Hashtags, Tags, and Features (oh my!) :) are the easiest ways to get recognition on Instagram and build your brand with focus and speed.
Before adding hashtags and tags to your photos, spend some time researching your niche. What are other photographers or bloggers posting? There are appropriate tags just for landscapes, nature, portraits, blogging niches, surrealism, etc.
I am always surprised that some accounts refuse to use hashtags. Yes, it can be a little embarrassing at first, but this is the key factor in getting brand recognition. Using the RIGHT hashtags brings your photo to the top of that particular page. Each hashtag is also a way to connect with other users with a similar interest or in the same niche.
Make sure you are using targeted and relevant hashtags. Don't just tag words of what is obviously in the photo or use extremely popular hashtags. Popularity doesn't translate to effectiveness because there might be too many people (or bots and spammers) using that particular hashtag pushing your photo below all of the others. For example, #love #happy #like4like or obvious words are overused and won't get as targeted results. Try using hashtags with 10,000-500,000 posts.
Steps for Optimum Hashtagging
1.) Research hashtags in your niche and write them down. If you are a landscape photographer, check out some hashtags that other landscape photographers are using. You can also search in the search bar for keywords in your niche. Instagram will show you a list of suggested hashtags where you can check out the number of posts and the types of photos being posted.
2.) Create a collection of the best-performing hashtags in the note section of your phone or an app such as Evernote or Google Docs. Make sure that these apply to you account as a whole and can be easily copy and pasted for each post. It's ok to switch some of them out based on the subject of the photo. For example, I post mainly surrealism and landscapes but if I happen to post a portrait, I might change 10 of my general hashtags to be specifically portrait hashtags.
3.) Make one note of 30 hashtags for your comment section and one note of another 30 hashtags for the caption.
TWO Groups of 30 - totaling 60 hashtags per post; a trick that many well known 'grammers use.
4.) Post your photo and caption (without any hashtags)
5.) COMMENT on your photo with the first group of hashtags. Preface with • or - It should look like this
#hashtaghere #hashtaghere - all the way through 30 hashtags
6.) Click 'EDIT' on your photo and add the second group of hashtags below your caption. Again using • or - to separate
#hashtaghere #hashtaghere - all the way through 30 extra hashtags (you can do less, but 30 is the maximum)
MAKE SURE YOU DO IT IN THIS ORDER, OR IT WON'T WORK!!!
I've had a bunch of people ask me why this won't work; you have to make sure you comment FIRST and THEN edit the caption!
After posting, explore all of the photos posted with hashtags that just you used and check out the "related" hashtags at the top of the screen. Spend some time 'liking' and 'commenting' on photos within your niche to engage with your new audience.
Check out FocalMark to find a whole bunch of hashtags based on the subject matter and location!
Subscribe below for a free hashtag lists - just copy and paste into your posts!
TAGGING (not hashtagging)
In most cases, TAGS are used to tag people that are in the photo. You can also use tags for feature pages, or "hubs", and sponsorship from brands. Tagging is great way to gain exposure and have a chance to be featured on their account (more on features below)
A post can be tagged with 20 accounts. When tagging a photo it's important to focus on the niche of that particular picture.
For example, if I took a photo of the sunset in Santa Monica, I might tag accounts such as @artofvisuals, @sunset_vision @sunsetmag @beautifuldestinations - you get the idea.
Keep the tags focused on the subject of the photo.
FEATURES OR "RE-GRAMS"
A feature is when a larger account or photo hub "features" your photo on their page. This is one of the best ways to get quick recognition.
• Make sure that your tagging options are set to "automatic" to allow for easier features.
• Features will show up under the photos that people have tagged of you.
Always remember to thank the account that posted your photo! It's important to keep these lines of communication open for future interactions and partnership.
So to recap, hashtags, tags, and features are crucial for growing your brand quickly and efficiently on Instagram. As I mentioned, make sure to spend some time researching hashtags and page tags within your niche to make sure that you are targeting the right people.
Comment when you get your first big feature! It is a great feeling, and you should be PROUD :)
I'm proud of YOU!