Instagram's Follow Hashtag Feature and What It Can Mean to Your Brand

Instagram's Follow Hashtag Feature and What It Can Mean to Your Brand

Published on 3rd of July 2019

If you haven’t noticed it yet, Instagram has made changes to the app so that users are now able to follow hashtags. When they do, they will be able to see the Stories and posts that use these hashtags on their feeds, even if they are not following the accounts where these are on. Users can now follow both people and hashtags, so they no longer have to click on a hashtag or go to the Explore tab to view the top Stories and posts that use the hashtag that they are interested in. Essentially, with this update, users can now view more relevant content on their feeds and Stories.

How to Follow Hashtags on Instagram

Before you can appreciate this update and take advantage of what it can do for your brand, you must first try this feature yourself. To begin, you will need to navigate to the hashtag gallery by tapping on any hashtag from a post in your Instagram feed or go to the Explore tab by tapping the magnifying glass icon at the bottom of the app and typing in the hashtag that you want to follow.

Once you’re in the hashtag gallery, tap the Follow button which you will see directly under the hashtag and above the gallery images. From this point, you will be able to start seeing content with that hashtag in your Instagram feed and Stories. If you would no longer want to see these posts, just unfollow the hashtag by going to that hashtag gallery. This time, tap on the Following button then choose “Unfollow” from the pop-up menu. Alternatively, if you see the hashtag post on your feed, you can also tap on the ellipsis at the opposite side of the hashtag and then tap on the “Unfollow Hashtag” option.

What are the Advantages of the Follow Hashtag Feature?

For brands who are looking to expand their reach on Instagram, the follow hashtag feature offers a few advantages. Read on to learn more about these…

Be Discovered by Your Target Users

One of the biggest advantages of the follow hashtag feature is that it makes it much easier for users to find content that they are interested in, and this includes your brand. As you include relevant hashtags on your posts and Stories, users who are interested in these hashtags will be able to see these on their feeds as well as on the Explore tab. As a result, your brand is able to expand your reach to your target audience. As Instagram improves on its ability to provide more relevant content to its users, brands are able to benefit from this when the right hashtags are added to their content.

A New Way to Connect and Engage with Your Target Audience

Unlike before, when users would have to follow your brand’s Instagram account to be able to view your posts and Stories and, consequently, like, comment, and share your content, now users can see your content and engage with your brand when they follow your brand or campaign hashtag, or any other hashtag that you frequently add on your content. And, if you are able to share quality content that these users find interesting, they would be likely to follow your brand’s account eventually.

If you would like to know which relevant hashtags are trending among Instagram users, you can go to the Explore tab and type in a word relevant to your industry in the search box then tap on the hashtag icon just below this box. From the list of hashtags, tap on the one that is most relevant to your brand. This would lead you to a page showing the number of posts with this hashtag, as well as related hashtags that are trending. Choose which ones would be most relevant to the content that you will be posting. Instead of keeping a fixed set of hashtags to put in all your posts, it is best to use a fresh batch of hashtags for every post, using only the ones that are appropriate to the image or video that you are sharing.

Gain a Wider Reach Beyond Your Brand’s Instagram Account

When users follow a specific campaign hashtag, they will not only be able to view your account’s posts, they will also see posts from influencers and customers who use these hashtags. This is a great way to not only widen your reach and create brand awareness but to establish the credibility of your brand as well. When Instagram users see popular influencers using and talking about your products, this establishes trust and confidence in your brand. Influencers have gained that title because, as the name suggests, they have a strong influence among their followers. So, when users see that people who they admire are using your products, they are likely to try these out, too.

It also helps your brand when they see “normal” people like them loving your product, so encourage your customers to share their experiences on Instagram and add your brand or campaign hashtag on their posts and Stories. It’s like word of mouth, but the online version of it. Among today’s consumers, it is very important for them to see how other customers feel about certain products before they even decide to make a purchase. In fact, around 90% of consumers rely on online reviews for their purchasing decisions.

Types of Hashtags Your Brand Should Follow

Aside from using relevant hashtags to be discovered and attract a wider audience on Instagram, your brand also needs to follow hashtags, as doing so would be helpful with your social media marketing strategy. Here are a few suggestions:

Your Own Branded Hashtags

When you follow your own branded hashtags, you will not only see your own posts or those from your influencer partners, you will also see posts from your customers and other users and learn what they are saying about your brand and products. This is an excellent opportunity for you to engage with them by liking and commenting on their posts. You can also share these on your Stories or repost on your account grid, which is another great way to gain trust and confidence among your prospective customers. And, in case there are any negative posts about your brand, this would also provide you with a good opportunity to show that you are a responsible brand with excellent customer service by offering to address the issue and create a better experience for your customers.

Event Hashtags

Event hashtags can be very popular among participants of particular events, so it would be beneficial for you to follow these and engage with these users through their content. Some events you may want to follow would be conferences or conventions within your industry, live events within your area (concerts, sporting events), charity events that are related to your business or cause, and trending events related to your business (lunar eclipse, Mardi Gras).

Topics That Interest or Inspire You

Following certain hashtags about interesting topics that may or may not be directly related to your industry would also be good for you. Always keep in mind that your target audience would not find it appealing if you just post a close up of your products on Instagram. So, seeing posts from other accounts can help spark inspiration for your next photoshoot. For instance, if you are a clothing business, following the hashtag #natureshots even if your business is not related to photography can help you gain ideas about how to take better photos outdoors and showcase your clothing line.

The follow hashtag feature on Instagram, although this was primarily added to provide a better experience for users, is something that business accounts can greatly benefit from. If you haven’t tried this yet, start experimenting with it now and see how your brand can gain from this feature.

Published by

Stormlikes is the ultimate solution to your Instagram growth. We're the pioneers of viral Instagram marketing so make sure to explore our products or venture down the rabbit hole that is our blog. You'll find hours of learning materials related to Instagram marketing and other social media.

Back to blog