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Instagram Tips & Resources

5 Ways Branded Hashtags on Instagram Can Boost Your Engagement

Updated on October 28, 2016
8 minute read

Branded Instagram hashtags are a great way to help spread the word about your business, find content created about you by your followers, and create a community around your business. In fact, according to a study by Simply Measured, 70% of the most-used hashtags on Instagram are branded hashtags created by businesses. If you’re using

Published October 28, 2016

Branded Instagram hashtags are a great way to help spread the word about your business, find content created about you by your followers, and create a community around your business. In fact, according to a study by Simply Measured, 70% of the most-used hashtags on Instagram are branded hashtags created by businesses.

If you’re using Instagram for business, it’s a great strategy to create a hashtag around your brand; whether it’s just your brand name or a more inspirational message. To help you create your own branded Instagram hashtag and rock it on your feed, here are 5 awesome ways that businesses can leverage branded Instagram hashtags.

What is a Branded Instagram Hashtag?

One of the best way to get your posts viewed on Instagram is to add hashtags. In fact, according to a study by Simply Measured, posts with at least one Instagram hashtag average 12.6% more engagement than posts without a hashtag. Instagram hashtags easily amplify your message and help you reach a larger audience. But Instagram hashtags are also great for branding, especially when you’re in the midst of an Instagram marketing campaign.

So what exactly is a branded Instagram hashtag?

A branded hashtag is a hashtag that’s unique to your business. It can be as simple as your company name, tagline, or the name of one of your products or campaigns. Or it can be a hashtag that has nothing to do with your brand name, but has everything to do with your brand identity. A great example is Herschel’s #WellTravelled hashtag, which the global accessory brand uses to encourage their fans to upload photos of the adventures they experience around the world.

How to Create a Branded Instagram Hashtag

Now that you have an idea of what a branded Instagram hashtag is, you’re probably wondering exactly how to create a branded Instagram hashtag. But before you start coming up with clever phrases or keywords, here are some tips to keep in mind.

Keep it simple

Keep your brand hashtag short, simple, and easy to spell so your fans and customers can easily remember it. You want to be specific, but something like “#reallytastyfoodtoronto” for a coffee shop won’t catch on because it has too many characters. “#tofoodies” makes more sense in this case.

Incorporate humor or cleverness

Hashtags that are either funny, cleverly constructed, or both are much more likely to leave a lasting impression. Check out Red Bull’s #PutACanOnIt hashtag campaign for inspiration! They invited their followers to upload photos to Instagram with the hashtag, and ended up with almost 10,000 original and highly creative photos being submitted.

Avoid competition

You want your branded Instagram hashtag to be relevant and centered around a topic that people will be enthusiastic about discussing. But you also want it to be specific enough that it doesn’t get drowned out in all the noise of #coffee #toronto. Search Instagram for your ideas to find out if and how your hashtag ideas are already being used. Make sure your branded Instagram hashtag is unique enough that it deters off-topic discussion.

Spelling sensitive

Make sure your hashtag is easy to read and to spell by avoiding double letters (if you can), as well as commonly misspelled words. There’s no point in hashtag gibberish!


Make your hashtag a catchy phrase that rolls of the tongue, or make it something so simple that it’s a no-brainer for people to add to their Instagram photos. Use familiar words and brand-centric phrases, and don’t be afraid of adding in some creativity! A great example of this is @shopbando’s branded Instagram hashtag, #bandofun. It includes both their brand name, which is easy to say and spell, and then just adds the word fun after it! And Bando’s brand is all about the fun.

Don’t forget to spread the word!

Creating your own catchy, branded Instagram hashtag is a valuable method for gaining brand awareness, but it can take some legwork to get people to start using it. You should include your branded Instagram hashtag in all marketing materials, including email, any printed products and brand imagery. It should also span all your social media networks — not just Instagram! Don’t forget to add your hashtag to your Instagram bio so your followers know to use it!

5 Ways to Rock your Branded Instagram Hashtag

Branded hashtags can be used to promote campaigns or to showcase your products and services — but in truth, there are tons of awesome ways that businesses can leverage branded hashtags to supercharge their Instagram marketing efforts. Here are 5 of our favorites!

1. Create a branded hashtag to collect user-generated content (UGC)

Contests structured around Instagram UGC are all the rage, and with good reason: they’re fun, popular, and great for both driving engagement and reaching a new audience. So what is a UGC campaign? Generally, you create an ongoing contest built around participants who contribute something in return for rewards. Usually it involves an individual posting their own picture on Instagram, then tagging it with a specific branded hashtag that your business has chosen.

A great example of this comes from Benefit Cosmetics, which turned to Instagram to find images of real people using Benefit’s “They’re Real!” mascara. Fans submitted more than 11,900 selfies on Instagram using the #realsies hashtag, introducing the Benefit brand to their own followers and showing how they used the product in their everyday lives. Because Benefit reposts Instagram content from their community, fans of their brand jumped at the chance to include the #realsies hashtag for a chance at being featured.

2. Create a branded Instagram hashtag to inspire your community

Instagram is a community built on the power of visual storytelling. It’s where the world captures and shares its moments through imagery. A branded Instagram hashtag can inspire your community by creating a destination for  people to share and collect beautiful and meaningful content.

A great example of this comes from Lululemon with their #thesweatlife hashtag. They engaged their community with a hashtag to inspire and motivate new followers to live a healthy lifestyle. And it worked! There are currently over 400,000 posts on Instagram with their branded hashtag!

3. Create a behind-the-scenes branded Instagram hashtag

Taking your followers behind-the-scenes is a great way to build a deeper connection with your brand, and one of the best ways to do this is with a branded Instagram hashtag. Keep your followers in the loop about company news and product launches, or simply give you audience a peek at how your brand does what it does — from the people to the product.

Kit and Ace’s #thisiskitandace hashtag is a perfect example. The Canadian apparel brand uses the hashtag to share behind-the-scenes images of its employees, products, and events.

4. Create a customized Instagram hashtag for your event

If you’re hosting an event, pick a hashtag beforehand and encourage your followers to share content surrounding it on Instagram. It will help drive participation and engagement, and will also organize all the posts that are tagged with it on a hashtag page.

The key to successfully marketing an event with hashtags is creating a unique, catchy, and to-the-point hashtag that encourage users to reshare, retweet, and repost. A hashtag such as “#food” won’t nearly be as successful as a more specific unique hashtag like “#BCFoodies16.”

5. Create an Instagram hashtag to promote new products

As creative hashtag projects grow in popularity, having an active branded hashtag that your customers actually want to use is the pot of gold at the end of the Instagram rainbow. By including the appropriate hashtags in your posts, you can effectively reach new people interested in your products. The key is to use branded hashtags that not only describe your photos and business, but entices users to purchase.

Chemex did this to celebrate their 75th anniversary. They launched their #Chemex75th hashtag to promote the launch of a merchandise line, including posters, artwork, and clothing.

Branded hashtags are the key to discovery on Instagram. Using the right Instagram hashtags can increase engagement with your posts and lead to more quality followers. With these 5 ways to leverage your branded Instagram hashtags, you should be totally ready to hit it big with your visual content marketing.

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About the Author
Content Marketing Specialist

Benjamin is a Content Marketing Strategist based in Toronto.

Plan, schedule, and automatically publish your social media posts with Later.

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