Do hashtags matter on Instagram in 2023?



Ah, the wonderful world of Instagram hashtags. Is there anything more confusing, yet vital to your success on the platform? Probably not. That’s why we’re here to break down for you how to use hashtags on Instagram in 2023.


How do Instagram hashtags work?


Instagram hashtags work by essentially “tagging” your post with a specific keyword or phrase. When someone searches for that keyword or phrase on Instagram, your post will appear in the search results along with other posts that have used the same hashtag. 


This means that by using relevant hashtags, you can attract more followers, increase engagement, and get your content in front of a wider audience. 


Do hashtags still work on Instagram in 2023?


They sure do, but maybe not how you’re used to them working. 


Using relevant and targeted hashtags is still one of the most effective ways to get discovered by new audiences on Instagram. Therefore, it’s essential to have a clear hashtag strategy to optimize your content, drive engagement and attract followers.


What are the benefits of using hashtags on Instagram?


Increased visibility and engagement


Using the “right” hashtags has the potential to expand your reach beyond just your current followers, which can translate to more engagement, more followers and more customers.


Hashtags also increase your post’s discoverability by making it visible to users who search for or follow specific hashtags.


When your content gets discovered by new people through hashtags, they’re more likely to engage with it (i.e. like, comment, save, share, etc.).




Hashtags categorize your content within Instagram’s algorithm, making it easier for your posts to be served to people who are interested and interact with the same topics. and make it easier for 


For example, if you’re a content creator and you use the hashtag #ContentCreatorTips, other creators will be able to find your content more easily through search or be organically served it on their feed by Instagram’s “recommended” feature.


Trending topics 


Hashtags can also help you tap into trending topics and conversations on the platform. For example, if there’s a popular hashtag related to a current event or holiday, you can use that hashtag to get your content in front of people who are interested in that topic.


Build your community


Branded hashtags can promote your brand and create a community around your content, bringing together like-minded users. 


Using branded hashtags is also a great way to increase user-generated content, which is music to any social media manager’s ears!


How many Instagram hashtags should you use on your posts?


Ah, the age-old question. The truth is, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this. 


Instagram currently allows up to 30 hashtags per post but that doesn’t mean you should use all 30 every time. In fact, using too many hashtags can actually come across as spammy and turn people off.


Instead, focus on using a mix of popular and niche hashtags that are relevant to your post and your target audience. We recommend using around 5-10 hashtags per post and experimenting with different combinations to see what works best for your brand.


Like most things on social media, quality should always take priority over quantity.

Screenshots of two images from Instagram's @creators account on Instagram.

Hashtag Dos:
1. Do use hashtags that are relevant to the theme of your content.
2. Do check which hashtags your fans already use and follow.
3. Do mix well-known and niche hashtags to broaden your discoverability.
4. Do use specific hashtags so your fans can easily search for your content. You can even create your own!
5. Do keep the number of hashtags between 3-5.

Hashtag Don'ts:
1. Don't use hashtags that have nothing to do with your content (e.g. #explorepage).
2. Don't use overly generic hashtags – these will make it harder for people to discover your content due to the volume of other people using the hashtags.
3. Don't use too many hashtags – adding 10-20 hashtags will not help you get additional distribution.

How to develop your hashtag strategy


Now that we’ve covered the basics, it’s time to talk about how to create a killer hashtag strategy. Here are a few tips to get you started:


Types of hashtagsThe Hashtag Funnel: A graphic displaying hashtag categories and examples of each type: 

Industry = #Marketing
Niche = #SocialMediaMarketing
Brand = #LegendarySocialMedia
Community = #ContentCreators
Descriptive = #ReelsTips
Location = #Vancouver
Special Days = #BlackFriday

Before selecting hashtags for your posts, you need to consider the different types of hashtags you can include.

Here are the seven main types of hashtags:

1. Industry: Broad industry descriptors

2. Niche: Specific industry sectors

3. Brand: Self-made branded tags

4. Community: Bring your community together

5. Descriptive: What your post is about

6. Location: Places, cities and countries

7. Special days: Holidays and events



Do your research


Before you start using hashtags, it’s important to do your research and find out what hashtags are popular and relevant to your brand or industry. Here are a few ways that you can find hashtags:


  • Search hashtags in-app – you can even see the number of posts that have used the hashtag
  • Browse the Instagram Explore page to find tags that others in your niche are using 
  • Check out what your competitors are using 
  • Use third-party tools like Hashtagify or Hootsuite to discover new hashtags


Mix it up 


Don’t just use the same hashtags over and over again. Mix it up by using a combination of popular and niche hashtags, and experiment with different combinations to see what works best.


Keep it relevant 


Make sure your hashtags are relevant to your post and your target audience. Using irrelevant or spammy hashtags can actually hurt your reach and engagement.


Create branded hashtags


Creating your own branded hashtags can help you build brand awareness and encourage user-generated content – Just make sure your branded hashtag is unique, memorable and easy to spell!


Analyze and adjust


Finally, don’t forget to analyze your hashtag performance and adjust your strategy as needed. Use Instagram’s built-in analytics or third-party tools like Sprout Social to track your hashtag performance and see what’s working and what’s not.


★ Pro tip from the Legends: Create “hashtag clouds”, or groupings of hashtags that fit each of your content pillars. This makes it easier (and much faster) when choosing hashtags for your posts.


Finally, to answer the question we started with: Yes, hashtags do matter on Instagram in 2023. 


They help people find your content, increase the likelihood of engagement and help Instagram’s algorithm know how to categorize your content.




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