Yes! This is what Instagram users are asking all the time. “What hashtags should I use?”, “How many hashtags should I use?”, “Can I create my own hashtags?”

Almost 99% of all Instagram posts have hashtags. It’s a way of life on Instagram. Whenever you do captions, it’s automatic that you attach hashtags to it to widen your reach. However, not everyone is experienced in doing hashtags, and sometimes, what they are doing hurts their account even more.

There is a popular strategy for hashtags that only a few people know. We call it the ‘hashtag tier’ strategy. Perhaps, some of you know it by a different name, while some probably heard this strategy the first time today. Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags on each post, and though you might think that’s very generous of them, you are not supposed to use all 30 hashtags as your post will look spammy.

Now, I’m sure you’ve seen Instagram accounts that were fairly new, but were already competing with the big leagues in terms of hashtags use. Don’t be like them. That’s Instagram suicide. If you want your posts to be buried beneath millions of accounts with more followers, then, by all means, do this.

The hashtag tier strategy is a multi-level strategy that dictates how many, and what hashtags you have to use, depending on your number of followers.

0 to 10k Followers
Number of hashtags to be used: 25
Number of posts in hashtags: below 100k

10k to 50k Followers
Number of hashtags to be used: 20 to 22
Number of posts in hashtags: below 500k

50k to 100k Followers
Number of hashtags to be used: 15 to 17
Number of posts in hashtags: below 1 million

100k to 500k Followers
Number of hashtags to be used: 10 – 12
Number of posts in hashtags: below 5 million

500k+ Followers
Number of hashtags to be used: 5 to 7
Number of posts in hashtags: below 20 million

The logic behind this is that if, say, you are running a fashion niche account, and there are 10 million posts for the hashtag #ootd. If you only have 5k followers, your post will be buried beneath, say, Kylie Jenner, who also posted #ootd for her selfie. Kylie has around 150 million followers, and of course, since #ootd is so popular (hence, the 10 million posts for that hashtag alone), there are other fashion influencers with more followers who are using the same hashtag. They will all bury you further down the hole.

So the idea is, if you are a newbie, use low competition hashtags. If #ootd has 10 million posts, and #summerootd only has 99k posts, then as a newbie, your post will more likely be seen by others if you use the latter instead of the former. You can mix big and small hashtags, it doesn’t matter, however, make sure that the majority of your hashtags are small hashtags (10k -100k posts).

What Hashtags Should I Use?

Now that we have discussed the hashtag tier strategy, you kind of have an idea what kind of hashtags to look for. Always remember to use hashtags that are relevant to your post, not to your page.

If you have an account with dog pictures in it, and you post a picture of an adult dog, you shouldn’t put #puppies as one of the hashtags, even though your page is about dogs in general, puppies included. This is not relevant to the photo and is very misleading. People who are searching for puppies on Instagram, won’t even click on your photo if they are searching for puppies. That’s common sense.

Putting relevant hashtags on your post is very tedious, yes, but rewarding. If you have a well-thought-out list of hashtags that are relevant to the photo or video you posted, then people will find you, and they will eventually visit your page, and perhaps, follow you.

Hashtag Red Flags!
Never use the same hashtag over and over again. Instagram has a very smart algorithm, and if you recycle hashtags over time, they will put a shadow ban on you. Shadow ban is basically a temporary ban implemented by Instagram. They can block you from using the same hashtag, and your posts won’t even reach the explore page when shadow ban is in effect.

Never use banned hashtags. Yes, there are banned hashtags on Instagram, believe it or not, and it changes every month or so. Do your research first before using a hashtag as it might be banned. If you used a banned hashtag, your account will automatically be shadow banned.