How To Use Hashtags On Instagram Like A Boss

So you know how to use hashtags on Instagram, but what about choosing the RIGHT hashtags?

When it comes to this, most people understandably assume that the magic lies in selecting tags with the highest number of posts. More posts, more exposure, more people – right?  

The outrageous truth is that you want to be selecting hashtags with the SMALLER number of posts.

Hang on, WHAT?

You read that right. The everyday Instagram user – for years at a time – has come to believe that the number showing next to the hashtags is how many people search that exact term. In reality, this number actually represents the POST volume – or how many people are using that particular tag in their own posts.


Lost? Let us explain.

For example, let’s say you manage an accounting firm in Sydney, Australia. You naturally select the #accounting hashtag in the hopes of reaching the right type of clients. It does have over one million posts after all.

Not quite. Your chances of reaching the top of that list is quite unlikely – and we all want to be at the top – so don’t be afraid to get specific. While it does have a much smaller post count, #accountingsydney is much more specific to your business niche, has a higher likelihood of reaching the right potential clients, and the odds of trending at the top of this list is much more achievable.

Hashtag > Exposure > Customers

We’re not saying to avoid all high volume hashtags completely. Much like having your website rank at the top of Google, ideally you want the same for Instagram. However, unless you’re Kim Kardashian, it’s unlikely that you will achieve the same result.

What will ultimately get you more likes, follows and shares from the type of people you are looking to target, is to aim for the lower hanging fruit relevant to your particular niche – particularly location specific.

To find relevant hashtags, it simply requires going exploring.

If we return back to our accounting firm in Sydney for a moment, Instagram will also suggest #accountingservices (37.1K), #accountingtips (10.5K), and #accountingfirm (16.9K) as similar tags to the original #accounting option for you.



When you’re ready to “level up” – consider similar keywords such as “finance”, “bookkeeping” or “small business” for other lower post volume suggestions.

You can then try a combination of niche hashtags specific to your location. This will hone in on those customers specifically hunting for you, and vice versa. An example of this would be #smallbusinesssydney (5000+ posts) or #financeaustralia (1000+ posts) – so get creative.

We also recommend using your company name as a hashtag. This will ultimately build a library against your brand – linking past, present and future clientele.

How many hashtags should I be using?

Although Instagram caps you at a maximum of 30 hashtags per post, there isn’t a set magic rule. Some bloggers have suggested that 11 or more returns the best engagement. We recommend anywhere between 11-30 to get the most out of the hashtag concept.

Should I use hashtags in the caption or comments?

Officially, there is no difference. As the caption gets cut off after two lines, we opt for adding our hashtags at the end of our text caption. Make sure there are a few lines of space before this – we use the Apple Notes App to achieve this, and to store your hashtag collection for future use.

A lot of people prefer to add hashtags as a comment, as this then gets drowned out with the more comments the post receives. It’s also seen as less “in your face” as opposed to placing it in the caption.

Ultimately, just go with what feels right for you. You can always experiment, or add different hashtags in both fields to measure results.


“Hashtag Lag” hacks – how to speed up the process:

It can be draining, we know. All that research, exact spelling and essentially playing mix and match can get a bit much. Is there a shortcut?

Apple iPhone Notes saves the day – again.

Create hashtag groups within the Notes section on your phone that are relevant to different topics, as you don’t want to stick to the same thirty every time. From there, simply copy and paste your tags into a new post when the time comes, with minor tweaks here and there as you go.

There are even specific apps like My Hashtag that allow you to create and save hashtag libraries for easy access, storage, copying and pasting. What a time to be alive.

It’s that easy?

With a little research, you bet. However, should you find yourself stuck on research, relevancy or hashtags specific to you and your business, talk to our digital support team – we’re here to help.

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