Before you proceed, make sure you've taken screenshots of your Instagram Profile (including the current number of followers/following and your feed). Your screenshots will show you the transformation and improvements your Instagram will undergo through out the challenge. Ready? GO.

Have you ever tried posting two photos and saw the difference in engagement received between using and not using hashtags? If you did, then you’ve probably been a loyal hashtag user ever since. INSTAGRAM HASHTAGS ARE AWESOME! It does attract more engagement but not always in a way that will favor your account.

A QUICK CAUTION ON HASHTAGS: When used incorrectly, nothing about hashtags will increase your audience or engagement in a strategic way

A lot of articles nowadays claim that using hashtags will significantly expand your reach or that your chances of attracting new followers, getting more likes, and increasing engagement are vastly increased by using it.  These are not applicable when you’re using the wrong ones. Sure it CAN HELP you get discovered by new accounts but not in a significant way.

Is this you?

If you’ve been experimenting with all kinds of hashtags for the past few years I’d assume you have experienced these:

  • A lot of people bots (or random brands) find your posts
  • That means there are a lot of bot accounts, or automated likes, or some weirdos who will like and comment (they try to leave a “meaningful comment” as much as they can) on your account
  • You find out that either they’re bots or they’re not your ideal audience, and they definitely did not stick around

We’ll discuss how we can try to get rid of them in a while. But here’s the silver lining: The bots becomes useful when they find your post within the first few minutes of posting your photo and using the hashtag.

  • That then increases the possibility of getting MORE immediate likes on your post (within the first hour)
  • And as we discussed in one of our earlier missions: more likes and engagement within the first hour = GOOD for Instagram’s algorithm
  • Which means, Instagram’s algorithm thinks, ‘Oh this is an awesome post! Let me show it to more people!’ - and so, the higher your chances of showing up on your followers’ feeds

Aside from this, Instagram uses hashtags to feature you

  • On their explore page (when you click on explore)
  • Their Hashtag Page (when you click on a hashtag)
  • Their location page (when you click on a tagged location)
  • On the home feed of other people (when they follow the hashtag!)

That would probably be the best reason why you use a hashtag. But if you rely on it alone for your Instagram goal and growth, that probably won’t happen.

Here are some tips on how to use hashtags properly:


Hashtags- statistically speaking… you only need 3-5 well executed hashtags to pull in an audience.

Reels that have 3-5 hashtags reach 7% more people than reels without hashtags

But remember to always check a hashtag before you use it. Instagram bans hashtags for a reason. Some temporarily, some permanently. They’re usually normal and innocent words but don’t send Instagram the wrong signal to Instagram and be associated with banned hashtags. If you use a banned hashtag your post won’t show up on the hashtag page. It’s easy to know if a hashtag is banned.

  • In the search bar, type a hashtag
  • If the hashtag does not appear in the search results, it is banned (see below #fitnessgirls #lean)
  • The hashtag could be banned temporarily or indefinitely. This means that one day it might be blocked, another day it might be back
  • If the hashtag does appear in the search result, tap on it.
  • You have to confirm it has not been banned. Sometimes it will show in the search result but it links to a broken page


  • Know your category (example: fitness)
  • Find an Instagram account you really like (big accounts and smaller ones)
  • Look what hashtags they use
  • Write down some of the hashtags you like
  • Press on a hashtag to open the hashtag page
  • Look at the “Related” hashtags on top of the screen
  • Continue to write your list
  • To avoid searching and typing them over and over and over again on Instagram, save it on your notes app where you can easily copy and paste them when needed


A hashtag is a keyword. So start finding people who are like your ideal audience (the followers you want to attract / your target audience/client/buyer). The Instagram algorithm loves keywords / hashtags. It links people who use the same hashtags together. So if YOU and your ideal customer are using the same hashtags, Instagram could match you. Your posts might pop up in their Instagram feed or to your target follower and next thing you know they liked/followed you!

Focus on big trending hashtags and niche specific hashtags. This ensures you’re teaching a targeted audience and a trending audience.


  • Go to the account of your target/ideal audience
  • Look what hashtags they are using
  • Use the same hashtags as them (hashtags that are relevant to you)
  • Also use hashtags people would type on Instagram to find an account (or product or service) like you


Yes, you can follow hashtags. When you follow a hashtag, posts from people (using that hashtag) will appear in your home feed. It is a great way to connect with new people. When you like and comment on their photos, they can discover your account too. #GoldenRule #Engagement! #RememberLesson3?

Instagram is a social media. So be social. The algorithm loves interaction. Don’t just use hashtags and post. From time to time go on a hashtag page and take a few minutes to like and comment on people’s posts. People who use this hashtag might enjoy your account too! Start following Hashtags that resonate with you now!



Make more than 1 group of different mix of hashtags so you won’t use the same hashtags every post. Change your hashtag group every month, or per 3 posts, or per category of your content (or more often if you want to). Why?

  • Instagram will see that you’re not a robot or spamming (they love when we show that we’re active and real people)
  • You will appear in new pages/accounts
  • It’s a strategy to keep growing your account
  • New hashtags = expand your reach


Because why not? Some people like to use hashtags to organize their own posts. And that’s an awesome idea because people can click on your hashtag and see all your posts in that niche/category. It might also make way for you to start a community once it starts picking up traction and that will help you on your brand building.
For example: (photo above: @laurentickner used to tag her personal posts #StrentghFeed and not it has been useful for her Instagramm growth as a Fitness trainer turned businesswoman.

You can always start small: your personal happiness when you click on your hashtag and it has all your posts in there properly categorized. It will spark joy. #konmari


Hashtags are best placed at the end of your caption. Not in the comments and not super spaced out. You don’t want to interrupt the flow of your content but you also don’t want people searching everywhere for the tag.


With the above tips and your own skills to research for hashtags relevant to what you post (you can use the Later app or the website for this),  come up with your own group of 5-25 hashtags (we say 5-25 so you’d have room for 5 more special/personal hashtags that you want to include)

Now, you have a good idea of what hashtags to use.

Here’s the trick: mix the hashtags.

Use a mix of big + medium + small + community hashtags

Remember. a big hashtag will get you a couple of likes and comments at the beginning while a medium to small hashtag will get you more likes and comments in the long run because people will be able to scroll through a hashtag page and find your post



There is an increasing habit of people looking for something on Instagram, to search for #<country/state letter code>

  • So for example, I’m someone from California and I’m looking for a fitness coach / yoga coach either for inspiration or as a potential client in the future, I’d use Instagram as a search engine
  • I’d probably search for #CaliforniaFitnessCoach rather than just #FitnessCoach
  • This is a much more efficient hashtag to use, because the hashtag #FitnessCoach (Without the country) has way more results from all over the world
  • So when you write your hashtag mix and create hashtag groups, add either country or city-specific codes to your keywords – especially from Medium down to community hashtags
  • If you’re a fitness & Yoga coach in Los Angeles, California, you can use: #CaliFitnessCoach #FitnessCoachLA #FitnessCoachCA #LosAngelesFitnessh #CaliforniaYoga #YogiLA #YogaCA  (you can first check the number of posts per hashtag before including them in your mix!) and your ideal follower/target market will probably end up seeing you on Instagram!


DO NOT OVERTHINK THIS. At the end of the day, if using hashtags feels weird to you, don’t do it. You DON’T have to do it, I promise. And if you DO decide to use them – maximize it but don’t sweat the small stuff. I’m telling you, hashtags have their uses, but without patience in trial and error, you’d never see it as a useful tool for your IG growth.

AT THE END OF THE DAY -- it’s still in how well your content connects with your audience.

Hashtags are a tactic. MEANING > TACTIC. Your posts first have to actually connect to your audience before hashtags can add their magic.

So come up with your list of hashtags, COME UP WITH 3 HASHTAGS! Or even think of a PERSONAL HASHTAG!  Go use them, try them on for size, if it works, then great, if not, try re-mixing and matching.

Another TIP: If you don’t want to clutter your captions with all the hashtags, here’s how you can use them: In Caption or in Comment.

Some people use their hashtags as their FIRST COMMENT on their post, and they make sure they are hidden by dots and line breaks. They look like this:


(insert all captions here)

How to do it: In the comment box, tap the 123 key. Tap “return” and then enter a period. Repeat those steps at least five times. Instagram caps off captions after three lines so the hashtags won’t be viewable to users unless they tap the more option.

For the clean line breaks on Instagram Captions use this link:


Now that you know how to use hashtags, apply this on today's posting & engagement practice as we post another content on Instagram today based on the calendar guide during the given engagement window.

Go Back to the Facebook Group to share your insights and catch up with the community. Make sure to engage with your team mates!