How many Instagram hashtags should you use?

When it comes to social media best practices, every “expert” has their own opinion. The problem with that is that it can get really confusing for brands who want simple answers to their burning social media questions, such as: How many Instagram hashtags to use? 

How many Instagram hashtags should I be using? 

Instagram limits the number of hashtags per post to 30. But should you be using all of them? Some experts say you’re best using 3-5 hashtags and making them super relevant. 

That puts a lot of weight on every single hashtag you use. 

In our professional opinions, using so few hashtags is a great strategy when you’ve got a big following that grows easily. But for smaller brands, you’re going to want to cast a wider net to increase your chances for growth via hashtag discovery. 

That’s part of the reason we find it more effective to use 15+ hashtags. When we do that, our clients see more social media growth and more engagement. But it’s not just about how many hashtags you put on a post; it’s also about the quality of the tags. 

How do I make sure my hashtags are helping my social media presence? 

One: Don’t be spammy 

You don’t want to just use any old tags to get to 15+. Make sure you’re using hashtags that fit with the post. Also mix up your tags from time to time. This will let you engage with different audiences and will make sure it doesn’t feel like your spamming with the same set of tags on everything you do. 

Two: Research the best tags for your industry 

Before making posts, you wanna know the hashtags that are most useful to engage with your target audience. Check which hashtags are big in your field and with your target audience. Remember to make sure that the tags you use have the right level of engagement to ensure you get eyes on your post without getting lost in a sea of content. 

Three: Track what’s working – and what isn’t 

Once you’re starting to post, it’s important to track the responses you’re getting. Don’t have the engagement you want? It’s time to rethink your content and/or hashtags. Getting good responses on certain posts? Great! Now you know what works for your audience and can lean into that. Over time, you should be honing in on what your social media voice is – and how to make sure your target market is hearing that voice. 

Four: Bring in the experts

If you’re still struggling or just not getting the engagement you’re looking for, it may be time to get some help. There’s a reason social media marketing firms like Legendary exist. We know our stuff and we’re experts in getting your business the best social media presence possible. So if you’re struggling, let us handle your social media… and then you can get back to running your business and doing what you love! 

 

How to find the best hashtags for Instagram posts

We’ve talked a lot lately about how the ‘gram is changing. As it does, best practices for the platform are changing too. So if you want to be rocking the social media game, you’ve gotta get with the times when it comes to hashtags. 

Six tips for killing it with your social media hashtags 

One: Group your hashtags 

You want to have a variety of types of hashtags on Instagram. So think about four categories: 

  • Brand – the tag you want used in relation to your product name 
  • Industry – hashtags related to what you do so people interested in, say, #sweettreats can find your bakery 
  • Audience – tags that might describe your target audience and what they like 
  • Location – where you are so people in your area find you 

You want to have a few of each type of hashtag in your posts. This way, all your social media bases are covered. 

Two: Clean up 

Don’t make a mess with your hashtags! You don’t want a post that’s hard to read. but that’s what happens when you put your hashtags right at the end of a line. Instead, keep a separator between your post caption and your hashtags. That could be just a few blank lines, or a set of dots, or some dashes. The style is up to you. 

Three: Don’t get banned 

Before putting your hashtags out there, make sure that the ones you’re using aren’t banned. How does that even happen? Well, when someone reports inappropriate material in a hashtag, every post with that tag can be hidden until the issue is sorted out by Instagram. You don’t want that to happen to you, so that’s why you want to make sure you’re not using any of the hashtags that are out of commission for the time being. Research the hashtags before you use them to see what kind of content is associated with that hashtag, and make an informed decision if it’s the right fit for your post, and for your brand.

Four: Keep things focused 

You don’t want a bunch of hashtags that don’t matter to your business, content, or audience. Then people will just get annoyed because it’ll feel like your tagging randomly or trying to get attention for content that shouldn’t be in those tags. Instead, choose relevant tags. Some people say that, if you do this, you only need 3-5 hashtags, but we disagree. Our clients get the best engagement when we use 15+ hashtags on their social media posts. 

Five: Go for the perfect volume 

Not all hashtags are made equal. When there aren’t enough people posting with a hashtag, you’re probably not going to get anyone looking at it. Too many posts on a tag means your content is going to be buried in seconds. So go for the middle. The ideal range is generally 10,000 to 200,000 posts on each tag you use. 

Six: Tell some stories 

Instagram isn’t just about posts. There are also Stories. But are you using hashtags on your Stories? If not, you should be! That’ll help make sure that people are actually seeing the Stories you’re telling, which is the whole point.