Instagram is constantly changing, and some of the fundamental aspects of Instagram are shifting in 2023. Sometimes it seems that as soon as we get a grasp on an Instagram feature, they change it.

Instagram recently shared that they’re looking to leverage keywords to help users find relevant content in the future. At this point, however, hashtags still play a role in discovering your Instagram content. In this ultimate guide to using hashtags in 2023, we will explore the best practices for using them in 2023, how many you should use, and how they can improve your post performances on Instagram.

How do hashtags work?

Instagram uses hashtags to categorize your content. By using hashtags, you indicate to Instagram what kind of content you share. As an extension, this helps to put your content in front of relevant users.

How many hashtags should I use?

You may have heard different things from different people regarding the number of hashtags. While there is no perfect or magic number of hashtags, Instagram states three to five hashtags are best.

The theory is that hashtags make it easier for the Instagram algorithm to reliably categorize your content where you’d like it to go. Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags on a post. However, too many hashtags seems spammy. Therefore, the best practice is to niche down and narrow your hashtags to a specific focus.

Social scheduling platform, Later, conducted a study of over 18 million Instagram posts to analyze how many hashtags are ideal when posting on Instagram. Their results found that using 20 hashtags provides the best reach. While this contradicts Instagram’s advice to use 3-5, it’s based on actual data rather than the platform’s advice. 

Ultimately, you can include up to 30 hashtags in your Instagram caption. Research shows that 20 is the best number for increased reach, and Instagram says 3-5 is ideal. Any of these options are viable; use hashtags on your post! A few hashtags are better than none at all.

What hashtags should I use?

Niche down and be specific with your hashtags. It may seem that using broad or general hashtags, such as #food or #travel, is suitable for reaching a larger audience. The truth, however, is that more niche-specific hashtags are usually more effective in getting your content in front of your target audience. For example, I post a lot of automotive-related content. Rather than using #car or #supercars, I use the hashtag for the exact car model, such as #porschegt3rs or #mclaren600lt. I will also use #mclaren or #porsche – it all depends on which car I’m sharing in the post.

How can I find hashtags to use?

There are a few ways to find out which hashtags you should use. You can follow competitors and see which hashtags they’re using, research hashtags related to your topic or industry, or use hashtag research tools such as Inflact’s free hashtag generator. This tool allows you to type in a keyword, upload a photo or include a post URL to generate hashtag ideas. It also gives you broad and niched-down hashtags to choose from!

Hashtags help improve post performance on Instagram because they increase discoverability. It’s like placing signposts on your content to show people where to find it. With the right hashtags, you can reach a wider audience, increase engagement, and ultimately grow your following on Instagram. Therefore, using relevant hashtags specific to your niche is crucial and reflects the content you share.

What are the types of hashtags?

You can use five different categories of hashtags on your posts to increase your reach.

  1. Location: cities, countries, places, states, ex. #Toronto
  2. Branded: hashtags that are specific to your brand, ex. #agency8
  3. Industry: niche hashtags relevant to your products/services, ex. #lawnmowing
  4. Community: a specific community, ex. #femalebusinessowners
  5. Descriptive: describes the content of your post, ex. #newproductlaunch

You can find many potential hashtags in your posts using these categories as a foundation.


Hashtags are still a vital part of Instagram in 2023, but how we use them is evolving. With keyword searching becoming more prevalent, using niche-specific hashtags will become a more efficient way of reaching your target audience. Use 3-20 hashtags per post, be specific with them, and experiment to find the best ones for your account. With the right approach to hashtags, you can ensure your content gets in front of the right people.

If you need more help with social media, contact us at Agency 8 to learn how we help business owners and start-up founders with their social media. For free resources, check out the social media section on our blog!

Happy posting!