How to Use Instagram #Hashtags for Likes?

How to Use Instagram #Hashtags for Likes?

13th November, 2020

We all know hashtags – those strange symbols that usually make words or phrases glow in blue on social media. Actually, and our tech geek readers might appreciate this, a hashtag is a metadata tag, which tags certain content and allows for much simpler browsing and cross-referencing.

Now, in simple human terms, if you put a hashtag before something, it makes that something easier to find for others. But did you know that hashtags are also a powerful tool in the social media world? They can help you get more followers, likes and get your product, brand, personal page or whatever else get more recognition.

So, without further ado, here is a guide to the best Instagram hashtags and a guide on how to use them for likes!

Where to use the hashtags?

When we consider Instagram hashtags, you can actually put them in a photo description, send them in a message, add them to your story, post them in your bio or share in the comments. However, only two places are worth your attention. These are the post description and comment section.

Even though you can use hashtags elsewhere, putting them in the bio or stories won’t affect your likes or followers as much. 

Moving on, using hashtags in post descriptions can be vital to post indexation. You probably understand that someone like Beyonce or Cristiano Ronaldo might not need to use hashtags. They will still receive millions of likes from hundreds of millions of followers that they have, right?

Regardless of that, smaller and mid-sized pages have to endure fierce competition from one another. Since almost 100 million photos are posted on Instagram daily, a page owner must utilize every trick in the book to help his/her posts stand out and be easy to find.

Using hashtags is probably the easiest trick from the lot. You don’t need any smart software or know-how. Simply research the hashtags and type them in a comment section or the post description (alternatively you can just make a note with the best hashtags and paste from it) and post it. Voila. Now your posts can be found with the greatest of ease.

Besides, hashtags can help your posts to the ‘Browse/Explore’ tab. Making use of hashtags will bring tremendous popularity gains for almost 100% of page owners/managers out there.

So, it is time to find out the best hashtags 

What are the most popular hashtags on Instagram?

We feel that it’s essential for you to know the most popular hashtags on Instagram. Why? Firstly, because it allows you to simplify your path towards getting more likes on a post. Secondly, because you can use these examples to create new hashtags that can piggyback on the success of them. 


Some of the most popular hashtags on Instagram include

  • #love – over 1.98 billion posts
  • #Instagood – over 1.25 billion posts
  • #fashion – over 885 million posts
  • #beautiful – over 700 million posts
  • #happy – over 607 million posts
  • #follow – over 605 million posts
  • #cute – over 600 million posts
  • #instagram – over 560 million posts
  • #tbt – over 557 million posts
  • #followme – over 552 million posts
  • #me – over 436 million posts
  • #girl – over 414 million posts
  • #friends – over 410 million posts
  • #fun – over 405 million posts
  • #smile – over 380 million posts

These are a great starting point for you. Create something new according to your page. For example, if you were to advertise tourism to Brooklyn say something like #LoveBrooklyn. Or if you sell toothpaste use #BeautifulSmile or #HappySmile, etc. 

Of course, when you add the simple #love to your post, someone is bound to notice that, and you will probably get a few random likes on your post. However, the key here is to create something unique and of your own. It goes without saying that the best hashtags are those which are used at the right time. Who knows, maybe your use of a new hashtag can become the start of a new viral trend?

How to find the best hashtags for my niche?

If you plan on using hashtags to advertise, promote or endorse something, you have to do proper research. Creating hashtags isn’t enough for a lot of pages. Only established and well-followed profiles can get away with merely using a few new hashtags. New or small page owners have it a lot harder. They have to do extensive hashtag research to find the best choices for their niche. There are a lot of ways you can do this

Option #1 - use Instagram’s autosuggestions – the easiest way to find popular and fitting hashtags doesn’t even require you to leave Instagram whatsoever.

Example: let’s say we wish to sell iPhone cases. This is why we enter #iPhonecase into Instagram’s search tab and see what we get. Check out the image below for an example

Option #2 - third party tools – even though the Instagram app itself can give you a ton of insights, it’s always beneficial to check third party solutions out there. You have both free and paid hashtag research tools online. 

There are a lot of those out there. The benefits involve the ability to generate relevant and important hashtags that other people search for and interact with. Using just the Instagram mobile app for this would take days or even weeks of your time. 


Ingramer (has a mobile app too)

All Hashtag

All you have to do with these tools is enter some keyword related to your topic, and they will generate tens if not hundreds of related and popular tags which are linked. So, for example, if you want to know the best keywords for selling bikes, just enter Bicycle or Cycling, and you’re golden. Most of these tools will list exactly 30 hashtags. Why 30? Because that is the absolute highest limit of hashtags that you can do on a single post. 

Option #3 - do research on your competitors

Most of Instagram page owners overlook the simple source of hashtags that is their competition. You should be on the constant lookout for what your competitors are doing. They might invest in market research, have more experience or dedicated social media specialists that find the best tags for their posts. Take a few notes here and there to either borrow a few hashtags or put a unique twist on something that they’re currently posting. 

Why is it important to use hashtags? (Data & Stats)

Just giving some sort of reason and thoughts might not be enough. We should base our suggestions and claims on real-world data, right? Well, we think so, and this is why we present a couple of interesting facts and numbers on why it is essential to use hashtags with your posts.

  • According to SproutSocial, Instagram posts with hashtags get around 12.6% more engagement than those without hashtags
  • If you’re a large Instagram account (with >10k followers) it’s better to put hashtags in the caption section as opposed to the first comment. However, if you have <10k followers, it may be better to post them in the first comment.
  • Hidden hashtags (under ‘See more’) provide better reach and higher engagement for larger profiles (over 5k followers) as opposed to shown #. The difference is anywhere between 5 and 65%. However, smaller accounts needn’t worry about this too much as the difference is minimal ~2%.
  • #fashion and #style are the two most used hashtags by brands on Instagram
  • Between 65% and 80% of all mobile users on Instagram use hashtags
  • If your post contains a hashtag, it has around a 50% higher chance of being reposted
  • There are quite a few different opinions and research on this. Still, it seems that the number of hashtags which brings the most engagement is either between 2 and 5 or 11 and more. 
  • More than 91% of all posts made by brands on Instagram have at least 1 hashtag

Common mistakes people make with hashtags

Even though hashtags are a great way to promote any content on Instagram, a lot of people make a lot of mistakes when using them. Most of these mistakes are very easy to avoid. So, here’s a list of frequent mistakes that people do with hashtags. 

Using banned hashtags

We should also mention that there are a few hashtags out there which you shouldn’t use. No swearing, nothing related to intimate matters, no hate, racism or bigotry should be used. The list of banned hashtags keeps expanding, and it is unclear how many of them are there now, but one thing is obvious – if you happen to use a banned hashtag in your caption or in the comments, there will be a major decrease of engagement and reach.

Using unlikeable hashtags

Besides the obvious - curses, lewd, racist or other terms (which are also restricted and not indexed publicly) we covered earlier, one should also be aware of least likeable hashtags. When used, some hashtags can be linked to a noticeable decrease in engagement and like numbers. These hashtags include #repost #drunk #nye #truth #loveher and a few more. 

Using too few or too many hashtags

As we listed, you should settle on using either between 2 and 5 or more than 11 hashtags. Since there is no significant correlation between using 30 hashtags and a decrease of reach or engagement, we suggest that new and small pages make the most of it and utilize the maximum number of hashtags allowed. Pages with larger audiences can settle with 2 to 5 per post.

Not using hashtags at all

By not using hashtags, you are losing out on ~12.6% of engagement. Furthermore, you are putting yourself in the position of a disadvantage since less than 10% of businesses on Instagram aren’t using any hashtags.

Not doing keyword research

Using random or generic hashtags might not bring the desired results. Research shows that hashtag research tools are very efficient when it comes to metadata optimization and cross-referencing. Besides, they save time. Instead of forcing you to research related hashtags like crazy, they do all the work for you. 

Alternative methods for boosting likes other than using hashtags

Even though hashtags are essential in Instagram marketing and social media content management, it isn’t the only method which can get you likes. We’ll list a few other measures that you should be taking besides using hashtags. Socialshaft strongly suggests taking advantage of every possible tool at your disposal.

Instagram advertising

Even though it could cost a lot, Instagram advertising will help almost anyone increase their total like count. Just make sure that the CPC isn’t too high and don’t expect any miracles. Instagram advertising helps sell, but it does not create sustainable, long-term audiences.

Simply buying likes

Probably the quickest and one of if not the cheapest way to get likes on Instagram is to just buy them. You have two different options when buying Instagram likes from SocialShaft. Instant likes are a one-time purchase. Select the package (first 50 likes are free), enter your username and select the posts for liking and wait until the delivery is completed. Even the largest amounts of likes aren’t too expensive. Since the delivery is quick, it’s the method which brings the fastest results.

Alternatively, pick automatic likes. This is an excellent way for you to retain a high number of likes for a flat monthly fee. You can share 1 post per day, and every single video or photo you share will be automatically detected. It will receive the fixed amount of high-quality likes. They are delivered within minutes!

Hiring an influencer or promo posts

Influencer marketing is on the rise. Even though this is quite expensive, having an influencer share your posts or promote something that you make or sell is a great way to add engagement. Don’t hesitate to hire an influencer if you have an appropriate budget. 

Using the services of a graphics designer

Or you could also use some software on your own. However, you can save time and redirect your efforts towards other things by hiring a graphics designer from Fiverr, Upwork or getting a dedicated freelancer or even a full-time specialist on board. This will help you craft unique, visually appealing content for social media regularly. 

Buying a large Instagram page and converting it to your own

A quick workaround to spending countless hours gathering a broad audience for likes is to merely purchase an Instagram page that already has an established presence and a large following. You could then initiate a rebrand and reap the rewards. However, this would be mighty expensive.


Collab with someone else and share your stories, products, services or anything else through their profiles. 

Inform about new posts in the story section

This is a neat trick a page owner can use to their advantage. For some reason, not everyone gets your posts shown in their feed. This is why, if you’re striving for most likes, upload it to your stories and inform your followers about a new post.

FAQ about hashtags

I use hashtags, but they don’t work, why is that?

There could be a few reasons why you keep using hashtags but aren’t seeing any increase in the number of likes.

#1 – You just haven’t been doing this long enough. How many posts have you shared with hashtags? 1? 10? 1000? In any case - try doing a few more before giving up on your strategy.

#2 – You aren’t using the right hashtags. Don’t forget to use third-party tools and websites for hashtag research. Otherwise, your tags might be irrelevant to audiences and only waste space.

#3 – You are using too few or too many hashtags. Keep in mind that you should stick to under 30 hashtags per post.

#4 – Your account is shadowbanned. We can firmly state that a lot of people who are shadowbanned know why that happened. Shadowbanning occurs when the algorithms pick up or if your account is reported and caught for spammy activity. This will not ban you entirely but instead, put a lot of restrictions and mini restraints on the potential growth of your channel. Shadowbanning can be caused by the use of banned or spammy hashtags, exceeding the posting, commenting and liking limits or for being reported.

What is the best place to use Instagram hashtags?

You only have four places where you can put a hashtag: post description, comment section, in the Instagram stories and your Instagram bio. The latter is the least effective in terms of gaining likes and only helps to solidify your brand. Instagram story hashtags are also quite limited when compared to hashtags on posts and in the comment sections.

Don’t forget that people can follow hashtags, so if you play your cards right, you might get a lot of new likes just by using a few new hashtags.

How to know the top hashtags in my country?

There are a few third-party tools that help you research hashtag popularity by location. However, the feature is quite limited in its availability, so make sure to check out the specs of the tool before buying or subscribing, so you won’t be disappointed.