How to Grow Organically on Instagram: The Hashtag

This is the third part of the a 3 part series, How to Grow Organically on Instagram.  This originally was a three part series covering the three  main methodologies of growth.  However, I am excited to share with you that we will be digging deeper into the ins and outs of Instagram as well in upcoming post.  Click here to read part 1 of the series and click here to read part 2.   Next week we will be sharing a quick how-to with our guest contributor from Cricket La Belle.  

The Hashtag

Meet your new Insta-BFF (#instabestie).  While there are numerous parodies about speaking in hashtags, thank you very much Jimmy Fallon, it is quite crucial that you learn to use this attribute in your quest to achieve IG growth.  Of all segments, this by far may be the most important.

Instagram is a visual marketplace, but it’s not a photo reader.  The application has no clue what the content of your photo holds unless you properly tag it.


For example, say I post this photo to my IG feed, just as-is with the comments “Little PZ just hanging out on her blanket at the beach in her new headband from To The Moon Kids.  This is the life!”  All of my personal followers will comment and like the photo, but then what?  Other than having a visual reference with matching commentary, this photo is almost immediately dead.  Since we are operating on the assumption, I do not already have a mass amount of followers, then there’s a slim chance that anyone beyond my feed will ever see this.  However, as I mentioned in the previous segment–once you have gained a certain strength of followers, your hashtag is not as necessary–because you will have so many people liking and interacting with your photo, it will show up naturally in others’ explore tab.

So, how do you remedy the longevity and reach of this photo?  Enter The Hashtag.    For optimum posting, I should share this photo and caption it accordingly to what is happening, any brands to shout out, and where relevant, using the most common hashtags in practice on IG.  A  healthier example would be, ‘#LittlePZ just hanging out on her #OiOIAdventureBlanket at the #beach in her new #headband from #ToTheMoonKids.  This is the life!  #baby #girl #handmade #cute

See the difference?  You will need to get comfortable finding your voice with hashtags, because there is definitely a fine line between sounding like a marketing campaign and the real you.  In this real life example, when I shared the photo of PZ on her blanket, with the appropriate hashtags, OiOi Baby Bags saw the photo, and re-gramed it to their followers.  <-Now isn’t this the sort of free publicity you want for your product?!  Hashtags will make you searchable on Instagram.  Did you catch that?  In a visually driven mobile app, do your due diligence and tell the application what is in the photo you are posting.  Not only does it improve all those algorithms we were speaking of for you, it places your photos into the finely tuned algorithms of your prime customers.


Currently The Top Tags on Instagram

Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 9.28.45 PM

But what does this hashtag do anyway?

While Instagram has done a great job re-vamping the explore tab to photos that are being liked by persons of interest and are linked to who you follow, you have to do your part to get your photos in front of the right audience.   Let’s go back to our example.  If I post the photo of  PZ with the #girl, there are about 190,118,255 photos tagged the same, making this one of the most frequented tags currently in use on Instagram.  How does this impact me?  Well, it gets your photo into that search pool, which in turn, will trigger your photo to appear in the explore feeds of people liking and commenting on photos tagged #girl.  The more specific you get, the more specific the demographic gets, and vice versa.  #girl #baby #babygirl pairs you into the largest tag pool, while also narrowing down your specific demographic.   

Take some time to see what similar shops in your field are using as their tags, and take note!  See you can kill two birds with one stone—organic networking and using the hashtag.  



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