Using hashtags on Instagram can help your Instagram profile gain followers and your posts obtain likes. Hashtags are simply applicable keywords that are prefaced by a “#” and are associated with the content of an Instagram post. Though the “#” can be omitted, Instagram Best Practices suggest that you use this designation to identify hashtag terms.

What is a Hashtag?

A hashtag automatically indexes pages with similar content. To view the page associated with a particular hashtag, just click the tag. All posts tagged with the term are listed on the page. Tagged posts help other Instagrammers find and like your content. Follow the Instagram hashtag conventions to get the most out of tagging your posts. Hashtags can only consist of one word, and cannot contain special characters other than the “#” at the beginning of the tag. Instagram hashtags can also contain numbers in addition to letters.

Public vs. Private Posts

When you click on a hashtag, only the public posts tagged with the term are displayed. Even if hashtags are applied to private posts, the private posts are hidden from view in the hashtag pages. However, if you tag your own private posts, you can index them by clicking on one of your tags and opening your hashtag page for the posts.

Effective Hashtags

Avoid using very general terms for hashtags. The more targeted the tag, the more likely the post will be to find its way to a group of posts with similar content. View a few posts with similar content to see what hashtags are currently being used, then use the same hashtag to join the conversation. For example, if you publish a post of photos of your Corvette, use the specific hashtag of “#corvette” rather than “#car” or “#Chevy.”

How to Hashtag

Search for a particular topic in Instagram and notice the hashtags used by other Instagrammers that denote posts of interest to you. Create a post, then insert the same hashtags used by others. Publish the post so other users can find your content by searching for the hashtag. Click on the hashtag in your post to view other posts with the same tag. Bookmark the tag page to quickly find all Instagrams with the same hashtag.