How to Use Instagram Hashtags for Your Business

Here’s a familiar situation: you leave your house with a fully charged smartphone only to realize it’s at 37% by the time you reach your destination. What’s draining its battery life?

Apps. Specifically social media apps.

The average person spends up to 4 hours on their smartphones a day. Over 80% of that time is spent on apps alone and 50% of the time spent on those apps fall under the social media category.

Instagram is one of the most downloaded social media apps with roughly 700 million active users monthly. With this quick hashtag guide, you will have the potential to bring your small business to the screens of those 700 million people around the world!

Here’s a quick summary of what we will cover in this guide. Feel free to skip ahead!

  1. How to Use Instagram Hashtags – The Basics
  2. Types of Instagram Hashtags
  3. Instagram Metrics to Measure

How to Use Instagram Hashtags – The Basics:

  • # + word = a hashtag.
  • Use your hashtag as part of your post caption or as a comment.
  • Instagram allows a maximum of 30 hashtags per post.
  • Censored/banned hashtags – There are certain hashtags that fall along the lightly censored to completely banned spectrum. Accidentally using one could hurt your business! While there’s no official list published by Instagram, be sure to google periodically or check yourself to see if posts appear under the hashtag you want to use.
  • The ‘shadowban’ – Another unofficial term but a phenomenon nonetheless! Spamming hashtags or displaying any inappropriate behavior on the platform can get you temporarily blocked by accounts that do not already follow you, rendering your hashtags useless so be careful!

Types of Instagram Hashtags:

  • Popular: #instagood (608M), #photooftheday (433M), #followme (331M) The most popular hashtags collect posts ranging from the 100 to 500 million. They will get you the reach you’re looking for but probably not the sustainable engagement. Your post might get lost in the abyss of a 100 million other content under that tag. Follow the “big 3” rule and choose three popular hashtags to boost the initial rate of engagement for your post.
  • Categorical: #photography (131M), #travel (197M), #nature (245M) One of the main purposes of hashtags is to organize posts into categories that are easy for people to discover. New users might venture out by searching through simple category tags for profiles to follow.
  • Community: #exploretocreate (74M), #fitfam (71M), #justgoshoot (14M) The uniqueness of Instagram is that it can bring their millions of users together with community hashtags. Using these types of tags will connect people who share common interests, with your business; it is a way to find your targeted audience. Bringing more niche followers to your page will, in turn, bring more genuine follower engagement that could spread your business beyond the community.
  • Branded: #justdoit (Nike 11M), #shareacoke (Coca-Cola 663K), #mycalvins (503K) Do you have a brand slogan? Even using your company name as a hashtag and encouraging your audience to use it will not only create a new community of your own but will also spark UGC (free marketing!) Keeping your audience engaged will keep them committed to support your brand long-term.

Instagram Metrics to Measure:

Don’t forget to track your progress! There are many free services like SumAll, that can do all the hard work for you but here are some suggested points to measure:

  • Number of likes, comments, and saves (or average number)
  • Impressions – number of views on a tagged post
  • Reach – number of unique visitors on a tagged post
  • Number of followers gained or lost
  • Rate of engagement

Although there are many factors that contribute to the success of your Instagram page, these simple tips will give you the boost you need to get ahead of the game!


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