Instagram-ification: #Hash Your Way to More Likes

20 Jul

Instagram has quickly surged to No. 2 (behind Twitter) among my favorite social media platforms. Reasons? It makes me look like a better photographer than I am (with just an iPhone no less!); it has simple, image-heavy feeds; it’s easy to connect to other social networks; there’s high gratification (read: ego-boosting) potential.

Instagram also garners more widespread feedback than the rest of my social networks. And by feedback, I mostly mean likes and comments.

Beside the basic fundamentals of creating a strong Instagram photo, which is a subject for another post, I think there are two things that make it easy for your photos to find their way onto a stranger’s screen. The first of those is to add your location to photos. (You can easily connect to foursquare during a check-in, or just add it to the internal Instagram photo collection for the location.)

The second, and what I believe to be more effective way, is to use hashtags. Lots and lots of hashtags, if they’re relevant. And I’m going to take it a step further for those of you who like to simultaneously tweet your uploads: Don’t put the hashtags on the initial upload. Instead, comment immediately after so that 1. you have a lot more room if you’re tweeting than the 140-character limit would allow and 2. your tweet doesn’t look ugly.

Here’s an example of a photo I posted from Strand bookstore in Manhattan.

On Instagram, with a follow-up comment:

On Twitter, based on the original post:

Wouldn’t that have been annoying to see a tweet with #Books #NYC and #Broadway? I think so. And the proof that I reached people from outside my personal network is that I have no idea who @greg_bkny, @albanay and @chrisriceny are. Only three likes, sure, but I have less than 100 followers. Whether they found me through the hashtag or the location, I don’t know, but it was one or the other.

Here’s another example of how a #Chicago hashtag at the River Walk got a fairly good response.

I posted other #Chicago photos this week, too, which is probably what attracted @jessielynn_, @vaketchum and @babycakestruck, among others you don’t see below, whom I don’t know.

I’m still learning best practices on Instagram, but would love to hear your advice, especially in regard to viral photos. Do you have any good tips?

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