You can now follow more than just accounts on Instagram. In its newest update, the social media company has made it possible for users to follow hashtags as well.
So what does it mean to follow a hashtag? As a user, you will essentially see what you already see when you search for a hashtag on your explore page: the top posts and the most recent posts tagged with the hashtag. Now, however, you won’t be seeing these posts on a separate page, you’ll be seeing them as a part of your Instagram feed. Some Stories that have been tagged with the hashtag you are following will also appear on your Stories bar at the top of your feed.
When following a hashtag, the hashtag (in this case, #climbing) appears at the top in bold while the user account that posted with the hashtag appears once right underneath the hashtag and again before the caption.
What This Means for Brands and Influencers
As an entity that wishes to and (in the case of brands) exists to sell itself, if you haven’t yet jumped onto the hashtagging bandwagon, it’s not too late to start now.
Because it gets you publicity, that’s why. Instagram allows up to thirty hashtags for each post; this now means 30 extra chances that you get to be found by your target audience. While it was always possible for people to search via hashtags before, this was something that users had to do as a separate part of their Instagram experience.
The integration of hashtags into user feeds, however, personalizes the experience. A user interested in Chanel’s Rouge Allure lipstick collection, as well as the looks that can be done with it, can follow #RougeAllure and have the posts tagged with this hashtag brought right to their feed. This means that if you produce original content that falls in this category, your content has an even greater chance of being seen by those who are interested.
Since hashtags have now been made a part of Instagram’s main user experience, having been integrated seamlessly into the feed, this means that users are likely to interact with hashtagged posts in the same way that they have interacted with posts made by the people they follow. In other words, users are likely to like and comment on hashtagged posts in a similar way to other posts on their feed.
What this means for both brands and influencers is a likely boost in engagement. Of course, this is provided that you choose to hashtag your posts.
The bottom line is this: hashtags have always been one of the best ways for you to market yourself and your product on social media. With the incorporation of hashtag-following into the feed, such promotion has become even easier. The best part of this is that hashtags are free to use, so there is no need to worry about the cost of participating in such a marketing strategy.
Finally, if you eventually find that your hashtagged posts are not any higher in engagement, do not bring you any more followers and are just a waste of your time, then all you have to do is stop! There are no hidden costs to it.