The Ultimate Guide to Using Instagram Hashtags

The Ultimate Guide to Using Instagram Hashtags

When it comes to using hashtags on Instagram, it can be a bit of a touchy subject; some people hate them, and some people love them too much. But did you know that posts with at least one Instagram hashtag average 12.6% more engagement than posts without a hashtag?

The Ultimate Guide to Using Instagram Hashtags will help you understand everything you need to know about using the top Instagram hashtags to gain followers and increase likes, plus we’ve included a long list of the top Instagram hashtags to copy and paste for your industry or niche! Skip to the list here.

ultimate guide to using instagram hashtags

Why You Should Use Instagram Hashtags

If you’re trying to grow your Instagram following, the #1 thing you will hear is that it’s important to “engage” with the community. But what you won’t often hear is how exactly you’re supposed to do that. Using hashtags is a great way to target new audiences on Instagram, and if used correctly, will help other Instagram users discover, follow, and engage with your Instagram account.

“Hashtags give audiences an organic way to discover branded content through the topics and forums that interest them.” – Simply Measured Instagram Study

adventure instagram hashtag

How to Use Instagram Hashtags Strategically

In order to be successful with hashtags, it’s important to be strategic about your hashtag usage. The “most popular” Instagram hashtags are just simple words, and while tagging #love #happy #dog may get you a few more likes, it’s not going to do much for your growth in the long run. Instead of using the most popular Instagram hashtags, it’s better to use the top Instagram hashtags that have an engaging community behind them and are specific to your audience.

So, how are you supposed to find these cool, creative, and community-oriented hashtags? The best way is to look and see what Instagram hashtags your audience is already using. The narrower the scope of the hashtag, the more engaged the users are. You’ll be shocked and surprised by just how niche hashtags can get!

For example, let’s say you’re going to post a photo of a French Bulldog. Instead of just tagging #dogstagram (over 15 million posts), you could also tag #frenchie (over 5 million posts) and #squishyfacecrew (over 1.3 million posts) to reach a more targeted audience of people who really love French Bulldogs.

photo of dog with top instagram hashtags for frenchies

If you want to post a photo of your morning coffee, you could tag #coffee (44 million+ posts), but you could also tag #dailycortado (60,000+ posts) or #coffeeshopcorners (55,000+ posts) to reach the serious coffee lovers. You’ll find that the more specific hashtag projects have both higher quality photos, less spam, and the people who engage with these hashtags are more active in the Instagram community.

top instagram hashtag for coffee

Tips for Using Instagram Hashtags

The most hashtags you can use on an Instagram post is 30, so choose wisely! But trust us, 30 is more than enough. Posting a ton of hashtags in your caption doesn’t look the best, and in fact, it can sometimes come across as too promotional and inauthentic. Instead, choose one or two hashtags that are most representative of your photo to use in your caption, and then add the rest in the first comment (see below).

top instagram hashtag example

The hashtags will be hidden after other people leave comments on your photo, and are only visible if you click to see them. If you want to go a step further, you can also enter a period followed by a line break, and repeat a few times before you paste in your hashtags, which truncates your comment (see the Frenchie photo above).

Creative Instagram Hashtag Projects

To save you from creeping a ton of people on Instagram in order to find out what the best hashtags are, we put together the ultimate list of top Instagram hashtags to copy and paste! Scroll down for the whole list, which is divided by categories like lifestyle, adventure, and food to make it easy for you to copy and paste the hashtags the next time you post on Instagram. But first, here are some of our favorite Instagram hashtag projects to participate in to get you inspired.

I Have This Thing With Floors
#Ihavethisthingwithfloors started as an Instagram hashtag project, but it’s now grown to it’s own Instagram account with over 600,000 followers. Next time you find a cool floor, take a “selfeet” and add the hashtag!

hashtag project on instagram

Sweet Dreams by Design Love Fest
Every night, popular lifestyle blogger @designlovefest posts photos from her #sweetdreamsdlf tag to her 650,000+ Instagram followers to inspire sweet dreams. One of my personal blog’s photos was regrammed by her, and we gained over 1000 new followers! A nice bonus for just using a hashtag.

design love fest instagram

Instagram’s Weekly Hashtag Project
If you want to flex your creative muscles on a weekly basis, Instagram hosts it’s own Weekend Hashtag Project, and they feature some of the best submissions on the Instagram account each week. Look for hashtags that start with #WHP____, and stay tuned to the @instagram channel each Friday to find out the latest theme!

instagram weekly hashtag project

A Color Story
If you love posting bright and colorful photos to Instagram, the #AColorStory hashtag by the A Color Story app is perfect for you. They also post weekly photography challenges using the hashtag #AColorStoryChallenge. For more of their successful Instagram strategy, check out 7 Tips to Launch Your Business on Instagram.

example of weekly hashtag project


 

The Ultimate List of Top Instagram Hashtags

Whether you like taking photos of cacti (#putasucculentonit), cars (#carcorners), or just your friends (#friendsandwalls), there seems to be an Instagram hashtag to use for pretty much every occasion. Take a look at the list below, copy and paste, and watch your Instagram account grow. Don’t forget to browse the top Instagram hashtags and engage with them yourself!

Top Instagram Hashtags You Can Use For Almost Everything:

#vsco #vscocam #liveauthentic #thatsdarling #darlingmovement #flashesofdelight #livethelittlethings #nothingisordinary #thehappynow #welltravelled #visualsoflife #visualsgang

Top Adventure / Nature Hashtags

This category was originally dominated by the outdoor brand Poler with their #campvibes and #adventuremobile hashtags, but has expanded to include popular hashtags from other outdoor and athletic brands like REI‘s #rei1440project.

#openmyworld #goplayoutside #greatnorthcollective #wildernessculture #letsgosomewhere #ourplanetdaily #wildlifeplanet #keepitwild #stayandwander #campvibes #lonelyplanet #passionpassport #themountainiscalling #theoutbound #mindthemountains #explorewildly #finditliveit #campvibes #adventuremobile #rei1440project #thedesertisbeautifultoo #northwestisbest #exploremore #bestvacations #natgeo #travelstoke #wonderful_places

Top Food Hashtags

Everyone loves food, and Food 52 has over a million foodie followers! They frequently regram photos from their #f52grams tag, as does @TheFeedFeed‘s #feedfeed hashtag. Foodie tags in general are super active (and creative).

#f52grams #feedfeed #eatclean #commontable #lifeandthyme #eeeeeats #onmytable #tastemade #forkyeah #dailycortado #yahoofood #huffposttaste #buzzfeast #instafeast #bareaders #foodandwine #onthetable #vscofood #vscocook #foodstyling #beautifulcuisines #heresmyfood #theartofslowliving #rslove #realsimple #foodporn #cntravelereats #drinkwine

Top Lifestyle Hashtags

This category is dominated by lifestyle magazines and blogs, such as Darling Magazine’s #thatsdarling (2 million+) and #darlingmovement, Glitter Guide’s #flashesofdelight, and Kate Spade’s #livecolorfully.

#thatsdarling #darlingmovement #darlingweekend #pursuepretty #petitejoys #flashesofdelight #thehappynow #nothingisordinary #livethelittlethings #welltravelled #morningslikethese #mytinyatlas #calledtobecreative #livecolorfully

Top Fitness Hashtags

You can’t forget the gym selfies…Nike’s #justdoit, Lululemon‘s #thesweatlife, and Adidas#heretocreate are all inspirational hashtags to use next time you find yourself wanting to post a workout photo.

#fitfam #fitspo #thesweatlife #justdoit #heretocreate #seeababes #motivation #trainhard #noexcuses #youcandoit #getstrong #girlswholift #nopainnogain #fitspiration

Top Travel Hashtags

Herschel Supply Co was also an early adopter to the Instagram hashtag game with #welltravelled, which has been used over 800,000 times.

#welltravelled #justbackfrom #followmetoo #whatsinmybag #cntravelereats #passportexpress #passionpassport #dametraveler

Top Fashion Hashtags

#ootd #ootn #outfitoftheday #wiw #whatiwore #instastyle #todayimwearing #fashion #style #styleiswhat #streetstyle #justaddsole #shoeoftheday #madewell #theeverygirl #everydaymadewell #fashioninsta #fashiondaily #fashionaddict #mensfashion #mensstyle #mrporterlive #menwithstyle

Top Photography Hashtags

#makeportraits #friendsandwalls #storyportrait #postmoreportraits #makeportraitsnotwar #chasinglight #justgoshoot #handsinframe #acertainslantoflight #makemoments #toldwithexposure #acolorstory

Top Architecture Hashtags

#straighfacades #chairaffair #strideby #artwatchers #coffeeshopcorners #theworldneedsmorespiralstaircases #ilovebrary #thatbooknook

Top Instagram Hashtags for Bloggers

#fbloggers #fashionblogger #styleblogger #ontheblog #linkinprofile #lifestyleblog #lifestyleblogger #diyblog #bloggerstyle

Top Dog Hashtags

#weeklyfluff #delight_pets #dogsofinstagram #funpetloveclub #dogscorner #dogdailyfeaturesss #inspiredbypets #dachshund #beggintime #petbox #dogsandpals #mydogiscutest #sausagedogcentral #petfancy #dogs #petstagram #instadog #petsagram #doglover #dogs_of_instagram #instagramdogs #pup #dogoftheday #dogsitting #ilovemydog #instapuppy #dogstagram #lovedogs #lovepuppies #pets #puppy #adorable #puppies #mypets #mydog

Top Cat Hashtags

#catsofinstgram, #bestmeow, #meowbox, #weeklyfluff, #kittensofinstagram, #adoptdontshop, #tacotonguetuesday, #instakitty, #instapet #catoftheday #caturday

Top Color Hashtags

#acolorstory #colorhunters #colorcrush #abmlifeiscolorful #abmhappylife #livecolorfully #pastel_lover #pasteloftheday #colorlove #dscolor

Top Minimalist Hashtags

#minimalmood #minimalove #minimal_perfection #minimalhunter #minimalismo #minimal_graphy #minimalfashion

Top Hashtags for the Home

 #interiorinspiration #decorinspiration #apartmenttherapy #mywestelm #UOhome #sodomino #decorhome #apartmentlife #abmathome

Top Work Hashtags

#girlboss #smallbiz #mycreativebiz #makersgonnamake #onmydesk #whereiwork #creativelifehappylife #handsandhustle #tnchustler #creativeentrepeneur

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  • http://openquotedesigns.com/ Alicia Loh (Openquote Designs)

    I use most of the ones in the relevant categories already, so it’s good to see them here! Thanks for sharing!

    • taylorloren

      Awesome! Let us know if there’s any we’re missing 🙂

  • Tisa Jackson

    Great read. Thanks. Do you have suggestions for coffee?

    • ali301

      LOL The coffee suggestions are in the so called Great Read.

    • taylorloren

      Hi Tisa! I mentioned two of my faves, #dailycortado and #coffeeshopcorners, but there’s so many more too! Another one I like is from Montreal, #mtlcafecrawl. Let me know if you find more 🙂

      • Tisa Jackson

        Thanks, I clicked the skip to the hashtags and I missed the coffee part…thank you

  • https://simplypetrol.com Simply Petrol

    Nice post on the blog! Greetings from our team. We can share some hashtags for reaching keen automotive communities.

    • taylorloren

      Thanks! Sure, fire away! 🙂

      • https://simplypetrol.com Simply Petrol

        #drivetastefully, #soloparking, #joyofmachine, #thegovernorsclub – actually a automotive brand, but eventually the hashtag grew bigger with the time, #itswhitenoise #carsandcoffee, #respectyourelders (BMW thing), #youngtimer, #morninautos, every type (cities for example) of #carspotting and many more. Every single one of them must be used only if appropriate to your brand.

  • alex

    Thanks for this great article! So when a company starts a hashtag (not with the brand’s name in it) that becomes huge, how do they benefit from the hashtag? They don’t have ownership and can’t put their names all over it. So how can you cash in on the success of starting a successful hashtag?

    • http://www.originphotos.com Daniel R

      You need to make a brand hashtag that is unique to your business. Use your brand tag as your signature tag. Get people to use them, so that your brand gets marketed too.

      I don’t think the idea is to “cash in” a hashtag but once it becomes popular (Like the A Color Story, for example) you can introduce services and products to your followers (more sales = $$$) Your brand hashtag brings exposure to your business (it’s like putting the name of your company on a billboard on NYC)

      Large companies that have found marketing success on Instagram use popular hashtags sparingly—they do not blindly apply irrelevant hashtags to their content. Instead, those companies are more comfortable either dominating hashtags or creating new ones that are related to their brands.

      In my case, I own a wedding photography studio. I’m experimenting with the name of my company and a hashtag we created (related to brides). Whenever we book a new client for a wedding, we take a selfie (the studio crew and the couple). We use #selfiebride and #weloveourcouples

      Hope this helps

      • taylorloren

        great suggestions, thank you for being helpful!

    • taylorloren

      Hi Alex!

      You’re right, if the name isn’t inherently in the hashtag it can be difficult to “benefit” from, but I think the main benefit comes from engaged users who are “intheknow.” If they are browsing and using your hashtag, that means they are also seeing posts from that hashtag, which include yours! Hope that helps 🙂

  • http://www.originphotos.com Daniel R

    I like the articles here! I just have a suggestion. I would love to see more recommendations for a business. Most of the articles are towards the creative people (bloggers, designers) Like for example this article. Hashtags like #sweetdreamsdlf and #Ihavethisthingwithfloors how I can use those for my photography business? I have a few ideas, like if I’m shooting a wedding at I come across some nice floors but by doing this I don’t think I’m reaching my niche. At the end I can use tons of good hashtags but is about making a profit. If I using latergrame the investment on it should bring a profit. If it does not, then I just wasting my time.

    Finding the hashtags that your audience is scrolling through is not an easy thing. You provided a list of hashtags for photographers. I decided to check them out and see what I can do with them but again if I want to reach out to engage couples, these may not be that helpful but I’m always looking for a breakthrough and this article gave me a few good ideas. 🙂

  • http://www.edtroxellcreative.com/ Ed Troxell

    Great article and thanks for including popular hashtags separated by groups. This is a great resource to point clients to. Thanks!

    • taylorloren

      Awesome, so great to hear it’s useful! 🙂

  • Claire Bracke

    I wish I could find a similar list for Belgium because the trouble with English hashtags is that they have a way too broad reach for us…

    • taylorloren

      localizaton can definitely be a challenge!

  • Doug Lycett

    @taylorloren:disqus top coffee shop hashtags?

    • taylorloren

      #dailycortado #coffeeshopcorners #mtlcafecrawl are a few!

  • taylorloren

    I would creep the @music page on Instagram!

    • http://natemaingard.com/ Nate Maingard (troubadour)

      excellent advice, thank you kindly!

  • Yonatan Gordon

    Great resource. Thanks for the popular hashtags. Very helpful.

  • twentyishbrunette

    Great article! @taylorloren:disqus do you (or anybody) know the top hashtags for beauty/makeup?

  • Urban Siren

    Beach / Ocean /Mermaid Hashtags WANTED. haha

  • Art Salmons

    Thank you, the suggestions here were much more useful than other articles I’ve read. Hope you guys follow up with more.

  • Константин Гаврилов

    Hello, Taylor!

    Thanks a lot) I was very happy to find some fresh like this! I mean your article. Actualy meant traslation of your article at the Russian web source. It’s very interesting! I’d like to ask you something. How can I find intresting hashtags about some different things. For example, about flowers, candles, colors or something else. Where and how I must searching?

    Thank you advance!
    PS: My English?! Sorry)

  • Nathan

    Thanks for the great tips.

  • Melanie Little

    Wedding industry/blog hashtags?

    • Mary Swaffield

      #wedpros #wedpreneur #eventprofs #weddingindustry #weddingpros #wedprofs #weducation #wedblog …

  • http://blog.mrsjonesandco.com Karen

    Taylor, great article. I have a question, where can I find the top hashtags for jewelry? I have a jewelry and gift website, I kind of use the fashion hashtags but substitute the word jewelry instead. Not sure if that is the best idea or not.

  • Goosey

    Very helpful, ty! Bookmarked for later use.

  • Stephen Taylor

    Excellent articles…I have just jumped from the Kylie Jenner one, to the business one, then onto this. Great content and great linkage! Thank you!

    Kind of stuck with what to do with my life now….