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DKSP EP:50 – Instagram Hashtags Best Practices for Better Engagement on Instagram

March 19, 2017

Last Updated on - April 15, 2017  

minutes read

instagram hashtags best practices

If you are struggling with low engagement in your Instagram posts then these Instagram Hashtags Best Practices can help you improve the engagement.

One of the lifelines of Instagram is Hashtags. That is the pivot around which content marketing on Instagram works.

Hashtags for Instagram is what Keywords are for SEO. Just as keywords get your content found on search engines, Hashtags get your content found on Instagram.

The fact that, not a lot of marketers are using hashtags on Instagram proves that the awareness of the importance of hashtags amongst marketers who are wanting their piece of the Instagram pie, is very low.

On surveying some of these marketers and asking them as to why they are not using hashtags, their response was something common – that they were not aware of researching and finding the best hashtags for their content and that they did not feel that the commonly used hashtags were doing any good.

You should be able to understand the importance of hashtag from a simple example; the use of a hashtag “#followforfollow” or, its variants can get you a lot of followers on Instagram. It means that people are using hashtags to search for content on Instagram.

Researching and finding the best keywords for your content requires a planned approach and it is the same for Hashtags as well.

And in this episode of the dkspeaks podcast, we will be discussing about Instagram hashtags best practices.

Instagram Hashtags Best Practices

First things first.

If you want to make the most of using Hashtags, it is important that you maintain a list of hashtags for your content, that you will be using in each of your posts on Instagram.

So it is important to be prepared. And preparation primarily means researching hashtags, identifying the best ones that can help your content be found and keeping this handy in a notepad so that you can just copy and paste it into your Instagram posts.

Researching and finding Hashtags is not as difficult as it is for Keywords. A simple 4 step method can help you do it and these 4 are more or, less the only ways of finding hashtags as of now.

How to find the Best Instagram Hashtags

Let us look at these 4 steps to finding hashtags for Instagram.

Branding Hashtags

Firstly decide on a branding hashtag that you would like to use. Branding hashtags help create a brand around your business and also helps your business stand out from the crowd. Let us check out some example of how big brands are using branding hashtags.

Nike uses their branding hashtags #justdoit in almost all their posts. You can see this while browsing their posts on Instagram.

nike instagram hashtags

Kitkat is another brand that uses a branding hashtag very nicely. They use a branding hashtag #HaveaBreak in all their posts.

kitkat instagram hashtags

Branding hashtags are very powerful in establishing yourself as a brand and in starting a campaign around your brand. For marketers who are starting out, a branding hashtag might not be of a lot of relevance right away. But in due course when you build a following on Instagram, you will realize the importance of a branding hashtag.

A branding hashtag necessarily need not be a single hashtag. It can be multiple hashtags as well. Spend time to brainstorm and decide on what your branding hashtag will be.

A Friendly Google Search

The next method is as simple as heading over to google and doing a quick search to find relevant hashtags.

Here are some of the results when I searched for “best hashtags in blogging”. You will see hundreds of resources including blog posts which will hand over a list of the best hashtags in the blogging niche.

google search hashtags

You could use this search term in any niche and get a list of readymade hashtags. You might have to spend some time picking the best ones out of it, after doing some careful research of which ones are doing well on Instagram.

Hashtag Research Tools

There are numerous tools that are available online, which can help you research hashtags. Some of them are paid while many other are free. You can use a tool like “hashtagify” which can help you find trending hashtags.

Here are the results on searching for hashtags related to “bloggingtips” on hashtagify.

hashtagify blogging hashtags


You can do similar searches deep into your specific niche and find hundreds of hashtags that you can then use in your Instagram posts.

Your Own Hashtag Ideas

You can also create your own hashtags using your own creativity and ideas.

Assuming you have been into content marketing for some time, you would already know what are the search keywords that people generally use in your niche. These keywords can be a good starting point for your hashtags.

Make a list of all those keywords and research to find if these hashtags are being used on Instagram and what their demand is.

I use an online resource called top-hastags and use their convert feature to convert keywords into hashtags and do a preliminary analysis to see if there is enough demand for that hashtag.

Here are the results on doing this exercise with a list of keywords in the blogging niche.

hashtags analysis

You can see that, of the 7 keywords that I used only 4 had some volume on Instagram. But this doesn’t mean that these hashtags are not good.

It only means that these 4 hashtags were the only ones that were used in most of the media that was posted on Instagram. The other 3 hashtags that did not have a considerable amount of posts on Instagram could also be good ones that people are searching for and you can use them in your posts.

I search for the hashtag #howtomakemoneyblogging on Instagram and here is what I found.

instagram hashtags

There were about 58 posts that used this hashtag and if go into some of these posts, you will find that the engagement on these were pretty decent.

That basically means that this hashtag is also a good one to go after because it is not being used a lot and still there is some demand.

The Next Steps

Build a list of about 100 hashtags in your niche. You can do a preliminary research on top-hashtags to see which of these are good ones to use in your posts.

The next thing to do is to head over to Instagram and do a quick search for the shortlisted hashtags, just as I did in the example above.

Instagram will show you the number of posts for that specific hashtag.

Here is what you should do with the results that you see –

  • If the number of posts are very high, it means that the usage for that hashtag is very high and it is very unlikely that your post would be found for that specific hashtag. So mark those as your secondary hashtags in your notepad.
  • If the count is very low, it basically means that there is not too many people using that hashtag. Go into some of the posts that are using those hashtags and see if there is enough engagement on those. If you find that there is enough engagement, it means that there are people searching for those hashtags and it makes sense to use it in your posts. But if there is not enough engagement, discard those hashtags.
  • If the count of media is moderate, that means that the hashtag is in demand and at the same time will be easy for you to rank your posts. Go ahead and use these

You are a better judge for your niche and in deciding on the importance of a specific hashtag, which otherwise might not be too common on Instagram.

It takes careful evaluation and analysis to decide on what hashtags you would want to use. Hence use some of the data available and some of your insights about your niche to shortlist your hashtags.

Adding Hashtags on Instagram Posts

Now that you have researched the hashtags, it is time to add it to your post. The normal tendency will be to add it in the caption of the post which is what a lot of people would do. But that doesn’t look too great.

It clutters the caption of the post and gives a very untidy looks to it.

In order to avoid this you have 2 alternate choices.

  • Leave some space immediately after the last word in the caption. You can enter a few “fullstops” in paragraphs and then add the hashtags. That way the hashtags will go below the fold and will not be visible thus leaving your caption area clutter free.
  • Or, you can add it in the first comment. This is one of the best practices for hashtags. Most Instagram management tools including Grum and Planoly has the option of adding hashtags as the first comment. Go ahead and make use of it.

Which ever way you use it, keep in mind that using hashtags on Instagram could just be the difference in your posts seeing a good amount of  engagement and your posts not being seen.

Resources Mentioned in this Episode

Here are the list of resources that we mentioned in this episode –

Thank You for Joining

Thank you all for joining me in today’s episode. I hope you enjoyed this episode and the value that it has provided.

Do comment below and let me know your thoughts, suggestions and questions, if you have any.

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About the author

My name is Dilip. I am a fan of the internet and love the many opportunities that the world wide web provides. If used constructively , the internet can give you an opportunity to lead a life free of the 9-5 treadmill and will be able to give more time to your family members.
Read about internet entrepreneurship at my blog.

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