Instagram hashtags in 2022:
ultimate guide

Julia Moore
Everybody who wants to get more likes and subscribers should use Instagram hashtags. There are some difficulties that prevent the growth. We will tell you how to find the right words to put under your posts, Stoirie, Reels, and how to use them.
Reading time — 18 minutes

What Instagram hashtags are

A distinction of hashtags is the symbol "#" at the beginning. It is followed by one or several words. You don't need to put space and special characters between them. Instagrammers often add underscore to separate words, though. 

Emoji and numbers are also included in IG tags. Some tags consist only of them.

How hashtags work on Instagram

Each Instagram hashtag is an active link. It leads to a page with the content marked with this tag.

Authors can increase the reach if they get on these pages. Not only their subscribers view photos and videos there, but everybody who is interested in the content.

Users can find content of a certain topic using an Instagram hashtag. It may be a place, an event, people or animals, anything. Whatever you are interested in, a hashtag is already there.

Hashtag pages

Tap on a tag to go to its page. You can also get to the page through the search. Write a word and tap a tag. 

On a hashtag page, you will see posts, Stories, Reels and IGTV, which Instagram authors marked with the tag. You also can mark your content to make it appear on the page and more people see it. 

Users won’t see content of a private profile, if they haven't subscribed to it. If Stories are restricted, they will be shown only for people who can view it from the profile page. So, you better not use the close friends list if you want to get more reach and engagement.

Users can follow a hashtag

You can follow a hashtag. Then, Instagram posts marked with it will be shown in your feed. So you will be aware of what's going on with your competitors, won’t miss trends, and will receive inspirational ideas regularly. 

Your subscribers see hashtags you follow on Instagram. The tags can be found on the following list near users. And subscribers see the sign Followed by your_username on a hashtag page. 

Official Instagram information on the feed formation after you subscribed to a tag is out of date. And we can tell you only about our own scrutiny results.

  • Users see different posts with a tag in their feeds.
  • The more posts with a tag you like, the more of them appear in your feed. 
  • Posts in your feed are added regardless of what you see in the Top and Recent tabs. 

Top and Recent tabs on a hashtag page

There are two tabs on a tag search result page, which are Top and Recent. 

On the first one you see the best content according to Instagram. Its algorithms estimate posts' reach, engagement, and the number of followers in the profiles. Add to that, the algorithms consider what content is the interest of a particular user. They analyze what posts an instagrammer likes and comments most often. That’s why users see different photos and videos in their Top tabs. 

In the Recent tab, the latest content is shown. Photos and videos from new profiles are also shown there.

Go to a tag page before posting photos and videos. Make sure the tag means the same to you and users. For example, #pigeionpose has nothing to do with the birds, it’s about yoga.

How and where to use Instagram hashtags

Hahstags in Instagram bio and Stories are a rarity. Users add them under posts, in Reels and IGTV more often. Let’s look closer at each case. 

Profile bio

In bio, people add their own Instagram hashtags. It may be the name of your brand, current contest or marathon. More detailed information about hashtags in Instagram bio you can find in the article about how to create a business bio.

Instagram posts

You can add hashtags in the caption or first comment. The place affects a profile’s development. The number of tags is also an influence on reach and engagement. You can add up to 30 hashtags on Instagram. But don’t try to add "as many as you can".

The best number of hashtags and their place depend on your Instagram account size. Both parameters we examined in the article where to add tags. The study was based on Socialinsider and Quuu research.

Here we leave a short table.

Find the number of your followers in the first column. From columns on the right, you can know where it's better to put Instagram hashtags, whether you should hide them and how many to add.

Number of followers (thousands)PlaceShownHashtags number
under 5caption-6
5-10caption+13
10-50caption-2
50-100caption-7
100 and morecomment+6

Examples of hidden hashtags with emoji: 

Hashtags in the caption

Upload content. Type "#" and start writing a word. Choose hashtags from the list that Instagram suggests. 

Hashtrags in comments

Go to the comments section. Type "#" and the beginning of a word. Choose from the suggested list of Instagram hashtags.

Hahstags in Instagram Stories

Not a Story turned up on a tag page when we were writing the article. At the same time, there is no official information that the content won’t be shown on the pages anymore. So let’s look at how to hashtag on Instagram Stories. 

You can add up to 30 hashtags as text and one hashtag sticker to an Instagram Story. Unlike posts, we haven't got any reliable information about the tag’s influence on a profile development. So experiment and monitor your rivals. 

Tag as text:

  1. Choose adding text.
  2. Type "#" and start writing a word. 
  3. Swipe to the right to choose the option you need. 

Repeat steps 1-3 to add one more hashtags. Unfortunately, you can add only one hashtag on Instagram Story in one go. Otherwise, you will have only the last tag as an active link. 

Hashtag sticker: 

  1. Tap the stickers icon.
  2. Choose a hashtag sticker.
  3. Type a word or choose from the suggested list of hashtags. 

Hide hashtags in your Stories

You can hide hashtags in Instagram Stories. No one knows for sure how it affects the promotion yet. All we can do is to experiment. 

If you think a tag is hard on the eye or make a secret of promoting your account with tags, put a sticker over:

OR

Make the text or sticker as small as possible. To do this, tap it with two fingers and move them towards each other. Then, drag the sticker or text to where they will blend with the background. 

Look at the examples below. Can you see hashtags in the second screenshot? We can’t. But they are there.

Hashtags for Reels and IGTV

You can add no more than 30 hashtags to Instagram Reels and IGTV captions when posting them. No information has yet been provided about the optimal number.

Write "#" and a word in the caption after uploading a video. 

If you turn on "Also share to feed", the tags are copied to the preview description.

Hashtagging time on Instagram

Add hashtags when your audience is the most active. This time the users scroll their feed and visit a Recent tab more often. This will contribute to your growth on Instagram.

If your content is at the top of the tab at that time, it gets more reach and engagement. And if your photo and video are good, you get more likes and subscribers.

You can know where the target audience is most active in Insights.

Repeated IG hashtagging

You can hashtag not only when posting. Instagram hashtags may be changed in captions and comments under posts and IGTV. In Reels you can add and delete tags only in comments. Instagram Stories are not to be edited, you have to reupload them if you want new hashtags.

We noticed that posts get to the Recent tab no matter how much time passes from posting to hashtagging. You can change IG hashtags gradually, not all in one day. Then, your post will always be at the Recent top of the tags written under it not long ago. But remember about the limits — there can be no more than 30 tags under a post.

Not only new Insta hashtags you can add. Delete a tag from the caption, save the publication. Open the editing menu again and write the same tag. It works alike with comments. Delete and add again a comment with tags. The post will be at the top of the tag’s Recent tab. 

Don’t use repeated hashtagging as a base of promotion. You can’t foresee whether it’ll cause Instagram to ban you. 

Hashtags language

You can write tags in any language. You can even write them in several languages at once. For example, in English and the native language of your target audience. 

English as an additional language for tags increases Instagram reach best of all. According to the Internet World Stats, 26% of users use it. Besides, the language is recognized as an International language. Even people with minimal English skills use it for hashtag search. 

English is the most popular language on the Internet. To make a comparison, the second most popular one, Chinese, is used by 19% of people on the Internet. At the same time, the popularity of Chinese is mostly due to the large country's population. 

It is worth recalling, Instagram hashtags should also be written in the local language. Then, any user from your target audience can find you. 

Popular Instagram hashtags

On Instagram, you can check how popular a tag is among authors. To do it, type a tag in the search and you’ll see the number of posts with it. 

The tags are roughly divided by the number of Instagram posts with them.

  • Low-frequency — up to 50 K.
  • Mid-frequency — 50-100 K.
  • High-frequency — more than 100 K.

How to choose hashtags for Instagram

Do not strive to post only with high-frequency tags. Popular among authors tags are not the same as popular among target audience tags. A big number of photos and videos on a tag page doesn’t mean the content is in demand on Instagram. 

For example, authors have posted 67 M posts tagged #garden, and 52.2 K #gardendesignideas posts. It doesn’t mean users search #garden more often. Design ideas for their own gardens particularly may interest them even more. Unfortunately, you can’t know for sure if it’s true in every single case. 

On a popular tag page, a post is lost quickly. It will be replaced by new content, and you won’t get expected reach and engagement. 

So what are the hashtags that you should use for Instagram growth? You better use tags with different frequencies. Less popular Instagram hashtags help to get bigger reach and engagement. If users like the posted content, you get more likes and new followers. High-frequency hashtags give results right after publishing, while the post is still at the top of the Recent. 

Find the right Instagram hashtags

Collecting the right hashtags takes time. But as a result you get more likes and subscribers on Instagram.

Competitors

Look what tags your competitors use on Instagram. There might be hashtags you’d never come up with. 

Audience

Consider the general portrait of your audience to find the right Instagram hashtags. There is no sense in using modern slang if you promote wrinkle cream or camel’s hair belt. On the other hand, a young audience won’t understand boomers’ phrases.

Age, gender and location of the followers you can see in the Insights. 

Locations 

Add places to the word combinations. They can turn any high-frequency Instagram hashtag into a low-frequency one. 

Such tags are even more useful to local business. Thus you’ll attract the audience which is more likely to buy your product. The users will be more active in your Instagram profile, which is a good sign to Instagram algorithms. 

Look at the examples. A popular hashtag #coffee becomes a low-frequency tag after fleshing it out with New York City location.

Banned hashtags 

You can’t add hashtags encouraging people to harmful behavior and violating the Community Guidelines. You just won’t see banned hashtags in the Instagram search. 

There are also ambiguous tags. Not all content with them violates the Instagram rules. So there are pages of these tags in the search results, but there is no separation into Top and Recent. Getting on such tag pages is difficult, but we do not recommend it either way. The social media restricts showing posts with such tags.

We do not recommend using tags like #mutuallikes or #mutualsubscription. To Instagram, it equals cheating. These are not banned hashtags, but your account still may be banned. 

Create your own Instagram hashtags

Unique tags are used for making contests and marathons, generating users' content. Just add a tag in your bio or when posting like you usually do. The page for you own Instagram hashtag will be created automatically. Other users also will be able to use it.

If you want to create your own hashtag for Instagram, you need to think up a really unique word or word combination. The one that other users will not add when posting their completely other sort of content. 

Follow your branded hashtags. Then you can monitor your reputation, what other users post on Instagram using it, and how your marathon’s going.

For example, Popsugarbeauty uses its name to create their own branded hashtag on Instagram. 

How to use hashtags on Instagram

Now you know how to find the right hashtags for Instagram. Make a list and order the tags in a table. Then, you will quickly find IG hashtags for publications. You can also track repeating tags. One and the same hashtags under several Instagram posts in a row is a bad signal for the algorithms.

Separate tags you’ve collected by the type and popularity. For each topic there should be several tags with different frequencies. 

Post typeLow-frequencyMid-frequencyHigh-frequency
Coffee beans#colombianarino, #brasilsantos, #brazilminas#roastedbeans#arabica, #robusta, #cofeebeans
Inspiration#morningcoffeepainting, #morningcoffeethought#coffeebreaks, #coffeereview#coffeeart, #coffeelife, #coffevibes
Address#8thstreetcoffee, #coffeenyc#nyccoffee #coffeeshop
Contests#wincoffeeforaweek, #coffeeforfree, #nameofthecontesttag#coffeeforfree, #wincoffee#coffeeforyou, #needcoffee
Recipes#cinnamonlatterecipe, #summerlatte, #latterecipe#latteheart, #lattelover#cappuccino, #latte, #americano, #v60coffee

Choose a post topic. Choose an Instagram hashtag from each column of frequency. 

Hashtags analytics

Insights help to estimate how effectively you use hashtags on Instagram. Analyze the metrics of approximately the same content with different hashtags. You can figure out a pattern of what hashtags cause the biggest number of likes and comments. Using these words will result in your Instagram growth.

Posts statistics also show how many people viewed your photo and video from a tag page.

The bottom line 

Instagram hashtags are a great tool for your account growth. If you use them right, you can increase reach and engagement, gain more likes and followers. 

Find hashtags for your Instagram profile and arrange them in a table. Add tags of different frequency in posts, Reels, IGTV. Hashtags in Instagram Stories won’t be much help in an account promotion. 

Study Insights, metrics changes when use different tags. Use those that work best for you. 

Tell in the comments where you usually hashtag on Instagram?