Where To Find The Right Hashtags for Instagram

The key to getting likes and engagement on Instagram is really in the hashtags you use. At least initially, to grow followers you need great hashtags alongside that awesome content. Great content doesn't count if nobody sees it. It's like screaming in an avalanche.

For a while, I used iOS apps like Crowdfire and Publish to source the hashtags I needed. I'd look for high traffic and/or valuable hashtags for Instagram (sidebar: just because a hashtag is used by everyone doesn't mean it's good).

The limit on Instagram is 30 hashtags on any given post and, unlike on other platforms, nobody seems to get hashtag fatigue so you can pretty much go wild.

I often opt for somewhere between 13-20 after reading some market research but recently I've been experimenting with more? But where else can you find good hashtags to use? A few weeks ago I heard about the iOS app Focalmark and decided to give it a go.

In looking at Focalmark I'll be considering speed, intuitiveness, and how useful the hashtags it suggests actually are. I like to approach most app downloads with a healthy dose of skepticism but honestly if this can do what it says it can, I'm pretty excited for that.

The App

Focalmark is free to download, always a smart move on iOS unless you already have a huge following online somewhere. It seems to take up a small amount of space judging by the download speed too (11.5MB in total). Anything that opens fast, works, and is unlikely to crash is essential when it comes to the app juggling workflow processes involved in Instagram marketing.

I'm sure some of you thought Instagram marketing was based solely on an app called Instagram, with maybe a few content calendars scattered across devices. I'm not sure this is true of anyone these days and that's why speed and stability are so important with apps you use alongside it.


'Obviously, at some point this app is going to ask you to login with Instagram.' I coach myself about this every time I open an app associated with Instagram because, despite my love of social media and the interconnected nature of the universe, I'm naturally distrustful of social logins. I've used them on sites I've built and yeah, okay, some days I do just login to things using social media because I'm lazy. I suppose my distrust speaks to how little I know a site or brand. Only if I know you will I trust you enough to be lazy.

That sidebar over, let's look at the features of this app.

Once you've opened the app it asks you for a style of image, a location, and a camera. In three quick moves (four if you include tapping 'generate) you have your hashtags. They've even pre-formatted so that when you hit 'copy to clipboard' they'll paste in a visually pleasing manner.

The simple style is very intuitive and it's hard to do anything wrong.

The analyst in me can't help but be a little distrustful of the results. There's something pleasing to me about trawling through stats and working out just the right hashtag for your image. That said, this method is tonnes faster and much less energy draining. I'm not sure I'd use it all the time but for power users and marketeers I think there's a lot to be said for saving time. 

A lot about Instagram is screaming out for instant pictures and video (it's even in the name instagram) and yet so much of the content is slowly crafted. Even the quickest picture needs a edit (maybe using Snapseed or something similar) before going online. With that in mind I'm behind anything that saves time and automates a process.

I tried out the hashtags (with a little fiddling) on my own account to see what happened. I'd say the number likes on it are fairly average for any post I've found my own hashtags for. Although it's not necessarily better than doing it myself it did save a lot of time! 

I tried it again the next day, this time taking some time to select a location. The result was a higher engagement rate on clicks, and three additional followers. I'd expect this kind of result for hashtags I've been researching myself — given my audience is relatively low right now —so I have to say I'm impressed with the app.

This post is in no way paid for or endorsed by Focalmark, I just thought I'd give it a try. Focalmark is free on the app store. The cost of investment is nothing so if you're starting out on Instagram or trying to revitalise your hashtags to reach further I think it's worth downloading.