As the Instagram algorithm changes it is becoming consistently more important to think outside of the box and create high-quality content to build your online following and engagement.
As a woman in the influencer and blogging world, I have noticed we are constantly looking for “outs” and excuses as to why our photos and content are not performing as well as we would like. And when someone’s content is performing well we immediately think “it’s fake.” As Instagram has once again changed their platform and how your photos will perform it is important to keep in mind that these changes are good and improve the overall user experience. Don’t blame the algorithm, use this change as a chance to grow, learn, and improve the quality of your work.
Even amidst all the changes and frustration, it all comes back to one thing, QUALITY. Instagram has said time and time again that all of these changes are to improve the user experience. Instagram places value on quality content and their recent change to hashtags reflects their goals.
How are hashtags changing?
The Instagram hashtag feed now has two sections “Top” and “Recent”. In the “Top” section, Instagram no longer displays every photo on the hashtag feed. The feed is not chronological, only select, high-quality photos that are relevant to the hashtag are displayed unless you choose to look at the “Recent” section.
Why did the hashtag feed change?
It is no secret that Instagram is constantly trying to improve their user experience. A few months ago Instagram rolled out the ability for their users to follow hashtags. This is a follow-up to this rollout and helps them create more curated and quality feeds for people to follow. It now gives users the ability to choose whether they want to see a feed of “top” curated content or every “recent” photo posted under the hashtag. My bet is on the majority of users using the “recent” section because it provides a better user experience and shares high quality, relevant accounts.
What does this mean for you?
First off, I want to say that is is a GOOD thing! This will reduce the ability for spam accounts to abuse hashtags or use hashtags that are irrelevant to the photo. It also means if you most high-quality, well edited, relevant and popular content you will be rewarded! There is no more competition to get in the top 9 squares, there is a whole feed of popular photos!
This also means that it is extremely important to continue to post high-quality, unique content. In addition, it is important to use hashtags that are relevant to your post. Below I share my top tips for using hashtags on Instagram.
Use relevant Hashtags
First and foremost you should be focusing on hashtags in your niche and focused on relevant topics relating to your content. Instagram has been using new photo recognition technology for years now to categorize and analyze photos. This is how Instagram will determine if your photo is relevant to the hashtags you are using.
Change your hashtags everytime you post
Make sure your photos are landing in front of a new audience every single time you post by changing the hashtags you use for every post. This will keep you from being shadowbanned and increase your likelihood of being displayed on the hashtag feed.
Use 10-15 hashtags
While Instagram still lets you use up to 30 hashtags in a post, it is no secret that Instagram devalues any actions that even look remotely like spam. So stick to using 10-15 quality and relevant hashtags on your post.
Use medium size hashtags
This this is huge! Now there is more competition to land on hashtags feed since not every photo is displayed. Use hashtags between 100k-750k posts for optimum performance. This way you are still utilizing high traffic hashtags but have a better chance of your photos being displayed.
Follow your favorite and most popular hashtags. Why? This way you can see what type of content is being displayed. Take note of the types of photos that are shown on the feed. Everything from the edits, quality, style, etc. This will give you key insight into what hashtags you should be using on your photos.