Hashtags can either make or break an Instagram post in terms of likes and engagement. They are what make your post available to the masses, bringing people closer to exactly the kind of content they’re looking for on the social media platform. Even bigger bloggers and influencers who DON’T use hashtags in their social marketing strategy will still throw a couple of them in the caption.
You get me?
Hashtags are a promotional thing, of course they are. They’re designed to promote your Instagram update whether you’re using it for business or personal reasons. You use a hashtag so that MORE people can see your new post — people who otherwise wouldn’t have seen it at all.
But hashtags are so much more than that. They can help inject a bit of life into an otherwise boring Insta-update, kinda like an emoji.
“Don’t think I’ll eat that entire large pizza by myself?
Hashtags are also great for those ‘themed’ days, giving you a reason to post when you might not be able to think of anything else.
#WCW or #womancrushWednesday
They also help to bring together communities and groups of people, encouraging engagement and connections between the masses.
Not only that, hashtags help to “categorise” pictures and videos. I’ve seen brides request that the wedding party use specific hashtags when uploading to Instagram, to make finding those images easier, later on.
I used the hashtag #KimandDanTurn30 when a friend and I turned 30 around the same time and did some travelling.
Just make sure your hashtag isn’t already taken by someone else’s wedding day/birthday/event when you plan your own …
Speaking of coming up with your own hashtag, businesses will create and use their own hashtag on social media and will request that customers use the same hashtag when uploading their posts. This will obviously work on the side of the business because they’re getting some free promo out of it, but it also works for the uploader or customer, too. You get a warm n’ fuzzy feeling when a company reposts your image onto their Instagram feed, allowing it to be seen by thousands of people. That’s what the hashtag could lead to. It’s a bit like a tag, but not a tag. You can use your hashtag alongside a tag.
“Hello, I’m here. This is my Instagram photo featuring YOUR product. Now share me on your page so I can benefit from lots of lovely Insta-likes and follows. K, please, thanx!”
By using that hashtag, you’re also making your Instagram stuff discoverable by other people who use the same business or have similar interests. They might follow you. They might like and comment on your stuff. Isn’t that what you want? You’re here and reading this blog post, aren’t you … ?
So, what hashtags should you use to get more likes on Instagram?
There are BAZILLIONS of hashtags you could use, some of which are more competitive than others. Very competitive hashtags are those that LOTS of people are using already. They’ll usually have thousands and millions of posts attached to them when you click on or search for them, and by using them, you’re potentially burying yourself in a mound of updates.
#livecolorfully – 3.8 million posts
Slightly less competitive hashtags will have fewer people using them. Admittedly, you want MORE people to see your post, but that comes at a price — burying your post in popular hashtags and people missing your stuff. I recommend using a mixture of very popular hashtags with slightly less popular hashtags. The feed won’t move quite as quickly, giving those following it/using the same hashtag/searching that hashtag more of a chance to get a good view of your posts.
#discoverunder1k – 244,000 posts
Then there are those hashtags that very few people are using — the low competition ones. These tend to be quite niche and specific, but shouldn’t be overlooked. The feed will move much more slowly, allowing people who have interest in that hashtag to see more of the individual posts.
#bloggersofig -53,300 posts
*all figures were correct at the time of writing.
Hashtaggin’ Like a Pro
Are you a social media star? Here are a few hashtags that have HIGH competition:
And here are some that have slightly less competition that I recommend sprinkling in:
Maybe you’re a beauty or fashion blogger? Here are some HIGH competition hashtags:
These are some lesser-competition hashtags that you should mix the highly-competitive ones in with:
Just a ‘regular’ or non-specific/lifestyle blogger? I got your back, too! Here are a few of the high competition ones:
If you wanted some lower-competition hashtags to throw in, you could choose a few of these:
And I’ve got plenty more where they came from if you sign up to my Blogging 101 email list. You’ll get access to my full list of hashtags for Instagram … and we’re talking THOUSANDS of them.
Wink wink, nudge nudge.
So, now that you know to mix high-competition hashtags in with lower-competition hashtags for maximum exposure, here are a few other tips and tricks you can use to get more likes on Instagram:
Don’t use more than 30 hashtags …
… otherwise, the entire caption will delete itself and you’ll want to cry. There’s literally nothing more frustrating when you just spent close to an hour coming up with the perfect caption + best hashtag combo.
Don’t use hashtags that are utterly irrelevant to what you’re talking about.
I suggest using a few random blog-related hashtags, such as #flashesofdelight, but don’t start talking about #foodporn if your Insta-post has nothing to do with food. People get annoyed with that kinda thing. They might even report you for being spammy.
Don’t use the same hashtags over and over again.
Yes, it’s so much easier to just copy/paste the entire hashtag list, but that’s kinda pointless. By switching up the hashtags that you use for each Instagram post, you’re opening your account up to even MORE people — potential likers and followers. If you use #blogger in today’s Instagram caption, use #instabloggers in tomorrow’s one. By repeatedly using the same hashtags over and over again, you’re limiting your own audience. There is also some evidence to support the idea that Instagram’s shadow ban DOES exist, and it could be caused as a result of using the same hashtags over and over again. (I talk about that more here: How to Find out If You’re on an Instagram Shadowban.)
Don’t overload on characters.
Shorter hashtags are more popular and effective than longer ones because people (in general) are lazy. Long hashtags = more typing = more work. Add a couple of the longer ones in, but try to keep most of them shorter and easier to type. Maybe have 1-4 longer hashtags, with the rest short.
If you’re posting a look that rocks red lipstick, use the hashtags #redlips or #redlipstick alongside #makeupoftheday, #beautybloggers, and #mua. Rocking Converse trainers in your #outfitoftheday? Use a Converse-related hashtag. If someone is looking for inspiration on how to wear red lipstick or Converse trainers, they’re going to use the hashtags ConverseHighTops or #redliplooks. They’re not going to search for #beautybloggers or #fashionbloggers and trawl through every single post looking for the ones that *might* have what they’re looking for. You’ll want to reach other beauty bloggers, yes, but don’t forget about your actual target audience — regular consumers. Think about the hashtags THEY would use.
Look at what hashtags other people are using.
If another beauty blogger gets more likes than you do, look at what they do differently to you. Look at the hashtags they use. Try a few of them and see if your engagement increases.
If you need a go-to list of super awesome hashtags for your blogging niche, sign up to my Blogging 101 email list below. You’ll get access to a full list of hashtags for your specific niche, as well as suggestions on how to mix n’ match them for better exposure.
How much attention do you pay to the hashtags you’re using on Instagram? Do you mix them up? Or do you use the same ones over and over again? I’d love to know your strategy, and whether or not you’re going to spice things up as a result of reading my blog post today. Thanks for reading, by the way. I really appreciate you hanging out here with me for a moment!
Further resources + reading:
- 6 Ways to Add Instagram Videos to Blog Posts
- Should You Switch From a Business Account to a Personal One on Instagram for Better Engagement?
- Are You Using Your Blog Posts for Social Media Content?