A friend of mine has an Instagram motto, "Hashtag it or it didn't happen." I've always agreed with him since whenever I hashtag, I receive a flood of "likes" from fellow users. Now there's data that proves it. 

Dan Zarrella, a so-called social media scientist, analyzed over 1 million Instagram photos to find a strong correlation between hashtags and likes. His finding: The more you hashtag, the more your photos will be given a hat tip of approval. 

Pages for individual hashtags are one of the few places people can discover relevant photos without being bombarded by tween selfies and cat pics. Hashtags also enable your snaps to be seen by more people, as the more relevant a photo is, the more people are going to like it. Of course, some hashtags serve the #teamfollowback purposes of trolls (see: #followforfollow and #followback), but other descriptors, especially of the nature variety like #sky and #sunset, are powerful for garnering likes, says Zarrella. 

[via Read Write]