Instagram Hashtag Strategy

Consider Instagram as a hotel full of guests and your profile is one of the million rooms present there. Sure, your friends may pay a visit, but they will not be regular. Like any hotel, Instagram has millions of common spaces which are hashtags. There is one for every mood, interest, emotion, time, location, but you need to find the right one to find your targeted audience. Using the right Instagram hashtag will help you find the suitable tags for your post and make your post reach the right people. Here is a full-fledged Instagram hashtag strategy guide.


Step 1: What do you aim to achieve?

Mention your business objectives.  Your content development should depend on your business goals. If your business objectives need you to reach new people, then hashtags will play a major role in your Instagram marketing strategy. 

So, if you want to reach to more people who will take a meaningful action to follow you or click on your bio link and become your customer, then you should definitely use hashtags. 

Always go beyond the first word which strikes your mind

Do not restrict yourself to major categories, use Hashtag Finder tool to find hashtags suitable for your niche or post.

Hashtag Brainstorming

Begin by brainstorming to find a richer spread of keywords. Look out for broad to the very focused categories to generate hashtags of different sizes. Right from interests to media, locations, product categories and branded hashtags, you should consider all types of hashtags to draft a complete Instagram hashtag strategy.

Step 2: Hashtag research

Look out for customer’s interest to particular hashtags they are using:

Use Instagram’s search bar autocomplete

After you have brainstormed terms, you just type a hashtag in the search bar and the autocomplete on Instagram will try to predict the hashtags based on their popularity. For instance, when you type #men Instagram suggest #menswear, #menstyle etc. 

Look for less popular hashtags

The Instagram autocomplete has a problem that it heavily weights the recommended hashtags depending on what you’ve previously searched. And, it doesn’t offer a good search result for less intuitive hashtags. You can do this by

  • Using “Insta” with your word.
  • Using “gram” with your word.
  • Adding “life” to the end of the hashtag.
  • Adding “otd” or “oftheday” to your hashtag.

Are difficult to search hashtags better to increase engagement?

Even after all the combinations, if you are still missing hashtags, then you can choose difficult to find hashtags. The more difficult a hashtag is to find, more are the chances that it has niche-specific high-quality content. The better the quality content on a hashtag is, the bigger are the chances that a community will get setup around it.

You can also find related hashtags by visiting a hashtag page on Instagram. There are suggestions linked to the original hashtag. 

Use more than autocomplete to find hashtags

Rather than predicting hashtags in autocomplete, you can also type your caption and Hashtag finder will suggest hashtags which have been used in similar contexts. The more words you mention in your caption, the better the Hashtag finder will predict.

Step 3: Assessing hashtags

It is important to assess the hashtags you are using. 

  • Does it appeal to your audience?
  • Will it fit in your posts?
  • How much engagement you are getting on the hashtag?
  • How many posts are there related to this hashtag?
  • Is it spammy?
  • Has the hashtag been banned now?
  • Can you make competitive posts on this hashtag?

Map brainstormed phrases to real hashtags

Streamlining your workflow works as a good part of Instagram strategy. With the right hashtags for your post, you can save yourself by turning them to hashtag lists. 

Make sure you have different hashtag list for different contents that you post. Hashtag lists are a good way to save time while posting but you should update your list regularly as the old ones burn out and new ones emerge all the time. 

Step 4: Use hashtags correctly

You should consider a few things to make your hashtag strategy full-proof.

Number of hashtags you should use

The optimum number of hashtags to be used on a post is 9 and the maximum number you can use is 30. Different marketers choose different numbers according to what works for them and their Instagram hashtag strategy. 

Balance between popular and niche hashtags

Using hashtags efficiently helps you reach to more people and create more engagement. So, what is the balance of famous and niche hashtags to increase engagement?

2-6 popular hashtags: It is important to use competitive hashtags in your post as it may push you in the “Top Posts”. If you have good engagement then popular hashtags will really pay off well.

7-24 moderately popular hashtags: Usually maximum hashtags fall in this category. It can make your post stick around for hours at the top of “Recent Posts”.

1-3 niche-based hashtags: Niche hashtags are related to your post. They may consist of branded hashtags and can create a good amount of engagement.

Step 5: Assessing your hashtags success over time

Assess the success of your hashtag strategy is tough as there isn’t any clarity of how much engagement your post has got from a given hashtag. Because your post will have dozens or more hashtags, it will be impossible to find out which one drove engagement unless you end up as a top post. 

What you can do is go to step 1 and find out which of you posts have helped you reach your business goals and figure out a similar post style to work for you.

Find out what hashtags is working for your posts

Type the hashtag you want to assess in the search bar of Post Inspector in the Tailwind for Instagram and all the posts will appear. Tap on the “Likes” to know which ones have the maximum likes. 

Link it to your business goal

Tailwind sees a lot of engagement on Instagram that consistently growth. The business goal with Instagram is to create an audience that you can reach organically to do great marketing with your content. Use hashtag strategy with tags to fulfill your mission.