Instagram Hashtags: Everything You Need to Know in 2021

Instagram Hashtags, Instagram strategy, social media strategy
The Ultimate Instagram Hashtag Guide for 2021

Instagram hashtags are one of those topics that generate all kinds of emotions among Instagram users. Some people love them, some people hate them. Some have a killer hashtag strategy, some others improvise.

But what is the science behind Instagram hashtags and how can you use them to reach your goals? I am covering everything you need to know in this post, including some do's and don'ts, so make sure to read until the end.

Table of contents

  1. What are Instagram hashtags?

  2. How do hashtags work on Instagram?

  3. What are the different types of hashtags on Instagram?

  4. How to find the best Instagram hashtags for your post?

  5. How to use Instagram hashtags effectively?

  6. What are banned hashtags and how to find them?

  7. How to use hashtags on Instagram stories?

  8. How to use hashtags on Instagram reels?

  9. FAQ about hashtags

What are Instagram hashtags?

Before diving into the saucy bits, let's disclose what hashtags are because some people still think they are just a copy/paste bunch of words that everyone uses for the sake of it.

Hashtags are keywords or metadata used after the # symbol. They work with the social media algorithms helping them to index and deliver content to Instagram users. Hence, using hashtags on Instagram will help your post to be more discoverable by a wider audience and not just the people that are following you.

Instagram hashtags are the perfect way to increase the engagement of your posts and attract more followers. In fact, using hashtags on Instagram can result in an increase of 12.6% on engagement, or even more.

How do Hashtags work on Instagram?

When you're adding hashtags to your post, you are telling the Instagram algorithm to show your content to everyone that is looking for that hashtag.

The hashtag reach will depend on several factors including:

  • How popular your post is and how many engagements does it get from your own followers.

  • How many times has this hashtag been used on that day (Daily Average Post Count)

  • The total posts made with this hashtag

  • When you shared the post

Even though the use of hashtags has evolved a lot since they were first introduced back in 2011, they are still a very powerful tool that should be included in your Instagram strategy.

Using relevant, targeted, and very niched hashtags on your posts and Instagram stories is one of the best and easiest ways of getting discovered by new audiences on Instagram helping you reach your overall objectives.

Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post and 10 hashtags per Instagram story. It's important to understand that there are banned hashtags that will kill your overall hashtag reach, but we will discuss these further along.

Some other things you should keep in mind when using hashtags are:

  • If you have a private profile your posts won't appear publicly on hashtag pages

  • You can use numbers on hashtags. However, spaces and special characters, like $ or %, won’t work.

  • You can only add hashtags to your own posts. You can’t tag other people’s photos/videos.