Instagram: The Hashtag Effect

I just stumbled upon this article, 8 Data-Based Tips for Optimizing Your Content on Pinterest and Instagram on Cheetahanalytics.com and thought I’d share a few interesting findings.

The effect of hashtags
That the use of hashtags on Instagram generates likes and followers is no big secret, but this graph indicates that hashtags has a huge positive effect on the number of likes and followers:

Marianne Granum - Effect of Hashtags on Instagram likes - Cheetaha Analytics

Graph from cheetahanalytics.com

Popular hashtags

What tags you use is almost just as important, not all hashtags are as effective, here is a list of popular hashtags:

Marianne Granum - Most Liked Instagram Hashtags - cheetahanalytics.com

Graph from cheetahanalytics.com

Not surprisinlgy, the most popular hashtags touch upon Instagrams social dimention, interaction and getting something in return. Any hashtags you find surprising on the list?

Before you start adding hashtags, be sure to avoid these hashtag mistakes.

Instagram: Top 3 Annoying Instagram Habits

There are lots of does and dont’s when it comes to Instagram, most of us have done some of the dont’s (I know I have!), here are the three Instagram habits that bug me the most:

– #Hashtagging #Every #Word

You probably seen this on Instagram and might have wondered if it is a good idea? It’s not. The point of adding a hashtag is to make your picture searchable and easy to find for people looking for that particular topic.

Turning every word into an hashtag is pointless – have you ever searched for #is #and #a ? No? Nobody else either… Instagram allows 50 tags per picture (which I think is plenty), make sure to add tags that people actually search for and don’t “waste” tags on these words no one searches for.

– Hashtag “cheating”
I guess this is a “crime” most of us are quilty of, adding popular hashtags that have nothing to do with the picture just to generate more likes.
While this might be effective, it’s also annoying and ruins the purpose of hashtagging and searching for photos on Instagram. If generating a lot of likes is your thing, try out the Tags for Like app. Tags for Like generates hashtags based on categories, determine your pictures category/ies and find popular hashtags to label it with.

– Adding a #Nofilter tag to pictures that 1) it’s obvious that you have not used any filters, and /or 2) is not that impressive.

Am I the only one that find the miss-use of #NoFilter tags annoying? Use #NoFilter when you’ve captured something quite stunning and have no need to editing it, or when the lighting is perfect or you created a natural filter (under a lamp, using your sunglasses or a paper sheet e.g.), not when you’ve taken a random nature pic that quite frankly could need some earlybird-magic 😉

What do you think is the biggest Instagram no-no?

Top 5 Hashtag Mistakes

Looking for more information about hashtags, what they are and how to use them? Check out this blog post.

The use of hashtags in social networks like Instagram, Twitter, Google+ and so on is very popular, and – when used correctly – hashtags can be a very efficient way of getting more readers and viewers to check out your content.

But there are some pitfalls you should be aware of before you start tagging away – here are my top 5 hashtag mistakes:

Marianne Granum - What are hashtags and how to use them
– Hashtagging every word
You probably seen this on Instagram and might have wondered if it is a good idea? It’s not. The point of adding a hashtag is to make your picture searchable and easy to find for people looking for that particular topic.

Turning every word into an hashtag is pointless – have you ever searched for #is #and #a ? No? Nobody else either… Instagram allows 50tags per picture (which I think is plenty), make sure to add tags that people actually search for and don’t “waste” tags on these words no one searches for.

– Hashtags on Facebook
Not many hashtags fails set me off like hashtags on Facebook! It has no purpose (hashtags are not searchable on FB!) and just screams “I have no clue what the #s mean!”

Update: Facebook now supports Hashtags! So tag away! 😉

– Adding hashtags that are not relevant for the picture.

In an attempt to get more IG likes and followers, some people add popular tags that are not relevant for the picture. I don’t think this is a very smart strategy, personally I get irritated when I search for a topic and a lot of the pictures that show up are off-topic. , this does make me hit “unfollow” rather than like. So this strategy is definitely not working on me – how about you?

– Special Characters
Double Check that your hashtags are working (highlighted like hyperlinks and click able), some special characters are not supported. For instants, “+”, “&” “?” and so one are not supported on Instagram.

– Hashtags on private profiles

Hashtags from private Instagram or Twitter accounts are only searchable for your friends, so unless you have a really big follower base, there is not really any reason for adding hashtags to your photos – your friends will probably see them anyway. An exception is If you and your friend made your own hashtag for a party, wedding or vacation trip e.g.

What do you think are the biggest hashtag mistakes out there?

My Instagram Tour

Judging from the search terms you use to find my blog, a lot of you visit me searching for information, help and facts about Instagram. So I thought I’ll make it easy for you and make a collection of all my posts about Instagram here. Welcome to my Instagram Tour!

Let’s begin the tour by establishing what Instagram is: a free photo-sharing program & social network mainly accessed through a smartphone app. Before sharing your pictures, you can edit, add filters and effects to them. In the uploading process you can choose to share the picture in multiple other social networks as well, such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. Once the picture is uploaded, all your followers, and anyone that search for the hashtags used, can see, like (heart by double-tapping) and comment on it (privacy settings are available). Instagram has a dedicated user / fan base (IG’ers) which mostly refer to Instagram as IG, and arrange Instagram photowalks and get-together with other IG’ers.

More info can be found in my Instagram guide posts: Instagram (My very first post about Instagram! *Nostalgia*) and Insta-lovin: A 101 Guide to Instagram

Next stop, hashtags. Just like Twitter, Instagram supports hashtags (#Keyword) to categories content, make it searchable and capture a feeling or say something about the content. More about hashtags in my post Instagram Hashtags: How does it work and why should you use them.

Let’s continue by looking at some numbers. In April 2012 Instagram contained more than 1 billion uploaded images and had more than 40 million users. For more stats, have a look at Instagram by the numbers.

All the widgets and add-ons make Instagram even cooler, you can do almost anything with your IG photos! Print, make postcards, fridge magnets and photo books. Gramfeed (and similar services) lets you view your photos from the web (not just your smartphone). Instalook lets you discover IG photos taken around you / at your location. You can even open your very own virtuell gallery, the Instacanvas. Another cool add-on is Statigram, giving you a full overview of all the stats about your IG account, and IG in general. Statigram also provides an overview of trending topics:

Because of it’s visuell features and large user base, Instagram can be an effective marketing channel for businesses. Companies and brands can engage with their customers and fans by e.g. hosting hashtag contests or asking for the customers best picture about their product. In my post Don’t say it, show it, you can read more about images as part of a marketing strategy. The Instagram For Businesses Blog also has a lot of examples of good usecases for companies. I for one love the Instagram campaigns Tiffany & Co have been running, for more info check out Tiffany’s #TrueLovePictures.

I’ll end this post with a warning, Instagram can be very addictive! If you think you or someone you know suffer from an Instagram addiction, you can see the signs in my post How to Spot an Instagram-junkie.

Did I miss any stops on my tour? What else do you think is worth knowing about Instagram?

I’d love to see your IG photos, look me up on Instagram (@Mariannemixi), or share your username below! 🙂