As a casual user of Instagram, people click on hashtags to find relevant posts and topics that interest them. That means if you are trying to grow on Instagram, you need to be using the right hashtags to get your content in front of the right audience. Seems simple enough, right? Turns out it can be quite difficult to understand how to effectively use hashtags on Instagram in 2021. As a result of this, I get asked a lot of questions like: How many hashtags should I use on Instagram? Should I include emojis in my hashtags? What are the best types of hashtags to use? Is it possible to overuse hashtags? Is there a perfect number of hashtags to use on each post? Hashtags in comments or captions, which one is better? Will I get in trouble for using certain hashtags? The list goes on and on. In case you didn’t know already, Instagram has a limit of 30 hashtags per post that you can optionally use. A huge misconception and one of the most frequently asked questions is how many hashtags should I use on my Instagram posts. Well, here’s your answer… You should be using all 30 hashtags on every single post you make on Instagram. Here are my six reasons why.
1. There Isn’t a Magic Number, Studies Are Lying to You
When you search Google for the “best number of hashtags to use on an Instagram post,” you’re provided a plethora of blog articles to choose from.
Most of these blogs famously copy the same exact outdated study.
In almost every hashtag article on this subject, you will see them say things like interactions are highest on Instagram with 11 hashtags.These studies are fundamentally wrong in how they’re measuring the benefit of using hashtags.
All they are doing is analyzing engagement on a large group of posts and seeing how many hashtags each post used. They look at some numbers and then boom: 11 hashtags are the best.
Saying any number of hashtags on Instagram increases engagement is flawed from the start. Hashtags don’t make people engage with your content. Instead, they can make your content more visible to the right people.
So why limit your exposure and not use all 30 for every post?
2. Your Content Shows Up in 30 Different Feeds
Let’s breakdown exactly how hashtags work on Instagram so we can see another benefit to using 30 hashtags per post.
For every hashtag you use, you will always show up in the Recent Posts feed of each — literally every post that has used that hashtag in chronological order.
You also have the chance of reaching the Top Posts feed for each hashtag you use too if Instagram thinks your content is better than most using that hashtag.
People can also follow hashtags now so if you reach the Top Posts for a hashtag that usually means you show up in the feed for followers of that hashtag as well.
Simply put, using less than 30 hashtags limits your chances and exposure of getting to reach the Top Posts for 30 different hashtag feeds.
You want to give yourself as many chances as possible for reaching the Top Posts feeds or perhaps even being on someone’s home feed because they follow the hashtags you used.
3. Using More Hashtags Won’t Affect Your Engagement
You’ve probably heard, seen, or read about how using too many hashtags on Instagram can spoil the look or engagement of your content.
But, does it really?
Take a look at yourself as a user on Instagram — do you ever see a post and think eww they used too many hashtags… I’m not going to like their content.
You don’t, right? Well, no one does that either. No one cares about the specific number of hashtags you use. In fact, Instagram has been around for so long that people are desensitized to it. When they see a block of hashtags in they glaze over it.
If you still want to hide your hashtags, you should put them as a comment so it doesn’t even show up in your caption.
If you’re wondering if there’s a downside to this — there isn’t. It works just the same as if you were using the hashtags in your caption.
Using a comment simply keep your caption hashtag free and Instagram automatically hides it nicely when it appears on your feed as well.
4. You Can Better Classify Your Account on Instagram
One of the most important factors to consider when you start using hashtags is how you want Instagram to think about your account and the content you produce.
The race for engagement on Instagram is growing by the minute with estimates for it to hit one billion global users by 2023.
This makes it harder and harder to sift through all of the content on Instagram and understand what every profile is all about.
Instagram must be good at classifying your account in order for it to be successful. You don’t want to be a fashion stylist on Instagram and see content on how to be a great web developer.
This is where hashtags come in.
Hashtags have two main functions:
They bring in new viewers to your content since your post will show up in the various feeds of every hashtag you use.
They help classify your account so Instagram knows who they should show your content to.
When it comes to Instagram understanding your content, they use all sorts of other inputs such as image recognition, caption, location, likes, comments, who you engage with, who engages with you, followers’ interests, and much more.
Unlike most of the inputs, you are directly in control of how Instagram classifies your account when it comes to the hashtags you use. You want Instagram to show your content to your target audience, so give them as much as possible to push them in the correct direction.
As a result, by using 30 niche related hashtags, you are specifically telling Instagram the types of viewers that would enjoy your content.
5. There Are Plenty of Niche Hashtags To Go Around
No matter what your niche, it’s impossible to run out of good hashtags to use. There are so many already out there being actively used and new hashtags are popping up by the minute.
This is why I find it hard to believe that someone couldn’t find at least 30 hashtags to use on a single post.
If you’re having trouble finding niche hashtags then try using a hashtag suggestion tool.
It’s 2021 and there are a lot of tools out there to level up your Instagram growth. I use Curate to give me hashtag suggestions based on my past hashtag usage. It tells me about hashtags I should stop using, ones that are working, and suggests new hashtags in my niche to try.
But remember, don’t just find 30 niche hashtags once and then keep repeating them over and over again.
Vary your hashtags with each post, monitor your results, and swap out underperforming hashtags with new ones to continue to see growth.
6. There Is No Downside Ever Recorded
With a lot of misinformation and false claims, you might probably think using 30 hashtags is a terrible offense. Instagram has never penalized anyone for using 30 hashtags over another number.
Instead, they constantly encourage you to use them to increase your reach. Your viewers don’t care if you use 30 hashtags or not, neither does Instagram.
The key is finding hashtags that align with the interests of your audience.
You should never use meaningless hashtags that aren’t in your niche just to get to 30. That’s missing the point and in fact, could have a negative impact.
If users begin to tap on Don’t Show for This Hashtag for your content then that’s bad news.
Always make sure you double-check the relevancy of the hashtags you use and don’t use unrelated hashtags just to get to 30.
Hashtags can make or break your whole approach to growing your Instagram following. Therefore, always take time to do your research and put effort into your selection of hashtags.
If you’re having a difficult time finding hashtags, here are 10 places to find niche Instagram hashtags. Keep trying new niche hashtags and stick with what works for you — and remember you should be using 30 on each post.
Article originally published to Medium
Written by Justin Cruz