Instagram Hashtags: The Ultimate Guide to Skyrocketing Likes

default image

Hey there Instagrammer! Are you looking to seriously step up your Instagram game and get way more likes on your posts? I feel you. I‘ve been in the same boat, endlessly trying different hashtags but only seeing minor improvements.

Well after extensive research (and experimenting!), I‘ve uncovered proven strategies to find the most high-impact hashtags that attract likes and engagement.

In this epic deep dive guide, I‘ll share everything I‘ve learned about optimizing hashtags to boost your Instagram popularity. Get ready for your likes to explode!

Hash-what? The Lowdown on Instagram Hashtags

Before we dive in, let‘s make sure we‘re on the same page about what hashtags actually are and how they work their Instagram magic.

Hashtags are simple keywords or phrases prefixed with the # symbol, like #foodie or #travelphotography. But despite being simple in format, they hold tremendous power!

By using relevant hashtags, your Instagram posts and Stories become discoverable and searchable to broader audiences. Hashtags essentially categorize content and function like keywords do in any other search engine.

When someone searches for a specific hashtag like #yogalife or explores that tag, your content has the chance to appear in the results if it‘s been tagged with it. And therein lies the power!

Strategic use of quality hashtags gives your posts visibility to engaged users who don‘t already follow you. It‘s an incredible tool to expand your reach and be discovered by targeted new audiences.

Here are some of the key benefits you can expect when hashtagging like a pro:

πŸ“ˆ Increased engagement – Posts with strong hashtags typically get way more likes and comments. You‘ll pull in new audiences from tags who engage with your content.

πŸ‘€ More profile visits – When people interact with your post from a hashtag, a good portion will be intrigued enough to click through and check out your whole profile. Hello new followers!

πŸ’™ Follower growth – Relevant hashtags consistently bring fresh visitors to your page, many of whom will end up giving you a follow. It‘s fantastic for organic growth.

🎯 Reach niche audiences – Carefully chosen niche hashtags put your content directly in front of users who are passionate about those specific topics and interests. Laser targeted!

πŸ—£οΈ Join the conversation – Using popular hashtags allows you to connect with the broader communities and conversations happening around those topics.

πŸ“Š Improve analytics – The increased engagement and impressions from hashtags look great to the Instagram algorithm! Signals your content resonates.

Clearly, when executed correctly, hashtag strategy can take your Instagram profile to the next level. Now let‘s get into the nitty gritty of choosing killer tags for max likes!

Niche vs. Generic Hashtags – Which Should You Use?

One of the most common hashtag mistakes I see people make is using only generic, extremely broad hashtags like #fun, #happiness or #goodtimes.

The problem is these offer almost zero targeting. Millions of irrelevant posts likely use them. Your content will just get lost in the shuffle.

For example, on a cute travel photo using only these generic tags:

Might pull in a few random likes from bored scrollers.

But compare it to a post using strategic niche tags relevant to that photo:

Those niche tags target users passionate about solo female travel, resulting in better engagement from the right audiences.

So what‘s the hashtag sweet spot? A healthy mix of both niche and generic hashtags. Here‘s why:

Niche Hashtags 🎯

PRO: Extremely targeted to relevant users

CON: Lower search volume

Generic Hashtags πŸ”Ž

PRO: Broad visibility

CON: Lots of irrelevant content

For each post, use:

  • 3-5 broader generic hashtags
  • 10-15 precise niche hashtags

This hashtag formula helps you get the best of both worlds – visibility from broader tags and laser targeting from niche tags.

Let‘s look at some examples:

Niche 🎯

Generic πŸ”Ž

The niche tags target fellow food content creators and enthusiasts. The generic tags tap into the broader food community.

Niche 🎯

Generic πŸ”Ž

The more specific tags hit fashion bloggers and enthusiasts directly. Broader tags cast a wider net.

Try this formula out over a period of several weeks and I guarantee you‘ll see your likes and engagement start to climb!

Optimizing Your Hashtag Quantity – Avoid Hashtag Spam!

You‘re probably aware that Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post. But resist the urge to max them out!

Around 10-15 hashtags total is ideal for most accounts. Here are a few reasons why less is more when it comes to hashtag quantity:

  • Too many hashtags looks messy and desperate.
  • After 15 tags or so, you get diminishing returns on added visibility.
  • More opportunity to dilute relevance when using 30 tags.
  • Aim for quality over quantity!

Think carefully about which hashtags are the most useful for targeting engaged audiences and driving likes. Be selective.

Pro Tip: If you want to add more hashtags, put 5-10 in the first comment rather than cramming them all in the caption. Keeps things clean!

The hashtag spam trap is real. But judiciously chosen hashtags targeted to your audience and content? Hashtag magic! πŸ˜‰

Next let‘s chat optimal hashtag placement…

Should You Put Hashtags in Captions or Comments?

There‘s lots of conflicting advice out there on whether hashtags should live in the caption or the post comments. So what‘s the verdict?

Caption Hashtag Pros πŸ‘

  • Starts indexing immediately when post goes live
  • Keeps all info in one place

Caption Hashtag Cons πŸ‘Ž

  • Can make caption very cluttered
  • Hard to edit later if hashtags are banned

Comment Hashtag Pros πŸ‘

  • Looks cleaner visually to separate from caption
  • Easy to edit banned tags later

Comment Hashtag Cons πŸ‘Ž

  • Need to add comment with tags quickly or delays indexing

I personally recommend adding hashtags in the first comment. The slight delay in indexing is worth it for the cleaner caption.

But pick what works for your posting style. Both approaches are effective. The key is using those hashtags consistently!

Now let‘s unlock the secrets to finding your perfect winning hashtags…

Hacking the Hashtag Game – My Proven Process

Here are my top tips for researching and discovering the most high-impact hashtags tailored to your niche and content:

Look at Competitors‘ Top Tags

Head to profiles similar to yours. Analyze the hashtags they use consistently that seem to work well in driving likes and comments. Compile a list of their top niche tags to test out. Their engaged followers will likely be interested in those same tags.

Leverage Hashtag Research Tools

Sites like Display Purposes and RiteTag allow you to search related keywords, get data on specific tags, and curate lists. See volume of posts, engagement rates, popularity over time, and related niche hashtags. Instagram meets big data!

Brainstorm Keyword Ideas

Make a list of keywords and phrases related to your niche that potential followers would likely search and engage with. Search for them on Instagram to uncover relevant tag options. Get creative and expansive with your brainstorming!

Create Your Own Branded Hashtag

Develop a customized hashtag just for your brand. Promote it in your bio and get followers sharing content featuring it. It will link your brand to user generated content in a searchable place – brilliant marketing!

Track Performance

As you try out hashtags, use Instagram Analytics to see which consistently perform best for driving the results you want – engagement, clicks, follows, etc. Focus on those winning tags!

Iterate and Refine

Your hashtag strategy needs to evolve over time as trends change and the algorithm shifts. Constantly test and refine your hashtags based on performance data. Stay on top of changes!

Okay, we‘ve covered a ton of hashtag fundamentals and best practices. Now let‘s look at some real life examples…

Here are current popular hashtags across a variety of niches to spark ideas for your own branded and niche tags:






Home Decor


As you can see there are limitless possibilities for fantastic niche hashtags to precisely target your ideal audience. Now go try them out!

Key Hashtag Takeaways:

  • Mix both niche & generic hashtags for optimal visibility & targeting
  • Limit hashtags to 10-15 per post to avoid looking spammy
  • Put hashtags in first comment to keep caption clean
  • Research relevant niche tags and track performance
  • Create memorable branded hashtags for your business
  • Adapt hashtags over time based on data

Ready to Level Up Your Hashtag Game?

You‘re now armed with my best tips and practices for mastering your Instagram hashtags.

Implementing a strategic and consistent hashtagging process will be game changing for increasing your reach, engagement, and visibility!

It does take commitment and perseverance. But the followers and new audiences you‘ll gain access to will be so worth it.

Let me know if you have any other questions on hashtags. I‘m always nerding out on new hashtag research and trends to try.

Now get hashtagging and watch those like counts grow! πŸ™Œ


Written by Alexis Kestler

A female web designer and programmer - Now is a 36-year IT professional with over 15 years of experience living in NorCal. I enjoy keeping my feet wet in the world of technology through reading, working, and researching topics that pique my interest.