For today’s lesson we are going to focus on the importance of community on Instagram and using Hashtags.
If you want to grow your following on Instagram you have to remember that it’s not just about great photographs but it’s also about the community. Posting great images and then running off to hide won’t grow your following very quickly!
Set aside some time each day (it can just be 5-10 minutes) to leave comments on images that you like, to find some new people to follow and like a bunch of images too. Reply to comments left on your images. I know that can take time and sometimes we don’t have time but try your best. It will not be time wasted.
I didn’t mention this in the video but it’s really important to understand how Instagram works, so that you are positively connecting with the community and not doing anything that’s going to annoy someone. Or indeed, thinking you’ve told someone you’ve mentioned them and then getting sad and disappointed when they don’t respond!
When you want to mention someone in your caption you can include their username but if you want to make sure that they see the image you will also need to tag them. I know lots of people mention me and I just don’t see the comments because I have a lot of notifications each day. That is such a shame for them and for me. Lots of people don’t know there is a tag they can click on, so it’s good practise to mention the person in the caption and tag them too.
If you are reposting an image that someone else has taken place don’t just tag them. This happens to me so much. People take my images, tag me but then don’t mention me in the caption. Hardly anyone will click or even see the tag, so they will think this person has taken the image. This doesn’t make me happy and if someone does it too many times then I will block them.
Think carefully before reposting some one else’s image. Think about why it might be a good thing but if you do share it make sure you are clear whose image it is, so people can follow that person too.
Hashtags are a really important part of Instagram. They help people to find images that they like and new people to follow. There are millions of images on Instagram. Lots and lots of them won’t appeal to you but if you search in certain hashtags then you will find images you like.
These certain hashtags will be the type that fit into your particular niche. There are hashtags for pretty much everything, so it’s really a matter of searching for the ones that suit you. It can take time but it’s definitely time well spent.
One way to find them is to see which ones people you admire are using. Take some notes, save them on your phone. Keep researching.
And then using them! I recommend posting your hashtags in the first comment and not in the caption when you first post the image. I think you should use no more than 10 for one image and I personally very rarely use more than 5 and usually it’s more like 3. If you use too many it looks like spam and will put people off following you.
If you forget one, don’t worry because you can always add it in later.
In addition to hashtags that are used all the time there are some that are for particular days. For example for the past three years I have been running #floralfridaycomeptition where people all over the world post a floral image on a Friday. The following week I feature my favourite 4 images in a grid with links to the people. This really helps people gain new followers.
There are lots more of these. Here is a little selection. #mystillsundaycompetition, #mondaymoodboard, #byarrangement #frommykitchencompetition #making_winter #aquietstyle
My weekly newsletter always contains some that I recommend. Please feel free to share ones that you like on the Facebook Group. Perhaps we could all challenge ourselves to find a new one to share with everyone?
When you have found a hashtag that you like and posted an image for it, make sure you take time to look for some images that you like in that hashtag group. Like some, perhaps follow a new person, leave some comments. Engage!
Your Own Hashtags
As well as using other people’s hashtags it can be nice to make your own. For example I have #makelightstudio #makelighthome and #thequinskislibrary. This is a nice way to group your images together and for people to look back at older images you’ve posted.
Or you could make a hashtag and invite other people to join in with you. A lovely way to build your community. But wait until you are feeling happy with your Instagram stream. You want your hashtag to bring you new followers, so it’s important to make sure you are ready for them!
I hope this lesson has given you lots to think about. Please don’t forget to use the hashtag for this course #makelightbeautify, so that I can see your images. We will build a lovely gallery for it too. It will help you to all find each other and stay connected as well.
As always please ask me any questions you might have in the Facebook Group. See you tomorrow. xo