Why You Should Use Hashtags on Instagram

Well can you believe it's halfway through the week already? Time flies when I'm running around like cray- less than one week until I leave for NYFW and there's still a ton to be done! #werk #werk

Anyways… today kicks off a new series for this month's blogging tips and I'm talking about one thing I get asked about quite frequently… Instagram. (If you missed last month's series on SEO, check it out HERE or see my previous general blogging tips posts HERE).

I taught a Blogging 101 class at the Simply Stylist session a few weeks ago and really made sure to listen to main questions you guys asked surrounding Instagram in general and decided to base February's weekly topics around diving deeper into the questions I heard.

That being said, should you use hashtags on your Instagram photos? Yaaaassss. Before I get into why, here's a few things to keep in mind about hashtags:

Free PDF: Receive my top Instagram hashtags I currently use to gain followers.

The Basics of Hashtags

I've used hashtags since the beginning of my Instagram account and I've convinced my friends to use them too- they really work and you're missing out on added engagement by leaving them out. Bottom line, I'm not too cool for hashtags- I'm not trying to hide the fact I want to continue to grow my Instagram following and I've noticed accounts that grow quickly are using hashtags as well. As long as I can continue to use them in my first comment (rather than the main caption), I'll continue to use them.

1. You can use a max of 30 at one time, so do it!

2. Hide hashtags in the first comment (not in the caption), that way they're hidden at first glance after you have three comments on your photo. Your captions are not less effective if you use them in the first comment rather than the caption (I get asked this alot… and I've tested it myself). My photos are categorized in the same way whether I use it in the caption or the first comment and I always prefer the first comment.

3. Your photo will only be categorized when you leave the hashtags on your own photo. For example, if someone leaves a comment on your photo saying: #fashionblogger, it's pointless… it won't be categorized. Only if you comment on your own photo writing #fashionblogger will it be categorized under that term. This also prevents random people from commenting weird, unrelated hashtags and your photo going there. You're fully in control of what hashtags you want to leave on your photo.

4. Your account has to be public to be categorized under the hashtags you use.

Here's a fun fact, I always max out my hashtags as much as possible, sometimes I can only think of maybe 25 that relate to my photo and I'll go with that- but I always use at least 20-30 hashtags per photo. TrackMaven released a cool report about how Fortune 500 companies use Instagram and their engagement trends… and here is what they had to say about hashtags:

“With larger brands on Instagram with more than 1,000 followers received on average 21.21 interactions per post. However the more startling numbers came in with accounts with less than 1,000 followers where a post with 11 hashtags received an average of 77.66 interactions.” Source: Buffer

So if I were you… I would use them! It helps you get in front of others looking for new inspiration, accounts to follow, pictures to like, etc.

Still not convinced? Here's 3 reasons why you should use them:

1. Target Your Audience

Hashtags allow you to reach the target audience you want for your post. You want followers who are looking for the style you're promoting, so rather than saying broad fashion terms like #jeans use #skinnyjeans or instead of #fauxfur use #fauxfurcoat or instead of #shoes use #whitesneakers. You get the idea, be specific to your outfit and photo.

2. Top Posts

Instagram categorizes hashtags and puts the most liked 9 photo of the hashtags at the top, meaning they're discoverable longer. Your goal is to get into those top posts because clearly more people will see it as long as it stays there and if you have about 20-30 hashtags on your photos and are in the top post section for each of those daily…you can see how your photos can easily spread. See below my recent photo in the top post section of #winterstyle:

Why You Should Use Hashtags on Instagram

3. Brand Discovery

You have a better chance of being featured by brands by using their hashtags on your photo. For example, I was featured on H&M, Forever 21 and ASOS simply by adding their brand hashtag to my photos when I was wearing their items. Find out if a brand has a specific hashtag they use rather than using the brand name. For example, H&M is #HMootd, Forever 21 is #f21xme and ASOS is #asseenonme. Take the extra effort to check out the brand Instagram accounts you use and wear to see if they have a specific hashtag they use. Besides, you will also be found by users wanting to discover photos with people wearing that particular brand. #winwin

Why You Should Use Hashtags on Instagram

There you have it… why I use and continue to use hashtags on every one of my Instagram photos. :) Comment below with any questions you may have about the idea or any cool hashtag info you've learned!

xx Brittany

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  1. Catia February 3, 2016 at 2:55 am

    Really useful tips! xx

  2. Hayley Larue February 3, 2016 at 3:31 am

    Totally agree. Hashtags are perfect when used correctly! I used to be skeptical if they ever made a difference, but once I started paying attention to it, I realized how great they work! :)


  3. Lena F. February 3, 2016 at 4:32 am

    Thanks for these useful tips :) Ill try them out right now!

    xxx, Lena | ellecouture.blogspot.de | Instagram: ellecouture_lena | twitter: lenfe94

  4. Trudy February 3, 2016 at 5:38 am

    I’ve recently been more aware of hashtags and their benefits and I’ve noticed SUCH a difference!
    Trudy | TrudyJohanna

  5. Beth February 3, 2016 at 6:21 am

    hashtags scare the living day lights out of me! I just think they look so ugly, but I absolutely loved the idea of putting them in the first comment, that way they get hidden! The only thing that would worry me is what if people don’t comment and I’m stuck with the ugly hashtags forever! It would be lovely to get noticed more though as I do very much enjoy instagram and in the least vain or whatever way, would love to gain more of a following! definitely saving this post, thank you Brittany

  6. Morgan February 3, 2016 at 8:30 am

    I use the crap out of hashtags, lol! As you’ve mentioned, it really helps you get noticed by brands, and other people who have similar interests. I also always put them in the first comment as well, because it’s definitely less obnoxious. These are great tips!


  7. Anna February 3, 2016 at 8:55 am

    These are awesome tips! I knew the importance of hashtags but some of these tips are even more helpful. Thanks for sharing! ~Anna http://www.pepperandlife.com

  8. Nicole February 3, 2016 at 9:39 am

    Super helpful tips! We just launched our blog (http://pursuingbalanceblog.com/) almost a month ago and we have been gaining about 100 followers a week – it has absolutely been an experience trying to drive all of our social media at once and we really struggle with our Instagram strategy – this is super helpful and really think your tips will help keep our trend going in a positive direction!

  9. Emily February 3, 2016 at 10:30 am

    Thanks for sharing these tips! Love your blog!

  10. Sia Foch February 3, 2016 at 10:31 am

    This post is everything, I swear! Also, thank you for the hastags.
    -xx, Sia

  11. Paige Breon February 3, 2016 at 10:32 am

    Really useful and reassuring advice! I’m new to the blog scene, and growing my Instagram following is a huge priority of mine to create brand awareness. Thanks!

  12. alice February 3, 2016 at 10:39 am

    Definitely loving these tips, super addicted to your blog! Glad I’m on the right track with IG; I remember when I first started using it I was completely clueless about what hashtags were. Oh boy, that was a long time ago!

    xo, Alice || a l i c e / T Y P E N U

  13. tanya February 3, 2016 at 10:57 am

    I totally agree with everything you just wrote!
    Keep up the good work girl

  14. Adeline February 3, 2016 at 11:42 am

    Wow, thank you for this amazing topic ! I’ve noticed a lot of people who gained a lot of followers simply stop using hashtags (or only use one or two) like they’re too good for it so I was thinking maybe I’m a flop on there because I use too many hashtags and they all think I beg for followers with #s. But it’s not the case, it’s so nice to read that you are still using them and at max (25-30) and that you are not afraid to say it.

    For using the #s in the first comment, idk, I noticed that when I tried it, I was even less visible (since I have like 100+ followers only after two years), like it takes some time for my pics to appear on the search section, more than when I use #s on the caption (which I don’t like since it’s too busy to the eye that way)


  15. Lindsey February 3, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    Your monthly tips are sooooo helpful! No joke, I’ve probably re-read the picture tips a million times. I love coming to your blog to read them, it’s refreshing to see a blogger who is open to helping others. Thanks for sharing!

    stay styled,


    IG: stay_styled

    1. Brittany February 4, 2016 at 12:16 am

      No it won’t, you won’t be able to be in top posts with old photos… so just start using them going forward! :)

  16. Chanelle February 3, 2016 at 9:14 pm

    If you post a photo then come back and add hastags a few days later, will that photo show up under that hashtag category according to the original date it was posted, or the date you added the hashtag?

    Thanks for the tips!!!

    1. Brittany February 4, 2016 at 12:15 am

      According to the date it was posted! So it really only serves you well to use them when you post the photo.

  17. Elizabeth T. February 3, 2016 at 11:14 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing these amazing tips! I started doing this about a month ago, and I’ve really been able to see the difference! My photos are getting so much more likes than normal, and it’s been helping me grow my audience as well. A question or concern that I have though is the rate at which I also lose followers. Even if I try to post (sort of) consistently, there are still lots of unfollows. How do you deal with this, Brittany? :) Really appreciate your tips! <3 Can't wait to read more in this series!

    XO, Elizabeth

  18. Rena February 4, 2016 at 6:10 pm

    you are a doll for sharing these tips. right away i’ve made my own list of hastags to use on a regular basis.

  19. Jessica February 4, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    This is such a great post ! I never thought of using the brands actual hashtags but I will now, thanks so but Brittany <3


  20. Zauni. February 5, 2016 at 12:13 am

    I’m slowly starting to get back into Instagram, and after being away for so long this is immensely helpful, thank you dearly!

  21. Julie February 5, 2016 at 4:09 am

    Using hashtags can be the best tool on Instagram to gain some more likes and being seen by much more people. On my Instagram @cuteinstgram i use them quite often.

    JULIE | cuteiinstgram.blogspot.com

  22. Susan February 7, 2016 at 10:00 am

    Thank you so much, Brittany, for this great post! It really clarified hash tags for me, along with their importance and how to use them.

  23. Ansu Visser February 9, 2016 at 1:28 am

    Thanks for the tips Brittany. Since I started applying this to my Instagram photos, I have seen an improvement. And you get connected with people you never even met, which is super cool!


  24. Annika June 1, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    Thanks for the great tips. I am fairly new to the whole hashtag thing and just need a little more confidence. Your post made me understand there purpose better and that it is okay to use them. I used to feel foolish trying to come up with hashtag words but now I am cool with it. Thanks for the great tips!


  25. Mayra August 31, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    Definitely taking this tip into account.

  26. Christie January 10, 2017 at 12:01 pm

    This is so helpful!! I downloaded your ultimate Instagram Checklist too, which is also amazing.
    Thanks so much, beautiful!

    Insta: @christiekuehner

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  28. Briana January 13, 2017 at 10:00 am

    If I’m being totally honest, I wasn’t aware of the brand specific hashtages (except Asos). I never really thought beyond the basic #hm or #forever21. So, thank you! Great tips.



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