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Instagram Hashtags… is less the new more?

So… Instagram @creators have recently suggested that 3-5 hashtags on a social media post is the perfect amount. But what does this mean for marketers? Simple. It’s time to shake up the usual ‘30 max’ strategy and maximise your hashtag visibility. This article tells you exactly how you can do that. 

Why are hashtags important on Instagram?

Hashtags have the potential to make or break your Instagram marketing strategy. First created on Twitter, hashtags were used to index keywords and topics whilst helping users access specific information. Similarly, hashtags help Instagram’s algorithm categorise your content.

When used correctly, more people are likely to see your posts that are interested in your products or brand. Not only do hashtags give your posts more visibility, but they also help your ideal audience find you when they’re looking for a product or service that you are offering. When thinking about a hashtag strategy, always bear in mind what it is your target audience may be searching for.

Instagram Hashtags – the past vs present 

It has long been believed by content creators and digital marketers that using all 30 hashtags that are available to us will get more eyes on our Instagram posts. 

However, in recent weeks, Instagram @creators have shared some tips & tricks on how to make the most out of adding hashtags to your content. Amongst some useful tips such as mixing up niche hashtags relevant to your audience, they included the bombshell that creators should only be using 3-5 hashtags per post. Wait, what? 

This means that we could be seeing the gradual phasing out of the beloved 30-hashtags-per-post strategy that social media managers and content specialists have become accustomed to. If we take Instagram @creators word for it, it could be believed we are moving towards a new way of posting on Instagram with less than 30 hashtags.

Goodbye to 30 hashtags, the right thing to do?

Sceptical? You’re not the only one! Content creators are finding it hard to let go of the 30-hashtag-per-post strategy, in fear of losing the engagement they’ve worked so hard to achieve with their audience.

However, if Instagram experts are recommending the use of fewer hashtags, it could mean that the other hashtags within the 30-hashtag strategy are redundant.  Or, worse still, the algorithm could be choosing 3 – 5 hashtags for you from the 30 you have crafted and they may not be the ones that you should be putting forward in order to categorise your content correctly. 

Building a hashtag-proof Instagram strategy 

Even so, many of us will be hesitant to implement changes in our Instagram 30-hashtags-per-post strategy after previously getting good results. Why fix it if it’s not broken, right?

We’re taking the recent update from @creators with a pinch of salt, but it has inspired our content team to build a hashtag-proof Instagram strategy to test out in line with these changes. Check it out below.

Understand your audience

First and foremost, make sure you understand what types of things your audience is searching for on Instagram and which hashtags work best for your niche. Once you understand your audience, you will find it much easier to curate the best hashtags for every post and maximise visibility on the platform.

Hashtag research

Do your research into relevant hashtags and put thought into a strategy. Make sure you are using at least 3 of the same hashtags throughout your posts to help categorise your content. The remaining hashtags should be relevant to your post to help Instagram’s algorithm understand who the post is for so it is shown to the right audience.


If you’re still using more than 5 hashtags per post, we suggest you do some testing. Start with the standard 30 hashtags on one post then use 15-20 on the next and then 3 to 5 on your third post.

Give it a week before you review the data and see which post performed the best. You can do this test multiple times to gain a deeper insight into whether using fewer hashtags is really right for you at this stage.

Is a new Instagram hashtag strategy right for you?

Although we can’t be sure why these changes have taken place or how they will affect the algorithm, we’ll be testing out the above strategy on Instagram and monitoring the results.

If you’re hesitant to change the way you post on Instagram, give the above strategy a go and see if it works for you. Let us know how you get on by messaging us on Instagram or Facebook on @circulatedigital. 

For more marketing tips & tricks make sure you’re following our socials @circulatedigital for our latest updates. Or, to learn more about social media and how you can make it work for your business, contact a friendly member of our team today using the form below.