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How to Find Trending Hashtags on Instagram (5 Tips!)

Want to maximize engagement and reach more users on Instagram? Optimizing your hashtags is key. In this post, we‘ll break down five proven tips to help you tap into trending Instagram hashtags for 2022.

As an experienced social media manager and streaming enthusiast, I‘ve used these tactics to grow accounts across multiple niches. Read on to learn how to research the best hashtags to capture attention and boost your Instagram strategy.

Why Trending Hashtags Are Essential on Instagram

Let‘s start with a quick primer on how Instagram‘s algorithm works with hashtags. When you add relevant hashtags, it helps the algorithm correctly categorize and promote your content. Posts tagged with trending hashtags signal to the algorithm that your content is timely and popular. As a result, your posts get shown to more users who don‘t follow you yet.

According to Socialinsider, posts using at least one trending hashtag average a 2-3% higher engagement rate. For an account with 10,000 followers, that can mean 200-300 more likes!

Here are five key reasons you need to be using a mix of trending hashtags in your Instagram strategy:

  • Increased discovery – Ranking for trending tags helps you get found by new users.
  • More engagement – Trending hashtags perform better overall in terms of reactions.
  • Reach new audiences – Expand beyond just your current followers.
  • Stay relevant – Join timely conversations by using the latest trends.
  • Track performance – See which hashtags resonate best with your audience.

Now let‘s get into the tips for figuring out which trending hashtags to use!

1. Look at What Your Community Is Doing

Start your research by lurking on posts from accounts you follow and engage with in your niche. For example, if you run an account for dog owners, check out hashtags used by popular pet influencers like @dognamedstella.

Scan through their recent posts and stories and make note of which hashtags are being commonly used. Pay extra attention to the hashtags on any posts that went viral or have high engagement. These hashtags are already resonating with your target audience community.

You can also search niche specific terms like #dogmomlife and filter by recent posts. Look for smaller hashtags just starting to gain momentum with your audience. For pet accounts, something like #dogbathday or #pawty could be emerging trends.

Pro Tip: Don‘t just copy the exact hashtags your competitors use. Do your own research to identify the best options tailored for your brand and content style.

2. See Which Hashtags Are Driving Top Posts

Dig into Instagram a bit more by analyzing posts ranked on the Top Posts section or earning a spot on the Explore page.

Head to the Explore tab and search topics relevant to your account like "fitness" or "recipes." Look at which hashtags the top posts in those categories have in common.

You can also view Instagram‘s picks for top trending posts by going to the search bar and tapping on the Top Posts category. Browse the trending posts that pop up and take notes on recurring hashtags, especially ones that apply to your niche.

For example, food bloggers could compile a list of top hashtags from the trending food and recipe related posts Instagram is actively promoting.

Study the types of posts and captions driving engagement with those trending tags. See what is working and how you can apply similar ideas tailored to your brand.

3. Use Instagram‘s Search to Uncover Trending Hashtags

Conduct searches directly on Instagram to surface relevant hashtags gaining popularity. Here‘s a simple process to try:

  • Go to the main Instagram search bar and type in a keyword like "yoga" or "baking."
  • Select the "Tags" option from the menu. This will display hashtag results ranked by popularity.
  • Scroll through the suggestions and browse 5-10 potential hashtags to evaluate.
  • Tap on a hashtag result to see recent, top posts using it. Check if it‘s a good match for your brand.
  • Search multiple keywords related to your content topics to build a master list of trending hashtags.

Instagram search shows you real data on which hashtags are rising in usage and gives you an easy way to gauge relevance. Look for hashtags with 100k+ posts for sufficient volume. But skip ones with millions of posts as those are likely too general.

Pro Tip: Sort tags by Most Recent instead of Most Popular to uncover early emerging trends before they fully catch on.

4. Analyze Hashtag Performance with a Tool

For even more in-depth data to inform your hashtag strategy, use a hashtag research tool like RiteTag. RiteTag provides detailed metrics to compare hashtag performance.

Some key features to leverage:

  • Search volume shows daily and monthly posts per hashtag – higher is better.
  • Engagement rate calculates the average likes and comments per post – aim for 5%+.
  • Track performance over time to find stable versus short-term trending tags.
  • Filter and compare hashtags by metrics like usage, reach, engagement.
  • Discover related and suggested hashtags for additional options.

Here is sample data comparing two fitness hashtags:

HashtagMonthly Search VolumeEngagement Rate
#gymsharkwomen89.2k posts7.52%
#gymlife608k posts2.01%

Based on higher engagement rate, #gymsharkwomen looks to be the better performing hashtag for a fitness brand to use.

Advanced hashtag research tools provide the data to make smarter choices to optimize your hashtag strategy.

5. Monitor Trending Hashtags on Other Platforms

Expand your research outside of Instagram to get ahead of emerging trends. Keep an eye on trending hashtags popping off on other social platforms.

Monitoring what‘s trending on Twitter and TikTok can surface soon-to-be viral Instagram hashtags before they hit the gram.

  • Check Twitter‘s Trending section and r/memes on Reddit to catch early meme trends.
  • Follow TikTok hashtag pages like #BookTok to get notified when new book-related hashtag challenges gain momentum.
  • Search real-time trending Google searches for additional keyword inspiration.
  • Look at Google Trends data showing rising searches indicating developing trends.

Being early to leverage cross-platform trending hashtags on Instagram can help you ride the wave at its peak popularity.

Extra Tips for Brands

If you are researching hashtags specifically for a business account, here are some additional tips:

  • Include 2-3 branded hashtags like #JustDoIt for Nike or #TasteTheFeeling for Coke in each post. This helps associate your brand name with relevant hashtags.
  • Monitor hashtag misuse – search your branded hashtags to ensure proper use on-brand.
  • Use campaign-specific hashtags consistently across platforms to track performance.
  • Partner with influencers in your market to drive co-branded campaign hashtags.
  • Compare performance of branded vs general hashtags and optimize use accordingly.
  • Consider sponsoring trending hashtags and positioning your brand as an early adopter.

Aligning on-brand content with trending topics on Instagram can help businesses stay top of mind in a positive way.

Common Hashtag Optimization Mistakes

To wrap up, be sure to avoid these common hashtag mistakes on Instagram:

  • Using only 1-2 hashtags per post – you need 5-12 to see a difference.
  • Mixing totally random trending tags without context – stay on-brand.
  • Blocking out hashtags with periods to hide them – Instagram‘s algorithm can detect this.
  • Using banned or blocked hashtags – always double check first.
  • Copying competitor hashtag lists without customizing – do your own research instead.
  • Not monitoring performance per hashtag – track engagement to see what‘s working.

Well there you have it – five effective tactics to research and optimize your Instagram hashtags. Take the time to find the right fit between trending and relevant hashtags for your niche. Locking down your hashtag strategy will help take your Instagram game to the next level this year!

What trending hashtag wins have you found recently? Let me know in the comments!



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.