The Hashtag Breakdown

launch date — June 12, 2020

If you have any type of social media account, you probably know what a hashtag is. But you might not be aware of the benefits of including them on your posts. Hashtags boost engagement, build brand awareness, and allow your content to be more discoverable. Keep reading to find out how you can master the hashtag world.

The basics

So what are the dos and don’ts of hashtags on Instagram, specifically?


  • Make sure to take advantage of the 30 hashtags per post rule. You might think it looks spammy, but the more you use, the more likely it is that users discover your content. You can either include them in your caption or as the first comment. 
  • Use branded hashtags. One of the main purposes of hashtags is to establish your brand. It’s important to create an image of what you do and stick to it.
  • Use hashtags people are likely to follow. Recently, Instagram released an update allowing users to not only follow accounts but certain hashtags as well. Try to incorporate tags that have more engagement.


  • Use hashtags just because they’re trending. While you want to use hashtags people are likely to follow, don’t simply add in a tag that has nothing to do with your brand. This may come across as random and dishonest.
  • Forget about misspellings. Sometimes if you’re in a hurry to add hashtags to a post, you might miss a word that’s completely misspelled. This can look unprofessional and take away from your impressions.

Keep in mind that only hashtags included by the creator of a post will appear in searches. They are not relevant if a follower simply comments one on your picture. 

Types of hashtags

There are all types of categories when it comes to hashtags. Some of which include do/make/sell, events, and problems/challenges. After getting to know your target audience, make sure to include relevant tags that they will engage with.

You want your followers to know what your business is all about. What do you do, make, or sell that can benefit potential clients? For example, if you own a local women’s clothing boutique, you might use hashtags such as #womenownedboutique or #womensfashion. This way, your posts will be visible to people interested in what your biz has to offer.

Thinking about the events your audience attends is important when adding tags to your posts. If your clients follow you because your content is centered around weddings, include hashtags such as #gownshow or #weddingshower. 

Take into consideration the problems or challenges your target audience may be facing. What products or services does your business provide that may offer a solution? If you provide a shampoo that tames frizzy hair, make it known through your hashtags! People look to social media to find answers to their troubles. 

Targeted hashtags

Time to break down something called a “hashtag tree,” which is the concept of taking one root word and building upon it. Say you start off with the term “social media.”

To make this concept even more specified, try adding “marketing” to the end to create the hashtag #socialmediamarketing. Hashtags that pair two or more words together work the best on Instagram. But this doesn’t mean just using a two-word phrase like “real estate,” it means adding an even more specific word onto a broad concept. #Pittsburghrealestate would be a better fit.

Make sure to check out your competitors’ hashtags and the top nine posts under a specific topic. This will allow you to figure out what types of businesses your clients visit and which hashtags are working to allow certain posts to be featured at the top of the page. 

Hashtags can fall into three groups: large, medium, and small. Large groups contain tags with 1 million posts or more (think #tbt and #food). The medium group contains between 100k and 1 million posts and the small group consists of less than 100k. You want to include all three categories on your content, but mainly tags from the medium category.

In conclusion

Don’t be afraid to add as many hashtags as you can on your posts! Your content will become recognized and you are sure to gain a greater number of followers. Subscribe to our email list and check back next week for more information on how to best optimize your social media!

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