How Many Tags Should You Use on Instagram?
An essential element of every Instagram marketing strategy is the usage of Instagram hashtags. When used correctly, they have the power to enhance the visibility and engagement of your posts. You can generate more buzz around your brand by employing a good hashtag strategy. However, using them incorrectly can come with consequences. Besides running the risk of annoying your followers, you might also end up getting penalized by the algorithm. If you have questions about the right way to use Instagram hashtags, we have you covered. In this article, we will cover everything related to Instagram hashtags, from the right number of tags to use to the correct way of including them in your post.
What is the purpose of Instagram hashtags?
Hashtags are commonly used to categorize content on social media platforms. They start with a ‘#’ symbol, which is then followed by a combination of numbers, letters, or emojis. Instagram tags are used to make content more discoverable since they are essentially clickable links. Whenever anyone searches for a hashtag or clicks on a hashtag underneath someone’s post, they are taken to an explore page that shows all the posts with the same tag.
Hashtags can greatly help content creators in expanding the reach of their brand and getting the attention of the Instagram audience. Whenever you add a hashtag to your post, it will automatically appear on the explore page for that particular hashtag. Even if you add a hashtag to your Instagram Story, it will make its way to the hashtag page. Many Instagram users follow certain hashtags which deal with their topics of interest. Even if they are not on your following list, they will be able to see your post if you’ve used hashtags they follow. Instagram hashtags are also great for building a community on the platform, as they can motivate people to engage with your brand.
Type of Instagram hashtags
Here is a list of the popular types of tags that can be used on the platform –
1. Product/Service hashtags
These hashtags carry the general theme of your product or service. Some great examples are #shoes #carpentry #contentwriting.
2. Niche hashtags
Niche hashtags show how your content fits in with the rest of the industry. They essentially convey the specificity of your business. Although they are not as popular as industry hashtags, they can certainly help in increasing your Instagram engagement. Some great examples of niche hashtags are #travelvlogger and #foodphotographer.
3. Industry hashtags
Industry hashtags usually come with a lot of competition since they are used by many people. Historically, they have been tagged on millions of posts. Although they come with high competition, they can certainly help in increasing your post’s visibility on the platform. You can combine them with niche hashtags. Some great examples of industry hashtags are #photographer #vlogger #aesthetician #beauty.
4. Community hashtags
Community hashtags can be great for building your tribe on the platform. They are generally more specific than brand or niche hashtags; however, they have the advantage of lesser competition. You can add 3-5 community hashtags in addition to other hashtags to increase your visibility. To research the keywords for community hashtags, all you have to do is determine the hashtags most frequently used by your followers. Some great examples of these hashtags are #mytravelgram #instagood
5. Seasonal or special event hashtag
These hashtags are great if you want to be a part of a larger movement. They are also excellent for generating viral engagement. Seasonal hashtags can refer to holidays like #stpatricksday #nationalicecreamday or events like #superbowl #coachella.
6. Location hashtags
These hashtags are great if you want to increase the visibility of your post in a particular location. Location hashtags come with high specificity and low competition, and they can be used in addition to geotagging. You can combine these with industry and niche hashtags. Some great examples of location hashtags are #NYaesthetician, #NJhairstylist #TexasPhotographer.
7. Daily hashtags
These can be related to daily musings and phrases commonly searched by people like #MondayBlues #TransformationTuesday #SundaySweat etc.
8. Acronym hashtags
These hashtags are based on popular acronyms used by the millennials and GenZ these days. One of the most popular acronym hashtags is #TBT (throwback Thursday). Some other great examples of these hashtags are #OOTD #FBF #YOLO and #TGIF.
9. Relevant phrases
These hashtags combine the elements of multiple hashtag types, including niche hashtags, product hashtags, and community hashtags. They are based on the phrases used by Instagram users to connect with the communities existing on the platform as an insider. Some good examples of relevant phrase hashtags are #shewhowanders and #amwriting.
10. Emoji hashtags
These hashtags feature an emoji attached to a keyword or a phrase, or they can just be simple emoji hashtags.
How many tags should you use on Instagram?
Instagram allows users to add a maximum of 30 hashtags on a post and around ten hashtags on an Instagram Story. If you try to include more than 30 hashtags in your post/Story, the platform does not let you post it. Although Instagram allows you to add a fairly large amount of hashtags, the question remains – how many tags are best for increasing engagement?
While some Instagram experts say that using 1 to 3 hashtags is sufficient, others advise that using 11 hashtags is a better strategy. Instagram also recently advised creators to add 3 to 5 hashtags in their posts. This is different from what we have heard about hashtags until now. However, Instagram has been lately focusing on the usage of SEO and keywords. It is also introducing ‘suggest’ feeds, for which it would need an easier method of categorization. Since fewer hashtags are more reliable, we can somewhat understand why they might be advising lesser hashtags.
In purely objective terms, there is no “right” number of hashtags for Instagram. However, we will try to answer whether you should use more hashtags or whether going with just a select few tags is a better option. In an online study conducted on more than 18 million posts, the number of hashtags used in each post was compared with the reach rate of the posts. The reach rate is the reach of an account as a percentage of the follower count. It was found that as the number of hashtags increased, the reach rate also increased. When a greater number of hashtags were used in a post, it saw better results.
The takeaway from this is that using a greater number of hashtags is always the best strategy for increasing engagement and reach on Instagram. However, as Instagram starts rolling out ‘suggested’ feeds, it would be wiser to focus on relevant hashtags in a lesser number.
Hiding Instagram Hashtags
Although hashtags are necessary for finding your target audience, a post or Story filled with a large number of hashtags might appear to be cluttered. There are some easy ways to hide them in your Stories and posts. In the following sections, we will provide step-by-step methods for each of them.
Hiding Instagram Hashtags in the Caption
There are ways to include a large number of hashtags in your post’s caption without them being overtly visible to the audience. Here is how you can hide hashtags in the caption –
- Step 1: After you have written your caption for the post, click on Enter (or ‘Return’ if you are using iOS).
- Step 2: Add ellipses or some punctuation marks like a bullet or dash, and click on Enter again.
- Step 3: Repeat the second step around 3 to 4 times, and then add your hashtags beneath that.
Instagram usually hides any part of the caption that comes after 3 to 4 lines. For viewing the rest of the caption, the user would have to click on ‘more.’ This means that your hashtags will be effectively hidden from the audience. Since they will be visually separated from the caption, they would not distract the audience from your post.
Hiding Instagram Hashtags in the Comment Section
Another way to include hashtags in your post is by burying them in the comment section. Here is how you can do that –
- Step 1: Add your caption to the Instagram post without any hashtags and publish the post.
- Step 2: After the post has been published, click on the section where you can add comments.
- Step 3: Add all the hashtags in the form of a comment and click ‘post,’
When you add the hashtags in the form of a comment, it will not be visible to the audience until they try to view all the comments. On the desktop, however, the comments would be visible as is. Nonetheless, it is a great technique as a majority of the users browse Instagram through their mobiles.
Hiding Hashtags in Instagram Stories
There are ways to hide the hashtags in the Stories too. One way to go about it is by shrinking the size of the hashtags by pinching them to make them small. This way, they will not be as visible. Another way is to change the color of the hashtag sticker background to make it semi-transparent. If you wish to hide your hashtags completely, you can consider pasting a sticker, emoji, or GIF on top of it to hide them.
With this, we have hopefully provided a satisfactory answer about the right number of tags to use on Instagram. Although tag quantity is an important determiner of your marketing success, it is equally important to consider the tag quality. You will not be able to generate greater engagement by only using generic hashtags. It is important to research the right tags for your brand and use a combination of different types of tags to expand your reach. Something that can help you immensely in this respect is the Hashtag Research & Profile Optimization Service provided by Mr. Insta. Using this service, you can obtain niche-specific hashtags for your brand, which have been thoroughly researched by our Instagram experts. We, at Mr. Insta, also offer a host of other premium Instagram services like free Instagram followers, likes, comments, views, and more. If you are interested in boosting your Instagram engagement, contact us today!
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