“When I grow up”, I said, “I'm gonna open an all-day breakfast buffet called Scrambled Eggs and Hashtags. It's gonna be delicious!” – Anonymous
We just can’t live without hashtags if we hope to thrive on social media, and that’s the universal truth. If you are on Instagram, it wouldn’t be surprising if you would probably choose hashtags over your scrambled eggs.
But the question that props up perpetually like a jack-in-the-box is how many hashtags should be used on Instagram? There’s been a lot of talk and debate on this on social media which is understandable. People are divided on whether they should use only a few niche hashtags or use up all the 30 hashtags that have been allotted to them on Instagram. Some have even questioned the worthiness of hashtags in the present times - Do we really need them? We decided to jump into the debate and answer all the hashtag questions after a detailed study of Instagram analytics and expert opinions. Read on!
How many hashtags should I use on Instagram?
According to Instagram, you should use anything between 3-5 hashtags. That’s the new mantra! Forget the earlier advice given by Instagram earlier this year that creators should use 8-15 hashtags. The advice to use 3-5 hashtags comes in the wake of the expansion of discoverability and SEO tools on Instagram. It is logical in this regard that Instagram wants users to use fewer hashtags so that they may be relevant in a fast-evolving platform.
This will enable Instagram to categorise your posts properly and recommend your posts in suggested content options like the Instagram Reels feed or the updated hashtag search tabs. Instagram can also regulate spam on hashtags. But let’s investigate this further by studying some data and see if it is the right strategy?
Consider this stat - the average reach rate and the average engagement rate increase considerably when the number of hashtags increases beyond 5 per post. The key, therefore, is your hashtag strategy and how you use it on Instagram to maximise your overall reach and engagement rate. Also, you need to study the performance of your hashtags and figure out what’s working and what’s not.
Our data is conclusive; the more hashtags you use, the better! So, 20 is the magic number for reach, and 30 is the magic number for engagement. But hashtags need to be relevant to your brand, content, and target audience.
But before you go berserk with hashtags, remember that it’s a long-term player and not for quick returns in terms of reach and engagement. It has to be used just as a spice is used for cooking, and you as the cook need to know how much to use. Using too much or too less won’t have the desired effect. Mix it with good content and consistent posts to reach engaged audiences.
How do you find the right hashtags?
The right hashtags used are more important than using a lot of them. Quality is always better than quantity, and Instagram is no different! All the hashtags that you use should be on brand, content relevant, and cater specifically to your audience and business. Take a look at these 5 types of hashtags for a better understanding:
- Location-based hashtags, like #RegentPark or #UpperWestWend
- Branded hashtags for campaigns or events, like #HM or #LakmeFashionWeek
- Industry hashtags that describe your niche, like #CelebrityChefs or #QualityBakers
- Hashtags that are community-focused and bring your community together, like #BikersUnitedLife
- Descriptive hashtags which tell the audience everything about your product post, like #NykaaFashionLuxe or #SabyasachiJewellery
Finding the right hashtags that resonate with your brand will take some time to research and find on Instagram. But you can make your search and life easier, thanks to these 3 ways to find your preferred hashtag.
- Use a hashtag suggestion tool
- Use the Instagram explore page
- Discover tags using Instagram's search tool
- How to optimise your hashtag strategy
A perfect hashtag strategy demands time and patience for the best results and won’t happen in a flash. A lot of trial and error is needed to discover what’s right and what’s not. Analysing the performance of your hashtags is a tested way to gauge your success. Instagram Analytics is the only way you’ll figure out which hashtags are working for you so that you can tweak your hashtag strategy accordingly.
- How many hashtags should you use on Instagram?
About 10- 15 hashtags are good to begin with. But the most common for Instagram usage is between 3 and 5. Do some testing to see what works best for your specific business.
- Is it better to use a lot of hashtags on Instagram?
As of now, using more hashtags is the best strategy to increase your reach and engagement. But keep in mind that focusing on fewer, yet relevant hashtags could be a good strategy.
- Is it bad to use all 30 hashtags on Instagram?
Instagram allows a maximum hashtag use of 30. It’s recommended that you use them all unless you are satisfied with your follower number and engagement.
- Are hashtags still relevant in 2022?
Yes, but only if used the right way. Hashtags have to be used to increase engagement, organise content, and connect users on various social media platforms.
- Do hashtags increase Instagram engagement?
Yes. Instagram hashtags make your content discoverable by users, by categorising them properly so you get more followers, increase engagement and boost reach and brand awareness.
- Do influencers use hashtags?
With Hashtags, you can find the influencers you need for your marketing campaign. They also provide useful competitive data. Study the brand or campaign-specific hashtags that influencers are using within their posts to understand which influencers are engaged by your competition.
- How do you analyse hashtag performance?
A hashtag analytics tool is used to measure hashtag performance. With a hashtag tool, you'll be able to track your campaign performance and also gain key insights about your audience and your brand competitors.