Schedule a Call
Back to Blog
Instagram Hashtag Hacks

Instagram Hashtag Hacks

free download marketing tips social media May 17, 2021

If you’re not getting the engagement you wish you had on Instagram, it may be time to re-think hashtags. Hashtags are used to classify or tag your social media posts so your content is easier to find on the platform. They’re also a great way to reach new people beyond your current followers. You’ve probably been using hashtags for a while now and you’ll be happy to know they’re still an effective way to get your content seen! reported that, “a post with at least one Instagram hashtag averages 12.6% more engagement than posts without a hashtag. So it really is worth creating a hashtag strategy for your brand if you want to grow your account!”[1]

If your current hashtag strategy looks like including a few hashtags off the top of your head in your caption, here are some hacks and tips to get you started or to up-level your growth on Instagram. 

Hashtag Basics

  • You can use up to 30 hashtags on every post and every reel. I recommend using the maximum number of hashtags every time; otherwise, it’s a missed opportunity to reach more accounts and get the most exposure.
  • Make sure your account is public in order for your hashtags to do their job.
  • Hashtags can be shared in the caption or in the comments of your posts. There are rumours that one place is better than the other; however, where you place your hashtags doesn’t matter—they still perform the same function.
  • If you’re including hashtags in your caption, remember that your caption is capped at 2,200 characters and hashtags will take up this space. Ideally, your hashtags are separated with dots, dashes or blank space between the end of your caption and the start of your hashtag set, to make your caption easier to read and more aesthetically pleasing.
  • If you’re using a lot of hashtags per post, you can achieve a clean look by putting the hashtags in a comment and starting that comment with five dots, each on their own line. This forces Instagram to collapse the comment.
  • You can view hashtag insights (stats) for each of your posts. In your Instagram app, tap on a post and tap “View Insights” at the bottom-left below the graphic. Then scroll up and you’ll see “Impressions from Hashtags,” along with other places where your post was seen the most.
  • Gone are the days of #posting #hashtags for #every #word in your #caption. Caption copy matters and shouldn’t be cluttered with hashtags. Use hashtags strategically to get your content seen by the right audience (more on this below).
  • Use a variety of hashtags, focusing on more low and medium competition hashtags than those with a high amount of posts or viral hashtags. Aim to use a mix of popular hashtags (which most people browse) and less popular hashtags that you stand a chance of getting a spot in the “Top” for. When you’re growing your Instagram account, hashtags with a lower post count will get your posts seen more and for a longer time.

In order to use a variety of hashtags, some research will be required. Below are some free tools and hashtag generators you can use when doing hashtag research. 

Free Tools / Hashtag Generators for Hashtag Research

Next, let’s explore some lesser-known hacks and tips that will help get your posts seen by the right audience and up-level your engagement.

Hashtag Hacks

  • You can follow hashtags in addition to following accounts. I recommend following hashtags that are specific to your niche/industry so you have a pulse on trending content. Following hashtags is a great way to customize your Instagram feed and see more content you want to see.
  • Get in front of your ideal audience by using some hashtags they’re already following. To research this, first you need to be following an account of your ideal audience/customer/follower. Navigate to their profile, then tap on the number of accounts they’re following. If they follow any hashtags, you’ll see them listed here under Hashtags. Make note of these hashtags and use them on your future posts, as applicable.
  • You can also use hashtags that your ideal audience uses in their own posts. Explore accounts of your ideal audience/customer/follower and make note of hashtags they’re using that you can use in your future posts. This is a sneaky way to align your content with theirs and get seen by more people similar to them.
  • Up-level your engagement by leaving a comment on 5-10 posts for a hashtag that your ideal audience/customer/follower uses. Try doing this activity daily and watch how your engagement increases and your account grows!
  • Time-saving hack: create hashtag sets that align with your content pillars. This will involve some research; however, it will save you time when you’re posting in the future. I recommend creating different groups of hashtags and using them on rotation with your posts—so you’re not using the same hashtags for every post.

Strategic Hashtags to Include in Hashtag Sets

  • Content-related / keywords: relate to the topic of your post e.g. #hashtaghacks
  • Industry: specific to the industry or market your business is in e.g. #marketingcoaching
  • Niche: lingo or acronyms specific to your target audience #smma
  • Community: hashtags your target audience is searching, “movement” or cultural hashtags e.g. #hustlewithease
  • Location: popular hashtags in your neighbourhood, city or location e.g. #yegsmallbusiness
  • Image: related to the image or graphic of your post e.g. #officedecor
  • Branded: your company name and any unique hashtags you or your customers use that relate to your business e.g. #brightspotmarketing
  • Special Day / Holiday: specific to a current event or special day (be sure to include the current year as well). If there is an organization that spearheads this special day, check their website or Instagram profile to see if they’re using specific hashtags. e.g. #IWD2021

It’s time to put these hashtag tips to work! Your hashtag strategy and engagement strategy go hand-in-hand so to support you with this, I invite you to join my FREE Grow Your ‘Gram 21 Day Challenge! As soon as you join this challenge, you’ll receive a checklist of 5 daily activities to complete on Instagram, as well as a tracker. Complete these activities to increase engagement, connect in a genuine way, and grow your Instagram account. I can’t wait to hear about your results at the end of it!

[1] Chacon, B. (2021, January 1). The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Hashtags in 2021. Later Blog.

Keep shining bright!

Get marketing tips and strategies delivered straight to your inbox.

You will have the opportunity to unsubscribe at any time and your email address will not be shared or sold.