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Instagram Hashtags in 2021: A quick guide

instagram hashtag

Instagram Hashtags are as important to creators as a referee in football – we don’t pay a lot of attention to them but they’re essential to keeping the game moving forward.

If you use them correctly, you’ll be rewarded.

If you use them incorrectly, you’ll be penalized.

And you wouldn’t want that.

To use hashtags for Instagram effectively, you need to understand exactly how they work and put some thought into a strategy.

So, here’s a quick guide on how you should be using hashtags on Instagram –

What is a hashtag?

A hashtag is a combination of letters, numbers, and/or emoji preceded by the # symbol (e.g., #MondayMornings). They are mainly used to categorize content and make it easier to access.

All hashtags are clickable.

When you click them, you can see all the photos and videos shared with that particular hashtag.

Why should you use hashtags?

Hashtags are an important way to grow your Instagram audience and expand your reach. When you use a hashtag, you will be able to attract users who don’t follow you but follow the hashtag. If they find your content convincing, they might follow you. That’s how people grow their audience currently.

If you use a hashtag in your story, your hashtagged story might feature on the hashtag page or even the explore page.

Hashtags are an awesome way for brands to connect to their customers. For example, Redbull uses #givesyouwiiings to describe the sentiment people embody with its brand.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Red Bull (@redbull)

Top Instagram Hashtags

If you use hashtags that are widely followed and regularly used, there’s a high chance your post gets noticed more.

Here are the top 50 hashtags on Instagram:

  1. #love

  2. #instagood

  3. #photooftheday

  4. #fashion

  5. #beautiful

  6. #happy

  7. #cute

  8. #tbt

  9. #like4like

  10. #followme

  11. #picoftheday

  12. #follow

  13. #me

  14. #selfie

  15. #summer

  16. #art

  17. #instadaily

  18. #friends

  19. #repost

  20. #nature

  21. #girl

  22. #fun

  23. #style

  24. #smile

  25. #food

  26. #instalike

  27. #likeforlike

  28. #family

  29. #travel

  30. #fitness

  31. #euro2020

  32. #tagsforlikes

  33. #follow4follow

  34. #nofilter

  35. #life

  36. #beauty

  37. #amazing

  38. #instamood

  39. #igers

  40. #instagram

  41. #photo

  42. #music

  43. #photography

  44. #makeup

  45. #dog

  46. #beach

  47. #sunset

  48. #model

  49. #foodporn

  50. #motivation

But, the most popular Instagram hashtags are not necessarily always the most effective.

A large number of posts may mean lots of people follow that hashtag, but it also means there’s a ton of content on it and your posts might get lost. Instagram suggests using niche hashtags along with popular hashtags to talk to your niche followers as well as get in new followers.

Types of hashtags

Instagram has broken down hashtags into the following 9 categories:

Product or service hashtags: These are words that indicate a product you’re selling or a service you’re offering. Like #wallet or #digitalmarketing.

Niche hashtags: These hashtags are specific keywords pertaining to your niches, like #fashionblogger or #foodblogger.

Industry Instagram community hashtags: Some hashtags specifically talk to a community. If you want to join a community, these hashtags will make you find them. Like #bakersofinstagram or #foodiesofinstagram.

Special event or seasonal hashtags: These can refer to real holidays or seasons, like #summerdays, or they can be used for all those National [Thing] Day holidays, like #nationalicecreamday or #nationalnailpolishday

Location hashtags: These types of hashtags point to a certain location. Like #madeinNewYork or #londoneats.

Daily hashtags: Daily hashtags have become a routine for people to post their pictures or videos. Right from #MondayBlues to #SundayFunday, there is a hashtag for each day of the week.

Relevant phrase hashtags: These hashtags pertain to what you’re doing. Like #iamwriting or #bakeryislove

Acronym Hashtags: Acronym hashtags have a special place in people’s hearts. Right from #qotd (Quote of the day) to #TBT (Throwback Thursday) – they never fall out of place.

Emoji Hashtags: These hashtags include emojis singularly or sometimes emojis are also used with words.

Where should you use hashtags on Instagram?

Hashtags are important for your growth on Instagram and knowing where to use them is the key to making your post look ‘not spammy’.

1. Hashtags in a comment

Write your caption as usual but don’t include any hashtags in it.

Post your content

Then include any hashtags you want in a comment on your post

This ensures your caption looks clean.

instagram comment

Source: JK Molina

2. Hashtags in caption

A lot of people frown upon hashtags in captions. The reason is quite simple. It comes off spammy. After writing a caption, if you use like 20 hashtags that are completely irrelevant to the content you’re posting, it is SPAM.

But, if you use hashtags ‘in’ your caption –

  • It doesn’t look spammy
  • People find it easier to associate the hashtag with your brand
  • You have just increased your reach

instagram captionSource: BMW

3. Instagram Stories

Instagram stories is another place you can use hashtags in.

If you want to hide your hashtags, you can even shrink them to become minute.

In some cases, you can put a GIF or an Emoji on them.

It serves your purpose to get you more story views and you can hide them as well.


instagram hashtags

Source – Hootsuite

How to find trending hashtags on Instagram?

If you need to find popular hashtags regarding a topic, all you need to do is search them.

You will find hashtags that people have used in their posts in descending value of the number of posts.


4 tips to reach more people with hashtags

1. Check the popularity of the hashtag

When you search for a hashtag on Instagram, you can see how many times it has been used.

You can use hashtags of different levels of popularity in your posts in order to reach different sets of audiences.

For example, if you search for #foodtrucks on Instagram, you will also find #foodtrucksbayarea. Now, #foodtrucksbayarea is a niche hashtag that will speak to people who only use it – possibly people who live in Bay Area or people who are visiting Bay Area.

foodtrucks instagram

2. Create a list of different types of hashtags you’d like to use.

It is quite helpful to list the various hashtags you’re going to use. It’s even more helpful to categorize them into topics so that you have a variety of topics to choose from.

For example, you can create a list about bakeries like #nycbakeries, #bakerslife, #bakeries, #croissants, or another set about pastries #nycpastries, #chocolatecroissant, #????.

3. Keep searching for new hashtags

Try typing a hashtag you’ve used previously and see what similar options auto-populate in the search.

Use them.

Experiment with them.

Keep rotating between them until you find the best mix.

4. Use Insights to learn how your hashtags are performing.

You can use Instagram Insights to learn more about overall trends across your followers and your content’s performance with your audience.

You can also view insights for specific posts, Stories, IGTV videos, Reels, and Live videos you’ve created to see how each one performed and how people engaged with them.

Not to forget, it’s FREE. But, only available for business or creator accounts.

Tap ‘View Insights’ on your post to see Impressions from Hashtags, which is the amount of views people are getting from the different hashtags you’re using.

If you want to understand everything that Instagram Insights offer, click here.

How many hashtags should you use on Instagram?

You can include up to 30 hashtags in your regular posts and up to 10 hashtags in a story. If you try to include more, your caption or comment won’t post.

Here’s the thing about the upper limit. If there’s an upper limit, doesn’t mean you should use them all. That said, just because you can use that many hashtags for Instagram doesn’t mean you should.

Optimally, you should use up to 10 hashtags. But the most common number of hashtags to use on Instagram is between 1 and 3.


In the end, you have to develop and employ your own strategy of using hashtags.

Experiment with it and find out what suits you the best.

If you need a more comprehensive guide on hashtags that conquers all platforms, click here.

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Instagram Hashtags in 2021: A quick guide

Ready to Grow Your Audience
& Make Money on Social?

Hypefury makes it easy to create, publish

and monetize your content across social media 

Join 3,500+ creators who are using HypeFury to earn online

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