Instagram App on a smartphone

Instagram: Hashtag guide for photographers, freelancers and bloggers

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If there’s one thing the photo platform Instagram is famous for, it’s hashtags. As we mentioned in our article “Photographing for Instagram and the like“, hashtags can make a significant contribution to the success of an image or account. At this point we would like to go into the topic of hashtags on Instagram a little deeper and clarify how to use them correctly and which hashtags are the most popular for photographers, bloggers and the like to increase their reach and interactions.

How to Use Hashtags on Instagram Correctly

The basic requirement for using hashtags is a public instagram profile. If you set your profile to “private”, you will not be found via the hashtag search.

Before you randomly type hashtags under your picture, you should first think about how many hashtags are appropriate, whether they should be posted directly in the profile description or as comments, whether you should use international hashtags, how to research suitable hashtags and the most important thing, which hashtags are relevant for which industry. All these questions will be answered below.

Three types of hashtags on Instagram

Before we go into the research possibilities and the correct hashtags, we first want to clarify which types of hashtags there are. Hashtags on Instagram can basically be divided into three categories. On the one hand there are hashtags, with which you can reach a large audience and thus achieve a wide reach. These hashtags are usually very generic, can be used for a wide range of images and are often used by many users. Examples are #instadaily, #sunday or #photooftheday. If you search Instagram for these hashtags, you will see several hundred million images. These hashtags are especially useful to quickly get a few likes for your own picture. However, if you only use these hashtags, you run the risk of quickly drowning in the hashtag search again, since the next ten thousand images have already been posted with these hashtags.

A second kind of hashtag could be called a niche hashtag. In most cases, these hashtags are very specific to the image content. An example of this would be a photo of a dessert by a food photographer who hashtags his image with #food inspiration or #food photography. Of course the hashtags for such a picture could be made even more individual, if you choose the hashtags #dessert or #dessert recipe. It all depends on which target group you want to reach. The advantages of these special hashtags are the longer visibility over time and the higher willingness of the user to interact. However, the first like and the first comment can take a while, because these hashtags are not used very often and therefore not searched for very often.

As a rule, a colourful mixture of generic hashtags and special niche hashtags is a good way to describe your picture. If the images and the Instagram account are intended to address a specific target group, it is even advisable to use only industry-specific hashtags. This is especially useful for business accounts that want to sell a product or service via Instagram.

In addition to these two types of hashtags, there are also the so-called spam hashtags, which only aim at likes, comments and followers, but do not fit the account and the picture at all. Therefore these hashtags are not recommended for a meaningful picture description. Examples are #like4like or #follow4follow.

Hashtag-search on Instagram

The search for the generic hashtag “Instagram” allows a variety of different images to appear in the search.

The proper number and placement of hashtags on Instagram

After clarifying what types of hashtags there are on Instagram, we now answer the two questions about the number and placement of hashtags.

Basically, there are two camps on Instagram for both questions. Some say you should only use a handful of hashtags, while others say you should use the full number of possible hashtags. And also when it comes to the question of placement, some swear by posting the hashtags directly in the picture description, while others prefer to post them separately in the first comment.

Either way, it is and remains a matter of taste. The fact is, however, that you can post up to 30 hashtags under each image on Instagram and lose valuable seconds if you first write the hashtags as comments. Especially if you use very generic hashtags. In this case, there is a danger that after half a minute in the search for this hashtag you will have slipped so far down that you won’t be noticed at all.

2 methods of placing hashtags

left: Hashtags were posted as comments – right: Hashtags were posted in the profile description as well

Hashtag Language: Local vs. International

Once you have decided on a strategy for the number and placement of hashtags, the question should of course still be clarified whether you only commit to local language hashtags (provided this is not English) or whether you also use international hashtags, e.g. English-language hashtags. This question can also be answered by looking at your target group on Instagram. For example, if you want to advertise a service very locally with your account, it is advisable to concentrate only on local hashtags. If your target group or strategy is more open to Instagram and not limited to a local radius, international hashtags should be used. As a rule, English hashtags achieve a higher reach.

Researching suitable hashtags for your industry

Now it’s time for the actual research of suitable hashtags for your pictures. There are several ways to do this directly on Instagram. On the one hand the internal search and on the other hand the analysis of the “competition” or the analysis of similar profiles. For example, you can use the internal search to display more than just popular hashtags. Instagram also provides its users with suggestions for similarly relevant hashtags. But the analysis of top contributions from your industry is also a legitimate way to find relevant hashtags for your account and images.

The internal hashtag search

The internal search function on Instagram can be used to find similar and relevant hashtags.

Popular Instagram hashtags for photographers, bloggers and the like.

For a little inspiration, we’ve listed some relevant hashtags below for individual industries that are very popular, but also special hashtags for more interactions.

General

#instadaily #instamagazine #instainspo #instadaily #monday #sundaymood #visualsoflife #dailyinspiration #nothingisordinary #amazingday #throwbackthursday

Photography

#fotoshooting #chasinglight #makemoments #vscocam #photography #postmoreportraits #justgoshoot #makemoments #toldwithexposure #acolorstory

Food

#feedfeed #eatclean #foodporn #foodphotography #commontable #lifeandthyme #eeeeeats #onmytable #tastemade #foodlicious #foodshot #foodandwine #onthetable #foodstyling

Lifestyle

#livethelittlethings #thatsdarling #pursuepretty #flashesofdelight #thehappynow #nothingisordinary #petitejoys #darlingmovement #darlingweekend

Blogger

#bloggerlife #bloggerstyle #blogger_ch #ontheblog  #blogging #instablogger #bloggerlifestyle

Business

#whereiwork #workmode #workaholic #handsandhustle #creativeentrepeneur #startuplife #attheoffice #entrepeneurlife #startups #workharder #workhardplayharder

Design & Architecture

#minimalmood #minimal_graphy #abmhappylife #chairaffair #lovedesign #designinspiration #designporn #interiordesign #modernism #architecturelovers

Fashion

#fashionblogger #fbloggers #streetstyle #styleblogger #whatiwear #outfitoftheday #todayimwearing #styleiswhat #fashionnista #fashiondaily #mensstyle #mensweardaily #styleguide

Nature

#exploremore #getoutside #takeahike #wilderness #campvibes #wonderfulplaces #naturephotography #natureshots #mountainlife

Travel

#travelmore #travelandlife #welltravelled #takemethere #takemeback #traveltheworld #travelgram #travellife #traveldiaries #wanderlust #passionpassport

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