Hashtags are one of the best ways to get new followers on Instagram.Using the right Instagram hashtags can extend the reach of your images, and help you reach outside your current sphere of followers.

But which hashtags should you use?  There are two schools of thought on this one: The first is that you should use hyper-popular hashtags that get searched for most often. The good part about using popular hashtags is that you know tons of people are searching for them. And the bad part? Tons of people are searching for them. In other words, because so many people are using them, it can be more difficult for your photo to get noticed.

The second strategy is to find extremely relevant and specific hashtags that will be more likely to net you targeted followers.

In my opinion, both of these strategies can work well. In fact, using them together is the best way to get both optimal reach AND targeted followers. For this reason, this post will look at a whole ream of top Instagram hashtags for gaining new followers – both popular (but more general) ones and less popular (but more relevant) ones. I will conclude by giving you 3 tips for finding highly-specific Instagram hashtags for your business.

Most popular Instagram hashtags today

Using various sources, including Hashtagify’s Top 30 Hashtags tool, I have put together a list of 20 of the most popular general hashtags being used on Instagram right now.  If you are looking for general hashtags that are guaranteed to be popular, look no further. Just keep in mind that there are always trending hashtags as well; consult Hashtagify regularly to find the most up-to-date hashtags!

#love: 860 million+ posts

#instagood: 390 million+ posts

#me: 355 million+ posts

#tbt (Throw back Thursday): 332 million+ posts

#cute: 317 million+ posts

#follow: 314 million+ posts

#followme: 302 million+ posts

#photooftheday: 297 million+ posts

#selfie: 257 million+ posts

#girl: 247 million+ posts

#picoftheday: 215 million+ posts

#like4like: 211 million+ posts

#friends: 204 million+ posts

#fun: 202 million+ posts

#summer: 194 million+ posts

#instadaily: 188 million+ posts

#nofilter: 188 million+ posts

#instalike 172 million+ posts

#food: 167 million+ posts

#follow4follow: 157 million+ posts

#followforfollow: 123 million+ posts

More popular hashtags for increasing followers and engagement

If you are looking for hashtags that are a bit less popular (and will therefore give you a better chance of getting exposure), here are some of my favorites. These hashtags are all focused on following; meaning people search for them when they’re trying to find new people to follow and/or interact with!

#l4l (Like 4 Like): 123 million+ posts

#followback: 87 million+ posts

#instafollow: 85 million+ posts

#followher: 41 million+ posts

#followhim: 39 million+ posts

#followall: 35 million+ posts

#follows: 33 million+ posts

#teamfollowback: 32 million+ posts

#FF: Follow Friday: 14 million+ posts

#tagforlikes: 12 million+ posts

#like4likes: 6 million+ posts

#likesplease: 1 million+ posts

#likesreturned: 1.6 million+ posts

How to find highly-relevant hashtags for your business

If it is quality of followers you are focused on, rather than quantity, there are three strategies I recommend for finding industry-specific hashtags you can use.

1. Use a tool like Twitonomy to find out which hashtags influencers in your niche are using. These are ones your target market will likely be looking for. Using them can get you some very targeted new followers who are potentially looking for exactly what you offer.

2. Use me to find the top hashtags related to your niche or industry. For instance, being in social media marketing, I might search for hashtags related to #Facebook, #Twitter or #sociamedia.

3. Drill down further to find even more specific hashtags you can use. A tool like Tweet Binder can help you find hyper-relevant hashtags related to the ones you’ve found in #1 and #2.