Most Popular Hashtags of 2021

As 2021 comes to a close, let's take a look at the most popular hashtags of the year. Plus, everything you need to know about finding trending hashtags in the new year and what hashtags to avoid.

It’s no secret hashtags are a key component of a successful social media strategy, but it all comes down to which hashtags you use.

Using a combination of the most popular hashtags of 2021 and those niche to your Instagram account will be the key to your success. It does take some research and testing, but we’re here to help.

We know Instagram is all about trends and visuals, so what makes a hashtag popular and, most importantly, should you use it? We’ll answer these questions plus cover everything you need to know about Instagrams controversial banned hashtag list.

We’ve covered this and so much more in our latest blog about Instagram hashtags to help you hit the ground running in 2022.

The Most Popular Hashtags of 2021

What were the most popular hashtags of 2021, you ask?

According to social media management platform Hootsuite, here’s the list of the most popular hashtags of 2021. But, be warned, just because it’s the most popular doesn’t mean it’s the most effective hashtag.

 

  1. #love (1.835B)
  2. #instagood (1.150B)
  3. #fashion (812.7M)
  4. #photooftheday (797.3M)
  5. #beautiful (661.0M)
  6. #art (649.9M)
  7. #photography (583.1M)
  8. #happy (578.8M)
  9. #picoftheday (570.8M)
  10. #cute (569.1M)
  11. #follow (560.9M)
  12. #tbt (536.4M)
  13. #followme (528.5M)
  14. #nature (525.7M)
  15. #like4like (515.6M)
  16. #travel (497.3M)
  17. #instagram (482.6M)
  18. #style (472.3M)
  19. #repost (471.4M)
  20. #summer (454.2M)
  21. #instadaily (444.0M)
  22. #selfie (422.6M)
  23. #me (420.3M)
  24. #friends (396.7M)
  25. #fitness (395.8M)
  26. #girl (393.8M)
  27. #food (391.9M)
  28. #fun (385.6M)
  29. #beauty (382.8M)
  30. #instalike (374.6M)
  31. #smile (364.5M)
  32. #family (357.7M)
  33. #photo (334.6M)
  34. #life (334.5M)
  35. #likeforlike (328.2M)
  36. #music (316.1M)
  37. #ootd (308.2M)
  38. #follow4follow (290.6M)
  39. #makeup (285.3M)
  40. #amazing (277.5M)
  41. #igers (276.5M)
  42. #nofilter (268.9M)
  43. #dog (264.0M)
  44. #model (254.7M)
  45. #sunset (249.8M)
  46. #beach (246.8M)
  47. #instamood (238.1M)
  48. #foodporn (229.4M)
  49. #motivation (229.1M)
  50. #followforfollow (227.9M) 

How to select hashtags for 2022.

Selecting hashtags can often feel like a chore. You’ve just finished making your creative, writing a caption and now you have to think about hashtags — it can all seem a bit much. But it doesn’t have to be.

Once you learn how to select hashtags for your Instagram page, you can easily cut down on time spent thinking about hashtags. Here’s our top tips for selecting hashtags in 2022.

1. Understand your audience.  

Understanding your audience is a key component to choosing the right hashtags. If you have a bit of budget to spare, you can use social listening tools to help. However, if you’re looking for the budget friendly option and have some time to spare, it’s easy to learn how to understand your audience.

The first thing you need to do is take a look at your audience’s accounts, if you’re using Instagram take a look at the common hashtags they use. If you spot any that may be relevant to the industry you operate in, take note.

2. Don’t be afraid to go niche. 

One of the biggest misconceptions with hashtags is the more popular a hashtag is the better it is to use. However, this is not the case for most brands.

Using extremely popular hashtags means your post is automatically competing with more posts, increasing the likelihood of it getting lost in the crowd. Instead, opt for posts closer to your niche. For example if you’re running a cafe on the Gold Coast, try #GoldCoastCafe, #GoldCoastFoodie or #SourdoughSandwich rather than #Cafe and #Sandwich.

3. Take a look at your competition.

It’s no secret we all take a sneaky look at what our competitors are doing every now and then. In fact, it would be a silly business move not to.

Next time you’re taking a peak at a competitor’s social media, check out the hashtags they’re using. Can any of them apply to your business? If so, jot them down.

4. Create a set of base hashtags. 

Now you have an understanding of your audience, have taken a look at your competition and thought about your niche, it’s time to create a set of base hashtags.

What is a base set of hashtags? It’s simply a list of hashtags for each content category you have, and then use them for each post that falls under that category. For example, if you’re that Gold Coast café, maybe you have a category for food pictures, reshares of customer posts or reviews, weekly specials, coffee art, etc.

All the hashtags in your base set must:

  • Be related to your category and industry—be careful not to be overly product specific. For example if you’re a hardware store don’t use #Timber, instead use #DIYhome, #HomeRenovationsAustralia #RenovationsAustralia and #*yourlocation*hardware.
  • Not be banned hashtags.

There is no set number of base hashtags you need, so just do what feels right for your business. Always remember the saying, quality over quantity.

5. Top up your hashtags and post. 

Now you’ve got your base set of hashtags, all you need to do is add some more product specific tags to your post.

As for how many hashtags you actually need per post that, as always, is up for debate. The general consensus is between 11 to 30 hashtags per post is optimal (Instagram only recognises 30). However, as we mentioned earlier, quality over quantity is best. You’re better off having 13 good and relevant hashtags than 30 irrelevant ones.

How to find trending hashtags on Instagram in 2022.

Finding trending hashtags on Instagram is not as tricky as it may seem. Unlike social media rival Twitter, Instagram does not actively display their trending hashtags for all to see — you have to do a little digging.  

The first thing you’ll need to do is open the Instagram app, head to the explore page and tap the search bar. From there, you’ll want to type in a word you could use in a hashtag for your business and tap search. For example, if you’re a builder, you may type in ‘builder’. Once results have loaded, you’ll need to swipe left on the page until you reach the ‘tags’ heading. 

Now you’ll see a list of potential hashtags related to your search. Under each potential hashtag is a number, indicating the number of posts using that particular hashtag. Naturally, the hashtags with the higher numbers could be considered trending. 

But, should you use trending hashtags?

Are trending hashtags good for your business? 

No, trending hashtags are not always good for your business. To put it simply, trending hashtags are often heavily used meaning your posts are competing with a lot of other content, making them less likely to be seen. So, unless the hashtag is hyper relevant to your business, it’s best to steer away from them for the most part.

Banned Instagram Hashtags in 2021

You may have heard about banned Instagram hashtags, but how much do you really know about them?

What is a banned Instagram hashtag?

Banned Instagram hashtags are hashtags which have a high volume of reported posts. These posts are often reported for going against Instagram’s guidelines. This can include inappropriate images, sale of live animals, sale of alcohol, online gambling, hate speech and more.  

It is important to note, banned hashtags aren’t always as easy to pick as they may seem. Some of the banned hashtags are not ones you would expect. A great example of the is #beautyblogger. This hashtag, while seemingly harmless, has been banned by Instagram. The hashtag was being used by bots and spam accounts, therefore landed on Instagram’s banned list.

What happens if you use a banned hashtag?

Using banned hashtags is far less than ideal, especially if you’re trying to grow your audience on Instagram. When you use a banned hashtag your post automatically becomes hidden and will not be visible to your followers, ultimately impacting your organic reach and growth efforts.

What hashtags are banned in 2021?

Instagram is constantly updating their list of banned hashtags. Once they complete an investigation into a hashtag it may be left on the banned list or removed from it. So, it is important to understand that just because a hashtag is banned today, it may not be banned tomorrow.

As it stands, here are some of the unexpected banned hashtags:

  • #abdl
  • #addmysc
  • #adulting
  • #alone
  • #always
  • #armparty
  • #asiangirl
  • #ass
  • #assday
  • #assworship
  • #Boho 
  • #beautyblogger 
  • #bikinibody
  • #boho
  • #brain
  • #curvygirls
  • #dm 
  • #elevator
  • #girlsonly
  • #gloves
  • #hardworkpaysoff
  • #Hawks
  • #Hotweather
  • #Hustler 
  • #Ice
  • #Instasport
  • #iphonegraphy 
  • #Kansas
  • #Kickoff
  • #killingit
  • #Kissing
  • #Loseweight
  • #lulu 
  • #master
  • #milf
  • #mirrorphoto
  • #Mustfollow 
  • #nasty
  • #nudity 
  • #overnight 
  • #parties
  • #patite
  • #pushups
  • #rate
  • #ravens
  • #saltwater
  • #samelove
  • #selfharm
  • #single
  • #singlelife
  • #skateboarding
  • #skype
  • #snap
  • #snapchat
  • #snowstorm
  • #sopretty
  • #stranger
  • #streetphoto
  • #sunbathing
  • #swole
  • #shower
  • #shit
  • #tag4like
  • #tagsforlikes
  • #tanlines
  • #todayimwearing
  • #teens
  • #teen
  • #thought
  • #undies
  • #workflow
  • #youngmodel

Frequently Asked Questions About Instagram Hashtags

How many hashtags should you use on Instagram?

The number of hashtags you should use on your Instagram posts is always up for debate. Some say you should use all 30 each time, while others say hashtags don’t have any benefit at all. Hashtags do benefit your posts, there is no doubt about it, so using some is better than none.

Can I grow my Instagram with hashtags?

Yes, you can grow your Instagram following with hashtags. It’s not a secret growing an Instagram account takes time and hard work. The good news is, hashtags can help you with this. Hashtags, when used correctly, are able to put your Instagram in front of more people on the explore page and in searches, therefore helping you grow your account.

Should you put your hashtags in the comments section or the caption?

Where you decide to place your hashtags is completely up to you. There is no increased benefit to placing them in either place as both will yield the same results. Take a look at our complete guide to hashtags for more tips! 

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