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The Facebook acquired photo-sharing site, Instagram, which launched in October 2010 allows users to take and upload photos to apply filters to a 4:3 ratio image and share their smartphone photography with the world through other social networks like Twitter and Facebook.
As of January 2013 Instagram has 100 million registered users and 90 million monthly active users; to say the very least, its popularity has been rapid. This not only had to do with Facebook purchasing the app based service in early 2012 but with its expansions beyond Apple products onto Android phones and the web.
Though there are now more ways and access to Instagram, many users are still having trouble gaining the exposure they want for their photos and uploading many, although will help with gaining followers, will not necessarily bring you the tapped hearted likes you hope for, so what should an instagrammer like you do? Add hashtags.
What is a Hashtag?
A hashtag is not new to the web although it’s most definitely more well-known now than when it was originally used in IRC networks (Internet Relay Chat) to label a group or topics. It is known as one of the very first forms of interactive chat messaging which has been a leader to other forms of chat such as MSN Messenger, AOL chat, Yahoo chat and more recently Skype and Facebook chat. The hash symbol became an inspiration to the micro-blogging site, Twitter, which catapulted the hash symbol (#) into what we now know today as a hashtag.
The hashtag is using the # (hash symbol) prior to a string of words or a word which will then become an active link for users to find in search or to follow. Other sites have used the hashtag, such as Google Plus and of course Instagram.
This Brings Us to Why It Is So Important That Instagram Users Use Hashtags
In order for their photos to be seen and liked by other like-minded people through search is by using the same keywords that you inputted as a hashtag. If you have ever uploaded or taken a photo and added it to Instagram without hashtags you may or may not receive any likes for your photo. It doesn’t mean it wasn’t a great shot nor does it mean you should stop using the site since not receiving likes can most certainly be discouraging. Instead add hashtags to your comment section that are relevant words to your photo and sit back and watch as you receive more likes.
Whether you have a strong following or not will not always yield the likes that your photo deserves but as you add hastags that help bring the story of the image to life, your image will be seen by more people and therefore will aid in people double tapping their screens from across the globe.
Which Hashatags Should I Use on Instagram?
The best hashtags are followed by words that best describe your photo. Here is an example of an image of my dog Caeden
Once I added his photo to TheErinRyan on Instagram, I received 3 likes, but he is so cute right? LOL… by adding the hashtags #caeden #dogstagram #dogs #dogsofinstagram #petsofinstagram #pets #petsagram #eavig #ilovemydog #bordercollie #instadog #instacute #instahub #instagramers #instagood #igers #instagramhub #instagrampics #instaaddict
Suddenly my 3 likes instantly changed to 12 likes, and then to 16 likes…you catch my drift.
It wasn’t whether the image of my dog Caeden was cute or if I took a great photo, it was due to the hashtags which allowed people to find the image when searching for any of the words within the hashtags. The more hashtags, the more likes you are going to receive.
We all would love to be popular on every site we take part in, but only a few will get the tons of likes just from being who they are or from their photo-taking abilities. For the rest of us, we can be our own superstars on Instagram with a little help from our friend the Hashtag.
Top-hashtags is a great site to find the most popular hashtags on Instagram.
[hashtag image via brandwatch]