Oct 15, 2021
Using hashtags for Reels on Instagram is a great way to get higher engagement and grow your following. As hashtag research and analytics experts here at Flick (hi, hello, that’s us! 👋), we’ve put together this guide to demystify Instagram’s hashtag algorithms and help your Reels rank.
First things first, Reels are one of the newest forms of content on Instagram. Unlike Stories, which disappear after 24 hours, these 60 second or shorter videos remain on your profile in the Reels section.
Because they’re a newer feature, Instagram’s algorithms reward users for posting them. It also means there’s less competition than for posts and Stories as not everyone is using them yet. When you combine that with effective hashtag use, you can leverage reels for a massive engagement boost! And that’s what you’re here for!
Why Use Hashtags For Reels On Instagram?
Like with other types of content on Instagram, using hashtags for Reels allows you to increase your reach to people who are interested in your specific content, product or services. When you use a hashtag, your content appears on the page for that term, and your profile becomes more discoverable by other accounts with similar interests.
What’s more, because featured Reels take a lot of space on hashtag pages, your video will catch people’s attention first. Plus, if you manage to reach the top post, your video will stay on top of the hashtag page for a few days after you’ve posted it, which will help you generate more reach.
If you’re a really big influencer, you might not need to use hashtags to get great engagement on your Reels. However, if you have a small to medium account with less than 300,000 followers, you should definitely be using hashtags for Reels to boost your impressions and reach.
The best thing to do if you’re wondering whether or not to use hashtags is to test and see what works for you. Try using Flick’s hashtag generator for free to see the results of an effective hashtag strategy on your Reels.
How Do Hashtags Work On Instagram Reels?
Hashtags work on Reels by helping Instagram’s algorithms to categorize your content so it can appear in the explore feeds of people who might be interested in your account. In this way, they work like search keywords in Google’s algorithms.
The three main things to understand about hashtag algorithms on Instagram are:
- Topical relevance: the algorithms aim to recommend your account to people who want to see your content, so they’ll take into account:
- Whether you’re following “topical authorities” in your niche, i.e. those accounts considered experts over the topic, not just one hashtag.
- The “topical coherence” of your hashtags: how much each tag relates to the other tags you’ve used, in the eyes of Instagram.
- How often you post in and interact with relevant niches.
- Whether your content looks relevant to your topic.
So, if you follow and interact with relevant, high-engagement accounts (and they follow you too), post regular, quality content, and use coherent sets of hashtags (!!), your Reels (and other content) are more likely to rank.
- Hashtag competition: the search volume and popularity of the hashtags you’re using, i.e. how many people are searching for a hashtag, and how many posts have the same hashtag. As we’ll discuss more below, it’s important to use a balance of high- and low-competition hashtags.
When you do hashtag research with Flick, we automatically generate an optimized list of hashtags with different levels of competition and indicate their competition score and daily average post count.
It’s also worth checking out what hashtags are trending on other social media, like TikTok, to predict and incorporate high-performing terms into your Reels.
- Post engagement: Instagram’s algorithm will push your posts in the feeds of people who regularly interact with your content. Sticking to the formula of posting successful Reels is essential to getting great engagement. Analyze what’s working based on the posts that are ranking for your hashtags and integrate this into your content strategy.
That includes any viral trends: whenever you spot a trend in content, you should be capitalizing by creating your own version and using the relevant hashtags!
Flick computes all of this data to generate relevant hashtags that will drive results. We include a topical coherence score for your hashtag collections so you can assess how well your posts will perform. Our research shows that posts that have a high topical coherence score are 10 times more likely to rank on hashtags.
Unlike TikTok, there are no “trending hashtags” that allow you to see all the Reels in one place. Currently, only one Reel appears per hashtag search page, and one for every screen full of posts on the Explore page.
However, the competition to rank on these pages for Reels is lower than for posts. You want yours to be in the top spot, so use low enough competition hashtags to increase your chances of ranking. While all of Instagram’s algorithms and ranking strategies are subject to change in the future, this is a good bet for hashtag strategies in general.
Which Types Of Hashtags To Use For Your Reels
There are different types of hashtags that you should be using on Instagram. Like with SEO best practices, it’s important to use a mixture of high competition terms (like #catsofinstagram) and low competition terms (like #funnycatvideos) for your best chance of ranking.
As we mentioned above, the key is to ensure your hashtags are relevant to your content and to each other to prove your topical relevance to Instagram.
The best hashtags for Instagram Reels are related to:
- What your account is about: topic or niche hashtags
- What your Reel is about
- What your target audience/customers are checking out on Instagram (audience-specific hashtags)
- Your brand or online community (branded and community hashtags)
- What your business or products (product-specific hashtags) are, if relevant
- Viral trends
If you’re searching for hashtags by yourself, all of this can seem really overwhelming. That’s where Flick comes in. Our advanced hashtag research tool incorporates all of this algorithm data to help you create lists of hashtags that will drive results. It also shows you banned hashtags that can negatively affect your reach.
How To Find The Best Reels Hashtags For Higher Engagement With Flick
- Enter a hashtag idea or keyword into the search bar on Flick
- Flick will generate hundreds of hashtags in minutes, all relevant and tailored to your content and/or target audience based on your Instagram account
- You can open new tabs with additional hashtag searches to dive further into niche terms
- Filter out banned, flagged, and unsuitable hashtags that could cause your account to be blocked
- Refine your hashtag research by their level of competition, potential reach, daily average post count, and average likes
- See previews of featured posts to assess if your content is relevant
- Add hashtags to Collections to create a balance of high, medium, and low competition terms
- Check the topical coherence of your Collection and remove or add different hashtags if necessary
- Save Collections to reuse hashtags for similar content and save time in the future
How To Add Hashtags On Instagram Reels
Once you’ve compiled your list of hashtags for Reels, you add them just like you would for feed posts!
How Many Hashtags Do I Need For Reels?
Like regular posts on Instagram, the limit is 30 hashtags for Reels. Unfounded rumors and Instagram myths often circulate claiming it’s best to just use 3-5 hashtags rather than all 30, but if you’re not you could be missing out on opportunities to rank in top posts and on explore pages for different hashtags.
Should I Add Instagram Reels Hashtags In Caption Or Comments?
Just like for feed posts, hashtags work equally effectively in the caption and comments of Reels. Sometimes people prefer to include them in a comment for the aesthetics of the caption. We recommend putting them in the caption to ensure they are picked up by Instagram Analytics so you can track their performance.
Plus, most people will view your Instagram Reels on the Explore or hashtag pages and will only see the first few words of your caption (not the hashtags). Aesthetics isn’t an issue, so placing them in the caption will save you time.
How To Test Your Instagram Reel Hashtags
Equally as important as choosing the right hashtags for your Reels, to begin with, is monitoring their performance over time. If you’ve got a Business or Creator account on Instagram, you can test your hashtag strategy on Reels Insights.
Seeing as Reels are new, Instagram hasn’t yet provided API access to platforms like Flick – but we’re confident it’ll be on the way soon. Currently, Flick’s Analytics Suite allows you to track the top-performing hashtags over time for your posts, IGTV, and stories. Our powerful tool shows you:
- The hashtags each post has ranked for
- Follower and conversion rates
- Time spent ranking on Instagram hashtags
- Content engagement and reach rates
You can then use these Instagram analytics metrics to inform your hashtag strategy for future content and get higher engagement based on your successes and areas to improve.
Find The Best Reels Hashtags For Your IG Account With Flick
Effective use of hashtags for Reels on Instagram is key to driving engagement for these posts. Using a balance of low, medium, and high competition terms that are relevant to your brand, content, and each other is a proven way to be ranked highly by Instagram’s algorithms.