What Is A Hashtag? How to Use Hashtags on Instagram

One great reason to ensure you’re using the best possible top hashtags on Instagram: being seen by as many people as possible on a platform built to celebrate your photos can only be good news!

Instagram has taken centre stage since its appearance in 2010, creating a home to savour our love of great images.

Digital marketers are always looking for the top hashtags on Instagram while working on their keyword strategy.

After all, the more popular a hashtag is, the higher traffic you will reach.

So…what are the top hashtags on Instagram? And how can you use these to benefit your business?

Top Hashtags On Instagram: The Ultimate Guide!
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About Instagram

Instagram was not always the gigantic platform it is today. Instagram appeared as a mobile photo-sharing app in 2010. When it first launched, its server used to crash frequently. But it has come a long way. With growing popularity, Facebook realised Instagram’s powerful influence and paid a billion dollars to acquire the app. Now, Instagram is a favourite for many people.

What Makes Instagram Social Giant


There are obvious reasons that made people fall in love with Instagram. Instagram is an on-the-go app, so many people are attracted to it. There is no wonder that most of Instagram’s users are under thirty years old. There is so much action going on. This kind of energy is way less obvious on other social media channels.

Instagram Culture

As a mobile app, Instagram popularised taking photos, editing them, and sharing them instantly. You know when you are out for dinner with friends, and you find one of them taking a picture of their dish before eating with “#Instafood” as a caption? That is “Instagram culture.” Indeed, this culture of sharing photos right before any event was popularised when Instagram came to life. This “hashtag language” also gave Instagram a special flavour.


Filters are “Instagramers’” favourite feature. They give amateur photographers and photo enthusiasts the ability to share great-looking images without needing to have any editing skills. Another thing that attracted specific industries to Instagram is its visual nature. Fashionistas, influencers, celebrities, hotel resorts, restaurants, etc., all industries that found Instagram a rich mine of followers. Industries like music and fashion, for example, depend mainly on showing off their products through visuals and targeting younger age groups. Instagram is their paradise.

Top Hashtags On Instagram: The Ultimate Guide!

Instagram Statistics

Studying Instagram’s statistics is considered crucial by marketers to determine where they should direct their marketing efforts. For any industry, one platform will be more effective than the other. You can only find the ideal platform for your business by observing the nature and demographics of each social network.

  • Instagram has over 500 million active monthly users
  • Instagram users have shared over 40 billion photos to date
  • An average of 95 million photos and videos are being shared per day on Instagram
  • 80% of Instagram users come from outside of the U.S.
  • Women use Instagram a little more than men, representing 68% of users
  • Instagram is used by 8% of brands
  • 60% of the top brands on Instagram use a consistent filter
  • With 25%, the largest age group of users is 25 to 34-year-olds
  • 59% of Instagram users are between 18 to 29-year-old
  • B2C marketers are significantly more likely (6%) to increase Instagram activities than B2B marketers (48%)


Instagram as a Photo Library

Instagram is a huge platform with a lot of marketing potential. It has a different nature than other platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. It also looks like it will be the modern human’s archive of photos. Since its inception, the number of uploaded photos has reached 40 billion. This number is unimaginable. In less than 10 years, we have added over four times more photos than there are human beings on Earth!

Instagram for Business

“Any business can benefit from its presence on Instagram, but some will benefit more than others.”

Any business can benefit from being on Instagram, but some will benefit more than others. For example, you are lucky if you sell bags to teenage girls. That is because more females use Instagram than males, and more millennials use it than older generations. On the other hand, you may want to focus on another platform if you sell medical supplies for seniors.

In addition, Instagram may not be the perfect channel for B2B businesses. However, you do not have to ignore it completely. Finally, filters are one of Instagram’s most loved features. There is something about filters. They improve aesthetics, add a vintage effect, highlight objects, manipulate colours, or make the photos appear more unique and fun.

Facebook and Instagram

Hootsuite states, “Since Facebook bought out Instagram, usage has been astronomical”. There are many reasons why Facebook bought Instagram, but there are two main ones: youth and pictures.

What Is Hootsuite? All Social Media in One Place


First comes youth. Facebook was born in 2004, which makes it a relatively old channel (compared to the age of the Internet.) You may say that good old Facebook bought Instagram to look younger and cooler. As mentioned earlier, most Instagram users are young and “hippie,” unlike Facebook’s audience. Facebook could not just watch another app pull this valuable, young base away from itself. Or even worse, watch another competitor, such as Google, buy it. So, as Forbes mentioned, Facebook bought Instagram “because it wanted to buy soul”.


Don’t forget that Facebook originally “boomed” because of its photo experience. When Facebook was launched, this was the main reason everyone wanted to join: to look at other people’s photos. For the first time, Facebook realised that another little app does a better job at that.

They did not want to lose that major attraction. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, said clearly when his company made the deal: “Providing the best photo-sharing experience is one reason why so many people love Facebook, and we knew it would be worth bringing these two companies together.”

Hashtag Definition

According to Wikipedia, “A hashtag is a type of metadata tag used on social networks such as Twitter and other microblogging services, allowing users to apply dynamic, user-generated tagging that makes it possible for others to find messages with a specific theme or content easily.” Any word or sentence can become a hashtag by adding the pound sign (#) at its beginning. Adding the pound sign before any word or sentence turns it into a searchable link.

That makes it easier to find all relevant posts, ideas, articles, etc., just by clicking that link. Hashtags are also known as tags, hash symbols, and hashes. Moreover, hashtags should not include spaces. You can simply run them together or use an underscore between words to add more than one word. In addition, hashtags do not support punctuation marks; commas, periods, exclamation points, question marks and apostrophes are out.

History of Hashtags

Hashtags were not popular before social media. However, that does not mean that social media is their birthplace. Tags were used in programming long before they became “hip.” Twitter is the first social channel to introduce hashtags to the community of the Internet. In 2007, a Twitter user suggested that they bring hashtags to social media.

It was not two years later that Twitter responded positively to that request. In 2009, hashtags came to live as searchable links on Twitter. Later on, other social channels embraced the inevitable “hashes.”

Hashtags: Why Are They Important?

So, if hashtags are made of regular words, what makes them different from keywords? There is a huge amount of data on Instagram and other social channels. That makes it difficult sometimes to identify and find relevant material. It also makes going through search results laborious and confusing. Let’s say you support a specific football club and are always looking for relevant posts, news, tweets, or pictures.

Once you click on its hashtag “#XYClub,” you will get EVERYTHING that was ever written, including that hashtag. So, if you are looking for the latest news, pictures, or articles, there you have it. If you are looking for pages or accounts to follow, you can find those so easily even if you are looking for fans who support the same club to engage with, bingo.

The secret here is grouping. Hashtags gather content with the same subject under one umbrella, making it easier to keep up with tweets, photos, or posts. Therefore, hashtags are brilliant; they are like powerful keywords that “group” content easily. They directly tell the search engine the topic of content.

How to Analyse Social Media Channels | Digital Marketing Analysis | Social Media | Digital Marketing

How Do Top Hashtags on Instagram Work?

Top Hashtags on Instagram: Labeling Photo Genres

Hashtags are not just topics; hashtags label your images and present them to the right audience. There are endless genres of photography. Landscape, portraiture, food, fashion, documentary, sport, street photography, etc. They are all popular on Instagram. How can people not on your followers list get to see your photos?

The right way to connect with those interested in the genre of photography you are sharing is by using hashtags. For example, adding #streetphotography under your photo will make anyone interested in street photography easily find you. Anyone who comes across your photos is a potential follower.  Mashable mentions: “Hashtags can complement photos shared on Instagram and help you discover new accounts and pick up followers. Some hashtags were created specifically for Instagram photo challenges — #ThrowbackThursday, for example, encourages users to post retro photos.”

Top Hashtags on Instagram: Mood

Expressing moods is also popular on Instagram. People like to group photos into moods. For example, if one shares a picture of his/her team winning a match, you can add #happy, #excited, #success, #winning. If there is a picture of a couple’s wedding, they may add #happy, #love, #marriage. This is also another way to group similar photos. If a user wishes to watch happy photos, let’s say he/she can just click on the hashtag and find thousands of relevant images.

Top Hashtags on Instagram: Location

Locations are great when they are used in hashtags, especially for businesses. People who search for a product or service provider usually include their location in the hashtag. If a woman in California is looking for a nearby spa, she would not be happy to see spas in the UK. She is surely not looking for that. For that reason, she may use #SpasInCalifornia or add her city in the hashtag.

When she uses this hashtag, more relevant results will appear, and only businesses who have used this tag in their photos will win. In addition to providers, tourism is another industry that benefits from location hashtags. Before deciding where to go, tourists will most probably search for locations on Instagram to find out how a city looks like. Furthermore, tourists usually take lots of photos, so you will not find it rare that someone uses #Paris or #NewYork.

Top Hashtags on Instagram: Humour

In many cases, hashtags on Instagram are used for humour. They do not necessarily represent a popular topic or something other users may search for. Look at this: “The movie #Gravity is beautiful, but so terrifying! #nevergoingtospace”.

Nobody would ever search for “never going to space,” however, using hashtags is sometimes used for sarcasm; this is part of the “hashtag culture” that proves how popular hashtags have become. It is becoming a language of its own.    

How Can You Use Top Hashtags on Instagram to Reach More Followers?

Top Hashtags on Instagram: Set a Tone

Anyone involved in digital marketing should know that a business must maintain a certain tone while creating content or publishing posts. Fixing a tone on social media gives a brand its own personality. This is one of the ways that the audience identifies your brand. It is similar to having a logo, for example. When people see it, they know that this is your company’s product.

Hashtags are a great way to create a tone for your online presence. Creating a witty hashtag to accompany your posts helps you maintain a tone.  If you wish to maintain a casual or friendly tone, you can create a funny hashtag to accompany your photos. On the other hand, if your business is more serious, you can use its slogan, or what is known as a brand hashtag, while sharing photos on Instagram.

Top Hashtags on Instagram: Brand Hashtags

“A brand hashtag is a hashtag used for a company name or tagline, such as KitKat’s #HaveABreak. Brand hashtags are used consistently, regardless of campaigns or promotions going on. They’re a great way of creating a community, enabling your brand to get involved and engage with customers, and monitoring what people say about your brand.” Brand hashtags are one of the main assets of maintaining a tone for your business. The more people become familiar with your brand hashtag, the more influential it becomes.

Social media experts recommend that a shorter hashtag is better. Make it easy to spell, and written the same way across all social channels. In addition, do not make your brand hashtag way too general. For instance, if you are a clothes store thinking about making your brand hashtag #cooloutfit, you may want to reconsider. This hashtag is not unique, not exclusively related to your business, and not catchy. It is useful to add a personality to your brand hashtag. Try to make it as relevant as possible to your brand, to avoid finding your brand hashtag in non-relevant photos.

Top Hashtags on Instagram: Event Covering

For every event now, you will find a hashtag associated with it on any social media platform. Creating a hashtag for an event makes it easy to track its updates, and all its up to the minute news. People love to know what happens in an event, even if they could not make it to that event. Sharing live photos from an event using an event hashtag is a great way to gain traffic.

Viewers can simply click on the hashtag to know everything that happened during the event. Event hashtags are specifically popular with concerts, sports matches, art galleries; aka events with rich visuals. The perfect example for event hashtags are those which cover the Oscars, the Golden Globes, or the World Cup Final.  Such events receive a worldwide recognition, with millions of people sharing photos relevant to the event. Red Bull and Monster Energy are also brilliant at using event hashtags. They both have an inspiring Instagram portfolio as well.

Top Hashtags on Instagram: Engagement Hashtags

Most of top-notch brands have used engagement hashtags, at least once. Engagement hashtags are those which directly ask the audience to share their own relevant content using a hashtag. This is called user generated content. User generated content is said to be the most authentic form of content. Why? Because we all know that every brand introduces its product as “the best in the market,” regardless of how true that claim is. We also know that all influencers and brand ambassadors get paid to promote products.

People will not always trust what a business says about itself. However, customers will always trust what another customer says about the product, because they know it is authentic and genuine.  This is the power of reviews and user generated content.

Example of Successful Engagement Hashtag

#ShareACoke, you probably remember this. Coca-Cola’s #ShareACoke is the perfect example of how to use an engagement hashtag. The company was suffering from a decade of declining revenue when they decided to produce Coke bottles with customers’ names on the labels. Coca-Cola then asked everyone to share their Coca with their name under the hashtag #ShareACoke.

More than half a million of user photos were shared on the hashtag, each showing off a bottle with his/her name on it. Coca-Cola gained 25 million new Facebook followers and saw a 2% increase in U.S. sales. Well played.

Top Hashtags on Instagram: Competition Hashtags

Similar to engagement hashtags, competition hashtags also aim to create user generated content. The only difference is that through competition hashtags, companies motivate their audience to participate in order to win a prize. It could be a discount, a gift card, a free membership, or a product. A mouth-watering example of competition hashtags was Domino’s Pizza’s #Letsdolunch on Twitter, back in 2012. Domino’s promised anyone who retweets #Letsdolunch a big discount on their pizza on the same day they retweet using the hashtag.

Who would not be interested in tasty cheap pizza? Even huge brands such as Volkswagen starts use competition hashtags. Volkswagen Ireland combined a competition hashtag and a hashtag for a cause in one campaign #vwsnapshot.

Top Hashtags on Instagram: Campaign Hashtags

Next comes campaign hashtags. Campaign hashtags are those which are specifically designed for promoting one product or offer. They should not relate to all your photos, just those involved with one specific product campaign. Campaign hashtags come in handy before and during the launch of a new product. You can use the hashtag when you add a teaser photo, a countdown or behind the scene photos.

These pre-launch steps can get your audience excited for the new product. Through a campaign hashtag, you can easily find out what your viewers are saying about your new campaign. Hearing feedback after a new product release is a lot of work. Your viewers will have questions, comments, and complaints. They may also want to know how and where to purchase. Using a campaign hashtag makes customer service on social media less messy.

In many cases, companies use already-trending hashtags to their own favor. It is pretty useful when a hashtag which already has gained so much attention is used for marketing. Sometimes, companies get lucky and their benefit coincides with a trending hashtag. For example, that time when KFC saw #NationalFriedChickenDay trending and jumped in right away. KFC did not come up with the hashtag, they merely saw how relevant this trending hashtag is to their brand and used it to their own favor.

Luck is when opportunity knocks and you answer. Other times, businesses just have to carve their way through creativity. That’s what Expedia did with their #throwmeback. #ThrowBackThursday is a globally trending hashtag on Instagram and other social media websites where people share old photos of themselves weekly. Expedia tweaked that hashtag and used in a way that relates to their brand.

Top Hashtags on Instagram: Hashtags for a Cause

Many hashtags went globally viral over the Internet for a good cause. In 2014, #Bringbackourgirls went viral with many celebrities, and political and public figures. It was used to shed the light on the abduction of three hundred Nigerian girls by the extremist group, Boco Haram. Over a million tweets worldwide featured the hashtag in a powerful social media campaign. Furthermore, in 2017, #Metoo was another hashtag that grabbed tremendous attention worldwide. Women all over the world shared their stories of abuse or harassment. In many similar cases, hashtags were used as a tool to raise awareness about an important topic or an event.

4 Tools to Analyse Top Hashtags on Instagram


Hashtagify is an easy and free tool that helps you find popular hashtags on Instagram and Twitter. The tool offers an in depth analysis of data and hashtags. It measures each hashtag’s popularity by tracking how many times a hashtag is used in comparison to all other hashtags. Hashtagify has additional features which are specifically useful for Twitter and Instagram.


Keyhole shows how many people posted with your hashtag, along with the number of likes and impressions your campaign is generating. It also tracks the most influential people engaging with your keywords. You could use the tool to find all the hashtags relevant to your brand.”


Hashtags.org is a great tool which shows a detailed report of top trending hashtags by the hour. It also divides hashtags into different categories to make finding hashtags relevant to your niche easier. For a monthly fee, the website also provides a complete analytics tool.

Trendsmap shows trending hashtags based on locations. Whether by country, city, or state, you can always find out which hashtags are trendy in a particular place. This is a nice feature for start-ups targeting local markets and audiences.

Hashtags On Instagram -Beech Hashtag
Top Hashtags on Instagram for Marketing*
1. #marketing6. #mktg
2. #marketingtips7. #digitalmarketing
3. #b2cmarketing8. #marketingstrategy
4. #b2bmarketing9. #mobilemarketing
5. #strategy10. #socialmediamarketing
Top Hashtags on Instagram for Contests*
1. #contest6. #sweepstakes
2. #[yourbrand]contest7. #[yourbrand]sweepstakes
3. #contests8. #giveaway
4. #contestalert9. #[yourbrandgiveaway]
5. #contestentry10. #giveaways
Top Hashtags on Instagram for Restaurants*
1. #food4. #nom
2. #foodie5. #hungry
3. #yummy
Top Hashtags on Instagram for Retailers*
1. #shopaholics4. #instastyle
2. #shoppingaddict5. #fashionaddict
3. #currentlywearing

What Not to Do with Hashtags

  • Do not overuse hashtags. It is considered spamming if you use too many hashtags, especially if they are irrelevant to your photo or niche.
  • Do not use long hashtags. The simpler they are, the better. Long hashtags can sometimes be useful, but that is not very often.
  • Do not use a hashtag with a spelling error. Make sure your hashtags do not have typos. This will ensure that all users use one hashtag with the correct spelling.


Hashtags on Instagram are a powerful way to organise and categorise photos. They can be used to get more engagement through competitions and giveaways. Moreover, hashtags also help create a community for your business by forming a group of loyal followers who respond frequently with your hashtags. In addition, through the proper use of hashtags, establishing a tone can be much easier.

Hashtags can help develop a strong brand personality with which the audience can identify and react. Furthermore, hashtags can be used in launching new product campaigns. Associating a product campaign with a hashtag makes it easier to track feedback and aid your customers with any inquiries. In short, hashtags have multiple uses, contributing to more traffic and a higher engagement rate. Businesses should be keen on embedding popular hashtags in their niche and keep an eye on hashtags used by their competitors.

Businesses and Hashtags

Over the past few years, there has been a rise in businesses opening with names starting with a hashtag. Many beauty shops have jumped on the trend with business names such as #nailsboutique and #hairstyle. 

General Top Hashtags on Instagram*

1. #love51. #dog
2. #instagood52. #vsco
3. #photooftheday53. #l4l
4. #fashion54. #makeup
5. #beautiful55. #f4f
6. #happy56. #foodporn
7. #cute57. #hair
8. #tbt58. #pretty
9. #like4like59. #swag
10. #followme60. #cat
11. #picoftheday61. #model
12. #follow62. #motivation
13. #me63. #girls
14. #selfie64. #baby
15. #summer65. #party
16. #art66. #cool
17. #instadaily67. #lol
18. #friends68. #gym
19. #repost69. #design
20. #nature70. #instapic
21. #girl71. #funny
22. #fun72. #healthy
23. #style73. #night
24. #smile74. #tflers
25. #food75. #yummy
26. #instalike76. #flowers
27. #likeforlike77. #lifestyle
28. #family78. #instafood
29. #travel79. #wedding
30. #fitness80. #fit
31. #igers81. #handmade
32. #tagsforlikes82. #black
33. #follow4follow83. #pink
34. #nofilter84. #일상
35. #life85. #blue
36. #beauty86. #work
37. #amazing87. #workout
38. #instamood88. #blackandwhite
39. #instagram89. #drawing
40. #photography90. #inspiration
41. #vscocam91. #home
42. #sun92. #holiday
43. #photo93. #christmas
44. #music94. #nyc
45. #beach95. #london
46. #followforfollow96. #sea
47. #bestoftheday97. #instacool
48. #sky98. #goodmorning
49. #ootd99. #iphoneonly
50. #sunset

Check out this blog for more fun and interesting Instagram facts.

See also:

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