What are Instagram Hashtags and how to use them?

Hashtags are crucial for increasing your Instagram audience reach by facilitating a better user experience and engagement with your content.

In this article, we will explore what hashtags are, the different types of hashtags and how to use them effectively for your advantage.

Let's start by defining a hashtag first.


What are Instagram Hashtags?

A hashtag can be a word or combination of characters, including letters, numbers, and emoji, followed by the # symbol, for example, #sometext. Hashtags help organize content into categories and increase discoverability.

All hashtags are clickable. Therefore, if a hashtag exists, anyone who clicks on the hashtag or uses the hashtag search feature on Instagram will be taken to a page that lists all the posts that have been tagged with that hashtag.

Why use hashtags on Instagram?

An essential feature of the hashtag is that your post will show up on the page for the hashtag when you use it. If you plan to include a hashtag in your Story, it can also show in the associated hashtag Story, displayed on the hashtag page.

People can opt to follow hashtags as well, so even if they don't follow you, they may see your hashtagged post in their feeds.

A hashtag with many posts may indicate that many people follow it, but it also suggests that it has a lot of content, and your messages may be lost.

Remember that not all Instagram hashtags are created equally, including the most popular hashtags. That is why Instagram advises combining popular and specialized hashtags to target various audiences, from general to technical.

Do Hashtags still work on Instagram?

Yes, hashtags do work on Instagram, even today!

Hashtags are essential in identifying content and facilitating a better search of the content on Instagram. But it would help if you used them correctly.

Hashtags are keywords used to describe the content of an Instagram post. Created by using the '#' sign before a word, it is crucial to choose the correct keyword related to your Instagram photo or video.

Hashtags should be small, consisting of one or two words. If you require more words to describe your content, create multiple hashtags. Three to five hashtags are considered suitable to define a post.

If you forgot to add hashtags to a post you have already published, you could add them later too. Go to the Instagram post and edit the caption to include the hashtags related to your post.

Did you know that you can also add hashtags in the comments by editing your comments in the comment section on the photos or videos of your Instagram post?

Once you have created hashtags, you can always check them by clicking on them in the published posts. This is to ensure that your hashtags are working or not.

You will be able to find out not only your content but also posts of other Instagram users who have used those hashtags to describe their content.

However, before creating hashtags, it is worth understanding the different types of hashtags.

What are the different types of hashtags used on Instagram?

Although this topic is widely debated, the consensus is that Instagram categorizes hashtags into nine different groups:

  1. Hashtags for niche - Using niche hashtags, such as #travelblogger or #bloggerlife, you can be a little more explicit about your work and where you fit in the context of your business.
  2. Hashtags for products or services - Essential words to describe your product or service, such as #photoframes or #rooftopbar, are known as product or service hashtags.
  3. Hashtags with Emojis - These can be words or phrases with emojis attached, such as #shades????, #goodvibes???? or emojis on their own, such as #???? or #!!!!
  4. The short acronym-based hashtags - The most well-known acronym hashtag is probably #DM, which stands for Direct Message. Other widely used acronym hashtags are #FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), #YOLO (You Only Live Once), etc.
  5. Everyday hashtags - A hashtag for every day! From #mondaymotivation to #fridaynight, each day has a variety of unique hashtags. 
  6. Location-based hashtags - A location-specific hashtag, such as #delhidhaba or #hawaibeach, can be a brilliant idea even if you geotag your Instagram image.
  7. Event-based or seasonal hashtags - These can be used for all those National Day holidays, like #4thofjuly or #republicday, or they can be used to refer to actual holidays or seasons, like #wintersale.
  8. Hashtags based on specific words or phrases - These hashtags incorporate components of hashtags for products, hashtags for niches, and hashtags for communities. In essence, they are hashtags that users use on Instagram to engage with existing communities somewhat discretely, such as #worldtravler or #bloggerlife.
  9. Hashtags for the business or social communities - These hashtags might help you identify and interact with different communities on Instagram. For example, #yoga or #supportlocal.

How many hashtags should you use while posting on Instagram?

A regular Instagram post can have up to 30 hashtags, and a story can have up to 10 hashtags. Your comment or caption won't post if you try to add more.

However, just because Instagram allows for so many hashtags doesn't mean you should. There is no ideal quantity of hashtags for any one business or even for each post made by the same company.

For professionals, 5 to 11 hashtags are a good number for content aimed at higher views. But for content in general, anywhere between 1 and 3 hashtags are most popular and widely used on Instagram.

You'll need to conduct some A/B testing to find out what works best for your specific case.

How do I know if a hashtag I created on Instagram is working or not?

Creating hashtags is easy, and although they work most of the time, in some cases, they may not work due to some error.

The best way to check if a hashtag you have created is working or not is by clicking on those hashtags.

Once you have created a hashtag and published the Instagram post, the hashtags will appear as a blue text representing a link. Clicking on those hashtags will open up another page on Instagram, which will display the total number of posts created using those hashtags.

Hashtags that are not working will not appear as blue text. Neither will they bear any hyperlink connecting them to the actual hashtag page on Instagram.

If you want to know about the hashtag's performance on Instagram, you can check the same by using Instagram Insights.

Instagram Insights can help you understand all hashtags you have created and how much traffic they bring to your Instagram post.

However, remember that you should have a business account on Instagram to access Instagram Insights features.

How to hide hashtags on Instagram?

Most professionals, business people, and even Insta savvy people, in general, spend a lot of time creating quality content. You may even spend time creating a great Instagram caption for your post.

Since a lot of time is spent creating these posts, creators often add multiple hashtags - sometimes a little too much, to make their posts stand out among similar content.

But what if your content is grouped with other seemingly good but useless groups of hashtags, or your hashtags are spoiling the user experience? 

Would you want to hinder the user experience with the sheer abundance of hashtags when a user is checking out your post?

Fortunately, there is a way out. You may use a few simple methods to hide the concerned hashtags, thereby improving your post.

Hide hashtags in a comment-

If you have not posted the content, create content first, but please do not use hashtags in your caption. Instead, write your captions as usual and post hashtags in the comments.

If the post is already published, go to the post and click/tap on the dialogue symbol next to your post to submit a new hashtag or edit the comment containing the hashtag which has been published.

Type or paste the new hashtags you want to use in the comment box, then click post.

Your hashtags won't be displayed if a user chooses to view all comments when using a mobile device. This approach works fine if you're targeting a mobile audience who would use the Instagram App. 

Your comment will remain at the top when viewing the web version from your desktop computer.

Hide hashtags among captions on Instagram-

Hashtags can be used within the caption itself without being too obvious.

A remarkable feature of Instagram is that it conceals captions after three lines, so unless your followers tap... more, they won't be able to see your hashtags.

Here is how to hide hashtags from the caption of your Instagram post-

  • Prepare your post and write your caption.
  • Put 3 to 5 dots after the caption.
  • After each dot, press Enter/Return button.
  • Add your hashtags here.
  • Publish your post as usual.

The list of hashtags will appear at the bottom of your caption when someone clicks to expand it and read the content, not in the middle of what you were trying to say.

Even then, they will be visually separated from your caption to prevent them from diverting their attention from your content.

Hide hashtags among Instagram Stories-

You may add your favorite #hashtags to an Instagram story in a few different ways. Similarly, there are multiple ways to hide your hashtags on Instagram Stories, so no one will ever learn about your hidden hashtags or even that you use them!

One way is to squeeze and reduce the size of your hashtags to make them appear relatively small. This way the user will not notice the hashtag, unless looking carefully.

Our pick is to use the 'pen method.' 

  1. Add the photo or video - Choose any image (or video) you want to post to your Instagram story by taking one or choosing from your phone's Gallery.
  2. Enter a #Hashtag - Enter any hashtag you like to use. As soon as you begin typing with a #, a list of hashtags will appear for you to select from.
  3. Create an invisible hashtag - Tap the 'pen' once you've finished writing your hashtag and match the font color with the image's background color.

When the hashtag and background are of the same color, drag the pen across the screen to write the text matching the background color.

Once published, hashtags will be invisible to everyone while still working.

Lastly you can use the hashtag sticker, wherein the background can be changed from white to semi-transparent by tapping it. Also, you can put an emoji, sticker, or GIF on top of your hashtags to hide them completely.

How to find the most popular/trending hashtags on Instagram?

Instagram doesn't make a list of trending hashtags public like other social media platforms, such as Twitter. 

On Instagram, you can check how many posts have used a specific hashtag by performing a search for it. 

Additionally, you'll find a list of other widely used Instagram hashtags with similar words and post counts.

On the web version, type in the hashtag in the search box, including the # symbol, while on the mobile device, type your search term in the search box, then tap Tags.

One way to identify trending hashtags on Instagram is by paying attention to your Instagram feed. 

However, it is always wise to understand the difference between the hashtags and identify if the hashtag is just a fad or is there to stay for a long time. 

It is not worth following a fad if you have a long-term view of your content. Use a trending hashtag in your post only if it makes sense for you or your brand and adds value to the information in the post.

How to look for multiple hashtags on Instagram?

The quickest and easiest way to search multiple hashtags on Instagram is to use a hashtag search tool, and regularly track the hashtags you're interested in. 

This way, you can see all the relevant content on one screen without performing a separate Instagram hashtag search for each one, and you can search multiple hashtags simultaneously.