April 6, 2019


What’s a #hashtag?

Put simply, Instagram hashtags are ‘tags’ or ‘labels’ that categorise your content. By doing so, it helps users discover content when they search for a particular topic of interest. For example, with my business (Paragon Collective), I might post a picture of my home office with hashtags #cairnssmallbusiness#deskinspo, and #girlbossesau. By using specific hashtags relevant to my business, I’ve given users interested in supporting local business the opportunity to find my content. If I’m lucky they might even choose to engage with it!

Why are hashtags so important?

  • They provide free advertising for your business.
  • Using existing hashtags makes it easy for your target audience to find your content.
  • Contributing to trending hashtags in your industry increases user engagement with your content. When a user sees a post that is of interest to them, they are likely to spend time looking through content made visible by that hashtag.
  • Creating unique hashtags particular to your content will provide increased brand awareness and business growth. It will also allow your message to stand out to the users who find the hashtag valuable. For most businesses, this is the primary function of using Instagram hashtags for marketing purposes.

Are there different types of hashtags?

In short, YES! Many social media managers only focus on 2 hashtag categories. However, I want to challenge them and say that they can be broken down into 6!

  1. General: These are industry-based hashtags attached to a lot of posts (500k+). An example would be #blogger.
  2. Specific: These are hashtags focused on your specialty or niche within your industry. An example would be #lifestyleblogger.
  3. Brand/Campaign: These hashtags make it easier for your target market to find your content and learn more about your brand. They are particularly useful in promoting advertising campaigns. A well-known example of this is the #icebucketchallenge by @als.
  4. Community: These hashtags are created for Instagram users that share similar interests and feel as though they are a part of a ‘tribe’. A prime example of this is #communityovercompetition by @risingtidesociety.
  5. Location: Location hashtags allow you to find and connect with a very specific audience. Examples include #cairnslifestyleblogger or #cairnsbossbabe.
  6. Event/Celebration: These hashtags are fairly self-explanatory and are sensitive to timing. Examples include #easter2019 or #internationalwomensday.

How many hashtags should I use?

Instagram allows a maximum of 30 per post. The jury’s still out on how many hashtags you should ACTUALLY use, but I recommend using all 30. With that said, the most important thing is to ensure that they all tie in with your overarching message, as well as your industry, brand, community, or location. If you’re active on stories, Instagram does allow you to include hashtags here too, where you can either type up to 10 with the text tool or use the hashtag sticker to add a single hashtag of your choice.

My best piece of advice would be to avoid using hashtags that are irrelevant or popular such as #followforfollow and #likeforlike. They look super spammy and drive people away from your valuable content. I know you’re all smarter than this anyway!

The last thing I will touch on is high-density and low-density hashtags. Wondering what on earth I mean? High density hashtags have over 500k posts already on the platform, meaning you’re up for a bit of competition. On the other end of the scale, low density hashtags have under 500k posts on the platform and have much less competition, meaning you’ll find it easier to rank on top posts. When you’re searching and planning out your hashtag sets, I recommend using a mixture of both.

I seriously could go on forever, but I truly hope you’re feeling a little less #clueless about hashtags. If not, here’s our #sendhelp package to help you on your merry way!  Happy hashtagging!