Hashtags. We’ve discussed this feature plenty in most previous articles, but it’s an Instagram engagement strategy that can’t be stressed enough. With the app boasting no less than one billion active users per month, you’ve got to stand out somehow – and the right hashtags may just gain you the visibility you need.
Finding the ideal tags for your content can be achieved in a number of ways: by running an Instagram hashtag search on the app, or searching for Instagram hashtags through external tools and services. Both methods will be further discussed below.
Of course, it’s important to understand how and why hashtags do such a great job at boosting your account exposure. It’s also helpful to keep best practices in mind, along with tested strategies for fully optimizing this feature. First, let’s break down the ways Instagram hashtags benefit your content, reach, and engagement.
Why Use Hashtags?
It’s rare to find Instagram posts (especially those of new, budding influencers and brands) that don’t use at least a hashtag or two. In a nutshell, these guys work to categorize your posts into the right channels of content on the platform, getting them under the eyes of viewers most likely to take an interest in your profile.
For example, gym junkie Instagrammers will likely sprinkle a few fitness-related hashtags into their post – such as “#getfit”, “#bodybuilding”, “#instafit”, or “#fitfam”. Those who perform an Instagram hashtag search under these labels are thus likely to come across and engage with their content.
The more popular your hashtag is, the more likely people are surfing through posts in its content stream. Making use of these high-traffic tags are sure to kick up your profile reach, exposing your post to thousands of other users in your niche.
Be aware of the maximum number of hashtags allowed on each post! A standard Instagram post can contain up to 30 hashtags, while Stories allow a maximum of 10.
Finding Instagram Hashtags on the App
So how exactly do you find the right hashtags for your content? Before we delve into some of handy third-party tools available for finding Instagram hashtags, let’s first look into the native app features that help you search for Instagram hashtags in your industry.
To generate some Instagram hashtag suggestions for your niche, enter a keyword into the search field. For example, if you’re running a profile dedicated to health and beauty, you might type in something like “skincare”:
This brings up a whole bunch of active, popular hashtags related to your keyword. Each one displays the number of posts currently using the tag, letting you gauge your competition.
Tap on the hashtag you’d like to view, and the app should display both the most recent and top-performing content under this hashtag.
Since 2018, Instagram has now provided the feature of following hashtags within your field. To do this, simply enter your desired hashtag in the search field, and hit the blue “follow” button.
Your home feed should now be updated with the most recent posts uploaded under this tag.
Hashtags are also popularly used in Stories. Users can search for Stories under a specific hashtag by pulling up the hashtag’s search results page, and tapping on the Story icon in the upper left-hand corner.
Avoiding Banned Hashtags
No account (especially those who have built a large following!) wants to find themselves in danger of the dreaded Instagram shadowban.
Apart from well-established app guidelines, such as those that blatantly condemn the use of hate speech, terrorism, nudity, graphic violence, and self-injury (among others), users need to be well-aware of hashtags that breach these rules and regulations, too.
Instagram has recently cracked down on a handful of tags that are now in violation of community guidelines. These are hashtags users have abused to share content under the prohibited topics mentioned previously; along with promoting sketchy, spammy behaviour. Among these include:
To view the full list of banned hashtags, Social Insider has compiled an updated catalogue for 2019. Keeping these tags in mind is crucial; lest you end up risking visibility on the platform. It’s important to note that as innocent as some hashtags may seem (as evident in the list above – who knew “snowstorm” would be used to offend other users?!), they might just be included on the Instagram blacklist.
To run an Instagram hashtag search for banned tags, simply type them into the search field. If recent posts no longer pop up in the search results, it’s likely they’ve been banned from the platform.
To scan your profile for any incriminating hashtags or test if you’ve been shadowbanned, the Instagram Shadowban Test by triberr should help you do just that.
Just enter your profile name, hit “Analyze”, and review any potentially troubling activity from your content in your last 10 posts.
Tools to Help You Find Instagram Hashtags
Trying to come up with the best, most effective hashtags for your content can be challenging if you’re new to the game.
Sure, you can search for Instagram hashtags on the app itself, but that method’s limited to the keywords you’re already aware of. What of the other hashtag terms or phrases in your niche that you’ve yet to tap into?
Thankfully, there’s now a whole bunch of third-party services to help us out. We’ve listed some of the best ones below; tools that can pull up the best tags for your industry in seconds.
Instagram Hashtag Search Tool #1 – Keyword Tool
When it comes to finding active, popular hashtags – this website is the way to go.
Keyword Tool is the ideal search engine for generating lists of popular keywords related to any term or phrase you search for. The service caters to a wide range of platforms, including Google, Twitter, Youtube, and Instagram.
To search for Instagram hashtags that’ll best drive you engagement, enter your desired term in the search field under the “Instagram” tab. Click on the search icon, and the page should display all the trending, relevant tags related to your keyword.
These results also reveal the number of posts using this tag, giving insight on user traffic and competition.
You can even filter out your results, and search for even more specific key terms within your list.
The website provides you with a useful sneak peek of its features, though users who’d like access to its full potential will have to sign up to their paid subscription service.
Instagram Hashtag Search Tool #2 – Hashatit
Though more of hashtag tracker than a generator, Hashatit is still handy for evaluating the popularity and traffic of specific hashtags – and other popular terms or tags used alongside them.
Users will simply need to search for Instagram hashtags in the provided field, pulling up a real-time feed of posts currently using these keywords.
Unlike Keyword Tool, Hashatit is a more visual search engine, and provides you with a full preview of each Instagram post it displays.
Apart from Instagram, you can also view results for Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Youtube (or all at once).
Hashatit is a completely free service, and can be used without a native account; though those who sign up for a free membership will acquire full access to the platform’s features.
These include the ability to save specific keywords or topics you’d like to track. Known as custom “social boards”, you’ll be provided with a dashboard of all hashtags you regularly use, helping you keep track of content trends and activity within your niche.
If you’d like to filter out or block particular types of content (or the users themselves), you can also customize these settings in your content stream.
Instagram Hashtag Search Tool #3 – Hashtags.app
Hashtags.app may very well be one of the most efficient and easy-to-use tools for finding popular, trending hashtags unique to a specific topic or industry.
The platform provides users with an archive of hashtag categories – from generic labels such as “most popular hashtags” and “best love hashtags”, to more niche-exclusive tags such as “best tattoo hashtags” and “best photography hashtags”.
Find Instagram hashtags related to your field in the provided search bar. The website then filters through its library of available categories, pulling up the best ones related to your keyword.
Apart from displaying a brief list of tags to copy and use, each category also provides an in-depth description and further tips on using this hashtag type. These sections will often list additional trending hashtags in sub-sections of the topic, along with pointers on optimizing certain terms and phrases .
For example, in the “Fashion” category, the website lists some of the most popular related hashtags used by the community (giving viewers an option to instantly copy the provided tags), discusses the effect of using short, snappy tags, along with adding locations to popular fashion terms (i.e. “#modelnewyork” or “#modelondon”).
Instagram Hashtag Search Tool #4 – All Hashtag
Finally, if you’re looking for a quick way to churn out lists of top 30 hashtags under a specific keyword, look no further than All Hashtag.
Using their generator is pretty straightforward: on their homepage, users are immediately prompted to search for particular term, phrase, or keyword in their industry. Once you’ve entered a word, select from the choices “top”, “random”, or “live”, and hit “Generate”.
Filtering results by “top” hashtags will bring up lists of all-time top-performing hashtags using your keyword.
Selecting “random” will bring up lists of 30 hashtags, randomly selected by the search engine. “Live” results will display the hashtags currently trending in the moment.
All Hashtag not only serves you one – but several lists of 30 optimized hashtags related to your searched term. The engine also pulls up similar keywords and tags you may also want to incorporate into your post.
Apart from generating the most effective hashtags under specific topic, All Hashtag also lets you track the analytics of specified hashtags; including its ranking among other popular tags, the number of times it’s been used, and other words like it.
You can also view lists displaying the top-performing hashtags across all niches on Instagram. These are grouped in lists of 100, and can be viewed by popularity from the last week, month, or all-time.
Best Practices, Tips, and Tricks
Before we leave you to your hashtagging, here a few more tips, tricks, and best practices to help you optimize the feature!
Avoid spammy, generic hashtags that seldom provide any long-term engagement. These include using “#like4like”, “#follow4follow”, or “#followback” hashtags to encourage meaningless user interactions to farm “likes”, “follows”, and engagement. These tactics are considered a form of spam, and may just get you shadowbanned for breaking Instagram’s T&C’s. Using generic hashtags such as “happy” or “instamood” aren’t going to do much for your engagement either – such tags are far too broad to narrow down on a desired target audience, and may just leave your post buried under the millions of other content using them, too.
Weigh out the post competition. Find Instagram hashtags that are both high and low in their post traffic. It’s easy to get that boost of exposure from using a high-density hashtag (for example, “#makeuplovers” for those maintaining a beauty Instagram), but your chances of making it to “top posts” are higher with lower-density tags (i.e. “#makeuploversunite”).
Research niche or brand-specific tags. It pays to know of any hashtag slang in your industry – as there may be certain high-traffic tags you may not be wary of. For example, fitness profiles not only use generic hashtags such as “#fitness”, “#diet”, or “#healthyliving” in their posts, but also niche-specific terms such as “#fitspiration”, “#beastmode”, and “#noexcuses”.
Some businesses may use hashtags exclusive to their brand, as well. Take the time to search for Instagram hashtags commonly used in their content or by followers paying tribute to their product. For example, beauty brand Maybelline uses the hashtag “#madeforall” when marketing their new line of lipstick on the platform.
Find Instagram Hashtags to Boost Your Reach!
One may consider hashtags to be the backbone of Instagram marketing; or at the very least, a key ingredient to achieving the engagement you need. Knowing your way around this feature will do wonders for your profile exposure, helping you connect with users interested in what you do.
With our advice and recommended tools, you’re now hopefully equipped with all you need to use Instagram hashtags to their full potential. Time to get those numbers up; start using the right hashtags on your content today.