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Instagram has boomed in recent years. It now has over 800 million monthly active users uploading millions of photographs every day. The rise in popularity has made the platform ripe with opportunity for savvy marketers looking to improve brand reach. However, making Instagram part of a cohesive content marketing strategy takes more than uploading a few photographs. You need a solid plan of action. And you need to know which hashtags to use to give your content maximum visibility. Before you start uploading, do an Instagram hashtag search to learn more about your market.

Why Use Instagram Hashtag Search

Instagram users are sharing as many as 80 million photographs every day. Trying to make your work stand out is incredibly difficult, and statistics indicate 70 percent of posts go unseen. Crafting beautiful images and writing engaging captions is half the battle. The other half is making them as visible as possible. Hashtags are Instagram’s integral indexing system. They provide users paths to find the content (and content creators) they love. By extension, hashtags give marketers the tools they need to stand out in the crowd. 

Instagram Hashtag Search

Users have the option to search for a specific hashtag. If they’re interested in fashion, they simply do an Instagram hashtag search for “#fashion” and immediately see content associated with that tag.


If users tend to enjoy content associated with a certain tag, they have the option to follow that tag. New content automatically appears in their feed so they never miss out.


Users following a hashtag have the option to tailor the experience by selecting to exclude certain content through the use of the “don’t show for this hashtag” function. When users flag a piece of content this way, Instagram shows them less of that type of content. This makes it important for marketers to use the most relevant tags to ensure the people who see their content are the ones who really  want to see it.

The Most Searched Instagram Hashtags

Certain Instagram hashtags have become favorites. Top Instagrammers use them on almost every post they make. These hashtags are usually ways to build an audience. For example, #likeforlike is a popular way to indicate that if someone likes your post, you like a post in return. Similarly, #followback indicates that if someone follows you, you follow him or her back. Other common hashtags cover broad subjects such as #art, #fashion, #makeup, #beach, and #travel. The most popular hashtag on Instagram is #love.

Using these hashtags ensures your content appears in the most popular places. Unfortunately, Instagram hashtag search comes with three significant issues:

Building the wrong audience

Using #followback or #likeforlike may build your audience, but would you rather have hundreds of loyal followers who actively engage with your content, or thousands of followers who are only there so they get a “like” in return? The aim is to have an interested audience that wants to see your content, so quality is more important than quantity.

Time-consuming administration

Do you have the time to like or follow everybody who likes and follows you? Do you want your feed clogging up with content you aren’t really interested in? Committing to the #followback approach is potentially time consuming and there may not be much to gain.

Difficulty gaining visibility

If you use the most popular tags, you’re vying for attention with millions of other posts. Your excellent content is drowning in a sea of spam and a general mishmash of unrelated content that vaguely falls within the broad tag. Some experts predict that if you share content to a hashtag with 10 million posts, your content appears for approximately three minutes before dropping out of the top nine posts in the feed.

Using irrelevant hashtags

As noted, Instagram users have the ability to block certain content that appears on the hashtags they follow. If you’re using tags that aren’t relevant to your content, you’re increasing the chances of users flagging your content; if that happens enough, Instagram may start to consider you as a spammer.

Finding the Best Hashtags for You

It’s okay to use trending, popular hashtags. But it’s also a good idea to run an Instagram hashtag search to find some high-performing, relevant tags. Those can help you reach people in the market for your specific brand of content.

The easiest way to conduct an Instagram hashtag search is to use the platform’s in-built systems:


Enter a keyword related to your content in Instagram’s search function. For example, if you’re publishing content on board games, type “board games” into the search bar (remember, there are no spaces in hashtags). As you type, Instagram suggests popular hashtags matching your keyword and also lists how many posts are already associated with them. This feature helps you to select hashtags that are a bit more specific, but the downside is the auto-complete system only presents hashtags beginning with your chosen keyword.

Related tags

When you select a hashtag and go to the feed page, Instagram also presents a list of related hashtags. For example, when visiting #boardgames, related tags include #tabletopgames and #cardgames. This is a useful feature because it presents hashtags that are thematically relevant to your initial hashtag search but that don’t necessarily share the same keyword.

Using Instagram Hashtag Search Software

The problem with Instagram’s search functions is they’re user-centric. They show the hashtags Instagram believes a user is searching for to find content, rather than showing the hashtags with the best engagement rates or which are the most relevant for content creators. For marketers, pinpointing the best hashtags may require the use of some third-party software. There are several programs available, and they each offer a wealth of options for finding the optimal hashtags for any piece of content. Using these programs does incur some additional expense, but they provide a greater opportunity for finding hashtags that offer the best reach and engagement.

Final Thought: Bigger Isn’t Always Better

Popular hashtags have their place. It certainly doesn’t hurt to have your content dropping into the most popular feeds on Instagram. However, if you really want to build a loyal following and improve engagement with fans, it’s a good idea to find hashtags that are relevant to your subject using an Instagram hashtag search. Remember, people are following these hashtags to find the content they want; so if you find the perfect hashtags for your brand, you have a high chance of increasing your audience by serving up your content directly to the people who are eager to see it.