How to use the best Instagram hashtags in 2024

best Instagram hashtags

Instagram hashtags are not what they used to be. In prior years, hashtags were the golden tools for growing reach and engagement. If you chose the right hashtag, your posts could skyrocket in followers and garner much-needed love for your account; that’s no longer the case. 

In 2024, the best Instagram hashtags will serve as a component of the marketing strategy, not the main event. Hashtags have transitioned into Instagram SEO tools for categorizing and labeling your content. They as an interactive map to help users find your content, fueling the search results to make authentic connections. Hashtags can still help boost your engagement, just in a different, more subtle way. 

Many marketers who continue using hashtags with the old approach are finding unnecessary decreasing returns. Don’t worry, we can help. In this article, we’ll cover a bit more about the importance of Instagram hashtags and some best hashtag practices you can implement to get the most out of these tools in your marketing strategy. 

How have Instagram hashtags changed

We’ve seen a huge shift in social media feeds, which are becoming increasingly personalized and tailored to specific audiences. Instagram has been no different. This shift has caused a debate about whether hashtags are actually relevant any more. We think they are, but their functionality has certainly changed. 

Post categorizer 

The platform strives to provide a personalized experience to users with feeds designed to fit their interests. Its algorithm sifts through the millions and billions of posts and categorizes them into different groups to reach specific audiences. Hashtags serve as an avenue for making this happen, leading people to the content they are most likely to be interested in. 

When you add a hashtag to your content, you essentially are self-categorizing for the algorithm so it doesn’t have to determine where your content belongs. Categorizing content helps loyal readers find what they love and allows new audiences to discover your content. Hashtags label your content, making it easier for Instagram’s algorithm to suggest your account to possible followers. 

Broader search tools

Hashtags in 2024 serve as a broader search tool than they used to. Previously, clicking on a hashtag would direct a user to the “Top Posts” feed of users who also used the hashtag. Not anymore. 

Now, when users click on a hashtag, they are directed to a broader search page, including accounts, audio, tags, places, Instagram Reels, profiles, and top posts. This change allows users more options for connecting through hashtags and an opportunity to explore different parts of the platform. 

Benefits of Instagram hashtags in 2024

While Instagram hashtags do not boast the same instant engagement benefits that they used to, they don’t hurt engagement. In fact, putting your content in front of the right audience can translate to more engagement, more followers, more customers, more subscribers, or whatever you are looking for. It’s just no longer a guarantee, and it takes some strategy to make hashtags work to your advantage. 

Other benefits of using Instagram hashtags in 2024 include: 

  • Community-building. Users who search for the hashtags you use are more likely to seek long-term quality online relationships and a sense of online community. This is your loyal readership pool!
  • Campaigns reach. If your brand runs an online campaign, a custom hashtag is a great way to bring people together and make it easier to find your brand. 
  • UGC (user-generated content). Many brands are tapping into the benefits of UGC on social media. If your brand is using it, hashtags are a great way to help your customers find and promote your brand through their content. 

Types of hashtags 

Using a variety of hashtags in your post can help you hit every angle when it comes to reaching your audience. There are five main types of Instagram hashtags to consider, all used to accomplish different goals: 

  • Branded: Used for events, branding goals, or specific social media campaigns. 
  • Location-based: Targeting local audiences in your niche. 
  • Descriptive: Hashtags that relate to exactly what you are posting about.  
  • Community-focused: For community building and support. 
  • Industry-based: Specific to your niche and industry. 

How to use Instagram hashtags 

Now that you know why you should still be using Instagram hashtags in your marketing strategy, let’s talk a little about implementing them in 2024. 


The days of smashing 30 hashtags into your posts are gone. Instagram now recommends using only 3 to 5 relevant hashtags in each post. Too many hashtags will make it harder for the platform to categorize your content, and it may not reach the right people. 


Never use hashtags just because they are popular. You should only add hashtags that help categorize your content for your specific content. Forget using #fyp or #love because hundreds of millions of people use it. That’s the perfect way to ensure your post is sucked into the void. Add only relevant hashtags to your niche and post. Never try to please the masses. 

You don’t have to use the most popular hashtag on Instagram to get attention from your audience, but you should be using some trending hashtags within your niche. To find these, try using a hashtag suggestion tool, scrolling through the Instagram Explore Page, or even Instagram’s tag search tool. Use a few trending hashtags and a few more specific hashtags in your post to hone in on your desired audience. 

Utilize the caption

Remember how people used to post many hashtags in their Instagram comment section to gain more reach? Not really working anymore. Ensure you put your 3 to 5 hashtags directly in your caption on Instagram. It doesn’t need to be a secret about who you are targeting. In fact, you want your audience to see your hashtag choices!

Curate hashtag lists

If you find that you’re using some of the same hashtags repeatedly, it’s okay. Chances are, your posts will fit into a few categories on your page, and that’s precisely what you’re looking to accomplish. Make a list of the hashtags that you are using consistently for different types of posts to stay consistent with your strategy. 

Instagram insights

Are you not sure you’re using the right hashtags? Use Instagram analytics to see how your hashtags are performing and to discover new ones to reach your audience. If you find that some hashtags are just not hitting, ditch them. Find some new ones that will help your audience find you. 

Using the right hashtags with trending Instagram posts doubles your chance of finding that loyal golden audience. We recently wrote about the rise of popularity in Instagram carousels and the power of adding these posts to your strategy. Keep an eye out for trending posts that fit your niche so you can double down on reaching out to your audience. 

Reach out for more tips on using Instagram in your marketing strategy, or request a demo for more support.

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