How to Use Instagram Hashtags to Expand Your Reach

Is your business marketing on Instagram?

Do you want your Instagram posts to be seen by more people?

You can make it easier for people who don’t follow you on Instagram to find your content by using hashtags.

In this article you’ll discover how hashtags make your Instagram images and video more discoverable.

How Instagram Hashtags Work

While hashtags originated on Twitter, they quickly became part of each social media channel. At this point, Instagram hashtag density tends to be much greater than Twitter’s because companies realize the success of their Instagram marketing depends on proper hashtagging.

hashtag article image

Hashtags have become an integral part of Instagram marketing.

One of the ways people find content and contributors they enjoy on Instagram is to search with hashtags.

Here’s how that works.

Each piece of Instagram content you post can be accompanied by a short message or caption and a few hashtags. The hashtags help organize and categorizeimages and video content, which aids the process of content discovery andoptimization.

For example, a travel company might post this picture of a pretty sunset in Aruba, and then use the hashtags #sunset and #Aruba when it’s uploaded to Instagram.

instagram image with #aruba

This image was found by searching Instagram with the hashtag #Aruba.

By using these two hashtags, the image is cataloged so other Instagram users who enjoy looking at sunsets and images of Aruba can find it—even though they don’t yet follow the travel company’s Instagram feed.

Those users may share the photograph and add #Caribbean or #vacation to it—making the circle of people who might see it even wider.

instagram image with #carribean added

A second user has added the hashtag #Carribean to this image.

What’s more, Instagram hashtags don’t just stay within the platform. When someone shares your Instagram content to Facebook, the Instagram hashtag is published along with it.

This means your content has a better chance of being discovered by other fans who may not have originally seen the image or who are searching for the hashtag with Facebook’s Graph Search.

This provides a nice way for businesses that have new Instagram accounts or small follower numbers to get exposure to more people interested in what they offer.

Hashtag Best Practices

Regular Instagram users see hashtags as tools for improving the network experience, whereas online marketers see the potential for building communities, increasing brand recognition and extending business reach.

Small business owners who are new to Instagram tend to make two mistakes when it comes to using hashtags: using too many hashtags and using irrelevant hashtags.

As a general rule, every image and video your business uploads to Instagram should include a short caption. While you can include up to 30 hashtags, consider using no more than three to five hashtags.

toms instagram image with hashtag

TOMS keeps their hashtags to a minimum.

Instagram accounts that overload their descriptions with hashtags in an effort to reach more users come across as blatant and desperate marketers.

It may be tempting to use popular hashtags in the hopes of reaching thousands (or millions) more people on Instagram. For instance, one of the most popular hashtags is #love and it’s been applied to more than 184 million photos. If an accountant uses that hashtag with photos of his office, he is not doing the network—or his business—any favors.

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