• How to Tag People on Instagram

How to Tag People on Instagram

Instagram has revolutionized how we experience visual content. It allows people and businesses from around the world to connect through pictures, graphics, and video. With the new updates to Instagram, using Instagram to market your small business is now easier than ever! Tagging another user on Instagram is an essential feature that facilitates these connections. Similar to tagging someone on Facebook or Twitter, tagging on Instagram notifies another user to a post, helping to increase the reach of visual marketing materials.

This post will explain the basics of tagging, including the difference between user tags and hashtags, how tags work, how to tag someone, and when to use tags on Instagram.


How to Tag People on Instagram

What are Instagram Tags?

Tagging, the act of creating a “tag” on Instagram, is when a person attaches a specific label to a post, picture, video or status that groups it with other content that uses the same label.

Tags a convenient way for individuals and businesses to expand the reach of a message or photo on Instagram. Tags allows users to find content like pictures and videos that they would otherwise not seen. Tags are also used in Instagram Tag a Friend contests. For this reason, tags and hashtags are popular on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook.

What’s the Difference Between a Hashtag and a Username?

The two types of tags on Instagram are hashtags and username tags.


Hashtags are keywords that are added on to posts using the # symbol followed by a keyword. For example, if you wanted to categorize a post into ‘technology’, you would add #technology or #tech into your post. When you add hashtags to your photos on Instagram, they become clickable. This allows you and other users to go to a page that includes all the other posts that include that specific hashtag. To read more about using hashtags as part of your Instagram strategy, check out this blog post.


Usernames are another way to tag on Instagram. A username tag, like on Facebook and Twitter, is done with the @ symbol followed by a username. The purpose of tagging with a username is to identify a person or company that is included or relevant to the posted content. Usernames are used for both individuals and business Instagram profiles.

There are a few different ways to make use of the photo tagging features for usernames on Instagram:

How to Tag People or a Business in a Photo

When adding a photo to Instagram, you will have the option to tag different people, business, or brands.

To tag someone or a business in an Instagram photo, follow these steps:

  1. As you’re uploading a photo, tap the “Tag People” button.
  2. Tap on the person or object in the photo you want to tag.
  3. Type in the username and it should appear from a drop-down menu. Click it.
  4. Tap “Done”.

Note: Similar to Facebook, you may have trouble finding a username if you don’t follow the person or business’s account. If you don’t see the username, you can search for it through the Instagram search function. To streamline the process,  we recommend following a user before tagging, or if you’re ready to post, going back to edit and tag the photo after posting.

Tagging Someone in an Instagram Caption

In addition to tagging a person or a business in the Instagram photo, you can also tag a person or a business in the caption of an Instagram photo. Tagging in a caption is useful when the caption mentions the business itself. A tag in a caption enables followers to quickly click on the tag to access the tagged user’s profile.

To tag someone in a photo caption, follow these steps:

  1. As you’re writing the caption, type @ and the username of the person or business.
  2. Tap the username as it comes up.
  3. Tap “Done”.

The caption of the photo is also the place where you can use hashtags. If there are relevant hashtags for the photo like #instafood or a custom hashtag for an event, this is the place to include it.

Tagging in an Instagram Photo After Posting

In the event you forgot to tag a friend, or accidentally tagged the wrong person, you have the option to edit your picture once it’s already been uploaded.

To tag someone in a photo after publishing the photo, follow these steps:

  1. Access the photo in your profile.
  2. Tap the icon with three dots on the right, below the photo.
  3. Tap “Edit”.
  4. Tap the icon on the left that looks like a person.
  5. Tap on the photo and tag a user  “Add People”.
  6. Tap “Done” in the “Add People” screen then tap “Done” in the “Edit Info” screen.

Tagging Someone in a Comment

Another way to utilize tags is in the comments of posts. Tagging another user in a comment is useful if you want to alert another user or ask a question to the person or business who posted the picture. If someone comments on your picture, you should respond and tag them in the comment. Tagging in a comment works in nearly the same way as tagging in a caption.

To tag someone in a comment, do this:

  1. Type the @ sign with their username.
  2. The username should pop up when you’re replying to a comment even if you don’t follow the user.
  3. Tap the username.
  4. Post the comment.

Adding a Hashtag in a Comment

Another option for tagging in comments is adding hashtags to comments. Adding a hashtag to a comment increases the reach of a post. An example of when to add a hashtag to a comment is if you find a picture from an event you hosted or a picture that a customer took at your business. Adding a hashtag in a comment is similar to tagging with an @ in a comment.

To add a hashtag to a comment on Instagram:

  1. Comment on the photo.
  2. Include the relevant # that you wish to use like, “Great photo @username, we’re so glad you enjoyed #event! Thank you for sharing!”
  3. Post the comment.

Tags and Instagram Contests

Instagram contest and giveaways allow businesses to reach a massive audience because of the incentive to win prizes and are a great way to incorporate hashtag marketing and tagging into your Instagram strategy.

A great way to organize your contest is to use hashtags, which will allow you to organize the promotion and filter all the responses. For example, if you wanted to run a contest with your business, have participants use the hashtag for your business or the response of your choice. Make sure it’s a unique hashtag so that there’s no overlap with other Instagram users.

Unlike Facebook, Instagram doesn’t have many rules when it comes to promotions but you do need to make sure you specify the rules for your contest. For example, you may ask participants to like, comment, repost, or tag an image. For more Instagram contest ideas, check out this post.

Instagram Tag Etiquette

When tagging people on Instagram, it’s a good idea to use acceptable etiquette. For example, although Instagram allows users to use up to 30 different hashtags and tags per post, it’s best to not use much more than 5 at a time.

This accomplishes a few things:

  • You will avoid excessively tagging or mentioning a specific person or post. Although people appreciate interactions, too much interaction can be an annoyance.
  • Using too many hashtags at once makes it seem like you’re more concerned about increasing exposure than sharing good content with your followers (more hashtag dos and don’ts here).
  • It also makes your post too long to read, and will be overlooked by other users.
  • Always double check your tags and hashtags. While you can always edit your posts, you should be tagging the right things the first time to avoid using a hashtag that has a meaning outside of the scope of your business.

Why You Need to Use Tags on Instagram

Tagging people or business on Instagram broadens your business’s reach on the social media platform. Similar to hashtag marketing that gets the attention of potential customers, tagging someone on Instagram gives you a larger audience. The whole point of social media is to reach out to potential customers and get more followers. The best way to do this is to use various but always relevant tags.

If you take this advice to heart, you can expect to see increased engagement and activity through your Instagram account. Now get started and tag someone!

ThriveHive combines easy-to-use tools and expert guidance to help businesses stand out and get found online. Learn more about our guided marketing and advertising solutions here.


  1. Berry says:

    Great post. But still I don’t understand the essence of the Instagram. Why is it so popular? You can display your pics in every social network like Facebook and Twitter. I don’t have Instagram account and even don’t plan to create it as I don’t see the reason) What do you use Instagram for?)

    • Emily Weisberg says:

      Hi Berry – Instagram is popular because it is a visual medium that people find interesting. It’s not for every business, but those who have a visual aspect to them and want to increase their reach can benefit from Instagram. For example, restaurants, flower shops, art galleries, and bakeries can benefit by showing their visually appealing products. By posting a picture using hashtags, potential customers searching for photos of #cookies or #chicago can discover new businesses.

  2. Joelle says:

    Something has changed on IG in terms of ‘tagging’. When you do this, now, in the comments section, it doesn’t show up in the ‘thread’ it sends it to the person you tagged. What am I doing wrong?

    • Emily Weisberg says:

      Hi Joelle – What you’re describing is part of an update in Instagram where your comments can be sent as a Direct Message. To send a comment instead of a Direct Message, look at the icon next to the comment field that looks like an arrow. If the arrow is green, that means your comment will be sent as a Direct Message. Simply tap the arrow and it will turn white and post as a comment. I hope this helps!

  3. Scott says:

    Thank you! I couldn’t figure out why the heck it kept sending a direct message instead of tagging people. It was driving me nuts!

  4. Sheila says:

    I’m still confused I don’t know how to tag someone in the contests on Instagram it says to tag people but when I send type in @username it sends it as a direct message. It doesn’t highlight green on the arrow as you mentioned before. I’m running a MAC iPad and it doesn’t give me any other options. I’m very confused and Instagram help doesn’t help me.

    • Emily Weisberg says:

      Hi Sheila – These tips are for the Instagram app on mobile phones. Settings may differ if you’re using an iPad or the settings of the user who you’re trying to tag may be set so that they cannot be tagged.

  5. Michael says:

    I opened a new IG account recently and it will not let me tag anyone in my picture. Is that A new rule that I am unaware of. On my main account, I can tag up to 20 people. Weird, huh

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