Instagram is a great iOS and Android app available to photo enthusiasts. One of the things that make it great is the interaction that one can build through images, with friends and new contacts alike. To build these new connections, hashtags play a very important factor.
Not sure how to get started with Instagram? Check out our earlier article How to get Followers on Instagram before you proceed.
Hashtags are used as a way for people to tag (label) their pictures. After taking a picture and editing, a green checkmark will allow you to continue the process of posting your image. On the next screen where you type your caption, this is where you will start tagging.
You should know first, to start using the Instagram hashtags feature your profile needs to be public. If a user is private their tagged pictures will not show on the public stream for any of the tags.
Hashtags are applied before any word with the # sign; each hashtag should be separated by a space like #hashtag1 #hashtag2. For example, I took a photo of some basil I planted not long ago and the tags I used when I posted the pic were “#basil #organic #herbs”. Adding those three labels will introduce your image to those three different public pages or labels, where other people can find it.
Instagram uses a set of rules that you should also be aware for tagging your pictures.
• Private users’ tagged photos will not appear publicly on tag pages.
• Numbers are allowed in hashtags. However, special characters, such as $ or %, will not work.
• You can only tag your own photos, not other users’ photos.
• The limit on the number of tags you can use on a photo is 30. If you include more than 30 tags on a single photo, your comment will fail to post.
• Older versions of Apple iOS do not support tapping on hashtags. Instead, search hashtags by navigating to the Profile tab > Search Instagram > Tags.
How to compose your caption with hashtags.
This is an area open for discussion.
For example you can type something like this: “This is the #delicious #sweetbasil I planted a few weeks ago. #herbs #organic #basil #green” or you can also type normally and add your hashtags at the end, “This is the delicious sweet basil I planted a few weeks ago. #delicious #sweetbasil #basil #herbs #organic #green”. Just remember the no more than 30 hashtags rule.
Once your image is tagged, people will use the “Explore” feature in Instagram to search for images. The icon is the second from left to right, and looks like a compass. By default Instagram will show you the most popular pictures of the moment on that screen. On the top of that area, you will find a field that says “Search users and hashtags”. Pressing on it will allow you to select between the two. Press hashtags to start, and type in dogs, art, food, a brand name, etc. You don’t need to type the hashtag “#” sign before the word here.
After the search is done, the app will return your result with the number of images in that category. Instagram will also save your last 15 searches for your convenience.
Now that you know how to use them, let me explain why you want to start adding them to your pictures.
Most of the pictures that we take using Instagram, represent something that caught our eye or that we enjoy. It’s almost certain that other people will find that image interesting as well. Sharing our images with hashtags will help others to find them and build an audience around your interests.
It’s not mandatory to use hashtags for your posts. But for someone beginning with the service, not having tags makes it very difficult to build an audience of people looking for images they like. If you don’t have any friends using Instagram this is particularly true, because you will be adding pictures to a pool that no one can find through search. I believe this is perhaps the biggest reason people stop using the service, because they might be thinking, what is the point of taking pictures if only I can see them and no one is giving me feedback via a comment or like.
And this might be ok too, if you just want to snap pictures and share them privately with your Twitter or Facebook followers.
If you already have taken many pictures, but they didn’t include hashtags, you can go back and add a comment yourself on the image with your hashtags. Doing this will reintroduce them to the public search pages for that hashtag. Soon you will start noticing notifications coming in of people liking your photos.
In my case, I am very passionate about “#vector #illustration”. Through Instagram I found incredible talented individuals to connect with, they have inspired me and push me to learn new techniques in the process. Also many childhood friends share their family pictures and everyday life, which is always a bright note in my day!! By the way, my Instagram user name is @kenmata
I hope this will clear what hashtags are, and will get you started using them and having even more fun with your Instagram pictures.
Tip: Want to follow Dave Taylor on Instagram too? You can find him by searching for “d1taylor” in the Explore portion of the program.