The Purpose of Instagram Hashtags in 2022: A Guide for Small Businesses

First published on June 11, 2022
Last updated on August 18, 2023
Creating a successful social media strategy requires understanding the purpose of Instagram hashtags. Use these hashtag categories to benefit your business.

Instagram hashtags have been a controversial topic of conversation over the years. Our aim is to outline the purpose of Instagram hashtags in 2022 and how you can use them the benefit your business.

This is because hashtags are known by many as a ‘must-have’ strategic element of your content strategy that determines whether your post goes ‘viral’ and is shown on the explore page. Now, while it is important to include hashtags in every single one of your Instagram posts, they serve a different purpose in Instagram’s algorithm in 2022.

For more information about the latest Instagram features, updates and best-practice strategies, check out our comprehensive Instagram course (perfect for beginners as well as those with a more intermediate and advanced understanding of the platform!).

The purpose of Instagram hashtags

Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, just announced hashtags don’t affect reach on Instagram! ????

He goes on by saying, “they do help us to understand what a post is about, which means it might be more likely to show up in a place like a hashtag page, for instance, but in general, no, I wouldn’t try to think of hashtags as a way to get more distribution.”

How to use Instagram hashtags in 2022

Moving forward, it may be helpful to think of hashtags as a categorisation tool for Instagram rather than a way for you to increase success on the platform.

This is because hashtags are only effective if the people (aka your followers and customers) who engage with your content signal to Instagram that your posts are of high value.

But what does high value mean? For Instagram, likes, comments, saves, shares, tapping through to a profile and time spent on the content signal value.

Hashtags don’t determine value. The content itself does. If your content is great, adds value to your customers and aligns with your target audience’s needs and wants, then Instagram will pick up that users are engaging and spending time with your content, then it will suggest it to more people through the Explore page, top posts on hashtag pages, hashtags people follow, and suggested posts in the home feed.

That’s how hashtags work. They don’t expand your reach from the get-go, they will, however, help you expand your reach if your post is of high value. At the end of the day, it always comes back to your content.

In saying that, we do want you to create a list of relevant hashtags you can refer to when posting content on Instagram. We don’t, however, want you to prioritise spending hours researching hashtags, but rather ensure you’re including the correct hashtag groups in your posts.

Our hashtag guide for small businesses

In the video below, Emily outlines the purpose of Instagram hashtags in 2022 as well as walks you through the 3 different hashtag groups that you should always include in your posts. Emily will also show you where to can find the hashtags that will benefit your business the most.


The number of hashtags to include in your posts has also been another topic of conversation. Instagram revealed earlier this year that you should keep the number of hashtags between 3-5 while others say to use all 30.

We like to meet in the middle and say you should include between 3-10 hashtags, that way you can include a variety of the 3 most important types of hashtags.

  • Your business hashtag – e.g. #yourbusinessname #thegippslandgrazer #thesoycandlecompany #bookkeepingagents
  • Location / industry hashtags – e.g. #scenicrim #visitqueensland #XeroAustralia #AustralianBookKeeper #SocialMediaManager
  • Post-related hashtags – e.g. #organicwine #aussiewildlife #luxuryaccomodation #soycandlesaustralia

Please note: it is best practice to use post-related hashtags with less than 1 million posts associated with them. Otherwise, you are competing with much larger businesses that have larger audiences whose content will be prioritised over yours. Therefore, when you are looking for hashtags to include in your posts, type in the generic term (e.g. #wine) then scroll down to find the smaller more niche hashtag (e.g. #organicwine, #wineoclock).

Our challenge to you…

Is to understand the purpose of Instagram hashtags in 2022. To do this, use the table below to research hashtags and write them below. You may like to keep them here or keep a copy of them in your Notes app for easy access to copy and paste them into your post captions.

Hashtag categories you should include in your Instagram captions are:

a list of Instagram hashtag groups, the purpose of instagram hashtags using small business examples

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