A lot of my friends are confused about the hashtags on instagram. Many of them don’t know the use of hashtags, some know but they find it irritating and few don’t know what hashtags to use. So I thought I will pen down my thoughts on hashtags.
The Hashtag “#” is just a sign or symbol but when added before a word or a phrase the meaning changes. The word or phrase does not lose its literal meaning but the content gets categorized. The hashtag words are more easily discoverable, hence your content reaches to more number of users. Some hashtags become quite popular or trending, using them with your content can improve the statistics of your posts. Also, your content starts appearing in that particular category of hashtag. When someone clicks on a particular hashtag, all the contents having same hashtag appears in the result. Or in other words, user is directed to a page where all the contents have same hashtag. The latest post with that hashtag is always on the top of the result. One can include hashtags anywhere in their content but usually a lot of users prefer puting the hashtags separate from the message of the content just to make the post readable apart from being discoverable.
Hashtags on Instagram serves the exact same purpose. Generally these hashtags are used by brands for customer engagement and of course marketing purpose. But that does not mean we should not use. If you want your content to be viewed by people beyond your followers, you should use hashtags. Without hashtags your content will be limited to your followers and won’t be discoverable on a large scale. The hashtags and discoverability are very useful for budding artists / photographers / writers / models / entrepreneurs and anyone who want their work to be seen or recognized by millions of people.
Not every word or phrase can work as a hashtag. If you have added space in your hashtag then it will be treated as two different words. For example, if I use #food photography in my content, then my content will be discoverable only in the #food result and not in the #foodphotography result. Instagram will not take space as part of the hashtag.
I have seen a lot of users using #followforfollow and #likesforlike in their posts. These hashtags claim to increase the followers list and likes on your posts. Who would not like to have 100s and 1000s of likes on their post but I would prefer keeping my profile very clean and would love to have genuine followers with whom I can connect, learn, grow and help them grow. Users should be careful about the hashtags they are using, it should not attract unwanted attention. I remember an incident where I had posted a photo of my foot with an anklet on it. The anklet was given to my mom by her mom and I wore that on my sister’s wedding. That photo was really special hence I wanted to share that with my followers on instagram. I still can’t figure out what went wrong with my hashtags, suddenly there was a huge increase in my followers list, that post became famous and I started getting lots of message requests to repost my post. Trust me I did not use #followforfollow or #likesforlike or any such hashtags. I would trust a public profile on instagram more than a private one. All the repost requests were from private profiles. I started feeling that the sentiments with which the post was made was lost. And I had to delete that post for the unwanted attention it was getting. Don’t use random hashtags if you are not sure about it just to increase the visibility of your post.
I hope this post would help my friends in getting an idea about hashtags. Do comment below your thoughts or experience like I had.