Instagram Update (Dec, 2017) – Leveraging #Hashtags

Instagram, in its latest and arguably most important update on 12th December, 2017 has introduced following hashtags  (Eg. #foodporn, #wanderlust, etc.) you’re interested in, alongside following users (@Taylor Swift, @Kim Kardashian). This is going to be a game-changer in the way Instagram has been used so far, big time!

Instagram currently has over 800 million users, with over 40% users being less than 24 years old. To put things into better perspective, firstly, let us segment the accounts on Instagram into the following categories as per their respective use cases.

  1. Businesses (Brands)
    Brands are now moving faster towards visually engaging media like Instagram to get closer to their users. Brands can use Instagram for the following but not limited to, end goals :

    • Customer acquisition – Brands can gain visibility and create awareness to reach out to potential new users via Instagram
    • Engagement – Instagram helps as a platform for brands to stay connected to their followers, receive feedback, understand their requirements & retain users

      Help users discover your brand and engage with you through Instagram
      Help users discover your brand and engage with you through Instagram
  2. Influential users (Users with large number of followers)
    These guys are, in a certain sense proving it wrong that you need to be an offline celebrity to influence a community. The concept of being a online celebrity is a fair test of one’s content and skills. The winners have gone ahead and become “influencers” on social media channels like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

    • Engagement – Staying in touch with the community via photos, Instagram stories, videos, etc.
    • Promotions – Influencers play a significant role in promoting brands and supporting product launches because of their already existing audience that trusts them
  3. Consumers
    Yeah, that’s me and probably, you too!

    • Network – Instagram helps us to follow brands & influencers to get up to date with the latest in the market
    • Fun – While we can debate on how social media eats up our time and mind space, we will all unanimously agree that it’s great entertainment. Watching cat GIFs to knowing what our favorite celebrities wore today or ate for lunch (yeah, you have to admit you know it)

Now to the critical question, how can you leverage hashtag searches & follow features to help yourself?

While we know from Social Media 101 that Content is King, Instagram’s feature to now follow hashtags is emphasizing on that fact much strongly and shouting it out aloud.


Life’s fair that way!

Here’s how you can make the best use of hashtags on Instagram –

  1. Popular hashtags in the category of brand or product (Eg – #makeup , #dogsofinstagram , etc.)
    • Hashtags will change the game of brand and product discovery for a growing startup or a small business. If you’re one such, you can leverage this Instagram update and push your content within these hashtags (as per relevance, of course). Users can now discover your brand and products through hashtags.
    • Use of popular hashtags in posts will help in categorizing your content to your users as well. Hence, do make sure to have certain uniformity in your type of content to maintain stickiness from users.
    • Popular hashtags have a LOT of posts coming in every few seconds. So for your brand or product to be visible in the top posts, awesome content is a must!
    • Brands can leverage the hashtag following to identify their potential influencers based on content posted alongside their followers count.

      Cats of Instagram Hashtag on Instagram
      Cats of Instagram Hashtag on Instagram
  2. Hashtags with themes relevant to popular hashtags
    • When a user searches for a hashtag they want to follow, interestingly, Instagram suggests similar other hashtags. The initial challenge would be to get users to follow the hashtag in the first place owing to the lesser number of posts. But hey, if you got great content and the user stumbles upon your #hashtag in this section, wouldn’t that just be great?
  3. Creative & niche hashtags
    • Instagram is a great platform for users to follow the most popular hashtags that interest and entertain them, or stay in touch with latest happenings in the world around us. However, it is also a wonderful community for unique ideas, photography, and one of a kind visual creatives. Fresh & different content is always refreshing and a treat to look forward to. So creating some uncommon hashtags which are innovative and have good content is a way to go.

      Use creative and niche hashtags on Instagram and offer a refreshing feel to your followers
      Use creative and niche hashtags on Instagram and offer a refreshing feel to your followers

Going forward, people will follow hashtags even rapidly. So engagement in the form of likes & comments on your content will be the driving force of your success on Instagram. Also, hear your audience out, talk to them, host giveaways, and basically understand what your follower wants. And deliver.

How does Instagram help your business? Share your Instagram marketing tales with me so that we can learn together 🙂

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