How to Use Hashtags on Instagram.

When it comes to social media, Instagram is my thing. I spend a lot of time creating photographs and engaging with the community on there and I really do enjoy the app. One thing that I often hear people say is that hashtags confuse them. And sometimes that’s quite evident.

I think it was the Instagram guru Me & Orla who said that uploading photographs without hashtags is like uploading your photograph on a private profile. Hashtags are what makes your image visible to others.

Once you’ve got your head around how to use hashtags properly and effectively you will hopefully notice a little bit of growth. And if you don’t your images will still be seen by more people and you can find like minded people and build your own little Instagram community.


Be specific

This is a big one. General Hashtags don’t work. For example the #flowers has over 104 million photographs on it. That means it’s a huge Hashtag which means it moves fast. Your aim is to get into the top 9 images and stay in the most recent images for long enough to have your photographs noticed by others.

Instead use the #caughtflowerhanded which has over 21 thousand photographs and moves slower. It’s also a hashtag used by others who have been a little bit creative and chances are they will engage with your photographs.

So drop the generic word Hashtags (#love #beach etc) and look for more specific ones that have a community behind them.


Use a mix of “big” hashtags and “smaller” hashtags

A good mix of Hashtags will help your image to be seen by others. Using hashtags under 1,000 photographs as well as ones with 200,000 thousand means that your image is seen by more people. The smaller Hashtags tend to have more of a community around them and quite often the creator of the Hashtag will share their favourites from that week which means you may get featured.

Do your research and find hashtags that are suitable to the image you have created.


Engage with the Hashtags you use

Before and after you post (and when your randomly scrolling through your feed) click on the Hashtags you use regularly and interact and engage with the photographs and users on there. You might just find a beautiful new feed to fall in love with and chances are they will return the likes and comments and might even get you a new follower or two.

It’s also nice to be nice. You won’t get anything back if you don’t put anything in.


Keep lists of hashtags to use, but remember to mix them up.

Because we don’t all have time to find the perfect hashtags for our images. Have a list of relevant hashtags that you can copy and paste from (or pre-order my cards, that can help!). Don’t use the same hashtags for every image. Mix things up and make sure they are relevant to your image.

Create lists in the notes section of your phone, one for each category of the images you post. You can then pick as many (up to 30) as you like that are suitable. *Edit* As of January 2018 it’s recommended to just use 5 hashtags. Worth a try and see what it does?


It doesn’t matter where you post your hashtags, but post them straight away. *Edit* As of January 2018 it’s recommended to place hashtags in your caption.

Some people, like me, favour putting the hashtags in the comments. It looks a little bit cleaner than having a huge caption. However it doesn’t matter where you put them. If you like to keep yours in the caption that’s fine.

What does matter however is how quickly you get the hashtags up. You need to get them onto your image as soon as you’ve uploaded. This way your photograph will be at the top of the most recent straight away. If you wait 30 minutes before adding Hashtags the image will be half way (if not further) down already and probably won’t be seen by as many people.


I hope these tips help. Instagram can be hard to use with the algorithm but instead of complaining, work with it. A lot of people say they’re not getting much engagement but chances are that’s because they’re not engaging themselves. Build yourself a little community and most importantly have fun, if you’re getting too stressed out over it, it might be time to take a break.


You can read my previous Instagram help tips here:

#theweeklyhashtagchallenge – Helping to grow your Instagram.

Plan, don’t schedule your Instagram posts.


  1. Jessica Anne


    I love this blog post. Such helpful, inspiring tips to help my instagram journey grow.

    I will be paying closer attention my my hashtags in future and try to use longer, less popular ones.

    Thank you for the advice.

    Jessica Anne

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