Hashtags 101: The Instagram Guide For Beginners

Back in 2010, Instagram was similar to any other social media platform. People would only share pictures of friends, family and pets. The trend has changed over the years, and so has the number of users. Over 51% of users log in daily. We not only use Instagram as a platform to socialise with our friends but to also promote our businesses in the way of hashtags. Instagram is the right place to increase your customer base and brand awareness.

Instagram Marketing

Instagram marketing is an effective approach to increase brand engagement among your target audience. It is among the best social media marketing strategies used by businesses. You get to post pictures of products and services with the aim of creating awareness. It is important for your target audience to understand what your business entails. We should understand how your product will meet our needs for us to buy it. Instagram marketing provides you with a platform to educate your target audience and boost your sales.


Use of Hashtags

The primary aim of introducing hashtags in communication is to provide users with a ground to discuss a trending topic. Over the years, we can use hashtags as a marketing strategy on Instagram and other social platforms. If you are finding it difficult to understand what it is, here is a brief example. You come up with a group of words such as ‘#lighthair’ if you are promoting a brand of hair extension and you want to engage your users.

If you are striving to use hashtags to promote your product, creativity is essential. Similar to how website owners invest in domain names and keywords, you need to authentic. You need to select words that will communicate your intended message within a short time with the right impact.

Analysing the market trends is also essential when selecting the right hashtag. You not only need to understand your brand but also your target audience. What captivates them? How do you educate them about your brand without being such a bore? And finally, how do you convince them to buy your products?

Types of Hash Tags

The primary classification of hashtags on Instagram is in two broad categories:

  • Branded Hashtags– these make it easier for your target group to find your post and will apply to people that know your company and the product sold. They will use the hashtag to find out more about your brand. For instance, if you are selling luxurious cars, hashtags such as luxury, the name of your company, lifestyle, Benz, jeep or cars would get the attention of your audience. A lot of ecommerce websites use the hashtags particularly well.
  • Community Hashtags– these are created for Instagram users that share similar interests. They are used to follow a certain story or unifying theme. For example, #writing, #poetry, #art or # music. Compared to the branded Hashtags, there is no specification. It does not go much into details. It uses a general approach.

Tip: Instagram gives up to a 30 hashtag limit per post. Irrespective of which group of hashtags you use, the limit does not change.

It is evident from the above description that if you are looking to promote your business, the branded alternative is better than the community one. Branded hashtags allow you to give more details about your company and products. It is an ideal approach to create brand awareness, boost sales and grow your business.

Branded hashtags


Community Hashtags


Key Marketing Approaches

Brand and campaign Hashtags

A brand hashtag will focus on educating people about what your business entails. It could be the name of your company or the product sold. On the other hand, campaign hashtags are used during promotions. For example, you can be having a giveaway and select a few hashtags to be used during the campaign to create awareness of the offer. These approaches need to be spot on. You need to be specific and straightforward to get the attention of your target group. Campaign hashtags help customers to engage with you and each other. You can get feedback that will assist to improve your product from the forum.

Trending Hashtags

They change within a short time. You need to be keen on what is trending in relation to your business. If you identify one, engage by making a content update using the hashtag. It helps you get information about your brand to more audiences. A trending hashtag means that more than 80% of Instagram users are engaging. It is the perfect platform for brand awareness within a short time.

Content Hashtags

These are neither trending nor branded Hashtags. They do not describe your brand. Instead, they are used to describe the content relating to your post. This is exactly like using titles in SEO to describe a page. It is an easy way to optimise your marketing approach using common Hashtags. They could be about a product, event or lifestyle hashtags depending on the content of your post. For example, if you post a getaway promotion by the beach, lifestyle-related hashtags would be an excellent choice.

Identifying Relevant Hashtags

As we have discussed before, you need not only to solely pick any hashtag if you intend to promote your business. It is a strategic marketing process for monitoring and engaging. You need to be thorough to pick out the relevant Hashtags for your business. How do you go about it?

Identify the Hashtags

If you are a beginner in an already existing niche, you will come across well-established people. Social influencers are a big deal, and they help companies acquire a competitive advantage over others. You might not be familiar with the type of hashtags to use for your niche. Reviewing accounts of market influencers and identifying what hashtags they use, this gives you a foundation of what you will be doing. You can consider more than one market influencers for easy navigation.

Reviewing and gauging your Hashtags

Different software and apps can be used to get a gauge on the density of your hashtag. You will know if it is weak or strong by comparing it to others in your niche. Once you get the results, make changes that will boost the density of your hashtag to reach out to more people.

Tips for Using Instagram Hashtags

  • Research and analyse your results
    Similar to any other marketing approach, you need to research the use of hashtags on a social media platform and how it will promote your brand. This article will provide you with the insights. You can analyse and select what will work best for your product.
  • Create branded Hashtags
    We have already discussed what a branded hashtag and its relevance. As the name implies, you will be referring to your brand. Come up with unique keywords that will help your target audience associate it with your brand. Create an impact. Ensure that every time the user sees the hashtag; your brand is the first thing that comes to mind.
  • Make it easy for your post to reach your target market
    The number of Instagram users is high. If you do not take adequate time to come up with organic and authentic hashtags that will help you reach your customers, your brand will be stagnant. You will be able to find original hashtags by observing how others use their hashtags, ensuring that they are relevant and precise. Keep in mind that overusing the hashtags can lead to an overshadow ban. Therefore, you need to make it count by ensuring whatever you post is relevant.
  • Make use of other Market Influencers
    Instagram has provided market influencers with an opportunity to grow their brands by promoting other businesses. If you are a beginner and you do not understand which hashtags are relevant to reach out to your key audience, market influencers are the right place to begin. Go through their posts to gauge a betting understanding on how they do this. You can also use their primary hashtag to get their following to consider your content too. It is similar to joining and contributing to a popular trend.
  • Contribute to conversations on Social media
    From a business perspective, you need to identify a discussion that is related to your industry otherwise it will be pointless. For instance, if they are discussing an increment of tax rates in your industry, using the common hashtag followed by your brand tag would bring attention to your business. It is part of the process of letting your target audience that ‘we exist’. If both your business profile and branded hashtag are captivating, some users will want to learn more about your brand.
  • Promote giveaways and contests to engage users
    The primary role of Hashtags as a marketing approach to grow your business is engaging your target audience. How better to do it that promote giveaways and contests? People love to compete and win. They want free goodies and discount codes. Allowing them to participate in using some of the business hashtags will create a ton of user-created content which will boost brand awareness.
  • Transform your branded hashtag to a community one
    I know you have a few questions about this point but let me simplify it. We do not mean that you switch from using branded hashtags to community ones. It will not work well in a business setting as discussed earlier. However, once you have managed to get your users to use the branded hashtags and they are familiar with it, you can build a community around it. The word community is used in the context of your target users can connect with each other using your hashtag. Creating a movement that is purpose-driven and relates to your product. This approach will increase your customer base and sales eventually.


Benefits of Using Instagram Hashtags

Create and retain a customer base

Selecting relevant Hashtags for your business helps to engage your target audience. They learn about your product and buy it. You will gain their loyalty by updating more content and engaging with them through giveaways and discounts to reach out to new users. As a result, this will boost your customer base.

Tracking your hashtag campaigns

Hashtags provide a space for users to engage. They discuss and share information about your brand. The feedback can be used to gauge the success of your hashtags, and you can make improvements on any shortcoming areas. Switching from the private to business profile on Instagram will make it easy to gauge feedback from customers.


It is a form of networking with customers and business partners. Contributing to trending conversations and Hashtags in your industry creates links with other companies thus providing exposure. It is essential for brand awareness and business growth.

Follow-ups of Hashtags

You can do a follow-up on your hashtags to know what is trending in relation to your business. It will help you to make modifications to the content you post online. You are able to consider alternative content creation strategies that will help grow your brand.


Instagram allows you to optimise your page with a limit of 500 words. There has been a recent additional feature where you can add clickable links on your bio. These links can be used to redirect clients to your website especially if you are launching a new product or having a promotional campaign. It is critical to ensure that your optimisation is at its best. Only include relevant information that is likely to capture the attention of your target audience.

Brand awareness

It is the primary function of using Instagram Hashtags for marketing. This strategy helps you to educate users about your brand. Additionally, content updates from the exposure and lessons learnt from other market influencers are helpful. A boost in brand awareness leads to business growth.

Asos Instagram

Common Mistakes Made

It is important not to make the following mistakes if you want your Instagram hashtag campaigns to be successful:

Excessive use of popular Hashtags

We discussed the importance of using popular Hashtags. They help provide exposure by providing a more extensive user base. You get to share your content on a broader platform than before. However, you need to use your personalised Hashtags aside from the trending and popular ones. People need to identify with your brand. Therefore, if you only use popular Hashtags, people might never know what your brand entails. Use them in moderation.

Failing to pay attention to local Hashtags

If you have a brick and mortar location for your business, targeting users from that area is crucial. Despite the need for exposure on larger platforms, the local hashtags will help you build relationships with the community. You can participate in local conversations or volunteer to establish trustworthy relationships.

Failing to research on Hashtags

Before using any hashtag, you need to know what it entails ranging from the images to the caption content. Various apps can be used to gauge or analyse the tags. Make use of them. Alternatively, you can search the hashtag on other social media platforms to ensure that it is relevant and has the right content for your users.

Irrelevant Hashtags

Failure to use relevant hashtags will only lead to inconsistency. Users keep their eyes peeled for consistent content. Relate your hashtag with your brand to make an impact on the user. They need to see the hashtag and automatically link it up with your business.

Keep it simple

Despite the generous allowance that Instagram has given to allow you to use several hashtags on one post, keep it simple. Simplicity demands the attention of the users. It is an appealing feature. By ensuring your content is unique and moderate hashtags are used, reaching out to users will be easy. Complicated Hashtags will push away your potential customers.

Failing to keep track

Hashtags marketing approach requires tracking similar to any other alternative. You will end up posting out-of-date content for your clients when you fail to keep up with the trends and performance of your strategy. Tracking should be a continuous process that is frequently done.

Excessive Hashtags


Marketing on Instagram using hashtags is beneficial to businesses that do it right. Ensure that you seek more knowledge in the field every time you want to update content. Always remember the primary goal is to engage your potential customers as it is the first step towards business growth.