Instagram Hashtags | How to Find the Right Hashtags for Your Business in 2018

May 7, 2018

Wondering how to find the right Instagram hashtags for your business in 2018?

If so, you’re in the right place.

In this episode, I give you seven tips to ensure that you’re using your Instagram hashtags strategically to attract the right people, grow your business and to reach your marketing and social media goals.

So, let’s dive in!

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Wondering how to find the right Instagram hashtags for your business in 2018?

If so, you’re in the right place.

Instagram hashtags, when used correctly, are a great way of building engagement and followers on your account. They’re one of the few ways that people can come across your account and your content.

But, like just about everything else in the world of social media, the rules around hashtags have changed in the last year or so.

Slapping big, generic hashtags on your posts?

Yeah, that doesn’t work anymore. Hell, it never worked.

They attract people that will never in a million years do business with you, and although lazily slapping them on your posts does increase your engagement and give you a few extra likes they don’t do much else.

In 2018, it’s more important than ever to spend time on finding the RIGHT hashtags and using the S word – STRATEGY – when doing so.

To help you out with doing just that, I’ve compiled a list of all of the new features and tricks relating to Instagram hashtags to help you find the right hashtags in 2018..

Follow these seven tips to ensure that you’re using your hashtags strategically to attract the right people, grow your business and to reach your marketing and social media goals.

  • Use the right number of hashtags

The biggest question I get around hashtags isn’t how to find the right hashtags for my business; it’s ‘how many should you use on a post?’

The answer is, it depends.

Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags on a post, which may seem like a hell of a lot. My view on it is this:

If – and it’s a big IF – you can find 30 hashtags that are super relevant to your post and which are targeted towards the right people – use all 30.

Every extra hashtag is an extra opportunity for people to find you, so it’s a good idea to maximise that opportunity if you can.

The best way to do this is to do your hashtag research ahead of time.

If you have an Instagram content plan in place, there’s a good chance that your content will centre around a number of core topics and will appeal to a number of key target audiences.

If so, research relevant hashtags ahead of time and ‘group’ them into categories.

Then, save them in ‘hashtag sets’ in either the notes app on your phone or into your scheduler so that they are ready to go when the time comes!

And a hot tip? Add them to the first comment of your post so that they are hidden away and don’t look spammy.

  1. Remember to add hashtags to your Instagram stories.

Instagram stories may just be my very favourite thing ever at the moment.

They’re an opportunity for you to give your followers a behind the scenes peek into your business and daily life, and even better?

They’re another opportunity for you to be discovered because (drum roll..) you can add both Instagram hashtags and geo-locations to stories, too!

Stories with hashtags will show up in the stories section at the top of the screen when people search for a hashtag on Instagram.

To add a hashtag to your story, simply click on the smiley face square at the top of your story when you are editing, then click on ‘hashtag’ and enter your hashtag. Or, simply use the text function and type your hashtag out.

You can use up to 10 hashtags on a story, which is a huge opportunity for your account to be discovered.

If you pinch on the screen, you’re also able to minimise the size of the hashtags so that they are close to invisible on your story, something I recommend to stop them from looking too spammy on your story.

  1. Make sure your hashtags are relevant

If you’re using hashtags on posts that aren’t actually relevant to that hashtag, the new ability within Facebook to follow hashtags means that people can mark it as something that isn’t relevant.

Here’s how it works.

Users are now able to follow hashtags, which means that posts under that hashtag will appear in their newsfeed along with the posts from the accounts that they are following.

Once an Instagram user is following a hashtag, they have the ability to flag any posts appearing in their feed that are irrelevant to the hashtag by selecting ‘Don’t Show For This Hashtag’.

If too many people do this, your content will be negatively affected by the algorithms.

The takeaway here? Only use relevant hashtags on your Instagram posts.

  1. Make sure your hashtags are specific

If you’re wondering how to find the right hashtags for your business, the secret lies in being SPECIFIC.

There’s a number of reasons for this.

Number one, if you’re too broad you’re going to attract the wrong people. Using hashtags with millions and millions of posts on them – things like #food, for example – means that the chances of someone that will one day do business with you searching under that hashtag and finding you is pretty slim.

What actually happens is that it attracts slimeballs wanting to increase their following using the shady follow unfollow tactic.

This just ends in tears for everyone involved.

The solution? Use SPECIFIC hashtags.

Here’s a few ways to research hashtags that are specific to your business and target audience.

Firstly, check out some of the hashtags that other accounts targeting the same ideal client (aka target market) as yours are using. Also, check out the hashtags your competitors are using. Make a big list of them.

Secondly, jump onto Instagram and type in those hashtags. What other suggested hashtags come up? Make a list of those too. Extra tip – look for location specific hashtags if your business services a particular area. For example #brisbanephotographer over #photographer.

Then, check how many posts are on each of the hashtags you’ve collated above.

The golden rule here is that LESS is better. Use hashtags with tens of thousands over hashtags with millions.

That way, you will avoid dodgy accounts trolling big hashtags for follow/unfollows.

5. Make use of community hashtags

Community hashtags connect like-minded users around a specific topic.  

They’re a great way to connect with others, improve the searchability of your posts, gain followers, and grow your own community.

With the ability within Instagram to follow hashtags, community hashtags have become even more valuable. They are more likely to be followed and to give you content an opportunity to appear in the newsfeed of like-minded accounts.

I recommend using as many as possible, as long as they are relevant to your business, post and target audience.

6. Make use of the ‘follow’ feature for hashtags

Following industry-specific and community hashtags likely to be used by your ideal client is a great way to socialise with potential followers from your own newsfeed.

I recommend following a few super relevant hashtags and then spending 5 – 10 minutes a day liking and commenting on those accounts as a way of building relationships and growing your following.

Another tip when it comes to the ability to follow hashtags is to use this feature to find other relevant hashtags to use on your posts.

Once you start following a hashtag, you can click on ‘following’ on your profile, toggle to ‘hashtags’ and then browse through the targeted suggestions that Instagram give you of other similar, popular hashtags based on your interests.

Add these to your hashtag lists!

7. Track the success of your hashtag strategy using your Instagram Insights

Want to know how your Instagram hashtag strategy is working? Well, if you have a business account you can do just that!

To access this information, click on the post you want to get more detailed analytics on, hit View Insights on the bottom left and swipe up.

This gives you a full range of data for the individual post, including how the people who viewed your post came across you!

You’ll be able to see which percentage of people who saw the post weren’t following you and also how many impressions came from your hashtags.


Hashtags aren’t everything, but they are one piece of the puzzle when it comes to being found by the right people and building your following on Instagram.

Follow these tips on how to find the right hashtags for your business in 2018, and you’ll be well on your way to Instagram success!


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