It’s a known fact that hashtags can help enhance and expand the reach of your content on social media. When you use the hashtag or # symbol preceding a word or phrase, you’ve categorized your content with other similar content on social.
Instagram hashtags can help your Instagram content get discovered by an even larger audience than the one that already follows you on the platform. Including relevant hashtags in your captions or comment section helps improve the visibility of your posts.
Throughout this article, we”ll talk more about how to use hashtags on Instagram, the benefits they bring your brand and marketing strategy, top Instagram hashtags and more.
Table of Contents
What are Instagram hashtags?
Instagram hashtags are words, phrases or numbers with the pound or hashtag symbol (#) in front of them in Instagram captions. Using this symbol categorizes your Instagram content and helps them be found more easily on the app.
Here’s an example of what an Instagram caption with hashtags might look like:
You can include up to 30 Instagram hashtags on one single post, though Instagram itself recommends sticking to between 3-5.
How to use hashtags on Instagram
Hashtags have several different uses that can help you grow your account and keep your content organized. Let’s run through a few of the main uses for Instagram hashtags.
Increase visibility on your posts
First, like we’ve mentioned, hashtags help increase visibility on your posts. Not only do hashtags make your posts come up in search results for keywords you’ve used, they also help fuel the Instagram algorithm. The algorithm will place posts in other users’ feeds based on their interest in the hashtags included within your post.
Invite user-generated content
Instagram hashtags are also a great way to invite users to create user-generated content (UGC) for you to share on your feeds. Highlight a branded hashtag in your Instagram bio for followers to engage with and so your team can easily find UGC photos. Here’s an example of what this might look like:
Categorize Instagram posts
You could also choose to use hashtags for more of an internal purpose, like categorizing your Instagram posts. For example, a clothing store called The Closet might use hashtags for their various products, like #TheClosetShoes, #TheClosetAccessories or #TheClosetDresses.
5 Benefits of hashtags on Instagram
Hashtags should be a major part of your Instagram marketing strategy. There are many use cases for them—but also many benefits. Let’s cover five major benefits that hashtags can provide.
1. Increases exposure & discovery
The biggest reason for using hashtags is for the increased exposure and discovery. Clicking on a hashtag in Instagram leads to a gallery of both the top posts and latest posts that used the hashtag.
From there, you’re able to explore all the related posts, making hashtags a great way for people interested in a certain topic to find more accounts to follow. This means that if you use the right and most relevant hashtags for your brand, others searching on that hashtag will find those posts.
In addition, your audience can use branded hashtags to show off their experiences with your products or services as a form of brand advocacy. Hashtags are good for overall brand awareness. Even clicking through one post on the search results page will lead you to other similar posts.
2. Encourages audience interactions
When you use branded hashtags and encourage their use, it becomes another form of engagement. Tagged feed posts are saved in search results and tagged Story posts are saved for the duration of the Story. Think of Instagram hashtags as just another way to reach and engage your customer base.
3. Competitor analysis
How much digital space are your competitors taking up in your market? Hashtags help you analyze your share of voice on social media. Chances are that you and your competitors will have overlapping hashtags, especially if you’re using industry and local ones. With a social media competitive analysis, you’ll be able to analyze the share of voice, sentiment and engagement of those posts.
In an ideal share of voice situation, your posts and ones that your customers have tagged are taking up the bulk of those hashtag search results. You can also check out posts with your relevant hashtags for content inspiration and to get ideas on where your brand might be falling short compared to competitor content.
4. Content research
Similar to what you would do for SEO keyword research, hashtags can help you research different content ideas. Say you want to increase your share of voice in the #NaturalSkincare hashtag. That’s rather tough since there are over 9.8 million posts using the hashtag.
However, you can use the search results page’s Top tab to see what the best posts have been. Use this area as inspiration.
What seems to be working for similar brands? Is there a certain style or caption that’s trending now? By clicking into top posts for details, you might also be able to find additional hashtags that are less highly populated, but just as relevant to your audience, similar to secondary keywords for search optimization.
5. Links digital and IRL campaigns
Go shopping in any retail store these days and chances are that you’ll come across a marketing campaign with a hashtag attached. Whether they encourage you to use their general brand hashtag or a campaign one, hashtags offer an easy way to connect digital and in-real-life campaigns.
If there’s one rule to keep in mind when using Instagram hashtags, it’s to always keep them relevant to your business and the content you’re posting. However, there’s nothing wrong with using popular hashtags in your industry—so to help you find those, here are some of the top Instagram hashtags of 2023 for a variety of different industries.
Top 50 Instagram hashtags in 2023
- #love (2.1B)
- #instagood (1.6B)
- #instagram (1.1B)
- #art (1B)
- #photooftheday (1B)
- #photography (1B)
- #beautiful (823M)
- #picoftheday (720M)
- #happy (698M)
- #follow (695M)
- #instadaily (639M)
- #tbt (583M)
- #repost (557M)
- #summer (548M)
- #like4like (514M)
- #reels (509M)
- #instalike (502M)
- #photo (488M)
- #me (454M)
- #selfie (451M)
- #music (441M)
- #friends (438M)
- #life (436M)
- #smile (435M)
- #family (435M)
- #girl (426M)
- #trending (372M)
- #model (358M)
- #design (353M)
- #motivation (351M)
- #handmade (345M)
- #lifestyle (343M)
- #likeforlike (328M)
- #sunset (323M)
- #artist (316M)
- #dogsofinstagram (307M)
- #beach (294M)
- #amazing (287M)
- #drawing (286M)
- #nofilter (285M)
- #cat (282M)
- #instamood (279M)
- #igers (277M)
- #sun (270M)
- #sky (260M)
- #follow4follow (250M)
- #funny (236M)
- #l4l (221M)
- #followforfollow (212M)
- #tagsforlikes (191M)
Top 10 Instagram hashtags for B2B
- #b2b (3M)
- #work (147B)
- #smallbusiness (121M)
- #business (109M)
- #entrepreneur (99.4M)
- #success (87.9M)
- #marketing (75.8M)
- #digitalmarketing (29.7M)
- #sales (20.4M)
- #ecommerce (14.2M)
Top 10 Instagram hashtags for fashion and beauty
- #fashion (1.1B)
- #style (641M)
- #beauty (528M)
- #ootd (426M)
- #makeup (395M)
- #hair (242M)
- #fashionblogger (165M)
- #shopping (154M)
- #outfit (146M)
- #fashionista (136M)
Top 10 Instagram hashtags for fitness
- #fitness (520M)
- #gym (254M)
- #workout (216M)
- #fit (191M)
- #health (164M)
- #training (140M)
- #fitnessmotivation (139M)
- #bodybuilding (134M)
- #fitfam (123M)
- #goals (111M)
Top 10 Instagram hashtags for food, beverage and restaurants
- #food (507M)
- #foodporn (300M)
- #foodie (241M)
- #instafood (237M)
- #yummy (199M)
- #delicious (148M)
- #foodstagram (119M)
- #foodphotography (109M)
- #foodblogger (83.8M)
- #foodlover (77.3M)
Top 10 Instagram hashtags for technology and software
- #technology (26.4M)
- #tech (19.7M)
- #engineering (14.8M)
- #innovation (14.2M)
- #programming (6.6M)
- #computer (6.5M)
- #coding (6.1M)
- #electronics (5.9M)
- #software (5.9M)
- #instatech (2.1M)
Top 10 Instagram hashtags for travel
- #nature (782M)
- #travel (697M)
- #explore (489M)
- #naturephotography (230M)
- #travelphotography (216M)
- #travelgram (173M)
- #wanderlust (149M)
- #adventure (143M)
- #instatravel (125M)
- #travelblogger (84.9M)
Top Instagram hashtag generators
If none of the keywords we compiled above fit your business (or you want to find more options), you can use a hashtag generator tool to help. Here are the top six Instagram hashtag generators you might want to try to build the perfect list of hashtags for your business.
1. Sistrix Instagram Hashtag Generator
The Sistrix hashtag generator tool is easy to use—but only allows limited use with a free account. You can get 25 free queries a day before you’ll need to pay for a premium account. Twenty-five queries is quite a lot, so you may be able to get by without needing to upgrade.
Simply type a or a few hashtags into the text box and press the Enter/Return key to get the best 30 hashtags relating to your initial search. Pick out the most relevant ones to add onto your post.
2. Keyword Tool
Keyword Tool is a useful tool that can help brands find keywords across a number of sites—including hashtags for Instagram. With this option, you can even use some geolocation to ensure you’re finding top hashtags in a certain area. This is a plus for local brick-and-mortar businesses who only service customers in a specified location. It also has the option to select which language you want hashtags to appear in.
Type your initial hashtag or keyword into the text box, change the filters if needed, then click the magnifying glass icon. The results you’ll receive are limited for the free account—just a list of hashtags without details on their usage. But if you want more information, you can upgrade to a paid account. Plans start at $69/month.
Inflact is an AI-based hashtag generator that can help come up with hashtag ideas based on a keyword, photo, or existing Instagram post. This can be useful if you’re not even sure of which keyword to start with—or if you simply want to see what the tool would come up with for your photo.
Once you input your query, the tool will provide you with hashtags from three categories based on how often the hashtag is used: Frequent (hard to rank in top posts), Average (medium chance of ranking) and Rare (easy to rank). The tool also gives you a recommendation of how many hashtags to use from each category.
Toolzu is similar to Inflact in the ways you can start your hashtag query. Input your information (either keyword, URL or photo), then click Generate Hashtags to get started. This tool will generate the volume of posts using the hashtag and how difficult it may be to get viewers using the hashtag.
Toolzu also has iOS and Android apps so you can easily search for hashtags on the go while you’re on your mobile device.
5. Display Purposes
Display Purposes will provide you with a list of hashtags based on a starting point. Type a few hashtags into the text box to get started. Each suggested hashtag generated is scored based on relevancy to our query and popularity. Daily Purposes offers another tool that will scan your profile and come up with hashtags based on the content you’ve already been posting, which is a useful feature.
6. All Hashtags
All Hashtag can generate hashtags based on a single keyword. Choose whether you want top results, random results or results for hashtags that are currently trending. You’ll get a list of the best 30 hashtags based on your query. The tool has a “Copy” button making it easy to immediately copy all 30 hashtags and paste them into your caption or comment. Remember to limit the number of hashtags you use per post for best practices and quality engagement.
Types of Instagram hashtags
There are a few different types of hashtags that brands should know about, each with its own benefit and application. Learn more about the types of Instagram hashtags you’ll want to use.
Branded & product hashtags
Branded and product hashtags are hashtags that you create with your brand and/or product name in them. These are often used for gathering UGC and increasing brand awareness.
Here’s an example of a branded hashtag. Plant store The Sill uses the hashtag #PlantsMakePeopleHappy in their Instagram bio. They’ve also created product videos surrounding this hashtag.
If you click the hashtag, you’ll see that there are 12 million posts in the results, meaning it’s a popular and well-used branded hashtag. All of the posts included are relevant to The Sill’s content as well, so they can easily reach out to people posting content under that hashtag to ask if they can feature it on their own feed.
Campaign hashtags are specific to marketing campaigns that you’re running. Usually, these involve the brand running a regular campaign and adding a hashtag to it in a caption or in the corner of the post.
One example of a campaign hashtag is the #EssenceFestxTarget one used to promote their recent collaboration. For all posts related to this campaign, both Target and Essence Festival will use the unique hashtag, as well as any influencers they work with.
Campaign hashtags don’t need to be tied to a product or sales. REI’s #OptOutside campaign encouraged people to go out rather than shop on Black Friday, and therefore wasn’t centered around purchasing.
Community & industry hashtags
Nearly every brand community and industry has at least one hashtag that’s used within them. To find yours, head to some popular community and industry influencer posts and check out their hashtags. Many of these hashtags are simple. The hashtags that are easy to think up are usually the most used.
For craft beer enthusiasts, several exist: #CraftBeerLover, #CraftBeerLife and #CraftBeerNotCrapBeer are just a few of them. As you can see, all three of these are pretty straightforward and natural to think up, and include in posts for relevant brands.
Location hashtags are pretty self-explanatory. Most brands are based somewhere and if you have a physical location, this is even more useful for you. Relevant location hashtags include your city and its associated topical hashtags, your neighborhood, the mall name you’re in and any other defining features.
One example is the above #chseats. This is one of those location + topic hashtags. The posts tagged with these are relevant for anyone searching for food recommendations or users in the Charleston, SC area. Other location hashtags to explore include any branded ones that your city’s and state’s tourism boards have already established.
Themed or holiday hashtags
Participating in relevant social media holidays can be a fun way to engage your audience. Things like #InternationalSushiDay and #InternationalDogDay can be great for sushi restaurants and veterinary offices to post about.
One of the hashtags we mentioned, International Sushi Day, is on June 18, and on Instagram, the hashtag has over 23k posts. This is perfect for sushi restaurants and sushi-adjacent businesses to post about.
Daily hashtags aren’t limited to Instagram and they’re easy to find. These hashtags include the day of the week and a specified topic. There are generalized ones such as #MondayMotivation and #ThrowbackThursday. Nearly any brand can take part in these, and there are plenty of niche topics covered.
These hashtags cover more interest-based topics and also happen to be daily. For example, on #MonsteraMonday, plant lovers post a photo of their monstera plants. These daily hashtags take a little more work to find but if you’re following influencers in specific fields, you’ll see them in your feed.
This type of hashtag is one of the more difficult ones to post since it involves keeping tabs on the latest and knowing how to apply them to your brand.
For example, one of the trending memes at the moment is a superimposed video of Jennifer Lawrence from the Hot Ones wing-eating challenge crying and asking, “What do you mean?” over and over again. By searching the hashtag #WhatDoYouMean, we can see a number of brands and creators using this meme for their content.
Keep in mind that memes and trends are short-lived. You need to catch on early to participate and reap the benefits of jumping on the trend. You may need to up your trendspotting skills for social media to get the most out of jumping on memes and trends in a timely and brand-relevant way that resonates.
Tracking and analyzing Instagram hashtags
So you’ve decided on all of your hashtags and you’re ready to get started on the new social strategy. What’s next? Checking in on how all these hashtags are working out for you. Tracking your hashtag analytics is important to ensure you’re improving performance with the ones you chose. If not, you may need to find better hashtags to use.
As you start to use the same hashtags, you’ll start noticing when you receive more engagement or more spam comments. To make sure that you’re using the right hashtags for you, find a social media tool that offers Instagram hashtag analytics.
Sprout Social’s Outbound Hashtag Performance Report keeps track of all the hashtags you use on posts as well as their performance. With one glance, you’ll notice which hashtags you use the most and which ones get the most engagement.
These two may not generate the same results, especially if you’re switching up the hashtags for posts. By reviewing your analytics, you might end up finding that your most relied-on hashtags are not actually the ones resonating the most with audiences.
7 Best practices for Instagram hashtags
Gone are the days where hashtags were new and brands threw in every popular hashtag, regardless of its relevance. While there’s no single right way to use hashtags on Instagram, there are some best practices to improve performance. Here are several to think about:
1. Test how many hashtags to use on Instagram
How many hashtags should you use? This is a tricky question because the answer varies wildly. If you’re including them within your caption, stick to 3 to 5—like Instagram recommends. If you’re going to use the first comment for hashtags, then up to the full 30 hashtags would be acceptable. However, this is not to say that you should use 30 hashtags for every post. This leads us to our next tip.
2. Use hashtags in the first comment
Too many hashtags in a caption can overwhelm valuable real estate and make posts look messy. Keep captions minimal, and if you’re using more hashtags, move them to a comment. With Sprout’s Compose box, you can schedule the first Instagram comment along with your post and caption.
3. Find the best hashtags for you
There are several ways to find the best hashtags for your brand. The first and easiest is to look at the influencers and accounts you already follow and note which hashtags they’re already using. Another way is to begin brainstorming various ones and type them into the Instagram search bar. As you type, related hashtags also show up.
In the example above, #coffee is such a popular hashtag that using it might result in more spam comments than you want. Instead, scroll further down the results to find more niche ones that are targeted and relevant to your audience.
4. Follow relevant hashtags
Instagram offers the ability to follow any hashtag’s search results. When you do this, these posts appear in your feed, alongside all the other posts from accounts you follow. This is a good tactic to use for following industry or community hashtags because it helps you keep tabs on them. It should not be used as a solution for branded hashtags, though, because it doesn’t guarantee that every post will show up in your feed.
The above example uses #PlantMom as the hashtag. Simply hit that follow button to stay informed on that Instagram hashtag.
5. Encourage the use of branded hashtags
Once you’ve created your list of branded hashtags, make sure to start using them in every relevant post. The most general branded hashtags are often placed in the Instagram bio along with a call-to-action for using them.
In the above example, Grove Collaborative puts their branded hashtag #GroveHome in their IG bio. Customers can then use this hashtag whenever they post about the brand. It makes it easy for Grove to find and share those photos on their own feed.
6. Create a list of hashtags
Instead of copying and pasting the same set of hashtags for every post, divide them up into topical ones. For example, your education posts might have different hashtags than a new product announcement post. Instead of generating a new list for each post, keep different lists handy for the various types of content topics that you post.
Save these types of list sand text Sprout’s Asset Library to make it easier to attach the right hashtags to each Instagram post.
7. Add hashtags to Instagram Stories
While Stories do disappear after 24 hours, don’t discount the use of hashtags on them. These show up in the search results, too, and are another easy way of getting more interested followers. Have too many hashtags to put into a Story? Enter your text like normal and then hide them behind a gif or sticker.
Get started with Instagram hashtags today
Using hashtags on Instagram has many benefits for brands: increased brand awareness, higher engagement engagement and improved competitor analysis insight. Before jumping into hashtags, it’s recommended to understand the various types that are out there and some best practices to follow.
Ready to get into more #InstagramStrategy? Take a look at how to create an Instagram strategy for your brand.
Instagram Hashtags FAQs
How many hashtags should I use on Instagram?
Instagram recommends using between 3-5 hashtags on a single post. However, you can use up to 30 hashtags if you place them within the first comment on the post for even greater visibility.
Do hashtags work for Instagram?
Yes, you can use hashtags within a post, Reel or Story, and we highly recommend you do so. They can be used for collecting UGC, categorizing content and increasing the reach to your content.
What are the top 10 hashtags on Instagram?
The top 10 hashtags on Instagram include:
- #love (2.1B)
- #instagood (1.6B)
- #instagram (1.1B)
- #art (1B)
- #photooftheday (1B)
- #photography (1B)
- #beautiful (823M)
- #picoftheday (720M)
- #happy (698M)
- #follow (695M)