Let’s talk hashtags, guys. It’s 2018 so we’re sure everyone knows what a hashtag is but not everyone knows how to use them the right way, like the best hashtags to gain followers. Just in case you didn’t know, hashtags are, essentially, ways that you can categorize your posts among the billions of photos on Instagram. It makes it easier for people to discover your posts and easier for other people to see your content. Instagram now allows you to follow specific hashtags. So, for example, if you hashtag your outfit of the day photo with #ootd, then anyone who follows that hashtag will see your photo on their feed, even if they aren’t following you already.

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How many hashtags do you use, though? Where do you put them on your posts? Which hashtags do you use? Don’t worry. It’s easier to figure out than you might think. Personally, we don’t like the way that tons of hashtags look in captions. To avoid this, we usually post my photo with a normal caption, and after the photo is up immediately comment on the photo with all of the chosen hashtags that I have readily copied in my clipboard to post. Posting them sooner rather than later is best as your content is placed in a hashtag based on published time not by when hashtags are added, so you might get grained out when using popular hashtags if you don’t drop them quick enough. We use a specific format (below) that makes the hashtags just appear as “more comments” on your post. This way, there isn’t a huge paragraph of hashtags showing under your photo when people scroll through their feed. It just gives it a cleaner, less obvious look than if you just posted a million hashtags in your caption area.

 

It’s also super important to note that Instagram also now let’s you use hashtags in your bio. This is super valuable, as it let’s you hashtag your entire profile into specific categories. This not only puts your content into those categories, for increased exposure, but also puts your entire Instagram page into those searches, hashtag follow feeds and the explore page.

 

Proper Format to Use Hashtags in A Comment

Don’t get confused by all of those random dots. The dots push the hashtags down in the comment so the entire comment is too large to be “shown” on the actual post. In plain terms, this is just the method to use to hide all of those hashtags. We’ve used 3 periods here to keep it short for the article’s sake but we recommend using 4-5 at least. Feel free to copy and paste the below format into a comment underneath your caption to do this on your own photos.

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#ootd #blogger #instastyle #…

So, how many hashtags do you use? By statistics, the magic number of hashtags to use on your photo is somewhere between 10 and 15. Instagram let’s you use up to 30 hashtags, which definitely seems like overkill to me, but don’t be scared to use that many. It only enhances your chances of being discovered by someone who wasn’t already following you. We recommend in this case quality versus quantity as the more hashtags you use, the more they become dragged out and distant from the overall relevance to your content.

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Because Instagram now lets you follow hashtags and also use them in your Instagram stories for increased exposure, it’s really important to know which ones to use. Everyone has their own style, niche or category, and logically, there’s hashtags for each of those that perform the best and get the most exposure. In addition to using more broad hashtags, we recommend creating your own hashtag, like many other bloggers and influencers do. For example, actress and influencer, Shay Mitchell (19.1m followers), has her own hashtag for her vacations that she uses on all of her content related to this:  #shaycation. Her followers stalk this hashtag religiously and anyone can easily search #shaycation on Instagram, and immediately see all of the photo and video content from her vacations.

 

Below we’ve outlined some of the most popular niches and categories on Instagram and have listed which hashtags are the best to use to gain more followers. This is all based on the numbers:  the number of people that use the hashtag, the number of people following the hashtag and a number of other analytical tools, like Instagram Business’ tool that tells you how many people discovered your photo solely through the use of hashtags. Another thing you want to keep in mind is hashtag entry values, something we touched on while we launched Wolf Analytics back in March.

It’s important to note, though, that Instagram notices when you just copy and paste the same 15 hashtags onto all of your photos. They will actually will hide your photos from the hashtag search if you do this too often. Instagram is all about authenticity, so if you’re using standard, generic or gimmicky hashtags like #likeforlike or #instadaily then chances are, you won’t get any of the benefits usually associated with hashtags. Find your niche below to start hashtagging the right way! Also, don’t miss the end of this post, where we’ve also included a list of hashtags to avoid using on Instagram. There’s a massive list of flagged, banned or restricted hashtags on Instagram and more are added every month. Using these hashtags renders the rest of your hashtags on that post useless, so be sure to read through to the end to know which ones to avoid!

 

FASHION BLOGGERS

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For fashion bloggers:  it’s important to use both broad hashtags that every fashion blogger can use, mixed with more specific hashtags that might relate to the outfit in the photo, or the designers you are wearing. The ones below are (obviously) the more generic, broad-range hashtags to use.

 

#fashionblogger #fblogger #stylefile #outfitoftheday #instastyle #outfitinspiration #styleblogger #ootd #ootdmagazine #lookbook #outfitinspiration #bloggerlife #stylegram #lookoftheday #streetstyle #streetfashion #influencer

 

BEAUTY BLOGGERS

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For make-up bloggers:  just like with fashion bloggers, it’s important for beauty bloggers to use generic hashtags, along with hashtagging the cosmetic or skincare brand names or hashtags for make up techniques you’re using in that post.

 

#beautyblogger #mua #makeuptutorial #makeup #makeupparty #hudabeauty #makeupaddict #makeupdolls #makeupmafia #beauty #makeupblogger #ilovemakeup #wakeupandmakeup #beautyblog #makeupbyme #makeupartistsworldwide #dressyourface #bbloggers

 

FOOD BLOGGERS

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We don’t want to get too repetitive here, but for food bloggers:  use the generic hashtags below, in addition to hashtagging the type of cuisine/food, the restaurant or brand name, or cooking techniques to give your post both broad and targeted exposure.

 

#eeeeeats #foodporn #foodie #foodphotography #foodgasm #foodblogger #foodies #eatfamous #foodstagram #foods #cuisine #eats #igfood #yum #yummy #buzzfeedfood #foodpics #foodpic #foodgram #foodlove #foodcoma #foodlover #foodblogger #delicious

 

FITNESS BLOGGERS

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You guessed it. For fitness bloggers:  use the broad-range hashtags below, in addition to hashtagging the specific muscle group in your photo or video, or hashtagging the name of the exercise you’re doing.

 

#fitspo #fitspiration #fitfam #girlswholift #gymlife #nopainnogain #fitlife #getstrong #workout #trainhard #gains #strengthtraining #physique #fitness #bodybuilding #fitnessmodel #fitnessmotivation #gym #fitnessaddict #exercise #workoutmotivation

 

MOMMY BLOGGERS

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As with the rest of them, for Mommy Bloggers:  use the generic hashtags below and add a few targeted hashtags, like the brand name of the clothing your children are wearing in the photo, the name of the craft the kids are doing, or the brand name of the toys.

 

#mom #momlife #momadvice #mommy #mommyblog #momblog #mblogger #childhoodunplugged #motherhood #parenting #newmom #mommylife #letthembelittle #parenthood #momworld #sahm #sahmlife #wahm #workingmom #mombiz #modernmom #milennialmom #babydiaries #pblogger

 

TRAVEL BLOGGERS

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For Travel Bloggers:  use the generic hashtags below and add a targeted hashtags, like the name of the city you’re in, the name of the popular tourist site you’re visiting, or the name of the country you’re in.

 

#wanderlust #adventuretime #travel #travelblogger #doyoutravel #goexplore #travelmore #roamtheplanet #travellife #travelphotography #traveldiaries #travelpics #adventure #travelling #wanderer #travelphoto #travelling #traveladdict #instatravel #instatrip

 

PHOTOGRAPHY BLOGGERS

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For photography bloggers:  Use the broad-range hashtags below and add targeted hashtags, like the camera brand you shoot with, the lens you’re using or the style of photography (i.e. #blackandwhite)

 

#pictureoftheday #justgoshoot #vsco #vscocam #agameoftones #ig_masterpiece #ig_exquisite #ig_shotz #portrait #portraitphotography #shotwithlove #worldshotz #photographyislife #pixel_ig #master_shots #master_pics #ig_myshot #camera

 

HASHTAGS TO AVOID

The hashtags to avoid are pretty simple. First of all, obviously, don’t use them. Remember when we said that Instagram is all about authenticity? Using hashtags that are gimmicky or way too generic will give your Instagram profile a “red flag,” so to speak. We’ve personally tested this whole thing out to make sure that it was in fact real. When we used hashtags like #likeforlike on a photo, along with other, more relevant hashtags like #outfitinspiration, my photo didn’t show up in the searches for any of the hashtags that were used. Some people say that “shadow banning” isn’t a real thing, and others say it is, but from experience we can tell you that if you use the wrong hashtags then all of your hashtags are rendered useless. We’ve made a small list below of the “gimmicky” hashtags to avoid using on your posts.

 

#likeforlike #l4l #followforfollow #f4f #shoutout #likeforfollow #likers #likeback #likesforlikes #follow4follow #follow4like #followtrain #follow #follow4likes #followme

 

There is also a full list of hashtags that are banned, flagged or temporarily restricted by Instagram. Typically, these include sexual innuendo or inappropriate words or phrases. We recommend searching through that list, as well, so you guys know what to avoid when using hashtags on your photos and Instagram stories. There are literally hundreds of hashtags that are banned, restricted or flagged on Instagram, as of February 2018. Because there are so many and the list is always updating, we haven’t included them all here, but that full list is readily available if you search it on Google, or visit the link here.

Remember at the end of it all the best hashtags to gain followers are the ones that are true to your content and niche, so as long as you stick to that main principal they are sure to help you in some capacity!