In Instagram’s ongoing bid to be the “authentic” social media platform, the rules around hashtags have recently changed in a bid to rid the popular site of spammy behaviour. From following hashtags to adding them to your Instagram Stories, here are some top tips for brands on how to make sure their hashtag game remains Insta-friendly!


With the ability to now follow hashtags, users no longer need to follow endless individual users or search hashtags to be fed an endless stream of topical content. This means your posts could automatically appear in the feeds of users, without them even following you.

Instagram’s algorithm has always favoured the use of specific and relevant hashtags, but this feature makes using the right hashtags an even bigger deal. And for users, it makes exploring their specific areas of interest even easier!


Using the same #popular” hashtags on every post not only looks spammy, but many brands and users will be unaware that Instagram actually has a list of banned hashtags. If you use one of these, your content will never appear on any of the explore areas.

You might be surprised to learn that even hashtags like #beautyblogger and #newyearsday are on this list! This is simply because they were once so popular that spam content with no relevance to the topics high jacked their use, making any content found under these hashtags irrelevant to the words. This tends to be the case for any hashtag with over 1 million mentions.

Keeping them relevant and niche will help you hone in on the right audience, and grow you engagement at a much quicker rate.


If you need help finding niche and industry-specific hashtags, then it’s worth looking into third party tools that can make suggestions by automatically finding relevant hashtags for your posts based on other hashtags that you use.

There are a number of paid for services, such as Later’s Hashtag Suggestions feature, however there are just as many good free tools that can help you generate the right hashtags such as All Hashtag and Hashtagify.


If you have a business profile, you’ll be able to see exactly how effective your posts are at attracting a new audience, based on impressions from various sources– including your Instagram hashtags! Having access to these insights can help you to continuously review and evaluate what’s working and what’s not!

To access this information, select the post you want to get more detailed analytics on and hit View Insights on the bottom left. This will open up all the data on that post, including things like reach, impressions, and how these people who viewed your post found you.


When users follow hashtags, each tag will also have it’s own personal collated Story from the most popular Stories using that hashtag. With Stories becoming increasingly more popular in Instagram, if you can get your content featured here, you are potentially opening your page up to a huge new audience.

There are two different ways to add hashtags to your stories. One is by using the hashtag sticker, or you can simply use the text tool and type your hashtag out.

Our consumer lifestyle PR team specialise in connecting everyday brands with everyday people across four core sectors; Consumer Lifestyle PRFood PRRetail PR and Sport, Health & Wellbeing PR. More information on these areas of knowledge can be found at