You Can Now Follow Hashtags on Instagram

You’ve always been able to follow accounts on Instagram — such as your friends, content creators, brands, and the popular travel grams — but now, you can also follow hashtags. Intriguing, I know! This allows you to see top stories and highlighted posts from a specific hashtag, making it even easier to discover more content on the platform. Let’s dive a little deeper and see what this means for the everyday user.

You Can Now Follow Hashtags on Instagram

Following Hashtags on Instagram

As mentioned above, Instagram now allows you to follow hashtags in your feed. This is a brand new feature that was released just earlier this week on December 12th. Up until now, there were only two ways that you could really interact with a hashtag on Instagram.

  1. You could spot one in the comments, and click through to see posts under that tag
  2. You could go to the Explore section of the app and actually search for a specific tag

Now, you can follow hashtags in the same way that you would follow an Instagram account. What Instagram does is actually pick and choose some of the best highlights shared with that tag, and show them in your main feed. And no, highlights does not mean “TOP POSTS,” which can be found while looking at each hashtag’s grid.

As of now, I can see a few key benefits to this new feature.

  • Posts using a hashtag are more likely to be discovered, since this feature surfaces content that would normally be buried in a sea of other posts using the same hashtag.
  • I can also foresee more organic likes and comments, since the posts are now integrated into a user’s main feed.

How To Train the Instagram Algorithm

After using this feature for a few days, I’ve really come to enjoy it! I’m discovering new content that I would normally not see. At this point, it’s pretty unclear how Instagram chooses these highlights, but I do have some tips on how to train the algorithm to show you content that better fits with your interests.

As you first explore the follow hashtags function, you’ll notice that the content will likely be pretty varied. In order to weed out the posts you’d rather not have in your feed, simply click on the menu button on the top right corner of the post, and downvote by asking Instagram to not show you similar content on that hashtag.

Instagram Follow Hashtags feature

This allows Instagram to really understand what you do and don’t like. On the flip side, if you see a post that you want to see more like it, then engage with it – comment, like, and share. After doing this for a few days I already noticed a shift in the content being served up on the hashtag.

So, how do you choose which photography tags to follow? Good question. We’re here to help you out!

What Photography Hashtags to Follow on Instagram

Many of the popular (or most popula-ted) Instagram tags, tend to be watered down. There are a lot of people simply using those hashtags to get more views or bot likes. Tip: stray away from the mainstream. There are tons of hashtags coming about that have less attention, but are much more rich in quality.

For some key photography hashtags, we reached out to our community for some insights.

New Zealand based creator Jon Kane Houldsworth has some suggestions!

Landscape: #folksouls #chasingthelight

Cinemagraphs: #livingphoto 

General photography hashtags: #artofvisuals #visualambassadors #visualsoflife 

If you’re looking for more location based hashtags, there are lots of great ones out there. Creator Andy Denial suggests these tags if you’re looking for some London photography inspiration:

London photography:  #mydarlinglondon #London_city_photo #Metropolis_London

As we continue to explore this new feature, I think it will be a great opportunity for people around the globe to discover new content and content creators. Knowing that your audience can be wider than your following alone because someone might be following a particular hashtag should encourage creators to hashtag even more (though, be mindful of the 30 hashtag limit on each post.) On the flip side, Instagram will be able to better understand their users, and how to serve them better ads… but that’s another story. Let us know in the comments if you’ve come across any other tips or information on the Instagram Follow Hashtag. Happy Instagramming!

(Flixel Marketing Manager)

When Cassandra was six, she was asked to share a story with her class…and hasn’t stopped telling them since. Now she does so through photography, video and writing, but with the same sense of wonder - and love for glitter - as her inner kid.