Hashtags on Instagram: Get More Likes and Followers

Profile photo of Karen Lin, author

Karen Lin

Instagram Tips | May 23, 2024

Want More Real Instagram Followers?

Instagram is a great place for brand growth. However, for new businesses, the growing pains are often too challenging to overcome organically. Paid advertising is the easiest way to reach one’s target market to grow following, increase engagement rates and boost sales. 

For emerging businesses, however, paid advertising may not be an option. A limited marketing budget also means limited options for growth strategies. But, these available options can be effective. Branded hashtags have proven to be a remarkable tool for growth. Here’s how you can maximize the use of hashtags on Instagram to get more likes and followers for your brand.

A hand holding a phone with a red speech bubble above with a heart and the number 1 indicating hashtags on Instagram gaining likes.

Before Utilizing Hashtags on Instagram: Learn Instagram Growth Basics

If you are an Instagram newbie and wondering how and where to start your brand’s growth journey we’ve broken down the basics for you. First and foremost, get creative with your content. Keep in mind that Instagram is a crowded and competitive platform. In order to stand out, your content must be unique and relevant to your target market. 

Next, utilizing collaboration with other Instagram users, advertising and engaging content are highly effective ways to obtain likes and followers. Aside from hashtags on Instagram, these basics are another great place to start.

Collaboration and Engagement With Influencers and Followers

When you work with the right influencer—–one who already works within your niche—–you are tapping into an established following. The multitude of Instagram users who are following them and, therefore, are already interested in your industry. You can be sure that their follower base belongs to your target market. 

Wondering how to increase engagement on Instagram? Look no further than your favorite influencers for hashtag inspiration. An influencer’s reach and credibility are ways to drive traffic and engagement. Instagram collaborations are valuable when used alongside strategies like popular Instagram hashtags. 

Your reach is growing so now actively engage with your followers. It’s important to reply to each and every comment on all your posts. This keeps conversations going and pushes your content higher on your followers’ news feeds. Staying active also tells Instagram’s algorithms that your content is interesting and relevant. In turn, your content is made visible to more people which increases your follower count.

Speaking of engagement, find brands within your niche or industry and follow them. Like their posts, post comments on the most recent and popular ones and engage with their most active followers. Are there hashtags on Instagram they are using but you aren’t? If you spot these successful hashtags, use them too. These are the best Instagram hashtags to use. Why? You’ll become visible to potential new followers. Just be careful not to engage in spammy behaviors like indiscriminately following pages and liking posts. Additionally, avoid posting copied and pasted comments

Lean Into Marketing and Advertising

Paid advertising is the easiest and fastest way to reach your target market. Fortunately, there are different campaigns available depending on your budget. Instagram advertising lets you specify the target audience to reach based on their location, online behaviors, interests, demographics and more. 

Utilizing a trustworthy and reputable growth service is another option. However, practice extreme caution when exploring this. There are a lot of companies that do not deliver the goods they promise. Do as much research as you can before engaging the services of any company. There are hashtags on Instagram for everything. Utilize a hashtag to research a growth service. If there are positive and trustworthy results and feedback, it’s likely a reputable company.

Do your own marketing and run Instagram contests and raffles. You can do this as a standalone brand or collaborate with other brands that offer different products. These other products may be related to your own, or you can opt for a greater variety of prizes. Collaborating with other brands will significantly expand the reach of your contests on Instagram and on other platforms.  Add different Instagram hashtags related to your contest to reach many users.

We can’t emphasize this enough: Focus on engagement instead of sales. The bottom line is still important, of course. But first, you need to convince people to follow you and engage with your content. You can do this with an effective content strategy that aims to create awareness of and interest in your brand. Your content must be unique, relevant and engaging. Before you can start selling your products, you must first sell your brand. And then, of course, use Instagram hashtags judiciously. Let’s take a look at how you can make popular Instagram hashtags work for your brand. 

A keyboard on the desk with various office supplies surrounded by hashtag and dollar symbols.

Why Popular Instagram Hashtags Should Be a Part of Your Toolbox

A study conducted by TrackMaven found that posts with hashtags had higher engagement rates than posts that don’t use hashtags. How do hashtags work on Instagram, exactly? The best Instagram hashtags categorize content and make it easily discoverable. When you search for specific hashtags on Instagram for example, all the posts that used them appear. 

Instagram has also launched the “follow hashtags” function to give users easier access to the content they’re interested in. This function allows Instagram users to follow any specific hashtag. When a relevant hashtag is followed, all photos and videos associated with it appear on their newsfeed. This is where your niche hashtags come in handy.

There are great advantages to this hashtag functionality. Most Instagram hashtags can reach countless users every single day. Additionally, the most popular Instagram hashtags are used hundreds of thousands or millions of times over. There’s an obvious disadvantage of tougher competition. However, using widely popular Instagram hashtags should still be a part of your overall social media growth strategy.

A pen on a desk with a text box that says #hashtag.

How to Hashtag on Instagram

If you are first starting out and want to build your following, learning how to hashtag on Instagram is essential. Utilizing hashtags is one of the building blocks to getting more likes on Instagram. So, how do you do it? It is actually incredibly simple. First, compile a list of words or phrases that are best associated with your brand. Once you have your list, add the pound or hashtag “#” symbol in front of each word or phrase. Now you’ve got your hashtags to build your following and likes. You can increase your followers through your Instagram bio by adding some of these related hashtags. Don’t forget to include hashtags on your Instagram posts. Later on, we’ll deep dive into the best hashtags on Instagram to use for your content.

Cell phone on table displaying a photo on Instagram with 22 likes from relevant hashtags.

How to Choose Hashtags for Instagram for Your Brand and Content

Wondering how to choose hashtags for Instagram? Start by creating a list of hashtags that are most related to your brand and/or content. Instagram’s search tool will be the best place to start. There are also third-party Instagram hashtag generator apps available for Android and iOS phones. Instagram hashtag generators help find relevant hashtags to use for any particular purpose and based on specified factors. 

When using the search bar on Instagram, simply type the hashtag symbol “#” immediately followed by a generic keyword. This keyword should apply to your industry, brand, and/or product. Do this for all generic keywords you can think of. Instagram will give you the most widely used hashtags, including whole phrases that include your main keyword. You will repeat the process using specific terms and phrases related to your brand and/or product. 

You can also browse through the most recent posts of your competitors and influencers within your niche/industry. Check out what hashtags on Instagram they’re using. It’s okay to use the same ones for your posts as you are targeting the same market. This is an important Instagram hashtag strategy. Of course, you’ll also be adding hashtags that are unique to your brand.

A woman writing on a whiteboard brainstorming hashtag strategy.

Tips and Tricks to Identify the Best Hashtags to Use on Instagram

Now that we’ve covered growth basics and why you should use hashtags, let’s discuss useful tips and tricks. Keep in mind that the number of possible Instagram hashtags is limitless so you’ll need a strategy. Think about narrowing down your choices and pick the right hashtags that maximize the discoverability of your content. 

Start by identifying the best hashtags to use on Instagram that are relevant to your brand. Then, incorporate these branded hashtags into your posts to drive more traffic to your Instagram account. In turn, you’ll get more likes and followers. Just be sure to avoid banned hashtags.

Here are some basic guidelines to follow:

  • Make a list of words and phrases that are relevant to your brand. If you have a coffee business your branded hashtags may include coffee, caffeine addict, coffee break, beans, caffeinate, cuppa, and brew. Vernacular changes depending on the region. So try using different hashtags that are synonymous with popular words associated with your brand.
  • Use generic hashtags with massive frequencies of use. These are the most relevant hashtags to your brand/product. 
  • Use hashtags on Instagram that specifically identify your target location (i.e. the geographic area of your target market). As well as your target Instagram audience 
  •  (i.e. based on demographics, profession, community, etc.)
  • Shortlist more specific Instagram hashtags that uniquely describe your brand/product. For a coffee business, start by using your brand hashtag. Another great hashtag is using your business slogan.
  • Identify trending Instagram hashtags. These are also widely popular hashtags but are not generic. For the example given above, trending hashtags may include #nitrocoldbrew, #coffeepods, #artisanalcoffee, #singleorigincoffee, #sustainablecoffee, etc. 
  • Apply the 80/20 rule, which translates to 80% most popular hashtags and 20% least used hashtags. The most popular or trending hashtags are typically used hundreds of thousands or millions of times. While the least popular ones are utilized in the lower thousands of times. The advantage of using the least popular Instagram hashtags is you can easily get the top post for these hashtags. Just remember you should never use banned hashtags.
A person hashtag suggestions on paper with iPhone sitting on top.

Organizing and Testing Your Hashtags on Instagram

Followers appreciate a streamlined and organized Instagram feed. Additionally, organizing your hashtags means that you can publish content effectively and efficiently. Here’s how to organize your hashtags on Instagram. Don’t forget to test them too. Testing your hashtags to ensure they drive traffic means more likes and followers. 

How to Organize Your Hashtags

Wondering how many hashtags are allowed? Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post and up to 10 in a story. You’ll notice that most users simply input post hashtags one after the other, with a space between hashtags. It doesn’t really matter how your Instagram hashtags are ordered. Try typing the generic and most popular ones first, followed by the more specific ones, or vice versa. Try both ways and see which one works better for you. 

To make publishing content easier and quicker, save a copy of your Instagram hashtags. You can save them on your phone or PC’s notepad. Or, save your list in your Google Drive or whatever cloud storage you prefer. This way you can copy and paste the hashtags you want to use for a particular Instagram post. Categorize your hashtags as you see fit so you can quickly search for the ones you need. 

Keep updating your list of hashtags for Instagram whenever necessary. When posting, you should also vary the order of your hashtags to keep things interesting for Instagram’s algorithms. 

Testing the Effectiveness of Your Hashtags for Instagram

Remember, hashtags are included in your post to boost its discoverability and engagement. An effective content strategy is a key factor in earning more likes on posts and more followers for your account.

Find out the best times to publish your content. When you’re just starting your Instagram journey, this will involve some weeks or months of trial and error. But after a week or two of regular posting, your analytics should have valuable data about the performance of your posts. This includes the specific hours when your content reaches the most people. 

To test the effectiveness of your hashtag strategy, you’ll need a baseline. Your baseline are posts that have no hashtags. You’ll use this baseline to compare hashtagged posts. What you’ll look at are the increases in your number of followers following these posts. As well as the number of likes and rate of engagement earned by the posts. You can also change the hashtag combinations you use to find out which Instagram post delivers the most goods. 

Another Instagram hashtag trick you should always follow is incorporating popular hashtags into your main text/caption. If you can use unique, trending, and/or related hashtags as the first word of your caption, even better. You can also use the hashtags for Instagram you want to keep promoting. Add them when commenting on other pages’ posts and when replying to your followers’ comments. Just avoid copying and pasting indiscriminately or you might be flagged for spamming.

Effective branded hashtag usage for Instagram growth is an art. It will take time for you to perfect it — to figure out the best hashtag strategy that works for you. But keep at it, follow the tips we’ve provided here, and watch your brand’s popularity grow.

A hand holding a black phone displaying the Instagram logo.

Most Popular and Trending Hashtags on Instagram

If you are wondering what the most popular hashtags on Instagram are, look no further. We’ve compiled a list of ten popular Instagram hashtags that you should start using now. Feel free to combine these general hashtags with your niche hashtags for likes. Bonus points if they are relevant hashtags to your brand or content. These trending hashtags will also give your account visibility to a wider audience.

  1. #comment
  2. #follow
  3. #followforfollowback
  4. #fyp
  5. #instagood
  6. #instagram
  7. #like 
  8. #likeforlikes
  9. #likes
  10. #picoftheday

Instagram’s TOP Posts: What Is It and How Does It Work?

As with all social media platforms, Instagram’s algorithms are kept secret. Therefore, it is not known how the platform identifies which posts will make the Top Posts list. But based on observed trends, posts that get to the top are those that receive the most interaction. Gaining hundreds of likes and dozens of comments immediately after posting drives posts to the top position.

To maximize your chances of earning a top spot try a combination of tools. First, use the right combination of hashtags on Instagram. Next, actively engage with your followers and brands similar to yours. Additionally, determine the best hours to publish your content when your target audience is most active. Last, create unique and engaging content and find ways to have other users promote/share your Instagram posts. 

At Path Social we’ve built up an in-house platform of Instagram influencers and a proprietary AI targeting algorithm. That’s how we reach organic users who are targeted, interested and engaged. You’ll build an Instagram community that lasts! Start growing and gaining Instagram followers today. Start growing and gaining Instagram followers today.