Hashtags have been a part of online culture since 2007 when Chris Messina introduced them in a blog. Since then, Instagram hashtags have been widely adopted throughout the platform to reach more users, label content, and increase engagement.
How brands and users implement hashtags on Instagram has changed, but their function has remained relatively the same — and still essential for a robust Instagram strategy.
In this article, we explore:
Finding new, trending hashtags can be time-consuming for a busy social marketer — enter this guide. We update this blog monthly with trending hashtags for Beauty, Fashion and Luxury, Retail, Home, Media and Publishing, and the Food and Beverage Industry.
So, how do hashtags for Instagram work? Essentially, hashtags are used to index keywords on the platform. When a phrase or keyword is preceded by a '#' or 'pound' symbol, this group's related posts (except those from private accounts) appear when users view this hashtag. Individuals can click these to find related content, or brands might create their own to encourage participation in product releases, campaigns, and other initiatives.
Instagram hashtags can fall into several categories — from branded hashtags that a brand creates for their campaigns, trending hashtags, seasonal hashtags for events like Christmas, or significant events like Black Friday. The type you select depends on the content you share, who you hope to reach, and other variables.
Here are the most popular categories of hashtags:
While it’s not always the most beneficial strategy to include hashtags with millions of posts as it’s harder to get seen, sometimes it’s helpful to know what’s widely used on the platform. The most popular ‘general’ hashtags to use on Instagram in April 2023 include:
The most popular ‘general’ hashtags to use on Instagram in April 2023 include:
If you’re targeting a specific community or the beauty industry, here are some of the most popular hashtags to use on Feed or Reels content.
These are some of the most popular trending hashtags for the beauty industry on Instagram in April:
Sharing fashion-focused content, or want to enhance posts from your luxury brand? Here are the most popular trending hashtags to use:
Depending on the type of retail industry your brand focuses on, hashtags from the home or fashion style might work for your brand — if you’re looking for more general hashtags for the retail industry, try one of these:
Whether it’s home improvement or home design, the home industry is a hyper-visual industry that can benefit from the right hashtag. Here are some trending home industry hashtags:
These are some of the most popular trending hashtags for the retail industry on Instagram in April:
Often, the media and publishing industry use hashtags that aren’t necessarily specific to media and publishing, but focused on the event, books, author, event or topic they’re promoting on Instagram. However, there are some general hashtags used in the media and publishing industry that suit a variety of posts. Use these trending Instagram hashtags to bring attention to posts:
These are some of the most popular trending hashtags for the home industry on Instagram in April:
There’s an old saying that we ‘eat with our eyes’ — so what better forum to share food content than Instagram? Here are the best hashtags for Instagram to use for the food and beverage industry:
These are some of the most popular trending hashtags for the food and beverage industry on Instagram in April:
While hashtags are a great asset to Instagram posts, Reels, and Stories, this doesn’t mean you should use 100 on each post or even the most popular ones. There are social media SEO best practices for the number of hashtags you incorporate into your posts. Here are a few tips to maximize your Instagram hashtag strategy.
Brands should be mindful to avoid ‘spamming’ hashtags — while Instagram lets you use up to 30, this can appear spammy. If brands want to use hashtags, consider how they can complement your caption, and stick to 1-3 great, specific ones that offer the potential for good reach but aren’t too competitive, so your content has a chance to surface among ultra-competitive topics.
Before simply using the most popular hashtags, research which hashtags are most relevant to your brand, industry, and specific post. Conducting an Instagram competitive analysis is also a great way to determine which hashtags your competitors are using. For example, Go Pro (@gopro) uses a combination of branded and categorical hashtags in its content. Its posts typically feature people using its product in an active set and use a variety of hashtags that reflect the individual image vs. a standard set of hashtags to use on every post.
It’s important to measure the performance of your efforts on social. While this can be difficult to do with hashtags, compare posts without and with hashtags. You can even contrast posts with 1-5 tags versus posts with fewer to gauge how the number of hashtags impacts your Instagram content so you can hone your strategy. A social analytics and monitoring tool will also help you track the performance of your hashtagged posts.
While hashtags can help increase reach, optimize the rest of your post, and consider things like the best time to post on Instagram. Add relevant tags, a compelling caption, and add trending Reels songs to ensure your posts can reach their maximum potential.
Dash Hudson is everything your Instagram account needs to succeed at each stage of your plan. Our Scheduler helps brands post and plan content, Social Analytics and Monitoring let you measure the performance of your efforts, and Influencer and Creator Insights allow you to assess the impact of influencer partnerships on your overall business goals. Beyond this, Dash Hudson supports your visual strategy with Vision, which uses AI-powered insights that predict which visual content from your library will perform the best.
The number of hashtags you use will depend on your visual content marketing strategy. Instagram limits the number of hashtags you can include on a Feed or Reel post to 30, but we recommend using far less than this. If you’re not using a branded hashtag, have 3-5 on Reels and Feed posts. If including hashtags on your Reels post, limit hashtags to one, or use them sparingly with a small font that doesn’t distract from your central limit.
Yes, hashtags work on Instagram. The Instagram algorithm considers views when suggesting accounts, and hashtags can help increase reach, followers, and engagement, especially from users who follow those hashtags. Although using hashtags isn’t an end-all-be-all solution, they’re certainly part of a robust Instagram strategy. Some brands can rely on the strength of their brand and content alone — for example, the Washington Post rarely uses hashtags in its Instagram content.
Adding the maximum number of hashtags isn’t necessarily the most effective way to use them on Instagram, but if this is something your brand wants to try, consider adding them in an Instagram comment immediately after posting. Instagram has confirmed adding hashtags in a comment will still surface the post if the hashtag is searched — if your caption is long enough, the hashtags won’t appear in their entirety. Conversely, Instagram captions are cut off at 125 characters, so if you write a long caption and add hashtags at the end, they won’t be visible unless users choose to view them.