Instagram Update: Now You Can Follow Instagram Hashtags
Hashtags became a part of mainstream culture because of Twitter, but Instagram is taking them to the next level. For the first time on Instagram, you are now able to “follow” a hashtag.
Before this update, it took some effort to stay on top of your favorite hashtags. You had to either search for a hashtag from the Explore tab, or click on a hashtag from within a post.
What happens when you follow a hashtag?
With this update, you can now follow a hashtag the same way that you would follow a friend or a brand. Instagram will then start to display selected content that contains this hashtag in your news feed.
This basically puts #catofinstagram, #yolo and #chemex on the same level of importance as your friends and the brands you follow.
What does this mean for brands and influencers?
The ability to follow hashtags changes the way that people can find your content.
Social media represents a shift in the way that we discover things. Whereas search engines are intent-based (you usually search for something specific), social media is discovery-based (you find new things based on your social graph).
The limitations of discovery-based social platforms are that people have a tendency to get trapped within their 1st-degree network. Since social media enables you to connect with like-minded people, you tend to end up not crossing paths with people who have other points of view. It’s called a filter bubble.
From the perspective of brands and influencers, it is difficult to organically penetrate content beyond your existing 1st-degree audience. Brands resort to paid advertising or campaigns such as influencer outreach in order to break through the bubble.
Now that people can follow Instagram hashtags, this provides content creators with an alternative path to reach their customers and prospects. It represents a new opportunity to capture the attention of your audience.
How can you take advantage of Instagram hashtags?
Here are 3 steps you can follow to take advantage of Instagram hashtags to rapidly grow your audience.
1) Search for relevant hashtags
Follow all the hashtags that are relevant to your Instagram account. This will enable you to gauge the type of content that works well for each hashtag.
2) Start using these hashtags in your content
Create and share content that uses the hashtags you found in step 1.
3) Optimize your content by identifying the top performing hashtags
For a small sample size of posts, you can manually see which hashtags are performing well. However, in order to make sound informed decisions, ensure you look at a sample size of hundreds of posts (as opposed to dozens). This is difficult to do manually, but you can do it easily with Instagram Analytics from Crowdbabble.
The top performing hashtag for Tim Hortons for this time period is #nationalpumpkinday. However, this is a seasonal hashtag and engagement on this hashtag will drop after Halloween. So the next hashtag in terms of performance is #mondaymotivation. This hashtag should be used more since it has performed well historically for Tim Hortons.
You can perform this same type of Instagram hashtag analysis for your own Instagram account with Crowdbabble.