The latest on using hashtags on Instagram

Hashtags are still key to discovery on Instagram—  that much hasn’t changed. But what, if any, are the new rules for hashtags?

We dug around to see what about tried and true best practices has shifted and what’s still solidly the same.

Disagree? Got something we missed? Find us on Twitter @UnionMetrics.

What’s the same

Most of the best practices around hashtags on Instagram haven’t changed. You still want to use relevant hashtags, never spamming popular hashtags with unrelated content just because you hope it will give your post a boost. You still want to continue to search for new hashtags and test them on your posts, discovering new relevant communities on Instagram along the way.

Instagram hasn’t changed the limit of 30 hashtags, and you can still add them either in the caption of your photo or in the comments. They both work the same way, adding your photo to the corresponding hashtag pages (unless your account is private, which is definitely not recommended for a brand or business account).

You don’t just have to stick to existing hashtags either: Get creative with your own branded hashtags, campaign hashtags (a must) and use them for jokes and punchlines where appropriate, especially if it fits well with your brand voice. Unique hashtags make tracking and measuring a campaign much easier.

What’s changed

While there’s still a stigma around using too many hashtags on Twitter (and it’s impractical to use many given the character limits there), that’s arguably a thing of the past for Instagram. While we still strongly recommend quality over quantity and putting in the work to find the best, most relevant hashtags to get your posts discovered, don’t be afraid to hit that 30 tag limit.

Now that users have to expand your full caption to see it instead of having it automatically expanded across their feed, it isn’t as obnoxious to use all 30 tags, even in the caption itself. Many Instagrammers will include some dots to expand the caption length to hide the hashtags at the bottom, or include them in the first comment if their caption is already long.

Here are some examples from whatrobineats on Instagram, as it appears on mobile:

Insta hashtags 1 Insta hashtags 2

If you’ve still got hashtag questions, check out Instagram’s Help Center, their blog just for businesses, or our recent post with All of our best Instagram advice, updated.

One more thing you should change if you haven’t? Be sure you’re measuring your efforts on Instagram with something like our free Instagram account checkup or as part of one of our multi-channel analytics plans.

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