Hashtags are an essential part of success on Instagram, whether you’re looking to grow your following or get more exposure for each post. However, the social media platform often moves the goal posts when it comes to the way that hashtags can support profile development and which practices are likely to get the best results. If you’re looking to improve performance on Instagram then these are our top tips to help you increase post visibility and attract more followers.

Don’t repeat the same hashtags every time

If you do this then you’re sending a message to Instagram that you’re effectively a spammer and it will respond by reducing the reach of your hashtagged posts. Group the hashtags that you’ve decided you want to follow into large and small/medium and then apply a 20% large, 80% small/medium ratio to each post. Every time you post, use a different group – if you rotate them like this your posts will never be perceived as spam.

Use hashtags of different sizes

It’s not just the big hashtags that are worth using – smaller hashtags come with a range of other benefits attached too.


Small hashtags (under 100k)

This is where you’ll find communities on Instagram. One major advantage is that if you’re using this hashtag you’ll likely end up on its front page as there may not be much other competition.

Medium hashtags (under 500k)

You can still reach the front page and access real people with medium hashtags and you’ll connect with those seeking out the slightly more popular tags too.

Large hashtags (more than 500k)

These hashtags can increase reach but you won’t be visible for long because everyone is using them.

It’s not just about the hashtags



Success on Instagram also requires some commitment to your followers in the form of engagement. From replying to DMs to liking and responding to comments on posts, the more interaction there is surrounding your profile the more Instagram is going to see it as relevant.


It’s important not to forget about how you caption the images that you post on Instagram, particularly if yours is a people based business. With concise and communicative captions you’re likely to build warmer leads who will get in touch via DM. Captions are also a way to establish trust and build personality into your Instagram profile.

Profile optimisation

Make sure your Instagram profile has the basics, including a photo, web address and concise description of what you do. If you include a keyword or two then you also increase your chances of being organically found.

Using banned hashtags

It’s a fairly murky area but Instagram has reputedly banned a number of hashtags and using these can mean that your post won’t get any visibility at all. If you use the hashtags too often your account may even get a shadow ban. So, before you use hashtags, check them against a resource to find out whether they have run into issues before.

If you’d like to find out more about Instagram hashtags – or improving your social media in general – get in touch with the Iconic Digital team today on 020 7100 0726.