How to Use Hashtags on Instagram to Increase Engagement

Using hashtags has always been key in expanding your Instagram following. (You know, after creating aesthetically pleasing content of course.) Although you may think you’re doing the best you can with the hashtags you’re using, you may not actually know how to use hashtags on Instagram most strategically. And by all means, that’s quite alright. With a little extra knowledge and some hashtag research, you’ll be on your way to taking your Insta visibility to the next level.

Increasing Your Post Engagement with Hashtags

First things first: people’s opinions on using hashtags can be polarizing. Even for people who swear by them, it can be a pain point that hashtags are an eyesore for people looking at your posts - even if you place them in the comments. Nevertheless, the numbers don’t lie. A market research study proved that posts using hashtags on average received 12.6% more engagement (than posts not using hashtags). That’s nothing to sneeze at.

One of the biggest barriers in properly using hashtags on Instagram is doing hashtag research to make sure you are utilizing Instagram’s capabilities most effectively. Just as with any other aspect of marketing, figuring out how to use hashtags on Instagram for maximum impact comes down to what your target audience is interacting with and what your competitors are doing.

Find your ideal followers and look at what they’re interacting with. What posts do they like the most? Which accounts are they following? The more information that you can glean from your target audience, the better. Hashtag research isn’t just about finding cool hashtags; it’s about finding hashtags that will be relevant and catch the eye of your target audience. There are also hashtag generator tools that can help make your strategy more purposeful. 

While it’s absolutely important to differentiate yourself from your competitors and focus on your own growth - as opposed to constantly feeling a negative sense of competition and inadequacy - it’s crucial that you take a look at what influencers in your niche are doing. Look at some of the industry leaders whom you’re trying to emulate, then take notice of what hashtags they’re using on their posts and in their stories. From there, you can go on and implement those hashtags in your own content.

Hashtags with Instagram Stories

In case you’re unaware of how to use hashtags on Instagram with some of the latest features, you should know that you can use hashtags in your Instagram stories. Or perhaps you already know about this feature, but you’re not sure how it can play into increased likes and engagement. Simply put: using hashtags in your Instagram stories provides you with another medium within the app to get your content noticed by your target audience. Much like Instagram posts themselves, you can tag relevant hashtags within each post on your story.

However, unlike static profile posts that allow for 30 hashtags, stories only allow you to use 10 hashtags. As a result, you must really narrow in on the communities you want to target by using the most strategic hashtags for your content — which you should be doing anyways.

New Instagram Feature: Following Hashtags

One more pro tip: hashtags don’t just serve a singular purpose to generate more visibility for your post. You can also follow hashtags, just like you can follow Instagram users themselves. This is helpful for remaining up-to-date on content and information, as well as what leaders in your industry may be posting and successfully receiving engagement on. Use Hashtag Generator Tools to find the most popular and most frequently used hashtags in real-time. Last but surely not least, when you use relevant hashtags in your story, they have the chance to be featured on the overall story for the hashtag that you’re following. This sets the stage for even more eyes on your content, which is always the goal.

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