Tools For Finding The Best Hashtags On Instagram

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it still make a sound? In scientific terms, the answer is yes. If we’re using that as an analogy for an Instagram post with zero engagement — and we are — then the answer is no.

It’s one thing to put together an excellent Instagram post. It’s another thing to ensure that people see that post. If the post comes and goes without making an impression on your target audience, then it’ll all have been for nothing.

The key to getting your post seen is to use relevant hashtags. And remember, the important part of that phrase is relevant; you’ll likely get plenty of views by using Taylor Swift-related hashtags, but if she’s not relevant to your niche/product/service, then it’ll have minimal impact, and may even hurt your brand.

In this post, we’ll run through how to find the best hashtags for Instagram, as well as outline some of the best external tools that can help. 

Best Hashtags for Instagram: Why They’re Important

Before we dive into how you can find the right hashtags for your social media accounts, let’s just outline why they’re important. Because make no mistake, they are important.

They’re a foundational part of any social media marketing strategy. Get the hashtags right, and it’ll be much easier to reach your strategic goals. Leading brands identify and use trending hashtags because of the many benefits they can offer, including:

  • Helping to get your content discovered — and it won’t just be anyone who sees your posts, but people who are interested in your niche.
  • Branded hashtags to boost engagement — select the right branded hashtags, and you could benefit from a host of user-generated content.
  • Content research — understanding what type of content has performed well for brands using relevant hashtags can inspire your marketing content strategies. 

The most important aspect of using relevant hashtags is that they help your content be discovered by a larger audience. Now, let’s look at ways you can find the best hashtags for your Instagram posts. 

Dive Into Explore

As we’ll see later, there are plenty of external tools you can use to identify Instagram hashtags. However, your journey will initially start from within the app itself. An excellent place to begin is by clicking on the explore tab at the bottom of the app (identified by the search symbol). This will show you a host of posts relevant to your interests (thanks to Instagram’s algorithm, everyone’s explore page will look different). 

If your personal Instagram use has been in line with your account’s niche, then you should see plenty of competitor posts that look like they could have come directly from your account. So take a look at the hashtags these posts have used — if they’ve made it to the Explore page, then they’ll have used hashtags correctly. Use them as a basis for the hashtags you use for your own posts. 

Check In On Your Competitors

It’s recommended to keep tabs on your competitors for a number of reasons, including hashtag research. This is an especially smart approach if you’re a newcomer trying to break into an established industry. If you’ve seen a business go from zero to 10,000 followers within six months, then there’ll likely be plenty of hashtag inspiration on their accounts just waiting to be identified.

Note that not all hashtags used by your competitor will be relevant. Stick to the ones included in their top-performing posts. 

Use Instagram’s Autocomplete Hashtag Feature

You can use Instagram’s search engine to find the most popular hashtags in your niche. To do this, type a word relevant to your niche into the search bar. For example, if you have a fashion account, then type ‘fashion.’ Click search. On the results page, you’ll see a selection of options below the search bar and above the posts. Scroll across until you see ‘Hashtags’ and click.

You’ll be shown a host of the most popular hashtags that begin with the word you’ve searched for (in this case, ‘fashion’), which you can then use to put together your own list of hashtags. Be aware that it’s generally best to avoid the most popular hashtags (ones with millions of posts) since your post will likely be drowned out by all the other posts. Stick to the ones with 10 – 50,000 posts.

Tools for Instagram Hashtags 

Conducting hashtag research from within the Instagram app is a good start but, to have the most effect, it’s recommended to use one of the many external hashtag tools that can help inspire hashtag ideas and analyse hashtag performance.

If you’re serious about growing your brand with hashtags, then consider using one of the following tools. 

Hootsuite Analytics

HootSuite Analytics is a powerful hashtag research and analysis tool that allows account owners to see which hashtags are performing best within their specific niche. Continually updated to reflect trending hashtags, subscribers can use the tool to analyse the effectiveness of hashtags to see which provide the most likes, comments, reactions, and overall engagement. It also includes a handy ‘Publish a Post with Hashtags’ feature that’ll automatically include a relevant hashtag set in your post. 


Later brands itself as ‘the ultimate Instagram hashtag tool,’ and they might just be right. This all-powerful hashtag solution offers everything social media account managers could ask for, and then some more. With Later, you can get up-to-date hashtag suggestions, automatically post hashtags as a comment on a post, and discover which hashtags are driving the most engagement, as well as a number of other advanced features. 


RiteKit is one of the leading social media engagement tools on the market and provides a host of handy features that can get your voice heard above the crowd. Its hashtag support comes in the shape of RiteBoost and RiteTag. RiteBoost will enhance existing posts with hashtags with a single click. RiteTag offers powerful hashtag recommendations for both captions and images based on real-time engagement. Put them together, and you have thorough hashtag support for both existing and future posts.