Increasing the popularity of your Instagram account is basically dependent on how searchable your posts are.

Hashtags are arguably the best way to make your post more searchable to other users.

Instagram itself doesn’t categorize posts, so the hashtags you use are essentially defining your post to the Instagram world.

For this reason, it’s very important to choose the right hashtags to bring them up in relevant searches.

So how do you choose the best Instagram hashtags for followers and likes?

There are different tactics you can take, and using the below three strategies together will help you broaden your reach to the maximum potential audience, as well as bringing in authentic followers.

Three Strategies for Hashtag use

1. Crazy popular hashtags

Using the most popular hashtags on Instagram has the same pros and cons – tons of people are searching for them.

By tons we literally mean millions.

They’ll be brought up on more searches but they will also be quickly lost in a sea of posts as the search updates.

If you’re looking for general hashtags guaranteed to be popular, try using the following: #love #instagood #photooftheday #happy #cute #beautiful #tbt #fashion #me #picoftheday #selfie #summer #friends #instadaily.

#love, for example, brings up over one billion posts and #instagood over 537 million.

So keep in mind the positive and negative that these are overly popular.

2. Hashtags specifically for follows and likes

You can go the shameless route and use hashtags such as #like4like and #follow4follow.

These generally do result in more likes, followers and generally widen your audience.

This might not result in the most authentic engagement and following though.

For the hashtags geared towards helping you get more followers and likes on Instagram, try these out: #follow #like4like #tagsforlikes #instalike #likeforlike #follow4follow #followforfollow #l4l #f4f #followback #instafollow #likeforfollow #followher #followhim.

3. Targeted hashtags

These hashtags focus on your Instagram niche, aiming for the hashtags your target audience are likely to be searching for.

These types of hashtags will give you a higher quality in your likes and new followers, which is generally more valuable in the long run.

These, of course, depend on what your brand or niche is.

A few ways to discover the best hashtags for your industry are using hashtag generators like HashtagsforLikes, For Display Purposes Only and Keyhole.

Suggested Targeted Hashtags

Creating a list of ‘go to’ hashtags to use is a great time-saving tool, as well as being an effective way to get more likes and followers on Instagram.

Targeted hashtags help users easily navigate to the topics they are interested in.

When your posts start cropping up in their searches, you will have yourself a whole new audience of potential clients simply because you used the right hashtag.

Need some ideas?

Popular themes on Instagram include food, fashion and travel, to name a few.

Here we run through some targeted hashtags for popular Instagram themes to inspire your lists.

1. Inspirational Hashtags

#postive #truth #quotes #reality #quoteoftheday #reminder #quote #instaquote #stay strong

2. Travel Hashtags

#beach #travel #sun #life #vacation #sunset #summer #sky #amazing #vscocam #fun #nature #traveldiary #lovetotravel #travelgram

3. Food Hashtags

#food #yummy #foodie #delicious #foodoftheday #foodporn #nomnom #cleaneating #vegan #breakfast #lunch #dinner #dessert #foodgasm #organic #vegetarian #Italian #pizza #sushi

4. Business Hashtags

#social #branding #socialmedia #sales #entrepreneur #entrepreneurship #marketing #branding #tech #business #giveaway #discount #smallbiz #success #businesswoman #businessowner #businesstrip #businesscard #launch #digital #career #goals

5. Fashion Hashtags

#fashion #dress #swag #style #nofilter #beauty #ootd #outfitoftheday #fashionista #shopping

6. Fitness Hashtags

#instafitness #beastmode #gym #instafit #lifestyle #diet #wellness #getmoving

Group Your Hashtags

Once you’ve compiled a list of hashtags, split them into categories to make them even easier to use.

‘Niche hashtags’ for the ones focusing specifically on your target audience; ‘branded hashtags’ for promoting your business/brand/message; ‘general hashtags’ for when you want to widen your audience reach beyond your target audience; ‘location hashtags’ to use when you want to appeal to a specific location; and ‘community hashtags’ for when you want to add a more personable feel to your posts.

Hashtag Limitations

Keep in mind that Instagram enforces a limit of 30 hashtags per post, so keep them relevant and don’t waste precious space.

This is likely in place to avoid searches being cluttered with irrelevant posts where people are adding in 100s of hashtags to try and gain popularity.

Having said that, don’t use 30 hashtags if you don’t need them.

Keep them relevant to draw in an engaged audience.

And don’t forget to add hashtags to your Instagram Stories as well as regular posts.

It isn’t really possible to add in as many hashtags to a Stories post because it’ll look too cluttered.

However, you can post several shorter Stories each with a few relevant hashtags to get around this limitation.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking to use hashtags purely to get more likes and followers on Instagram in a short space of time, look for the more general hashtags that’ll be showing up on big searches, or the #follow4follow types of hashtags.

This will build up your initial following.

However, these generalized hashtags won’t necessarily guarantee loyal followers or users who will consistently and meaningfully engage in your posts.

To form a more authentic group of followers and high-quality engagement, look for more targeted hashtags relevant to your niche.

Use hashtag generators (like For Display Purposes Only) to form an easily accessible list of targeted hashtags you can add quickly to all your posts, making hashtags a time efficient and goal effective method of increasing your Instagram likes and followers.