The top 10 most popular Instagram Reels of all time have a few things in common. They’re all entertaining, they’re almost all from creator Khaby Lame, and nearly all have these two hashtags: #learnfromkhaby and #learnfrominstagram.
If the most popular Reels creator in the world is using hashtags, that’s a pretty strong signal that you should be, too.
Just like on Twitter or TikTok, hashtags serve a multitude of purposes on Instagram Reels. As an SEO strategy, they indicate the content of a Reel. For communities on the app, certain hashtags are used to bring people together and share culture and ideas. For creators like Khaby himself, hashtags can be a way to brand, track, and promote your own content.
The very first hashtag was tweeted way back in 2007 and they’ve since become an enduring presence on social media apps. These days, the search functions on various social media apps are sophisticated enough to find content without the use of hashtags, yet they remain popular for reasons listed above. They’re embedded in the culture of social media and need to be a part of your social media marketing strategy.
Instagram in particular still encourages the use of hashtags by making them a prominent search option. In this guide, we’ll go over the top hashtags used for Instagram Reels, how and why you should be using them, and how to find the best hashtags to use.
The top 50 hashtags for Instagram Reels
These are the most popular hashtags for Instagram Reels according to Influencer Marketing Hub:
Quick Tip: Use this Safe Zones overlay to prevent your Reel from being covered by your caption and the comments section.
How to use hashtags on Instagram Reels
Let’s go over some of the reasons to use hashtags on your Instagram Reels.
1. Build community
The above list of hashtags are the most popular for Instagram Reels, but they’re also the most generic.
Similar to TikTok, finding and hashtagging niche communities is a proven strategy for building an audience and finding Instagram users who share your interests. Finding your target audience is important for getting new views of your Instagram profile and to encourage users to share your Reels in their Instagram stories.
Different communities use different hashtags on TikTok to differentiate their content and encourage discovery. Discovering those hashtags (which we’ll talk about later on) and using them cements you as a creator, or your brand, as a member of whichever community or niche you want to be part of.
Let’s take a look at a cute example. This is a Reel from @i_da_ranch, a rescue farm.
Here’s the full list of hashtags used in this Reel:
This is a great example of a mix of more generic hashtags, like #happy and #smile, and more niche hashtags like #donkeylovers, #hobbyfarm, and #donkeysanctuary. These community-driven hashtags differentiate this Reel as well as make it easier to discover for users who share these interests.
2. Use SEO tactics
We usually talk about search engine optimization as a technique for ranking on Google search results, but you should also consider Instagram’s own internal search engine.
Using the right hashtags will optimize your Reels for search.
First, they serve as keywords. If a user is searching for “outfit of the day” posts, it makes sense to tag relevant Reels with #outfitoftheday and #OOTD.
Hashtags are also a prominent part of Instagram’s search results. For example, if you search for “cooking,” there’s a tab that displays relevant food hashtags as search results.
By creating this tab, Instagram is encouraging users to discover new content via hashtags, so don’t forget to use them.
A smart SEO strategy for Instagram Reels it to combine a written description with keywords included, as well as relevant hashtags, to hit both aspects of search on the app.
3. Create a branded hashtag
Another way to engage with community through Instagram Reels is to create your own branded hashtag.
Consistently using a hashtag you created on your Reels allows users to more easily find your content, and also encourages users to interact with you by posting their own Reels using your hashtags.
For example, take a look at Holo Taco, an influencer-founded nail polish brand. This Instagram account consistently tags their Reels with #holotaco, as well as hashtags tied to campaigns.
For example, this Reel also uses the tag #holoroyalty to promote a set called the Royal Trio.
As a result, fans of the brand use those hashtags on their own Reels and posts, like this one:
Encouraging the use of your branded hashtags will make it easier to spot user-generated content or track Reels from influencers you work with.
4. Join a trend
Just like on other social media platforms, hashtags on Instagram Reels can be associated with a particular trend, song, or challenge.
For example, for May 4th, people post Star Wars content on social media. On Reels, the tag being used was #maythe4thbewithyou.
Here’s an example:
How to find the best hashtags for Instagram Reels
So we know it’s good practice to include hashtags in your Reels, but how do you find the right ones to use? We have some tips.
1. Look at the Explore page
Instagram’s Explore page is curated by the algorithm to show Reels and posts the app thinks you’ll like. It’s also a great place to have a look at what’s trending on Instagram.
Open the Explore page by tapping the magnifying glass icon at the bottom of the app. Here, you’ll see a mix of posts, including Reels, which will be in portrait orientation.
Have a look at the top Reels to see what hashtags people are using, as well as what topics or trends they’re participating in.
You should see a mix of both big trends across the app as well as trends and hashtags more relevant to your own niche.
2. Use the search tab
Once again, Instagram’s search function is very handy.
Try searching for a topic, like makeup. In the “hashtags” tab, you’ll see a list of popular hashtags along with their use volume.
This will give you great insight into what hashtags within a particular topic are trending. In this case, if you’re posting a makeup Reel, you can see that some high-volume and trending hashtags include #makeup, #makeupartist, and #makeupofthe day.
Use this technique with any topic to discover trending hashtags as well as more niche hashtags.
3. Use a hashtag generator
An Instagram hashtag generator can do the hard work for you.
Some options include:
All these hashtag generators work essentially the same way — give it a topic or hashtag and it’ll suggest popular and related hashtags to include.
For example, we asked Sistrix to create hashtags associated with #recipe, and this is what it gave us:
Simply copy and paste a selection of the hashtags into your description when posting a Reel to Instagram.
4. Check TikTok for hashtag ideas
The general rule of thumb is that if something trends on TikTok, it will soon trend on Instagram Reels.
You can check out trending hashtags on TikTok by simply watching the For You page, or by using the TikTok Creative Center.
In the Creative Center, there’s a trending hashtags dashboard. Here, you can find popular hashtags based on region, time period, and industry.
For example, here’s a list of trending hashtags for May 2023 for the travel industry in the United States:
This dashboard displays volume and the number of posts using a hashtag, so you can narrow down the best hashtags to use.
5. Check out your competition
Finally, take a look at what hashtags your competitors are using, whether that’s a brand in a similar category or an Instagram creator you admire.
The goal here isn’t to simply copy and paste their hashtags, but to get inspired by how they’re using hashtags on their own Reels.
Hashtags on social media platforms, including Instagram Reels, have become less about search over time and more about building community, exploring topics, and discovering new content. These tips will improve your hashtag strategy and boost your Reels.
Along with high-quality videos, thoughtful Instagram captions, and an eye for trends and memes, use hashtags as part of your Instagram Reels strategy to connect with your target audience.
Instagram Reels hashtag FAQ
1. Do hashtags work on Reels?
Just like a regular, static feed post, hashtags are fully functional on Instagram Reels.
When a hashtag is added to a caption for an Instagram Reel, the hashtag becomes a clickable link. Tapping that link pulls up a page that curates content that uses that hashtag. Tapping a hashtag on a Reel, by default, specifically brings up a page of other Reels using that hashtag.
In fact, hashtags are the only type of link that works in a caption on an Instagram post, whether it’s a static photo, video, carousel post, or Reel.
2. Are hashtags more important than trending songs for Instagram Reels?
The short answer is that both are important, but in different ways. Using trending songs or audio for Instagram Reels is a smart strategy for getting the algorithm to promote your content. Hashtags can do the same, but they’re also important for discovery and community.
3. What hashtags are best for Reels?
Although there are some universally popular hashtags for Reels, which we’ve listed above, the best hashtags to use are the ones most relevant to your content, your niche, and your brand. Specific hashtags can be used along with more generic hashtags, such as “trendingreels,” “instagood,” “likesforlikes,” and “instadaily” to increase your reach.
4. How many hashtags should you use on Instagram Reels?
Reels allow you to include up to 30 hashtags in your caption. Because hashtags are generally hidden under a “see more” fold, more is better, as long as it’s under the 30 threshold.
5. When is the best time to post Instagram Reels?
In general, the best time to post Reels on Instagram is between 9am and 12pm, Monday to Thursday. The best time for your brand or account specifically, though, may vary depending on your industry, where your users are located,and a multitude of other factors. We recommend tracking your analytics over a few weeks or months and testing out posting times to see what works best.
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