How to Use Instagram Hashtags in 2022: A Guide for Marketers

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Hashtags aren't dead - far from it. Here's how you can use them on Instagram to maximize your reach.

Article 7 Minutes
How to Use Instagram Hashtags in 2022: A Guide for Marketers

Do you use Instagram hashtags in your Instagram posts? If not, you should! Hashtags are a method of categorizing posts, and they’re a valuable way to help your target audience find your posts. Don’t overlook this essential aspect of Instagram marketing. Here’s what to know about how to use hashtags to increase your reach on Instagram.

Are Instagram hashtags still important in 2022?

The short answer: yes! Hashtags should still serve as a key piece to your content strategy on Instagram in 2022. It’s true that the Instagram algorithm has changed. But it’s also true that hashtags are still an extremely important way to market yourself on this platform.

In 2022, the Instagram algorithm for feed posts favors interests instead of timeliness. The algorithm considers time spent, likes, comments, saves, and taps on a profile when deciding where to rank a post on somebody’s home feed. The Explore page works similarly. You have a better chance of getting your content on the Explore page if you use niche hashtags (along with a strong caption and visually attractive content). The more well-chosen hashtags you use, the more people you’ll be able to reach, so the more views your post will get — and that’s what Instagram likes.

How to use Instagram hashtags in 2022

How many hashtags can you use on Instagram? Instagram allows you to use a maximum of 30 hashtags per post and 10 hashtags per Story. But just because you can use that many tags doesn’t mean you should.

Many experts recommend using somewhere between 3-5 hashtags on Instagram. Others recommend including up to 8-15. In the end, the answer to how many hashtags you should use on Instagram will likely be unique to each account. Experiment with how many tags you add to each post. With a little time, you’ll be able to hone in on what works for you.

You can put your hashtags either in your caption, or in the first comment of your post. If you want to hide the hashtags in the first comment (helping your caption look clutter-free and more readable), you can use a scheduling tool like Buffer to place the tags in the comment at the same time you schedule your post.

It’s important to avoid banned hashtags. Banned hashtags are hashtags that Instagram users have reported because the posts using them go against Instagram’s guidelines. If you share a post using a banned hashtag, your post will be hidden — so it’s essential to avoid using these tags.

The bad news is that banned hashtags are always changing, and Instagram doesn’t publish a definitive list of the hashtags that are currently banned. The good news is that you can check yourself against lists published by third parties: if a post didn’t perform well and you used one or more of the hashtags on the list, that hashtag might be banned.

So what hashtags should you use on Instagram? That’s what we’re going to talk about next.

Types of Instagram hashtags

There are several different types of hashtags you can use on Instagram. Each type is beneficial. While the types of hashtags you’ll use on each post will depend on the content of that specific post, in general, it’s good to use a mixture of different kinds of hashtags.

Location hashtags

Location hashtags are a good way to target customers in specific locations. If you’re a business located in Atlanta, you may choose to use location hashtags including:

  • #atlanta
  • #brookehaven
  • #atlantahairstylist
  • #atlantaga
  • #atlantahairsalon
  • #brookehavenhair
  • #georgiastylist

Screenshot example of hashtag use on Instagram

If you’re a worldwide corporation or a company providing virtual services, you may not need to use location hashtags. However, location-based tags can be extremely helpful for small businesses trying to reach more people in their local community.

Industry hashtags

Industry hashtags relate to the industry your business is in. Some of the most popular industries on Instagram are:

  • Beauty
  • Fashion
  • eCommerce
  • Fitness/health
  • Lifestyle
  • Pets
  • Food
  • Travel
  • Parenting

If you need help looking for industry hashtags, use a hashtag generator to find the best options for you.

Niche hashtags

Niche hashtags are more specific than industry hashtags. Niche tags take things a step further, helping you reach a certain subset of people — your ideal target audience. While you might use the hashtag #fitness if you’re in the fitness industry, you could also use a niche hashtag such as #buildmuscle if you sell workout plans that help people build muscle. This niche hashtag could help you find an audience of people who are looking for muscle building advice.

Example of niche instagram hashtag usage

Event hashtags

Event hashtags are used to promote events. The company or individual hosting the event will use the hashtag leading up to the event, and during and after the event, and attendees will use the tag too. The best event hashtags are memorable and unique, but don’t make things too complicated — pick a hashtag that’s logical and concise.

Branded hashtags

Branded hashtags are unique to your brand. These are hashtags that you’ve created so your customers can share posts related to your products or overall brand. Branded hashtags are a great way to get all of these posts in the same place and find new user-generated content to repost. Choose from creating a tag that’s more general and can be used 24/7 (many brands put this tag in their bio), and/or crafting a hashtag that’s meant to be used for a one-time campaign.

How to find the best Instagram hashtags

You know hashtags are important. You know what kinds of hashtags you need to use. But where are you supposed to find specific hashtags to use on your posts? Here are a few ways to find the best Instagram hashtags for you.

1. Use a hashtag generator

A hashtag generator is an online tool that’s probably the easiest way to find hashtags to use on Instagram. To use the generator, enter a general hashtag related to your industry. Then add your email address in the pop-up. You’ll receive an email with lists of the top hashtags, random hashtags, and hashtags that are the best match.

2. Scope out your competitors

Take a look at the Instagram accounts of your competitors and see what kind of tags they’re using. How many hashtags are they including per post? What industry hashtags are they using? Do they have a branded hashtag that you can use to draw inspiration and think up your own? Competitor analysis is a valuable method of finding the best hashtags to use on Instagram.

3. Research other posts on explore

The Explore tab on Instagram is a great opportunity to find hashtag ideas. If you regularly interact with accounts that are in the same industry as yours, your Explore page will likely be full of these similar accounts. Spend some time scrolling through your Explore page and looking at different posts, taking note of what hashtags they used and how well those posts appeared to perform.

Screenshot of the explore tab on Instagram

4. Do your own manual research

Sometimes, it’s best to go back to the basics. You can research hashtags on your own by running a simple Instagram search. Navigate to the search bar on your Instagram account and type in a keyword, such as “tennis.” Then tap “see all results” and “tags.” The first ten hashtags listed for this keyword are:

  • #tennis
  • #tennisskirt
  • #tennisnecklace
  • #tennisbracelet
  • #tenniselbow
  • #tennisplayer
  • #tenniscourt
  • #tennislove
  • #tennislife
  • #tennisfan

Think about ways you might be able to use these popular hashtags. You can also scroll further down the list of results to find smaller, more specific tags.

Track your Instagram hashtag performance

The final step in an Instagram hashtag strategy is tracking performance. You can do this by using Instagram Insights. When you view post insights for an individual post, you’ll be able to see how many impressions came from the hashtags you used. For more comprehensive metrics, use a third-party social media reporting and analytics tool.

Using Instagram hashtags

Hashtags are a must for anyone who wants to market themselves on Instagram in 2022. By using these tips and tricks, you’ll know exactly how to use Instagram hashtags in a way that’ll boost your account and increase your following and engagement.

Hailey Hudson


Hailey Hudson is a full-time freelance writer and content marketer based out of Atlanta, Georgia. She writes about all things digital and social media marketing.


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