How To Optimize Your Hashtag

How To Optimize Your Hashtag

Even if you’re a novice to social media, you’ve probably seen a hashtag.

What is a hashtag? It’s the pound sign on your phone. A tac-tac-toe board. This symbol: #. It prefaces a term that turns that term into a live link. For example, #Zahalo. Users can click this link to see all relevant content that have used the same hashtag. This useful feature ties all that content into one, single public stream. Originally made famous on Twitter, the hashtag is now an important element to many major social networks.

Why use hashtags? Using hashtags in your posts makes your content more easily discoverable to your target audience. At Zahalo, we are constantly looking to see what hashtags can better optimize our content and engagement. We want you to use the best hashtags you possibly can. With these 6 steps, you can take your hashtag game to the next level.


  1. Identify Your Goal

    • Don’t begin by focusing on your hashtag, first you need to define your business objective and determine what you want to achieve.
    • Instagram posts that have hashtags are proven to get more likes and comments. In fact, posts with 9 hashtags get over 2.5x more interactions than posts with just 1. (Track Maven).
  2. Find Your Customers

    • Figure out who you want to reach and what they are interested in.
    • Once you do that, it’s time to #brainstorm. To think of a unique hashtag, you may want to consider interests, media, locations, problems, product categories, etc. depending on who you want to reach.
    • It’s easy to use the first word that comes to mind, but you don’t want to use overused/ common hashtags because they’re being posted by so many others your post will get lost in the mix. The more used a hashtag is, the shorter amount of time yours will be shown at the top.
  3. Research Different Hashtags

    • After you have brainstormed, a good place to start is beginning to type a term in Instagram’s search bar. Predictive hashtags will begin to show up, and it will tell you how many posts each one has. Typically, you want to keep this number under 150,000.
    • Longer hashtags are less obvious, so they often have a smaller and more engaged audience.

    • “Hashtags that perform best are 21 characters in length, with an average engagement of 30,394 interactions per post, and 24 characters in length, with an average engagement of 18,491 interactions per post.” – (Track Maven)
  4. Understanding Hashtags

    • A few important things to consider when evaluating your hashtags:
      • Will it interest your customers?
      • Does your hashtag coordinate with your post?
      • How much activity are posts with the same hashtag getting?
      • Is it over/under used?
      • Can it compete with other top posts?
      • Will it attract spam comments? (Whatever you do, don’t use #like4like.)
      • Is there a possibility for it to be interpreted as something offensive?
      • Has it been banded?
    • To save some time make a list of hashtags for different types of posts ahead of time.
  5. Use Your Hashtags the Right Way

    • Tailwind recommends the following:
      • 2-5 popular hashtags: even though you’ll be gone from the top of the feed in a hot second you might as well take a shot. If your other hashtags generate a lot of engagement, you may have a chance in making it into the “Top Posts” for the popular ones too.
      • 7-24 somewhat popular hashtags: this is where the majority of your hashtags should fall into. Instead of a few minutes, hopefully your post would last a few hours at the top of “Recent Posts,” allowing more time for it to make it into “Top Posts”
      • 1-3 niche hashtags: these include branded and hashtags used by a smaller/more specific community.
    • Regardless, whatever posting strategy you decide is best for you, make sure to keep it consistent.
  6. Finally, Evaluate the Success of Your Hashtags Over Time

    • Since you are using so many hashtags in each post, it’s difficult to distinguish which have been the most successful so you need to be continuously reviewing which are helping you reach your initial business objective.