Using hashtags on Instagram can sometimes get a little confusing. Because Instagram changes their algorithms and rules often, it can leave you wondering if you are doing it right. There is a lot of conflicting information out there (ie: using only 11 hashtags vs 30). So today, we are here to help – we have compiled a few tips to help you use hashtags on Instagram in 2019!
How many can I use?
This is the question that causes lots of confusion because so many people will give you different answers. The simple truth is, you can use up to 30 hashtags on an Instagram post. Now, keep in mind that many marketers may say that this looks spammy and that you should use 5 or 6 and others will say that using 11 will get you the best engagement. Truth is, recent studies found that posts with 11 or more hashtags get the best engagement.
We personally love using all 30 hashtags (This is the maximum allowed), however, make sure you are using at least 11 if you want better engagement.
Comments or captions?
Instagram hashtags may be placed in the photo or video caption when you post it or they can get added in a comment (or several comments) after posting. There really is no difference in their functionality. Because some people do find that having all 30 hashtags in your caption can look spammy, we suggest placing a few (4-5) in the caption and the remainder can quickly get placed in the first comment of your post. Doing this also helps quickly bury them once you get a few user comments, which also helps against any spammy hashtag feel.
Keep in mind that your photo/video caption is cut off after 2 short lines of text, so hashtags in the caption don’t show at first glance either, but they can be seen when someone opens the text to read more. Some people may feel that if you’ve written an engaging caption with a call-to-action or question (which you should be doing each time), people may get distracted by so many hashtags. This is another reason why it is probably best to add hashtags in comments rather than captions.
Adding hashtags to someone else’s photo?
Have you noticed that sometimes an Instagrammer will comment on your photo with a hashtag? Some believe that by commenting on someone else photo with a trending hashtag they will appear in the Instagram hashtag feed (and get more exposure) this is false. You can’t add working hashtags by commenting on any other account than the one you’re signed into. trying this trick to boost your popularity on hashtag feeds will probably just be a waste of time. Instead, focus on engaging with other accounts that use similar hashtags (your ideal customer).
Keep in mind that sometimes the person commenting with a hashtag is suggesting that you, the original poster, maybe add that hashtag. If you feel that may be the case – take some time to look into that hashtag (on Instagram search) and see if that friendly advice may be useful for you. Also, keep in mind that this person may have created a hashtag for their own promotion and they are encouraging you to use it. You will need to weigh out your options… maybe try it a few times to test it out and see if it really helps your engagement and views. (you should do that with all hashtags, really)
What are the most popular hashtags?
According to Websta.me, an Instagram analytics tool, the 10 best Instagram hashtags for likes are as follows:
The remainder of their 100 best hashtags for likes are as follows: #picoftheday #follow #me #selfie #summer #art #instadaily #friends #repost#nature #girl #fun #style #smile #food #instalike #likeforlike #family #travel #fitness#igers #tagsforlikes #follow4follow #nofilter #life #beauty #amazing #instamood #instagram #photography#vscocam #sun #photo #music #beach #followforfollow #bestoftheday #sky #ootd #sunset#dog #vsco #l4l #makeup #f4f #foodporn #hair #pretty #swag #cat#model #motivation #girls #baby #party #cool #lol #gym #design #instapic #funny #healthy #night #tflers #yummy #flowers #lifestyle #hot #instafood #wedding#fit #handmade #black #pink #일상 #blue #work #workout #blackandwhite #drawing #inspiration #home #holiday #christmas #nyc #london #sea #instacool #goodmorning #iphoneonly
Please note: we highly suggets that you get more creative with your hashtags. Make sure you are taking the time to look at hashtags in your niche and tat grab the attention of your ideal customer. You can sprinkly in a few of the 100 top hashtags listed above – if they are relevant to your brand or the photo you are posting. Make 1 or 2 of those popular ones.
Using popular hashtags will get you some quick likes. However, just know that most of those will be fake, bot likes. Automated “bot” activity is still a problem and we are sure you have noticed them yourself. Just like the obvious bot “comments” (i.e: just 2 emojis or a generic comment many also asking you to visit their IG. The truth is that popular tags will likely also mean you receive annoying follow-unfollow activity. This is when they follow your account in the hope you will follow back just so they can auto-unfollow you in approx 24 hours.
Don’t take it personally, as it’s all automated. No one is making any judgments of your account.
Most Instagrammers get very annoyed with these… therefore, don’t ever do this and risk the look or feel of your brand. While this does sometimes work to get many followers and tons of engagement – you will not attract your ideal customer. Chances are you will only attract followers who don’t really care for your products or services – or even worse, you will attract bot accounts. The worst part – if you DO decide to go this route, you risk your account being shadowbanned or even closed.
Because the popular hashtags are often used by spammers and quickly get banned! therefore make sure that when using popular hashtags – you do not use the same ones on every post. alternate, use different ones and only 1 or 2! You do not want popular Instagram hashtags to hurt you instead of help you!
Banned Instagram hashtags 2019
The list of banned hashtags is ever-changing. And, the repetitive use of banned hashtags can lead to multiple flags to your account, a shadow ban or account removal.
There are 3 ways to avoid using banned hashtags:
Don’t use any of the most popular Instagram hashtags.
Research any hashtag before using it.
Use Tailwind Hashtag Finder. NO banned hashtags are ever included. Tailwind is one of the only apps approved by Instagram, for scheduling and hashtags etc.
To research currently banned tags on Instagram, search for a specific hashtag in the search bar. Click on the hashtag and scroll through the pictures. If you reach an end where a message says the posts are “currently hidden,” it’s a banned hashtag.
A perfect example of a banned hashtag is #HappyThanksgiving – who would have thought!?! Last year this hashtag was so bombarded with spam that Instagram banned it!! Try it yourself! Type the hashtag (correctly spelled) into Instagram and you will notice you get other options (Like misspelled hashtag or numbers/emojis added to the end). This is exactly why you should always research hashtag regularly! Who would think that using #HappThanksGiving would possibly get you shadowbanned?
According to social media expert, Louise Myers, here are a few recommendations
- Use more hashtags that are relevant to your niche.
- Using specific and relevant hashtags helps you connect with people who are looking for exactly what you’re posting.
- You can find relevant tags by searching your keywords on Instagram, or using a site like Hashtagify.me.
- Watch what others in your niche are using.
- See what your peers and influencers are posting on their photos.
- Check out the related tags Instagram suggests when you tap a tag that’s relevant to your content. Try them if they seem useful!
- Be sure your hashtags are active.
- Check the hashtag feed to see that the tags you’re using are currently being used by others.
- Hint: If you scroll down 20 rows and are still finding content posted in the last few seconds, that tag is too active!
- The best Instagram hashtags are relevant to your niche
- Stop using the most popular hashtags like pretty, beautiful, love and similar ones.
- Your post will be buried in that feed within milliseconds.
- Sprinkle in a few popular hashtags when relevant to your post.
- Not necessarily the ones with 100M’s of posts, but one or two over 1M might give you some quick likes.
- Your content really needs to be awesome to stand out in a lighting-fast moving tag feed!
- Create a custom tag for your brand or campaign.
- Check that these tags aren’t already being used, particularly in a way you wouldn’t approve of!
- Prompt fans and followers to use your tag, and you’ll soon learn just who your superfans are. Support, encourage, and regram them!
Adding hashtags after posting
Can you add hashtags after posting? Well, you can, but the quicker you do it the better!
According to Instagram, if you add a hashtag to a photo after it was posted, the photo will still appear on the hashtag page according to the time it was originally posted, not the time the hashtag was added.
Because of this popular hashtags must be added immediately, or your post will never surface in those feeds. If you like, you can delete those later and add niche hashtags in their place. But, your time may be better spent on just creating new Instagram posts and using a different set of hashtags in the next post. This is also a great way to test what works best for you!
Keep in mind that by waiting too long, adding Instagram hashtags long after posting is just ineffective.
A shadowban hides your Instagram posts from users who don’t follow you, which can be detrimental to growing your account and getting more followers.
If you get shadowbanned on Instagram, only you and your current followers will see your post when they search for the hashtags you used. If someone who doesn’t follow your account searches for one of those hashtags, they won’t see your post! This, of course, defeats the purpose of using strategic hashtags to grow your Instagram following.
Instagram shadowbanning is sometimes a result of spammy behavior. However, sometimes even normal behavior gets users shadowbanned! For example, you may accidentally get shadowbanned if you do the following:
- Repeated use of the same hashtag group within 24 hours.
Using “broken” or banned hashtags.
Unknowingly (and repeatedly) using a normal, everyday hashtag that has been (or can be) banned.
Popular tags are often used on content that violates IG community guidelines. Then Instagram might block the hashtag outright, meaning you can’t even search for it on IG, or they’ll limit the posts shown in that hashtag feed.
Again one of the easiest ways to avoid any hassle and save tons of time (instead of long searches on Instagram) would probably be to use an approved app like Tailwind’s Hashtag Finder!
Keep hashtags handy
Keep a few different groups of hashtags handy either in your phone’s Notes app or PC (if you use the IG desktop app) For easiest hashtagging, keep groups of 30 hashtags.
Create and save a set of 30 tags for each type of post you make (or less than 30 if you insist – but at least 11! ).
Copy your hashtag group before you make your IG post and have ready on your clipboard to add in a comment immediately. No fumbling, no wasting valuable seconds. Ideally, you want to get these hashtags copied into the comments within seconds of your adding your post to Instagram! (Try to never take more than 1-2 minutes to add the first et in the comments)
Think about keywords
Before making your groups of hashtags (that you can copy and paste into posts) think about the following:
What are your niche/business/customer keywords?
What are peers/competitors/influencers using?
What does Instagram suggest as related?
Which popular hashtags (1 or 2) relate to my post.
Only use tags relevant to your content.
Post in the description – don’t wait for the comment.
Your content must rock to stand out in popular tag feeds.
Choose hashtags that are actively used (but not too active!).
Take time to always check the activity level on your hashtags.
Is there something you want to know that we may have not covered? Do you have additional questions about using hashtags on Instagram? let us know in the comments below or on our social media! We will be more than happy to help you out!