The Best Hashtags for Instagram

A detective with a magnifying glass looking for the best hashtags for Instagram.

Many people on Instagram want their great photos, reels, and videos to be seen by as many people as possible while also boosting interactions. Optimizing your use of hashtags on Instagram is one of the ways that you can get your posts in front of the right people who then would like or share it. This is important since higher post interaction rates can help with the Instagram algorithm, which results in your post seen by even more people. You can also use hashtags to highlight that your post is tied to a particular topic, which can be especially valuable when there are many people following a particular hashtag. 

Because of all this, Instagram users are always trying to find the right hashtags to use in their post. Many may start but using a hashtag generator. This is a great place to begin, but is there something more you should do? Have you been using the “best” Instagram hashtags in your posts? 

In reality, conducting Instagram hashtag research is, in tandem with a hashtag generator, one of the ways you can optimize the hashtags that you use. But how to do hashtag research for Instagram? And how can it help you find the best Instagram hashtags for your profile or business? In this article, we will explain the entire process as well as how you can use Instagram hashtag research tools to help you find the right hashtags.

Things to Keep in Mind for When Researching the Best Instagram Hashtags

Before explaining how to research Instagram hashtags, it would be helpful to talk about what you should keep in mind when using hashtags in your posts. You should first be aware of the optimal number of hashtags to use. And yes, there is an optimal number. Fortunately, Fanpage Karma has already conducted an in-depth study which shows you should use 30 hashtags in your posts.  

But there are other things to know about best practices for Instagram hashtags. Here are some important tips for using hashtags on Instagram:

  1. Don’t use the same hashtags over and over. In other words, diversity the use of your hashtags on your posts. Instagram can notice when you use the same hashtags and this can ultimately hurt your performance.  
  2. Use a mix of both general hashtags and niche-focused hashtags in your posts. General hashtags can help you accumulate more likes from bots, and niche-focused hashtags are useful to attract actual people searching for specific topics that interest them.
  3. Make sure your hashtags are relevant and correspond to the topics you are posting about.
  4. Place your hashtags in the Caption and don’t simply write them in the comments.
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Things to Keep in Mind for When Researching the Best Instagram Hashtags

You may think that hashtag research for Instagram may incorporate the use of a hashtag generator, and that is not necessarily incorrect. You can use an Instagram hashtag generator to compile a list of hashtags based on their reach, and this can be very helpful. 

However, finding hashtags with reach is not the whole story. The key to understanding how to find the best hashtags for Instagram is in the realization that post interaction rate is an important metric you should pay attention to. Moreover, you need to make the first hashtag suggestions when using a hashtag generator. These must be relevant for your profile and industry. So, the question becomes what is the best way to find relevant hashtags with high post interaction rates? 

The answer is with a social media tool. The right social media tool can help you conduct Instagram hashtag research by analyzing profiles similar to yours. In order to find relevant hashtags in your industry and know what hashtags are associated with the highest post interaction rates, you need to do your research and study other similar profiles in your industry. This makes Instagram hashtag research tools incredibly useful since these can help you pinpoint effective, trending hashtags in your industry. So, how do you use an Instagram hashtag research tool to this end? There are five steps to follow in order to find the best Instagram hashtags for your industry and implement them in your posts. 

As we go through the different steps, it may be helpful to make this all a bit more concrete with a real-life scenario. Many different companies would be interested in knowing the best gym and fitness hashtags for Instagram. This would be of interest to those who want to promote a gym or fitness studio, sports products, or an influencer looking to grow their following in this area. Therefore, in the steps below, we will analyze the various hashtags in the gym and fitness industry by analyzing the hashtags used by the following Instagram profiles: 24 Hour Fitness, Anytime Fitness, Crunch Fitness, Equinox, LA Fitness, Life Time, Planet Fitness, Snap Fitness, YMCA (The Y), and YouFit Gyms. 

Ultimately, we want to find the best gym and fitness hashtags for Instagram in terms of post interaction rates. Below are the steps to follow when using an Instagram hashtag research tool and what you have to be aware of every step of the way.

Step 1: Understand your Industry and Choose Similar Profiles to Analyze

If you are looking for how to do Instagram hashtag research correctly, the first thing you need to know is your industry and your competitors. Instagram hashtag research is geared towards utilizing historical data from profiles in your industry (as well as your own profile) in order to find out what hashtags are associated with the highest post interaction rates. For this reason, you want to add profiles to your data set that are using hashtags related to the topics of interest to you or your company. This helps makes sure that your analysis is focused on relevant hashtags. 

For instance, when you are looking for the best hashtags for the fitness and gym industry on Instagram, the profiles you choose should be posting content about gym and fitness related topics. Along these lines, you should understand your industry and the target audience you want to reach. Is there a specific aspect of the fitness world you are targeting? Who else is in this space and what topics do they usually post about? 

Your Instagram hashtag analysis should also take into account the timezone(s) that the profiles you are studying operate in. A small fitness studio focused on a specific region probably won’t find much use in analyzing only large, international gym chains. For this reason, in addition to looking for profiles posting about topics similar to yours, you also need to keep in mind the geographical location of your target audience.

Two women sitting on a hashtag with the Instagram logo in the background.

Step 2: Select The Time Periods you Want to Study

The data you want to analyze from the profiles you selected is also determined by the timeframe that you choose for analysis. Hashtags can be seasonal and change over time, and you may want to know, for example, what the trending hashtags were for a particular month last year to predict what hashtags would be most effective in the same month this year. In order to do this, you need to select what time periods you want to study along with the profiles you chose in step 1 of our Instagram hashtag analysis. 

You can ultimately choose to analyze the hashtags of the profiles in your study over several months or an entire year, giving you a larger data set. The relative downside to this approach is that you will receive less precise insights about hashtags on a week or month basis. If you want to analyze a particular week or month, this gives you a precise look at the performance of hashtags during a short period. However, in these cases, your data set will be smaller and is more likely to be skewed by outliers. 

There is no single right or wrong way to select the timeframe for your analysis, and it will ultimately be based on your goals. The point to stress here is that you should think carefully about what you want to accomplish with your Instagram hashtag research. To illustrate this point, let’s run a brief analysis to show how the time periods you choose for analysis may change if you are analyzing hashtags in July 2023 and December 2023 respectively. 

For this brief analysis, our results will be displayed in a word chart. The frequency with which is word is used is shown by how large the letters are, while green hashtags denote a higher post interaction rates while redder hashtags show a lower post interaction rate. Please note that all the images of different analyses in this article are generated with Fanpage Karma. We will begin with the analysis for July 2023.  

A best Instagram hashtags word chart for July 2023.

(July 2023)

We see that there are a wide range of hashtags to consider, especially those in a green color. Now we will change our timeframe to analyze only December 2023 of the profiles we mentioned above.

A word chart that displays the best Instagram hashtags in December 2023.

(December 2023)

You see some similarities when comparing this word chart to the one from July 2023. However, as you can clearly see, there are some noticeable differences. In this case, you should be aware the best gym and fitness hashtags for Instagram may be dependent on the seasons or months, so this type of analysis can help you pinpoint what hashtags are best to use when.

Step 3: Pick your Data Output Format and Analyze your Results

One of the important things to focus on when learning how to do hashtag research for Instagram is about what you are actually looking for and how you want your data to be displayed. The way in that you go about analyzing the best Instagram fitness and gym hashtags will be determined by what you are interested in. With an Instagram hashtag research tool such as Fanpage Karma, you can choose to display your data in either a word chart (as already shown above), metric table, or bar graph. Below we will show you what the data output looks like in all three formats and why you may consider all three for April 2023.

We will begin with the metric table. As you can see below, each hashtag is displayed along with its average post interaction rate as well as how times a day this hashtag is used on average. This table will display many hashtags that you will have to look through, although you can filter the results to find the best performing hashtags. This view is especially helpful for a close analysis of potentially dozens of hashtags. 

A metric table that displays the results of Instagram hashtag research.

(April 2023)

You may also be interested only in the hashtags and their post interaction rate without worrying so much about how often, or rarely, a hashtag is used. After all, you may consider the best gym and fitness hashtags for Instagram to be, regardless of if your competitors are using them often or not. Below, you can see a bar chart that simply displays the top 10 hashtags across the profiles mentioned above in the April 2023.

A bar chart that shows the top hashtags after using an Instagram hashtag research tool.

(April 2023)

The advantage of this bar chart lays in being able to quickly see the hashtags with the highest post interaction rates. However, perhaps you want to see both the hashtags with high post interaction rates and those not used very often all without having to look through many dozens of different hashtags in a metric table. This is where you may consider viewing your data in a word chart, as seen below.

An image that is generated from an Instagram hashtag research tool that shows hashtags used for the selected profiles in April 2023.

(April 2023)

The advantage here is that you can relatively quickly study the word chart to see both what hashtags have high post interaction rates and whether it is used often or not in the time period that you selected.

What’s more is that the word chart can easily be adjusted to allow you to see the post interaction rates of hashtags in a particular content format. For instance, perhaps you want to find the best hashtags for Instagram Reels since you post mostly Reels. In reality, the best Instagram Reels hashtags may be different for the profiles in your study than other content formats. Below, you can see how the data output changed for the same time period as we analyzed above.

A word chart related to the best fitness hashtags for Instagram Reels for the profiles in the study for April 2023.

(April 2023, only for Reels) 

The advantage of this type of analysis is that you can have a narrow focus and more easily find the best fitness and gym hashtags for Instagram Reels. You can see from our comparison above that there is a bit of a difference, although it is not overly pronounced. Whether running an analysis solely for a specific content format leads to a difference in the suggested best hashtags depends greatly on the industry you are in and the profiles you are tracking. 

As you have seen above, there are many different ways you can analyze your data in order to find the best Instagram hashtags in your industry. It is important to always remember what profiles are in your data set, what timeframe the data is for, and what you want to accomplish from your Instagram hashtag analysis. 

Step 4: Implement your Instagram Hashtag Research Findings

After you have conducted your Instagram hashtag analysis, don’t forget to actually post at the recommended times. Knowing how to research Instagram hashtags is not the same as implementing your plan. 

So how would you integrate the best hashtags for gym and fitness topics on Instagram? First, remember that a Fanpage Karma study showed that 30 Instagram hashtags per post should be used to maximize reach. Ideally, the hashtags you find in your research and those you generate with an Instagram hashtag generator would get you to 30 hashtags to use on your posts. However, you should also take into account our suggestions at the beginning of the article related to mixing between general and niche hashtags, using hashtags in the caption portion of the post, as well as diversifying your use of relevant hashtags.

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Step 5: Continue to Analyze and Monitor your Results

When you spend time researching the best Instagram hashtags, you want to make sure that you are keeping with the times. Changes in the season for user trends may affect the hashtags that people used, as shown in our example above. 

For this reason, you should continually research Instagram hashtags using the process we have outlined above. First, you can always add (or take away) profiles from your data set based on your continued research of profiles that are in your industry or similar to yours. Second, you can run different analyses for different times of the year. Running multiple analyses can help you better understand and identify trends.   

You should also monitor how your performance develops across key metrics once you have started implementing optimized hashtags. It is important to remember that it may take time to perfect your hashtag use, and monitoring your progress can be a great way to see if you are on track. 

Instagram Hashtag Research for Finding the Best Instagram Hashtags

Now that we have shown you how to do hashtag research for Instagram, it’s on you to go ahead and do it. Luckily, Fanpage Karma has a free 14-day trial where you can try to process of finding the best Instagram hashtags for yourself. Fanpage Karma is an all-in-one social media tool so it also offers competitor benchmarking, community management, research, and content planning features. 

Don’t forget that there is also a free weekly webinar that shows how you can use the Fanpage Karma tool to improve your social media performance. 

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