top Post For A Hashtag

Remember earlier when we said ranking as a Top post is considered Instagram gold?

Whereas your post continuously slides down the Recent posts page of a specific hashtag as new ones using that hashtag are uploaded, a “Top post” has some staying power.

Posts with high engagement have the potential to appear on the front page of a hashtag search. The length of time they’ll remain a Top post depends on the popularity of post and the popularity of the hashtag.

But, for however long your post is a Top post for a hashtag, you’re likely to get more engagement since it’s one of the first things people see when they search a hashtag.

So, how can you become a Top post?

To give yourself the best possible chance of snagging a spot on the front page of the hashtag search, use hashtags where the Top posts have engagement numbers similar to your own.

For example, let’s say the Top posts for a hashtag you’re considering using have between 150 and 300 likes each.

If you generally get a similar amount of likes on your posts (or more), you have a good chance of getting a spot as a Top post if you use that hashtag.

Instagram Hashtags Tip #2: Experiment With The Number Of Hashtags You Use

Alright, Instagram Hashtags 101: you can use up to 30, BUT that doesn’t mean using the maximum will always get you the best results.

While there’s a lot we do know about the Instagram algorithm, some things, such as the ideal number of hashtags, remain a mystery.

Some social media strategists swear by seven hashtags. Others believe in the power of 11. There are diehards who always use the full 30 hashtags.

You’ll need to find what works for you, and doing so will involve some experimenting.

While you’re playing around with the number of hashtags you use, we also suggest testing out different placements for your hashtags.

Do you get better engagement when they’re hidden in the first comment? How about when they’re pasted in the body of your caption?

Perhaps, a few in the caption and a few as the first comment could be your answer.

Instagram Hashtags Tip #3: Utilize A Mix Of Different Sized Hashtags

While it’s important to target hashtags where you can potentially rank as a Top post, you shouldn’t only be using hashtags you can dominate.

In case you haven’t heard, variety is the spice of life.

For maximum reach and growth opportunities, we recommend using a mix of different sized hashtags.

To implement this technique, let’s take the 30 maximum hashtags as an example (although, as we indicated in tip #2, you should be experimenting with the number of hashtags you use).

Of your 30 hashtags, 10 of those should be very niche. These very small Instagram hashtags should have less than 50,000 posts (drop that number even further if you have a small following).

The next 10 hashtags (let’s call them “small”) should have no more than 100,000 posts.

Now, we’re starting to go bigger.

The majority of your final 10 hashtags should have between 100,000 and 500,000 posts.

Sprinkle in a few large hashtags (more than 500,000 posts) to up your reach. Not too many though since your post is likely to get swallowed up quickly due to to popularity of these top Instagram hashtags.

Instagram hashtags are everywhere! Use ones specific to your niche to connect with your ideal audience.
Photo by Unsplash

Instagram Hashtags Bonus Tip: Rotate Your Hashtags

If the content you’re creating and sharing has an overarching theme (which it totally should), it can be tempting to use the same hashtags for all your posts.

Doing so might seem more convenient, but you run the risk of Instagram marking your content as spam. The last thing any account wants is to be shadowbanned and not show up under any of the hashtags you’ve so carefully researched.

We recommend changing up your hashtags every time you post. Personally, we have a list of tried-and-tested hashtag groups saved in our phones.

Each time we post, we copy the next hashtag group in line and paste it as the first comment.

Here and there, we’ll make edits to the group so it better reflects a specific post.

Beyond Instagram Hashtags

If you take our tips to heart and use the tools we mentioned in this guide to find the best Instagram hashtags for your niche, we have no doubt you’re going to see serious gains on Instagram.

Of course, don’t be afraid to experiment. Finding the right mix of Instagram hashtags takes time.

Even when you do find something that works, that doesn’t mean you can stop researching new hashtags. If there’s one thing we know for sure about Instagram, it’s this platform is always changing.

So as not to rely on just one strategy to grow on Instagram, we suggest diversifying your tactics in order to meet your goals.

To continue building your following on Instagram, check out these helpful posts: