How to use hashtags to increase sales on instagram

I never believed in the effectiveness of hashtags until I was faced with a challenge. I had to help a client find clients on Instagram without any ads or influencer marketing. In this post you will learn the A to Z on how to use hashtags to increase sales on Instagram.

So what did I do?

I researched hashtags that related well to that market. The first week was a learning process but from the second week the page following started growing…

Then people started messaging and paying for our services.

Results over talk right? See some insights below


If you’re used to Instagram you will be able to interpret the data above.

They reflect the likes, comments, reposts, number of times saved, number of profile visits the post attracted and the number of people that saw the post from the hashtag & from the home page.

So to begin with, what’s a hashtag?

instagram hashtags

An hashtag is simply a word that enclosed with the hash (#). This is done to make searching for a particular word easier and faster.

For examples, if I was looking for a good restaurant in my current city, Lagos, instead of hoping to find a restaurant I can just use the following hashtags:

#restaurantsinlagos #lagosrestaurants #foodloversinlagos #lagosonlinefooddelivery #lagosfood #lagosfoodie

instagram hashtags 2020

And lots, lots more…

Those hashtags will help your customers locate you faster and when used properly will help them locate you first.

It can also translate to more followers and sales for your business.

A few things to keep in mind

  • When people with private profiles make hashtags, they won’t appear on tag searches.
  • You can only add tags to your posts and can’t add tag other people’s post or videos.
  • The limit for hashtags is 30 per post.

The different types of hashtags

#1. Group hashtags

Group hashtags are hashtags that connect a group of like-minded individuals together. They’re usually searched by a certain category of people and are a great way to create a community.

Here are 7 examples of group hashtags you can leverage.

a. Hashtags showing your expertise, like #lagostailor #abujaphotographer #newyorkinteriordesigner

b. Hashtags for Instagram communities in your industry, like #foodiesofinstagram, #carloversincalifornia, #golfloversinlagos

c. Hashtags for products or services, like #ps5 #facecream #gascylinder #airjordans

d. Hashtags showing location, like #lagosrestaurant #abujasandwichshop #portharcourtmodel #madeinnigeria #johannesburgfestival

e. Daily hashtags, like, #mondaymotivation #tuesdaytips #throwbackthursday

f. Hashtags with emoji’s

g. Hashtags with acronyms,, like #tgif, #ootd (outfit of the day)

The best way to find group-related hashtags is to check the hashtags that your competitors and related businesses are using.

#2. Branded hashtags

This involves using hashtags that are personalized for your business. I would explain.

It can be something as simple as your brand name, the name of one of the products or services you offer or it can be a word that has nothing to do with your brand name but something to do with your brand identity.

While group hashtags help you to be seen more through hashtag searches, branded hashtags are designed to connect themes for you and your audience.

Branded hashtags can also be used for campaigns. For example, Nike uses the hashtag #justdoit and certain related hashtags for specific campaigns.

Creating ways for your existing followers to use your branded hashtags is the way to make your branded hashtag get visibility.

Once you create your branded hashtag, remind your customers that they can use the hashtag and create incentives for them to use it.

Also remember to follow the hashtag so you can see recent updates and keep track of new content that’s being shared.

How to Find the Best Instagram Hashtags for Your Business Account

Instagram has the potential of giving you more reach, followers, engagement and sales when you used correctly.

But in order to use it correctly, you must know the best way of choosing the right hashtags and also the best time to use them.

Instead of just looking for popular hashtags look for niche specific hashtags. Let me explain.

For example, if I was a caterer in Toronto, Canada and wanted to target cake lovers in Toronto, instead of just using the hashtag #cakelovers, I can also use #CakeloversinToronto #Torontofoodies #caterersintoronto #Canadianchef

Heres how to find the most effective hashtags to use

1. Research on the audience you want too attract

One mistake some of us made was just putting any hashtag that can to our heads and in any post. This is the best recipe to not seeing any results with hashtags.

Your hashtags should be relevant to your audience and contain keywords that they are searching for.

2. Research your competitors

Make a list of the hashtags your competitors use and research them.

You don’t necessarily have to use them but you can have an insight into what your audience is searching for the most.

3. Research influencers in your industry

One of the most effective ways to find relevant hashtags is to find hashtags being used by influencers in your industry.

Every industry has influencers, find out who they’re and find out what they use.

4. Find related hashtags

Looking for hashtags that are related to yours is a smart way to gain more visibility.

Fortunately, Instagram makes it easy.

Simply type the hashtag you intend on searching for in the search bar and look at the related hashtags that show up.

You can also look at the hashtags that are working for you and find related hashtags to them.

Jot them down and organize them in a folder. Finally learn how to optimize your Instagram hashtags.

5 ways to optimize your Instagram hashtags

#Tip 1. Check your Instagram hashtag analytics

Looking at the performance of the hashtags you’ve used previously can be a good way to determine whether that hashtag or group of hashtags is worth using again.

There is an insight button after every post. From the insight button you will see the analytics above.

#Tip 2. Try to get to the “top” results for a hashtag

When you search for a hashtag different results show up. The ones at the top are more likely to be checked than the ones at the bottom.

Getting to the top of the hashtag search feed is a great way to be discovered by people.

So how do you get to the top of a hashtag search feed?

From my experience, two factors determine whether you get to the top of the hashtag search feed are the amount of engagement a post gets and how fast it gets it.

Top posts mostly take like 24 hours to get there, so if you can get the comment and likes rolling in as soon as you make a post it will signal to Instagram that it’s a quality one.

#Tip 3: Put hashtags in the first comment

Putting hashtags alongside your posts can make it look untidy and out of place. The solution to this is to put it in the first comment.

#Tip 4: Include your branded hashtag in your profile

Smart brands that see the bigger picture use this strategy.

It’s a great way to build your brand community and campaigns to your ever-growing audience.

effective instagram hashtags

#Tip 5: Convince your followers to follow your branded hashtag

Instagram made an update in 2018 that allowed users follow hashtags. This means you can now stay up-to-date on various topics or brands by following hashtags relevant to you.

This process works just like following a person’s profile, you can also unfollow a hashtag when you no longer vibe to it or feel it’s of no interest to you anymore.

There’s more though…

Your engagement will increase when your followers follow your branded hashtag.

Why is that?

They will be able to see your posts twice. Meaning when you make any content it will appear from both the feed and the hashtag.

Instagram algorithm can be funny sometimes, in the sense that not all your followers will be able to see your posts, so having your branded hashtag followed by your audience is a nice solution to this.

#Tip 6: Run hashtag based campaigns

Add some creativity here and create campaigns where your followers can create posts and use your branded hashtags.

#Tip 7: Avoid banned hashtags

Banned hashtags can make Instagram flag your page and reduce engagement so take due diligence in ensuring your hashtags are not banned.

Those type of hashtags are flagged or disabled and go against Instagram community guidelines.

Last but not least, ensure your content is also nice. The content is like the food and the hashtag is like the flame from a gas burner. They complement each other.

If the food is trash no amount of flame will make it come out great.

On a final note, if you also want to know how to utilize Instagram Ads in finding an audience for your brand read this post, how to run ads effectively on Instagram.

Wish you more success,


Demi Ademiluyi