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The Do’s and Don’ts of #Hashtags on Instagram

Picture of Aarohi Pathak

by Aarohi Pathak

With over 1 billion monthly active users, Instagram shines out as a powerful social media platform. On an average, 80 million photos are posted each day and 3.5 billion likes on any given day.

But what makes it stand out than other social media platforms?

Of course, #Hashtags on Instagram!

Do’s and Don’ts of #Hashtags on Instagram

Hashtags have been around for 10 years, ever since 2007 when they first came to Chris Messina’s mind, a former Google developer and he tweeted this concept.

His idea attracted a flood of audiences because it was not only new but something really unique for social media users. The idea was accepted and encouraged by en-number of social media users, which was further officially introduced by Instagram on January 26, 2011.

That article exactly explained how the #Hashtags will work with certain examples like...

How the hashtags will work

Hence, it’s no more a secret that Instagram has an interesting #Hashtag feature to help you grow your business accounts.

So, what you’re waiting for?

Get going...

But before moving ahead, make sure you’re using the hashtags in a RIGHT way because using them in a WRONG way can result in losing your followers and likes.

So, prior to bump into using tons of hashtags, here’s a list of some important Do’s and Don’ts of using hashtags on Instagram for your business.

Following Do’s and Don’ts will help you grow your channel, increase engagement (meaning likes, comments and followers) and attract new customers to your business.

#Do – Use Long Tail Hashtags Instead of Short Tail Hashtags

Any SEO strategy is incomplete without considering the keywords. They are the most important factor that will help you reach success and help your business rank on the first page of the Google.

Similarly, it’s with using Instagram Hashtags.

With a unique and user-focused hashtag, you can easily get more followers and engagements.

The only thing you need to consider is to select a hashtag that can attract relevant and targeted audiences.


Finding a right type of #hashtag for your brand is like solving a jigsaw puzzle. With so many hashtag options, it is difficult to select the one replicating your brand.

Yes, there are the long tail and short tail hashtags, which can be used for branding the business.

But, now the question is which hashtag is more useful for growing the followers & engagement ratio?

Well, according to me...

I will prefer using Long Tail Hashtags.

Long tail hashtags have more specific words to follow and are of 3 or more than 3 words.

But, what makes the long tail hashtags different from short tail hashtags?

Well, the good thing about long tail hashtags - they are definitely more audience targeted and are not as broad as the short ones.

Let’s take an example of long tail hashtag named #baliweddingphotographer.

Use Longtail Hashtag

Now, tell me....

Doesn’t it apply to users who want to get marry in Bali?


It might not bring as much traffic as short tail hashtags, but the traffic is interested and looking for the specific product/services.

Traffic of hashtags

For a better idea, here are some of the benefits of long tail hashtags...

  • Long tail hashtags are more focused because when people search for this type of hashtags, they exactly know what they’re looking for and there are more chances to get quick engagements.
  • Engagement is like gold on social media and by using long tail hashtags, you can bring in the genuine and interested traffic to your brand.
  • Low competition can help in increasing the search ratio of the interested audience.

So, by using long tail hashtags and appropriate research, you  can increase the rate of likes and followers. 

#Do – Conduct Hashtag Research Correctly

Using the right hashtags is the easiest way to increase the organic reach of your Instagram post.

What is right #hashtag?

Hashtags which are relevant to your niche.

And how will you perform a hashtag research to find the right hashtag?


Below is a detailed explanation of hashtag research that will help you select a right hashtag for your brand.

Using Instagram Autocomplete Functionality

You can consider the Instagram’s built-in search option as the best place to start your research.

Using Instagram autocomplete you can search out the most popular hashtag options matching your business.

Say for example, you sell fashionable bags. You can put hashtags relevant to Fashion bags in search tab. This will auto-suggest you the most popular fashion bags relevant hashtags.

Autosuggest Hashtag

You will clearly get an idea that by simply typing #fashionbag, there comes a list of the most popular hashtags, which are related to fashionbags.

Further, you can select the right hashtags for your brand. Or you can create your own hashtag idea.

But, don’t forget to consider the “related” hashtags.

It is one of the great ways to quickly come up with a bunch of hashtags. Once you examine the “related hashtags”, you can explore other hashtags they have used.

You can also use different Instagram tools to get examples of related hashtags like Hashatit, Keyhole and more.

After completing the entire research, select the hashtag that is ideal for your brand and simply dive into growing your business.

#Do – Create Hashtags that are Simple and Easy to Understand

If the phrase or sentence is simple and clear, it becomes easy for the reader to remember.

Similarly, if your hashtags are simple, there are more chances to attract more audiences.

No matter, it’s a long tail hashtag or a short tail hashtag, if the hashtag is easier to understand, you are completely on a right track.

Let’s take an example of hashtag which is dearest to all:

Dearest Hashtag

It is clearly visible that #picoftheday is one most popular hashtag on Instagram, which has all the features, such as...

    • Long Tail Hashtag
    • Easy to understand
    • Catchy
    • En-number of posts

So, this makes us clear, if your hashtag is easy, simple and catchy then you’re going to get a great response to your account. 

Hence, always prefer using simple and easy #hashtags, which helps in inviting great audience and followers to your brand.  

#Do – Use Your Brand-Specific Hashtags

What are brand-specific hashtags?

Well, the hashtags created for your brand and by your brand are known as a brand-specific hashtag,

To get a better idea, let’s take the example of Nike.

Brand Specific Hashtag

We are familiar with this brand. By hearing “justdoit”, the first thing that comes to our mind is Nike, right?

It is because the slogan depicts the brand.

Nike has used a slogan as a hashtag. Its simple, catchy, motivational and brand-specific. Not only it is easy to spell for the customers and fans, but it is also creative and relevant, which makes people enthusiastic about sharing it.

Want to know what are the benefits of having your own brand-specific hashtag?

Let’s get started!

A branded hashtag is a great way to start a conversation with your followers and increase the reach of your brand.

Most Influencing Hashtag

70% of hashtags on Instagram are branded!

Here are some of the benefits of using brand-specific hashtags for your business...

    • Brand-specific hashtags are unique to your brand.
    • It is one of the effective ways to establish a brand presence on Instagram.
    • Brand-specific hashtags help in growing your business by increasing the following ratio and also helps with overall engagement on Instagram.
    • Not only brand-specific hashtags help in creating your business place, but it also helps in increasing your brand awareness on this social media platform.

So, here I complete the list of Do’s...

Now let’s jump to the “DON’Ts”

#Don’t – Avoid using Hashtags that are too Common

If you think, using the most popular Instagram hashtags will help to grow your brand, you might be on a wrong track!

Any hashtag with over 1 million posts, is definitely too big, but when you add this hashtag in your post, it is immediately going to be buried within 100’s of other posts having the same hashtags.

To know more, let’s take the example of fashion!

If your brand is related to fashion, then it’s always important to search hashtags that are unique and not like the same given in the screenshot.

Unique Hashtag

You can see #fashion has more than 1 million of posts, which no doubt makes it more popular but common as well.

And you definitely don’t want something too common to reduce the chance of relevant engagements.

Don’t you?

So, try some different, simple and unique hashtags that not only relate your brand but also prove helpful for your customers to recognize you easily. 

#Don’t – Throw-Out Unnecessary Hashtags

Often we think using more number of hashtags in the post will help to expand the brand. Say for example hashtags like #but, #like, #wow, #this, #me, #you, etc.

But do you really think, this will help you?

Such hashtags are irrelevant because they aren’t usually term someone would naturally search for.

In simple words, these types of hashtags don’t offer an answer to a question, a description or a subject.

Well, the below example will make you understand clearly.

Use Relevant Hashtag

There are a number of hashtags used in this post, which are not relevant to the image.

Doing this will drive the number of clicks, but these clicks will not turn into followers.

So, ensure to avoid using unnecessary hashtags and try using hashtags that are relevant to your brand.

#Don’t – Avoid using Banned Hashtags

No doubt hashtags can be a great way of growing your brand, but what if the hashtag you’re using is not accepted by Instagram? 

Yes, there are currently over 114,000 hashtags banned or no longer allowed by Instagram and if you’re using any of them, it is going to lay a negative impact on your brand.

Sure, no one is going to use those types of hashtags, but what if you don’t know that the hashtag you’re using falls on the banned list? 

Well, you can know it with the help of the list of banned Instagram hashtags.    

Here is another way of finding banned hashtags by yourself...

  1. Click on Instagram and go to the explore page, you’ll see the search bar.
  2. Now, type your hashtag on the search bar
  3. Click on hashtag
  4. If it comes with 0 results, it is banned.

Let’s take the example of #woman.

Avoid Banned Hashtag

Of course, it shows more than 1 million posts on #woman, but when you click, you will find something else.

Banned hashtag

As you can see, #woman has 0 posts on list .

That means, its banned hashtag.

So, before you add hashtags on your Instagram posts, you have to confirm it has been not banned.

My Final Words...

Well, these are my top list of Do’s and Don’ts of using hashtags on Instagram. If you implement these, then certainly you’re going to notice a rise in not only your followers but your brand engagement as well.

Once you are done creating a list of hashtags you want to target on Instagram, it is now time to schedule your posts using Instagram marketing tools. Click here to know more about Scheduling Instagram Posts using SocialPilot.

Picture of Aarohi Pathak

Aarohi Pathak

As a Content Writer at SocialPilot, Aarohi spends most of her time weaving a web of words to draw her readers' attention. Her blogs revolve around her two favourite words - 'content' and 'marketing'. She divides the rest of her time between reading fiction and binge-watching popular TV series.

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