👶 Baby steps to Instagram #Hashtags

Subash Matheswaran
Mar 16, 2018 · 7 min read

Instagram Hashtags, what, why, how and wow!! 🥳😎🎉👍👌

Panoramic view of my village ;)

If you’ve decided to read this blog, you must be using instagram just like me and the 800 Million monthly active users. Hashtags on instagram acts as the heart of the platform.

Instagram is a Internet-based photo-sharing application that allows users to share pictures and videos. It was acquired by Facebook in 2012 for $1 Billion.

Over the years instagram has added many interesting things like stories, polls, ability to follow hashtags, search stories based on hashtag and highlight stories. Here, we’re going to learn everything about instagram hashtags from top to bottom, beginner to expert.

Let’s jump right in.

So, #Hashtags uh

The use of hashtags on social medias are increasing day by day as brands makes full use of social medias. It was popularized by twitter (micro blogging platform) as a way to categorize tweets just like we categorize files in our folders. Twitter also shows top trending topics based on hashtag usage. This same was then adopted by facebook as well.

Then came instagram in 2010, which took this hashtag game to the different level. Instagram was created to make communication through images. With this concept and simplicity it has attracted artists to showcase their works. Photographers, video creators, musicians, makeup artists, travel bloggers and all creative people found a new way to share their content.

“Hashtags are a way to categorize contents just like we categorize files using folders.”

I’ve been using twitter and facebook since 2011 and started using instagram from 2017. I’ve seen a great difference with instagram in terms of content reach. Thanks to its simplicity and amazing discoverability through hashtags.

How to use them

So, you upload a photo and type your description for it. In the description whatever you type in followed by a hash symbol (#) without a space is considered to be a hashtag.

For example, you took a beautiful photo of a sunset. Now go ahead and upload it and type in “What a beautiful #sunset it is.”, hit post and bhoom!!! you just used a hashtag.

A cute kid’s chair — #randomclick

Discoverability

Just like identifying a folder by its name, search the hashtag name in search bar and you can see a number of different people and brands posts according to its usage population.

You can directly click on a hashtag you found on a post to do the same. When you click the #sunset on your post, it will list photos of sunsets posted by people across the world.

The explorer page will give you a feed full of contents based on your interests. Let’s say you’re a sunset photographer and have double tapped and interacted a lot with such photos, your explorer page will show contents related to sunset. It is not necessarily have to be a person you follow. That’s the beauty of it.

How to get discovered

When you closely watch the hashtag search results, you’ll see two sections named top posts and recent posts. Top posts features photos based on the number of likes and interactions it gets. If your photo happens to get into that top posts category, them people searching for those hashtags will see your photo at the top and likely to double tap and even follow you.

Hashtag as your secret ingredient

Now that you know how the discoverability works, you need to know how to get discovered more often. Here comes our main weapon, “The Hashtags”. Instagram allows you to insert a maximum of 30 hashtags in one post. You can use two or more words in a hashtag as long as it is not separated with a space.

For example #i_love_photography is a single hashtag which contains 3 words. Where as #i #love #photography are 3 different hashtags. Now take a look at this example, “#i_love photography”. Here, #i_love is a hashtag eliminating “photography” because of using a space in between. It will be considered as just a word. So keep in mind and use them accordingly.

The debate

There’s a misconception on the number of hashtags used for a post. Some people use only 2 or 3 while some use all 30. On an average people will use 8 to 12 hashtags in order to gain a good reach.

“30 hashtags = 30 lottery tickets”

I use maximum hashtags as possible in a post upto all 30. Because you’ll never know which hashtag is going make you insta famous.

“You can thank me later”

There’s no secret number to it, as long you don’t spam in with popular or trending hashtags and stick to the hashtags which are related to your post. So my personal advice would be to use 30, or at least 20 and see the results for yourself.

Out of hashtags

Sometimes you may feel running out of hashtags while trying to take advantage of the 30 mark. First make sure you’ve put in all the hashtags related to what’s in your photo.

Example: While posting a sunset photo,

  1. Use: #sun #sunset #sunlight #sky #eveningsun
  2. Location: #chennai #india
  3. Photography: #MobilePhotography
  4. Personal / Brand Hashtags: #SubashMatheswaran #SMClicks #smphotos
  5. And so on. You get the idea right!

With this technique, you’ll feel like “why is it only 30 not 50?”.

caught this near thambaram, chennai

Don’t go for big hashtags

When I say big, I mean the hashtag usage. When you type in any hashtag on search, say #love you’ll see a number next to the hashtag name. This means, #love has been used in that many posts on instagram.

For your information, #love is the most used hashtag on instagram as of 2018.

When you use such big hashtags, the possibility of your post getting noticed by others will be less. Because, more posts are getting posted across the world using it. When you go for hashtags with usage numbers around 100k, your chances of getting likes are high. Coz, it gives your post the time and people to see it.

Find a sweetspot and stick to it.

When you do the opposite by going for small hashtags, you won’t be getting the expected results either. Lesser the hashtag usage, lesser the audience. At the same time, you don’t have to miss on the opportunities with the bigger ones. What blends well will be using a few big hashtags with a lots of medium sized hashtags. So find your balance and experiment with them.

Timing is important

You don’t want to post your photos when your audience were sleeping. So try to avoid sleeping hours. You can easily track your post’s performance and engagement using a business account. I don’t want to go much deep on this topic. But, I’d prefer to post at 5pm Monday to Friday and avoid Saturdays and Sundays.

Coming to hashtags and timings, you can use hashtags based on your day. For example: On mondays, you can type in a motivational quote as your caption and use #MondayMotivation, thoughts on tuesdays with #TuesdayThoughts and the list goes on.

I’ve seen many people using #ThrowBackThursday to post photos from the past as throwbacks. And also don’t forget about holidays.

Hashtags on Stories

As like on your timeline, while search for hashtags you can also find stories posted on that hashtag at the top. Don’t underestimate the power of stories. Unlike your posts, they appear at the top of the app and gains instant attraction. Instagram has 200 million daily stories users.

Location: You can check in locations on your posts as like on facebook. People will find your posts and stories same like hashtags by searching for a location.

Learn from others

Look for people with a huge follower base on your niche. Dig their timeline, look at their bio, profile theme, stories, hashtags and try to use those strategies on your account. When it comes to instagram and photography, there’s always a trend. Follow it, get inspired and inspire others.

My dslr friend Vijay posing for my mobile photography

Build a community

Don’t go crazy chashing likes and followers. I even had dreams about #hashtags when started using them and went mad. Remember, instagram is all about interacting with people, building a community, getting inspired, showcasing your works, grow and have fun doing it.

There are lots and lots of tutorials out there on how to gain more likes and followers using different tricks and techniques. For me the above paragraph sums up things on instagram.

Takeaway

If you’re about to take one thing with yourself from this blog, I’d say, “use more hashtags”.

Me

Professionally, I’m work full time as a UX Designer in Coimbatore, India. I put my hands on all form of art whenever and wherever possible.

If “Creating things and living life the way you want” is your thing, we should definitely connect.

Instagram @SubashMat 💝

https://subashmatheswaran.github.io

And hey, don’t forget to smile 😁 CHEERS🎉🍻🙌

Wear your smile 😁

Subash Matheswaran

Written by

Designer by DNA. Enough said. ✌ http://subashmatheswaran.github.io

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