I’ve lurked and commented on this forums for a while, but I finally feel ready to share some thoughts in the form of a thread.
I’m on Reddit, and constantly check out the Instagram subsection. And soon after, I started following closely a user who runs a high-performing science/facts/etc Instagram page (@strange.feed)
I’ve analyzed the page, as well as browsing through the Reddit posts, and have here some conclusions that could be a part of a new growth strategy:
1.) Size doesn’t matter. Both the Top Hashtag Feed and the Explore are personalized to the user. Your posts appear in those feeds to followers of those who engaged with the photo, regardless of your account size. So long as you receive enough follower engagement from the initial rollout, you’ll always appear on those viral feeds…it’s only to your small sphere of influence starting out, but snowballs greatly starting around the couple thousand mark or so as long as you…
2.) Keep engagement rate high 10% seems to do the trick. Or maybe 15-20%? Just maintain such percentage until you reach the couple thousands, and you may be one of those accounts that accumulates followers just by posting (not including autobots).
3.) Use hashtags people actually search for. The new hashtag strategy is simple: just think about what people would actually search for, then use it. It draws back from the first point about personalized feeds, meaning that you don’t necessarily need to worry too much about size. For instance, use “nature” instead of “zomgnatureislit.” Smaller hashtags only are preferable when they happen to specify a niche in your photo: for instance, using “elephant” for a picture of an elephant rather than “animal.”
4.) How many? When your account is small, you can load up all 30 since you’re too small to matter to the algorithm, but once you reach a couple thousand, you can start experimenting with using fewer hashtags that are big and topic focused (around 10 based on general descriptors of the photo, stuff like #nature, #technology, #space, #architecture, etc). The natural account evolution seems such that hashtag engagement starts out high, shifting gradually to Explore focus as the account grows larger.
Just some notes I’d thought I share. I’m testing this strategy with my own account, and if it’s true, then the traditional styles of “hashtag research” that marketing blogs often push out may very well be dead.