Instagram hashtags for the best exposure

Updated: Oct 8, 2020

In the past 6 months, I've been closely watching the performance of my posts on Instagram with various hashtags. As you have probably already noticed yourself, some hashtags perform better and some worse. The performance also depends on the current Instagram algorithm, but there are still a few things you can do to improve it.

I invested loads of time and energy into researching hashtags and came up with the ultimate list of best-performing hashtags for travelers and a unique system of how to use them.

Guest Blogger: Tereza Letalova, Czick on the Road

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Does size matter? Yes, when it comes to hashtags!

As you already know, you can use up to 30 hashtags on your post. You also must know by now, that hashtags differ by size. The size of the hashtag is defined by the number of posts which are tagged by it – some might have only 300 posts, some have over 3.000.000. Even though you might be drawn to using the big hashtags, those will not bring you much exposure, you will never make it to the top if you don’t have a huge number of followers and likes and will only stay a few minutes among the recent posts. Instead, go for medium or small hashtags, with which you have a better chance to get among the top posts and stay there even for several days!

How to put your post to the top and the explore page

The hashtags’ top posts on Instagram are picked out by an algorithm that ranks posts within that hashtag. Although no one knows precisely how this algorithm selects top posts, it has been proven to measure post engagement and its growth - a post that has acquired more likes and comments recently has better chances. So, besides using the right hashtags, ask your friends and family to like and comment your posts right after you publish them, to have a better chance to make it to the top. It’s also good to check when your audience is more active and publish at that hour (simple analytics of the business account shows you this info, but usually it’s in the evening).

How many hashtags should you use

Opinions on this matter differ, some people claim to use all 30 hashtags, some say around 20 is optimal, some would tell you to use only 5 and change them with every post. I have also heard from people that if you use the same set of hashtags long term, the reach decrease and it's optimal to switch hashtags on every 3rd post. I have prepared several sets of hashtags and switch among them on every post depending on the nature of the picture.

The smallest and the biggest hashtags – which to use

For easier use, I have divided hashtags into 3 categories – small, medium and big. Small hashtags are up to 100.000 posts and you should use most of them (around 15), the medium is up to 1 million and you should use them wisely (around 5), big ones have more than 1 million posts and you should not use many of them (max. 3) or avoid using them completely.

The best Instagram hashtags for travelers

As my niche is traveling, all my hashtags are travel related, but for better targeting, I have them divided into 3 groups: travel, woman travel and couples travel. For the best reach, I recommend you to create sets of 20 hashtags from these + make a research before every post and check which hashtags are displayed on the explore page (looking glass on the bottom menu) and also add location-specific hashtags – f.e. #visitchile #discoverargentina #czechexplorers #germanroamers etc.

I hope this guide will help you to boost your Instagram engagement and if you know some more good hashtags, don’t hesitate to share them in comments, I’m sure there are loads more worth using.

Small hashtags (up to 100.000), use often

Travel couples: #coupletravelling #coupletravelgoals #travelcouplegoals #coupletravellers #traveltogetherstaytogether #couplestravelgoals #travelcouplelife #coupletraveler #travelustcouples #coupleslovetravel #coupletravels #couplestagram #coupletraveller #couplesthattravel