How Brands Can Leverage Instagram Hashtags

The Instagram hashtag has become crucial for brands and businesses to gain a greater reach on their photos. Choosing the correct hashtags is the equivalent of choosing SEO keywords for a blog or tags on a YouTube video, and at the end of the day, using the correct hashtag could be the difference between your brand being successful on the channel or remaining undiscovered.  It’s all about the search.

Similar to Twitter hashtags, using one on your Instagram photo will group it with all posts that have used the same. The hashtags can be one your brand created for awareness purposes, or you can choose to use hashtags that are already trending. Here are a few of the basics to remember when it comes to using Instagram hashtags effectively:

The Basics

  • Do the research to see which hashtags your fans are using when talking about your brand and then utilize those in your posts.
  • Create original content that appeals to your fan base (a brand’s presence at a live event is a prime opportunity to share photos on Instagram) or to spread awareness for a running campaign.
  • Only use hashtags that are relevant to your photo. For example, Olay Fresh Effects (@FreshEffects) can proudly flaunt the hashtag #Beauty on Instagram since it relates directly to the content and brand.
  • Less is more. Don’t use more than five hashtags or your post can begin to look like spam.
  • Don’t use unwarranted hashtags as a desperate attempt to get more likes and followers.  Using a hashtag such as #likes4likes is spam and will not reflect well on your brand.

But with thousands of hashtags used each day, how do you know what will work best for YOUR brand? Here are a few popular examples to help get you started:


Is your photo already perfect? Use the #NoFilter hashtag to show off those rich colors and details of your photo that haven’t been edited using one of Instagram’s many filters. Brands are using this frequently, along with millions of users, so utilizing the hashtag will result in a greater reach for your photos.



TBT stands for Throwback Thursday. Instagram users love sharing old photos of themselves, and Throwback Thursday has become the perfect opportunity to do so. Many brands have adapted #TBT into their posts by sharing historic images or fun flashbacks that relate to their brand.


#Photoftheday and #PicoftheDay

The origin of #PhotooftheDay comes from the Instagram account, @PhotofotheDay where they ask their followers to use the hashtag and they’ll feature the best in their own feed. However, #PicoftheDay does not have an account tied to it, so it may be a better opportunity for your brand to feature a photo. Especially since 53 million people have used this hashtag on their photos.



Does your branded image have some serious art chops? Instagood was created to feature the work of talented photographers through the Instagram account @instagood. As the second most popular hashtag on Instagram, you can either use the hashtag on your photos and cross your fingers for them to see it, or visit their Tumblr page to nominate someone other than yourself to be featured.


Have you seen examples of brands using different hashtags? Let us know in the comments!

Ignite Social Media