Instagram released their newest feature a few days ago, and it seems to be the talk of the town at the moment. The Facebook owned platform now allows user accounts to ‘follow’ hashtags. Let’s take a look at how it works, using the #entrepreneur hashtag as an example.
Search for the hashtag you want to engage with, and hit follow. After a while, Instagram will start showing popular posts with the hashtag #entrepreneur in them, within your feed.
What does this mean for viewers (browsing)
It’s a much easier and more efficient way of discovering content you want to see and engage with. In theory, this is nothing new, as Instagram always picked up the hashtags you use, interact with and like pictures of, and showed similar posts in the discover page however, having those pop up in your main feed is a little bit of a game changer. It is now possible to be an engaged user by following only hashtags and discovering new content every day, without following any individual accounts.
The ‘followed’ hashtags don’t add to your ‘following’ figure in the top of your profile, however if your profile is public, they will appear in the ‘following’ section as a separate tab, for everybody to see. The feature also feeds you recommended hashtags to follow, based on the hashtags you already follow and interact with. You can do this by going to your profile, clicking ‘following’ and hitting the ‘hashtags’ tab. When you scroll past the hashtags you are following, you will see suggested hashtags to follow, similarly to ‘suggested accounts’.
What does this mean for users (posting content)
For those posting content and growing their accounts, this is a big move by Instagram that can only help you. This is essentially just another method of other people discovering your content. Previously, the only way to get discovered was if someone browses the discover page frequently, or checks the same hashtags you use every time. Instagram haven’t yet released any stats to see how many users utilise the hashtag follow feature, but we can certainly assume that it will be fairly popular.
This opens up a great way to engage further with your niche. Social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter etc are all about grabbing attention, and trading it for whatever message you want to convey to your audience. My suggestion is simple, utilise this feature to try and get in front of the exact users you want to see your content. Let’s say you want to get your profile in front of health and wellbeing experts in the UK. Find 10-30 profiles of health and wellness people, and see what hashtags they are following by going to their profile > following > hashtags. Collate a list of the top hits amongst your ideal crowd, and create some content around that. I’m not saying that your content will be instantly seen by that exact person, as there are, in some instances, millions of posts per hashtag (generic hashtags anyway), but it certainly increases your awareness, and 1 > 0.