Media Jelly - Marketing, Advertising, Creative Design and Digital Agency in Norwich, Norfolk, UK

What are hashtags and should I use them on Instagram?

To #hashtag or not to hashtag? That is the question.

Hashtags are typically added in the caption or comments of a post as a way to group different topics of content. Simply put, they are keywords that people use to search for specific posts.

On the other hand, it also adds context to a post. Using hashtags can be an effective way to expose your content to new audiences that care about a niche. For example, if you want people who are interested in healthy eating to find your post, you could add the hashtag #cleaneating to your post.

DOES USING HASHTAGS INCREASE ENGAGEMENT?
Hashtags have become extremely popular over the last few years. For this reason, Instagram users are always searching for best practices and tips around using them. Many of us would assume that including hashtags in our Instagram posts would help increase engagement. After all, they’re supposed to help people find your posts more easily, which should help you get more views and engagement.

According to this year’s findings, our results tell us that using more hashtags actually decreases your average engagement rate. This may be surprising as they seem to go against what many Instagram experts say about using hashtags.

There are a few possible explanations of this:

  • The most influential and engaged Instagram users get a substantial number of likes on their content naturally, not due to the use of hashtags – These highly engaged posts impact our averages
  • Good content will receive high engagement on its own – Hashtags will not boost the engagement of mediocre content
  • People are using irrelevant hashtags
  • A lot of spammy content includes a high number of hashtags, causing Instagram users to ignore them

The verdict? It’s likely better to use fewer hashtags (no more than 5) that are relevant to your post, than to use too many.

MOST USED INSTAGRAM HASHTAGS
There are potentially thousands of hashtags used on Instagram alone—how do you choose which ones to use? As the platform is best known for fashion, food, and lifestyle content, it’s no surprise we found the top 20 most used hashtags to fall into these categories.

Most used instagram hashtags of 2019

KEY TAKEAWAY FOR MARKETERS
When it comes to hashtags, it’s not about quantity, but relevance. Instagram allows you to include up to 30 hashtags in a post, but that doesn’t mean it’s beneficial for you to use that many! Since hashtags have become so popular, people may have become desensitized and have started to ignore them altogether. For this reason, we recommend using no more than 4-5 relevant hashtags in your posts.

When considering which hashtags to use, do a little digging on your competitors and industry influencers and see what’s working for them. Are they getting good engagement on their content? What type of hashtags are they using for posts similar to yours? Last but not least, create branded hashtags for your business

A branded hashtag is a hashtag that’s unique to your business. It can be as simple as your company name, tagline, or the name of one of your products or campaigns. Or it can be a hashtag that has nothing to do with your brand name, but has everything to do with your brand identity.”

TAYLOR LOREN, HEAD OF MARKETING AT LATER