Instagram just got a little more #engaging…

By: Richard Michie

Instagram has always been a great way follow friends, celebrities, interests and brands. There’s been a lot of development going on at Instagram since Facebook took ownership. We recently blogged about their upgraded Story feature.

Today Instagram evolved into something huge!

Users can now follow hashtags, always a key element of Instagram, no longer will you have to search for posts by typing in keywords within the ‘Explore’ section of Instagram, you’ll now see the best photos and videos appear before your very eyes.

To use the feature search for the hashtag as you always have. Once you select it Instagram now give you the option to follow the tag, much like Twitter has done for a long time with lists.

Hashtag following on Instagram

This new update will, of course, need some very smart filtering on Instagram’s part to ensure that no irrelevant content or spam reaches their user’s feed. This has huge potential to help users view beyond their traditional home page and get more involved with social communities that they’re passionate about, making Instagram even more powerful than before.

Also, hashtag following on Instagram could give the platform more options when it comes to paid advertising, allowing the opportunity to create more tailored ads on specific hashtags users are following and engaging with.

With Instagram apparently testing out the new hashtag feature last month, it was only today that they finally decided to launch it to all their users, who will now see a ‘Follow’ button on each hashtag page they visit, whether that’s by typing them in the search bar or clicking on one.

Hashtag following on Instagram

So what posts will you see when you’re hashtag following on Instagram?

Well, it looks like Instagram’s algorithm will decide which ones will be the most liked by its users based on their lifetime or engagement, stopping spammy users posting a load of hashtags in the hope that they end up on random user’s feeds. However, users will also have the option to choose which posts they don’t want to see by simply clicking on the drop-down menu in the top-right corner of each page.

Will it really eliminate all the spam and irrelevant content?

Only time will tell, but it looks like Instagram will be using automated and manual systems on a regular basis in its early stages to search for any irrelevant posts, instantly blocking them from entering the user’s feed.

Additionally, Instagram will be trying to counteract spammy content by analysing user and automated reports to review content on a 24/7 basis until the new feature is fully stable. Instagram has been working on improvements to how it analyses and ranks hashtag content to ensure that what’s shown on the hashtag pages is completely safe.

How can your business take advantage?

It could be said that hashtag following on Instagram is just another way of bringing the world even closer together. Like Facebook’s Groups, hashtag following on Instagram allows users to search even further outside of their social communities.

Whether you’re bored of seeing your friends constantly appear on your news feed or just want to see something different other than celebrities taking selfies, hashtag following on Instagram allows you to personalise your experience even further to make Instagram your window of info, no matter what the topic of conversation is.

The opportunity for brands to surface their content using hashtags just got a lot bigger. Now more than ever you should seriously consider the hashtags you are adding to your Instagram posts to ensure your customers see your business.

Would you like to reach more customers using Instagram? Contact us on 07834 197785 or fill in the form below. We can help.

Interested in speaking to The Optimists?

Right from the beginning of our time working with The Marketing Optimist, they’ve taken the time and effort to get to understand Sharp Consultancy as a business and not just a client. We’ve seen a huge increase in the effectiveness of our social media strategy, particularly on Linkedin and we’re delighted with the impact it’s had on the business.

Jamie Caulfield

Regional Director, Sharp Consultancy

It was a pleasure to work with The Marketing Optimist on this project. It felt like a true collaborative effort on the day and they made the interviewee's feel at ease whilst talking about their journey on our RISE programme. The final video was professional and engaging, we have received great feedback around the quality and creativity of the case study. Including the video in our presentation made it come to life, with real humans sharing their stories, so thank you to the Marketing Optimist!

Hannah Prole

Impact Manager, Better Connect Limited

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