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How to choose most popular hashtags for promoting your Instagram account

6 min read
June 2, 2020
Instagram hashtags are still one of the best free ways to promote your account. To use them effectively, you only need to learn to choose the right hashtags.
Hashtags are the most effective method of free Instagram promotion. They help customers find you and increase the reach of your account. If someone objects and says that hashtags have become less effective, they are not using the right hashtags. They work to their full potential if you use hashtags targeted for your account / business.
Just because you use hashtags doesn't mean you use them correctly.
If you use non-targeted hashtags to promote your account, then neither 10, nor 15, nor even the maximum 30 hashtags will give any results apart from non-targeted subscribers. Hashtags vary from niche to niche, from account to account, and you can implement a reliable strategy for selecting the right hashtags.

How to choose the top hashtags on Instagram for your business

1. Themed and related hashtags

Hashtags on Instagram work like keywords in search engines. Build on the keywords that potential customers will search for on Instagram. Keywords should be relevant to your account / business, otherwise users will leave. Be helpful, not irritating!

Record common search phrases related to your business in an Excel spreadsheet. Then go to the search on Instagram, enter a keyword and click "Tags". In the search category hashtags, you will see the number of posts published under this hashtag - this is the frequency of the hashtag.
Themed and related hashtags
For example, if you sell pastries in London, you likely use the hashtag #cakes for promotion . But more than 16 million posts have already been published on it, since it is a very general theme and there is no geographical reference. A better choice would be the hashtag #londoncake .

The list can be filled with similar hashtags, which are often used together, but have a lower frequency. To find these open the most popular hashtag and find the line labeled “Similar".
Themed and related hashtags
Due to the popularity of hashtags, common ones related to popular fields have long collected millions of posts and there is no point in using them. For popularity on Instagram, use medium or low frequency hashtags. There are fewer posts on them, and your chances to get to the top are higher. Such hashtags are even visually distinguished because of their long lengths (additional words to high-frequency queries).

Scroll the “Similar” tab until you find hashtags with a long tail and ideally with a frequency of less than 100,000 posts.

2. Determine the frequency of hashtags and their competitiveness

It is a common misconception that to increase your reach you need to use popular hashtags, for example: #love, #instagood , #travel and #photooftheday. Many people think that if hashtags are popular, then using them will make your account popular.


Pay attention to the popularity of these hashtags, that is, how many times they were used on Instagram, for example, #travel has 355 million photos with this tag, #instagood - 900 million and #love - 1.4 billion posts. Yes, 1.4 billion!

If your account does not already have millions of followers, a post with hashtags of this popularity will be buried immediately after publication. Everyone's final goal is to get to the top, because the first 9-12 posts on a hashtag that receive the most attention from Instagram users.

How to find out the optimal popularity of hashtags on Instagram for my account?

First of all, determine the average number of likes that your posts gain. You can either calculate this manually or open the “Engagement" section of LiveDune. In this section you will see the average number of likes that your posts gathered for the selected period:
popularity hashtags on Instagram
Then determine the average number of likes that you need to get to reach the top for the selected hashtag.

To do this, look at the average likes in the accounts whose posts are at the top. To do this, use the search in LiveDune, which will help you quickly see the average number of likes in someone else's account. If the accounts whose posts are in the top will have, for example, 1,500 likes, and you have an average of 200 likes per post, then this hashtag is too competitive for you to use it to your advantage. Do not use it! Search further until you find a hashtag that matches the average number of likes on your posts.

After you have posted a publication with a hashtag, go back to it in a few hours and see what hashtags made the post in the top and how many impressions it received from hashtags. Leave not only those hashtags for which they are displayed on the top Instagram, but also those for which they received a lot of impressions. In the second case, it’s worth experimenting with the content.
popularity hashtags on Instagram

3. Analyze competitors

What are their hashtags and how often do your competitors use them? Answers to these questions will help you determine the hashtags which helped your competitors get to the top, and you can also try to get in the top posts for them.

If you want to track competitors using LiveDune, go to the Posts → Hashtags section and see which hashtags your competitor has used most often in the last 3 months.
Analyze hastag

4. Analyze the hashtags of posts from the top

Analyze other people's top posts in your target hashtags. This will help you to analyze the content that gets into the top of these hashtags, and collect ideas for other hashtags that were used in these top posts. Perhaps some of them will be useful to you.

Then return to the suggestions in paragraph 2 of this article and determine the popularity of the hashtag, its competitiveness, etc. If the hashtag is suitable for you in all parameters, add it to the list.
Some accounts use purchased likes to get to the top. Therefore, first check such accounts for cheating using LiveDune before analysing their results.

5. Brand hashtags

If you don't like the idea of using many hashtags and want to use only one, then this hashtag without a doubt should be branded. However, if you have a small account, a brand hashtag will not bring you greater reach and new subscribers right away.

The biggest advantage of using a brand hashtag is the ability to control your recognition and opinions around your brand on Instagram. By analyzing your brand hashtag, you can find out what users say about your brand in their posts.

Also branded hashtags will be useful for custom tracking of the content around your brand. To do this, put a brand hashtag (yours or your competitor's) in tracking in LiveDune and analyze the content that is published on it.
Brand hashtags
Once you select the right hashtags to reach your audience on Instagram and start publishing them, track statistics on them in LiveDune in order to quickly reject ineffective ones.

6. Hashtags in stories

Adding hashtags into the story feature on Instagram also works as it does with posts in the feed, increasing reach. To add a hashtag sticker to your story, simply upload a photo or video, select the sticker icon in the upper left corner of the screen and click “#Hashtag”.
Hashtags in stories
When you start to enter your hashtag, Instagram will also offer you a “Similar” section . Often there you can find more specific hashtags with a lower frequency, thanks to which the story will gain more views.

For one story, you only have the opportunity to add one sticker with a hashtag, but if you really need to add more, consider using the text function. Your story will be found on more Instagram hashtags, but don't overdo it. Too many tags in the story will turn it into spam!
Hashtags in stories

7. Check and update

You can use a maximum of 30 hashtags in one post. However, it does not make sense to use all 30 simply because it is possible. While you are looking for your target hashtags, it makes sense to use 5-10 at a time. This is the optimal amount that will allow you to test the list that you collected in the previous paragraphs and determine the most advantageous hashtags.

Check hashtags for spam and quality before use. If the hashtag is spammed with posts off-topic, it is unlikely that the user will remain in it to search for the product / service that he needs. And by evaluating the quality of the content, you can estimate the chances of getting your post in the top.

Once you have compiled a list of targeted hashtags that work for you, it's tempting to use the same ones in every post. Copy and paste definitely saves time, but DO NOT DO SO! Using the same hashtags, you limit the reach of your account. Testing hashtags will become an endless process, as you won’t be able to figure out which ones gain you the most reach and followers, and promptly give up.

Using the same hashtags in each post may cause Instagram to recognize your content as spam and limit the visibility of your posts. Yes, this is the dreaded Shadow Ban.
There is no magic service that tells you which hashtags to use. If there was such a service, then all the best hashtags there would have been ruined a long time ago, because everyone would start to use them. Therefore, the selection of hashtags should be exclusively handpicked.
Post all the hashtags in your first comment so you don’t visually pile up the post with a paragraph of hashtags.


At first glance, looking for targeted hashtags may seem like a lot of work, but in reality you just need to find the time and it will pay off. Over time, you will have a whole arsenal of hashtags that will constantly bring new subscribers. Update your spreadsheet in Excel, keep testing and looking for effective hashtags to help attract new customers. The selection of hashtags is an ongoing process which you will be constantly working on. Remember, new content requires new hashtags.

And finally, you should stop using the gray-area Instagram services such as purchasing likes, as these may cause sanctions to be imposed upon your account. If this happens, your posts will not be included at the top for the hashtag or even in the general hashtag feed.

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Answers on the most
common questions
Why do you need to use Insta hashtags?
Hashtags are the most effective method for free Instagram promoting. They help your posts reach more followers and collect more likes.
How to choose the top tags on Instagram for your business?
They work on the platform like keywords in search engines. You should create a list of the relevant ones and select the best fitting for your brand.
Should I pick the most popular tag for my product?
It is better to find similar tags, which are often used together but have a lower frequency.