How to choose hashtags for photos and stories on Instagram

by | Aug 11, 2020 | Featured, Social Media

Home 9 Featured 9 How to choose hashtags for photos and stories on Instagram

Choosing the best hashtags for photos or stories on Instagram isn’t as easy as it sounds: we often spend more time thinking about what to write in the caption than taking the photo. Whether you’re an influencer, a company’s social media manager, or a simple user, you’ve thought about which hashtags can help you get more likes and new followers. This is also part of the game of social media.

First of all, we need to clarify what hashtags are and why they are so important. Then, we can see how to choose the best hashtags for our photos on Instagram, those that allow us to have more visibility and that are more functional to our goals.

What Instagram hashtags are and what they are for

Instagram hashtags are labels that act as post aggregators and make it easier for users to find content that is similar to their interests. It’s those words or groups of words that follow the symbol # (pound). They are used by the Instagram algorithm or by users who search for certain topics on social media, who follow them or who click from a hashtag contained in a post they are viewing.

The goal of adding a hashtag in the photo is to have more visibility in relation to a specific topic. A well-chosen and relevant hashtag compared to the linked photo can indirectly get more likes, comments and new followers, but its main function is to allow the content to have more organic coverage.

How to add hashtags in Instagram photos and stories

Hashtags can be added in both photos and Instagram stories. To add a hashtag in Instagram photos just place it in the caption of the photo we are posting, or in a comment. In stories, you can add them directly on the photo or video.

It’s best to be transparent with your audience and not fool them, but there are ways to hide hashtags on Instagram or otherwise make them less highlighted. For photos we can separate the hashtags from the text by wrapping and inserting punctuation marks, or by writing them in a comment. For stories, however, we can take advantage of the colors and sizes of the hashtag and place it in spaces where they blend in with the main content.

There are limits to the inclusion of hashtags on Instagram: 30 in photos and 10 in stories. However, I recommend that you never reach the limit: it takes about ten in the photos and up to 3 in the stories. Influencers with many followers don’t even need to use many hashtags.

Obviously to get more coverage you need a public or business profile,otherwise the content will be visible only to accepted followers and even hashtags would lose much of their purpose.

Popular hashtags vs minor hashtags

Adding popular hashtags on Instagram allows us to reach a huge audience, but we are one of many. If ours is not the profile of a very popular influencer, the published photo is likely to end up immediately in oblivion and be seen very quickly, then not to reach a high engagement. A little-used hashtag, on the other hand, is likely to be too niche and therefore to have too little coverage.

We need to find the right compromise between popular and minor hashtags, choosing the average size. Also coming into play are the engagement we usually get with our posts, the strength and relevance of the published content.

Types of hashtag on Instagram

We can choose from different types of hashtags for Instagram,depending on the context and goals of the posted content and our profile. Let’s see some of them.

Products or services

These hashtags refer to a specific product or service and are very useful to connect with fans of that industry. For example, the hashtag #GTA will get high coverage among fans of this video game, or #Netflixaddicted will be able to engage fans of TV series.

Niches and communities

On Instagram there are plenty of hashtags specific to all niches. The tag “#… ofInstagram is available for almost all sectors: just replace in dots with the reference keyword, for example #catsofinstagram. There are also more elaborate and original or more specific hashtags such as #travelblogger: just search for them exploring the target audience.


The name of the city, country, geographical area, monument or venue can become a hashtag. This way you can go to intercept local communities and get more visibility among nearby people. A local business should consider this option(here the digital marketing recommendations for a local business).

Events and holidays

Are we at a football game, a concert or a show? Most likely there will already be many hashtags created by organizers or fans to share the experience on social media. In this way we can get in touch with people who have very similar interests to ours.

Acronyms and phrases

Haven’t you ever seen strange incomprehensible hashtags? They are often very popular acronyms in specphic niches that, if used well, allow to address with authority to a very precise and narrow audience. There are also phrases of celebrities or related to current events that become hashtags and allow the published content to be indexed within a specific strand.

Hashtags for likes and follows

We often find under the posts or in the comments of hashtags such as #like4like #follow4follow. Let’s avoid them because they imply incorrect behavior on Instagram and are often used by bots or individuals who automatically follow and then remove it. In any case, these are low-value followers who make up the numbers but do not engage. Quality is always better than quantity.

Commercial hashtags

Some companies with a lot of followers or influencers may launch hashtags to support a specific social media communication campaign. It’s a very smart strategy to bring fans together and promote the brand. We can also use them for our profiles if our message is in line with the one promoted by this hashtag.

How to choose the best hashtags on Instagram

We can leverage Instagram’s internal search engine to understand the size of a hashtag and to identify related ones. It is the best way to get into the head of the algorithm and understand which ones are treated as related.

Example of related Instagram hashtags

Another indicator may be statistics. If we don’t have a business account, we can look at interactions on previous photos that contained certain hashtags. Otherwise we have access to much more accurate statistics on individual hashtags. We can have the full picture thanks to Creator Studio, the tool that analyzes all the statistics of the Facebook and Instagram page.

Automatic Instagram hashtag generators

In our help come free tools that allow us to automatically and quickly extract the best hashtags for Instagram. I usually use Tags Finder and Sistrix’s Instagram Hashtag Generator. They do in our place all the search for hashtags related to a pincipal. The first has very advanced filters that allow you to refine your search, while the second allows you to insert multiple hashtags together in order to return a more accurate result.

It will be up to us to filter from these lists the hashtags that are most relevant to our message and those that are less dispersed and in line with our goals. These very useful tools give us a large amount of hashtags; it will be our job to take care of the quality.

Luigi Nervo

Luigi Nervo

Digital Marketing Manager

Marketing, Seo and content expert (read the bio).

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Luigi Nervo

Luigi Nervo

Digital Marketing Manager

Marketing, Seo and content expert (read the bio).