5 Effective ways to use Instagram Hashtags: An Instagram Hashtag Strategy


You’ve probably read and listened to different ways by which you can use hashtags on instagram and you’ve tried them all.  This post is a little bit different because while you may have tried some hashtag strategies in this post, I assure you that you haven’t tried them all.

And everyone (be it a newbie instagram user or an instagram pro) will learn something new about how to find and use high performing instagram hashtags.

Therefore stick with me till the end and you’d be glad you did. Also, I have a bonus hashtag strategy for you at the end of post!

Okay, let’s get to it!

We all know that hashtags increase the reach and discoverability  of your post on instagram and it’s very important to grow your account especially if you just started using the platform.  While you can use any combination of hashtag you want, some produce more result than others. So how will you know the hashtags that produce the best results?

Well, the truth is you’d have to test different hashtags in your industry or niche and see the ones that work best for your business. But there are ways to quickly and easily know the best hashtags to use for your posts. Here, I’ve included some strategic ways to get and use instagram hashtags for your business or even just for your personal account.

1.Use of Location based hashtags:

Depending on the kind of business you run, it may or may not be very important to use location based hashtags. You may ask: what are location based hashtags for businesses?

These are hashtags used on instagram that signify the area, state, country or continent where a business is based or/and the target audience the business intends to attract.For example a hashtag such as #newyorkbusiness is location based because it is specific about where the business is located.  It’s not a business in Florida or London, it’s a business in New York.

Location based hashtags are very useful for brick and mortar businesses because they increase the discoverability of these businesses. These kind of instagram hashtags are also important for businesses that want to target the people in a particular area or state and convert them to customers.

Another advantage of using location based hashtags is the fact that it is less competitive when compared to non-location based hashtags of the same word. Compare these two hashtags #business and #newyorkbusiness below;

#business on instagram

#newyorkbusiness hashtag

The number of posts classified under the hashtag #business is far greater than posts found in  the hashtag #newyorkbusiness therefore there is a great tendency for your post to get buried immediately when you use #business in your post…unless you already have an account with a large number of followers.

So how do you find and select the best location based hashtags for your business? We both know you can only use 30 hashtags in each instagram post  and there are different Strategies and methods for picking the right hashtags to use for a particular post. Now, put yourself in the shoes of your ideal customer  and try to think of the words a customer would likely search for when he/she wants to buy your product/service. Let’s use the example of a salon business in New York City ( I kinda like New York City)

If you own a salon in New York, about 90% of your customers will be people living in New York. Therefore it makes sense to focus most of your marketing efforts there. Using location based hashtags such as #newyorksalon #newyorkhairdresser #newyorkwomen #newyorkhair #newyorkmodel #manhattanbride etc may be more effective than using hashtags such as #salon and #hairdressing.

Note that I italicized ‘’may be” in the last sentence because these are just examples. You have to test and see what works for you. If you’re using about 20 hashtags per post and you want your post seen by a particular group of individuals living in a place, then you can use 4-7 location based hashtags.

Doing this consistently will target and attract audience based in your location. They’d be more willing to buy your product/service especially when you give them a reason to buy from you

2. Copy and Use of hashtags found in the explore page of Instagram:

There are different possible reasons for which a post can land in the explore page of instagram  and landing on the explore page can really increase your reach and visibility. Having tons of engagement (likes and comment) on a post in the first hour of posting increases the possibility of landing on the explore page.

But this is usually possible for accounts with a large number of followers already. So what can you do to land on the explore page of instagram? The short answer is HASHTAGS – but with a different PROVEN twist!

Instagram has greatly improved user experience such that it’s the type of posts (images and videos) you engage with (watch, like, save and comment on) that appears in your explore page.

Therefore the posts seen on the explore page of two separate accounts are not likely to be exactly the same. My explore page is filled with posts about businesses, tech and marketing because that’s what I engage the most with. The best way to explain this strategy is by using an example so let’s dive into it!

This is a post i saw on the explore page of instagram;

You can see that it has hundreds of likes, not thousands. Then checking the number of followers the account had and guess what …it was below 1500! Yet, the post was seen by almost 100,000 accounts and liked by almost 4000.


Berrygood's post with many likes on instagramHashtags giving lots of likes

How did the post get to reach the explore page? HASHTAGS! other posts in BerryGood80 ‘s feed with the same sets of hashtags  had massive engagements and reach, enabling it to land on the explore page.

The combination of these great hashtags with a great post (good content) really increased the visibility of the post (and account)  and made it land on the explore page. So what should you do to land on the explore page of instagram using hashtags and which hashtags should you copy?

  1. Surf your explore page looking for posts with more than 15 hashtags
  2. Check that the content was posted by account(s) with Less than 5000 followers (better if it’s less than 2000). If you don’t see one immediately, leave it and come back later. It may take a while but it’s worth it
  3. Make sure the posts and hashtags are related to your business . (when you like and engage with posts that are in your niche, such posts appear automatically in your explore feed. So this shouldn’t be a problem)
  4. Copy the hashtags used in the post and use it for your post.


Note that you must have a great content and post that content at the right time for maximum reach.



3. Use hashtags monitoring tool(s):

 There are so many hashtag monitoring tools out there that help measure the hashtags that are working and those that aren’t. With these tools,  you can know the hashtags that is giving you the highest reach and keep them while refraining from using hashtags that yield no feasible results.

Also these tools suggest related hashtags to use for your post that are highly engaging.  Refrain from using suggested competitive hashtags especially if you don’t have a lot of followers already. Some of these tools are free while others require payment.

There’s also the free inbuilt instagram analytics tool that can be used to measure the reach of hashtags but this can only be used with an instagram business account.

So if you’re not using an instagram business account, make a switch now… it’s free. Another important  function of social media monitoring tools is the ability to discover trending hashtags which leads us to the next strategy:


4. Use trending hashtags:

Trending hashtags have the ability to open your post IMMEDIATELY to a wide audience and this should be taken advantage of.

What are trending hashtags on instagram? These are hashtags that are popular at that particular moment and used by a large number of users over a period of time. They can be short-lived staying for a few days, weeks  or months or can last for years.

Short-lived trending hashtags are usually caused by events that happen or will happen over a short period of time e.g #election2018 or #blackfriday or #christmassales2019 while long-lived hashtags are usually evergreen and can be some of the most popular instagram hashtags even though it may not necessarily be the best hashtag to be used by you. (they can be used anytime)  e.g #instadaily or #photooftheday.

Jumping on a trending hashtag in your niche can really increase the discoverability of your instagram account. As a business, use both short-lived and long-lived instagram hashtags in your niche.

Don’t just use any hashtag because it is trending.

For example, if you’re running a salon business and you find out that a hashtag such as #racecarmiami is trending, there’s no point using it because even though your post will reach a wider audience, it won’t be appreciated or engaged with.

Why? They are not interested in hair and hair products!


So use trending hashtags that are related to your business niche. You can also modify your content to fit a trending hashtag as long as it still fits with your brand voice, image and purpose. For example: Your business deals in the sale of headsets and a hashtag related to bicycles is trending.

You want to ride on the wave of the hashtag but your product has nothing to do with bicycles! What can you do? Well, you can capture the photo of a person using your headset while riding the bicycle!

You therefore kill to birds with a stone by marketing your product and trending ‘un-spammingly’  on a hashtag that is not related to your niche which opens you up to a new audience. Social media monitoring tools such as this  are useful for viewing trending hashtags in your niche. So feel free to use these tools to improve the use of hashtags in your posts.


5. Find out the hashtags your customer and your competition use:

it’s obvious, isn’t it?!  Find out the hashtags that your ideal customer use , note it down and use it in your posts! Of course, you may have to tailor your content (without compromising your brand voice and feel) to fit the usage of the hashtag. So how do you go about it? Go to the pages of the kind of people you want as customers and check out a few of their posts. Note the kind of hashtags they use and write them down.

For example: your target audience can be  women between the ages 20 and 30, have dogs and live in New York City. Check out some of their posts noting the hashtags they use. Use these hashtags to find other related hashtags and voila! ( voila means ‘Yay!’ right?) You’ve got some hashtags that you can add to your posts.


You can  also check out hashtags used by established businesses that sell the same product or offer the same service that you do. Do make sure these businesses have real followers and a high engagements with their audience . You can then use these hashtags directly or modify it to suit your need.


Bonus Strategy

Have a brand hashtag: Brand hashtags are hashtags created and used consistently by a brand in order to differentiate its product from other similar products, project itself as a unique brand and engage with followers and customers better over a period of time (time can range from a few weeks to…forever).

An example of a lifetime branded hashtag is Nike’s . Nike has been using #justdoit consistently for years now

while an example of a short-term branded hashtag is #2weeksdiscountoffer. Even though it may take a while before your crafted brand hashtag sticks, it pays off later as your brand grows.


Advantages of a brand hashtag include:

  1. Differentiation of brand from other businesses in the niche
  2. Forming a community that is a part of and engages with that hashtag therefore increasing visibility
  3. Increasing engagement from followers by asking them to use the hashtag in their post for the chance to be featured on their page
  4. It’s awesome

Make sure that the branded hashtag you choose is not long, easy to remember and has a nice ring to it. It should be inspirational and catchy.


With the implementation of these hashtag strategies, you should experience greater and more targeted reach with your posts. Do you have other hashtag strategies you think will increase visibility on instagram? Then do share in the comment section below:






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