Comprised of letters, numbers, or emojis and preceded with a pound sign (#), Instagram hashtags enable Instagram to sort and organize the platform’s content, making it easier for users to filter topics.
Instagram hashtags are a crucial tool for the blossoming Instagram influencer marketing industry. While they certainly aren’t the be-all and end-all, they are significant drivers for finding an engaged audience for your brand’s content, as well as raising brand awareness.
Similar to search terms, the more generic the Instagram hashtag, the broader your reach. The more specific and niche Instagram hashtags are, the more targeted your audience will be.
If you’re not using Instagram hashtags, then you should jot down notes from our guide to bring your hashtag game up to scratch.
If you live and die by post views, then hashtags are bettered by several other metrics in bringing eyeballs to content, such as comments, followers, and likes.
Nonetheless, Instagram hashtags remain valuable marketing tools because of the other benefits that they bring to a business, including:
Instagram hashtags are useful for searchability and reach, but do they have a positive impact on post engagement? Not necessarily.
In a recent analysis, Trust Insights collected 1,590,037 Instagram posts and found that there was an average of about 3 hashtags used per post. In determining which factors matter most to generate more post views, hashtag usage had no statistical relationship. In other words, using more hashtags does not correlate with higher engagement.
That said, the sponsored hashtag “#ad” generates the highest average engagement. This means that while the hashtag by itself may not increase potential reach, properly disclosed sponsored posts with #ad rack up more likes and comments. So, Instagram influencer marketing is effective in that audiences are engaging with the sponsored content.
When crafting an Instagram influencer marketing strategy, marketers use Instagram hashtags to cultivate and engage their target audience. Hashtag usage typically covers a wide range of goals, and can be implemented in various ways:
Hashtags increase brand awareness, either by using words or catchphrases that resonate with your audience or with branded tags to boost social engagement. In either case, Instagram hashtags are designed to push promotional content in front of followers and potential customers.
On your Instagram Business profile, share your brand message with followers by featuring an Instagram hashtag central to your brand, as REI does. You can also invite them to show interest in your ambitions by using the hashtag as well.
Using hashtags in Instagram Stories is more versatile than other platforms, such as Snapchat, and extremely useful for catching the attention of more viewers in a creative and visual way. When influencers use your branded hashtag in their Stories, your campaign will be more cohesive.
Event-based hashtags drum up interest in your brand’s events, while also generating anticipation among your brand and influencers’ followers.
While different from geotags, geographical hashtags help brands reach local or geographically-relevant audiences—a particularly useful feature in Stories and for travel brands.
Generate interest in contests, causes, or other campaigns with hashtags that call followers to action by using actionable hashtags, like Neutrogena’s #ShowMeYourDay, or REI’s #OptOutside. These hashtags work exceptionally well in direct response influencer marketing campaigns.
Using hashtags for product launches effectively raises interest in your product and can drive conversions when influencers naturally implement them in their sponsored content.
Specific hashtags will narrow down your audience, meaning your content is more accessible to those who want to see it. When used correctly, targeting niche hashtags will help bring in better-qualified traffic.
Below is a list of the top 50 Instagram hashtags in 2019. Relying on generic hashtags like these will have your Instagram influencer marketing campaign competing with millions of daily posts. While none of these should be your brand’s main Instagram hashtag, marketers will benefit from knowing which ones are trending among Instagram users.
Why do you need help with Instagram hashtags? Well, using hashtags is something of a science on Instagram; the platform’s algorithm will penalize you if your tags are repeated from one upload to another.
Hashtag generators, like All Hashtag and Instavast, are useful for avoiding a faux pas like this. Hashtag generator tools liven up the hashtags you use and give you insight into top trending and live hashtags that are best suited to your brand’s content.
Finding trending hashtags that relate to your content allows you to keep a pulse of what’s popular and what you can key into. Looking at Instagram’s ‘Explore’ section is a good start, which displays the top trending content and hashtags.
In addition, there are a plethora of social media monitoring tools to help you find trending hashtags, as well as analyze other metrics on social media platforms. Ultimately, you’ll want to use trending hashtags for inspiration—don’t just use what’s already out there. Otherwise, your hashtag campaign will get buried beneath the noise.
Did you know you can follow hashtags on Instagram? If not, then you should start doing so to monitor what’s of interest to your brand. This enables Instagram’s algorithm to populate your Explore feed with topics that are relevant to the top Instagram hashtags that you follow.
Following hashtags also gives you the opportunity to understand what kinds of influencers and brands (and regular users) use that hashtag, providing you with audience insights, content ideas, or even potential influencers to partner with.
Instead of following only top Instagram hashtags and using them in your campaigns, we strongly suggest making your own. Be clever by crafting a unique, funny, silly, or meaningful hashtag. Additionally, don’t be afraid to use your branded Instagram hashtags with individual influencer partners as well as broader branding initiatives.If you establish a branded hashtag, be sure to follow through and continue to use it in influencer content and encourage followers to create user-generated content with the hashtag. Involve it as much as possible as the connecting tissue across your uploads to help followers engage in your brand and its message.
Keeping tabs on the performance of Instagram hashtags can give you insight into which ones work best for your Instagram influencer marketing campaigns. Use free hashtag tracking tools, like Social Searcher to help you measure the reach of your hashtags, the engagement of those tags, and the top influencers on Instagram who use them.
This way, you’ll have a firmer grasp of which Instagram hashtags are the most effective in your influencer marketing campaigns and with which audiences.
Most locations aggregate their Instagram Stories, so by putting yourself out there with a geotag, you can get your brand some much-needed exposure in a given location by being part of a location’s highlight reel. This is especially useful for events and a great way of raising awareness in a specific area.
Try peppering your business Stories with branded hashtags as a way to engage your current audience even more, but remember to add a personal touch. Instagram Stories are premised on authenticity, so be sure to connect with your audience by analyzing how they use and engage with hashtags organically. These hashtags will also weave a consistent story and messaging across influencer sponsored Stories, allowing your brand to tap into their audience’s interests.
Pro Tip: Ask influencers to add the “Swipe Up” or “See More” tag to their sponsored Stories to direct users to a dedicated landing page on your site, the product page, or their sponsored blog post. For example, The DIY Mommy posted a regular in-feed sponsored post and a sponsored Story that links out to her sponsored blog post.
Making sure you’re using Instagram captions correctly and to their fullest potential is a must for Instagram influencer marketing. A strong caption, in addition to your hashtags, will give a welcome boost to audience engagement. Take for example
Like captions, hashtags can be used to provoke a response from audiences, generally through posing questions to them or by using a strong call to action. When used together, they improve engagement with and resonance of your posts. See our guide to writing good Instagram captions to optimize your Instagram messaging.
Instagram may be your primary platform, but don’t neglect the many other social media networks out there. You can broaden your reach by promoting your branded hashtags on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or even the increasingly popular TikTok.
Promoting Instagram hashtags cross-channel will give you the opportunity to reach other audiences and demographics that might not be possible on Instagram alone, while also solidifying your branded hashtags across multiple platforms that you’re active on.
As we mentioned earlier, authenticity is a huge part of influencer marketing, particularly on Instagram. Thus, brands should bear this in mind when advertising on the platform. Users are good at sniffing out fakeness and don’t engage well with it.
Loading up on top hashtags should not be central to your brand’s Instagram influencer marketing strategy. Instead, brands should consider adding hashtags in moderation, as a surplus of spammy, generic, and overtly promotional hashtags can overwhelm and deter audiences.
Instead, opt to use a hashtag generator and make sure that each post uses a variety of hashtags instead of taking a copy-and-paste approach.
Having a solid call to action is intimately tied to the engagement your content generates. Be sure to ask questions of your audience, require action to be taken, or leave a link in the description for them to explore.
CTAs can come in a variety of forms. Teasers are a common form of promotion to ignite interest in your brand, while followers can be encouraged to share or tag their friends in your post—a good way of expanding reach among new audiences.
Instagram hashtags are great vehicles for CTAs, so be sure to use one that demands action from your audience (#DareToCreate) and elicits a response to your brand message.
Finally, make sure you’re not treading on any toes with your hashtag (or tripping over your own feet).
Be sure that it’s not offensive, or that someone else isn’t already using a specific tag for their own campaign. Doublecheck your hashtag for any double meanings, and keep up to date with current events to ensure it’s being used appropriately.
Creating hashtags is an art akin to writing clever advertising taglines. With the right balance between catchy prose and professional messaging in Instagram hashtags, brands can achieve more success with their Instagram influencer marketing strategy.
Follow our guide for creating and leveraging Instagram captions and your brand will be on its way to making waves in your next Instagram influencer marketing campaign.