Hello, fellow travel bloggers, photographers and travellers.
Instagram has enabled content creators from every genre to use its platform as a way to gain recognition and build a following for themselves and their talent, however every content creator or blogger has one question on their mind “how do I compete with the ever growing number of content creators on Instagram?” Well, the easiest way to get discovered is to use and place hashtags correctly. Hashtags are the simplest way to get noticed by people who aren’t following you as yet.
Before providing a list of hashtags which might help you, here are a few basic rules or tips you need to keep in mind about using hashtags:
Rule 1: Know your content
No matter how many people see your post, people will only be interested as long as the picture and the caption is intriguing. So before you decide to post anything, take a minute to think if the picture or the caption is interesting and unique. You also need to know the kind of audience you are trying to target, this will help you choose hashtags more efficiently.
Rule 2: Placing and number of Hashtags
Instagram allows a maximum of 30 hashtags in a post or a comment. Now you can either put all of them in the main post (using too many hashtags here might prevent Instagram from showing your post in the search feed) or putting a few in the main post and the rest in the first comment on your post. Also do insert enough space between the caption and hashtags or else your post will end up looking cluttered.
Rule 3: Variation with Hashtags
Instagram’s community guidelines state that it doesn’t allow “ posting repetitive comments or content”, hence try not to use the same set of hashtags on every post. Try to create different lists of hashtags on your phone and save them for later use.
Let’s move on to the main concern which is choosing hashtags.
Now, when it comes to choosing hashtags there are two types — popular hashtags and hashtags related to the content.
1. Popular travel hashtags
Below is a list of the most tagged travel hashtags on Instagram:
#travel — 400M+ posts
#nature — 400M+ posts
#trip — 100M+ posts
#vacation — 95M+ posts
#travelgram — 90M+ posts
#wanderlust — 90M+ posts
#instatravel — 80M+ posts
#adventure — 80M+ posts
#travelphotography — 70M+ posts
#traveling — 78M+ posts
#travelling — 60M+ posts
#travelblogger — 35M+ posts
#traveller — 30M+ posts
#tourism — 30M+ posts
Now the catch here is when you look at #travel there are more than 400M+ posts with more being added everyday, and not all of these are posted by travel bloggers, some of these posts are by normal people describing their ‘status’ without an underlying purpose. This results in your post dissolving from the top within seconds. Now, how do you distinguish your post from such content and prevent it from being a needle in a haystack?
The trick is to use 5–6 hashtags from the most popular category and then adding certain less popular ones to get more engagement. One way of doing so, is to search for #travel and adding certain related hashtags suggested by Instagram itself.
The optimal method is to keep exploring and experimenting with every post keeping certain hashtags constant. Some less popular hashtags (posts tagged between 1-10M) which can be added along or replaced with #travel are:
#instatravel — 17M+ posts
#igtravel — 20M+ posts
#instatrip — 4M+ posts
#travellers — 4M+ posts
#travelguide — 2M+ posts
#adventuretravel — 1M+ posts
#traveladdicted — 600k+ posts
This covers the concept of using the popular hashtags. Next we look at content related hashtags.
2. Photo related hashtags
For further recognition of your picture, you need to be more specific about your picture, you can do this by adding hashtags relevant to the following questions:
Where was the picture taken? — Add hashtags consisting of the city/town and the country where the picture was taken. You can also add a hashtag or mention the tourism board of the country, you can easily Google and find that. Few travel boards have a specific hashtag, such as #WonderfulIndonesia. This trick maybe helpful as tourism boards often repost good content which will be a great boost for you. #indiatravel and #incredibleindia can be used for pictures related to India.
2. What’s happening in the picture? — Add hashtags relevant to the activity happening in the picture such as #trekking, #climbing, #hiking etc.
3. Elements in the picture — Add 2–3 hashtags relevant to what’s in the picture, i.e describe the picture, like #citylights, #nightlife, #riverside etc
4. Style of the picture —#travelphotography describes that it’s a picture related to travel. Add a few hashtags which describe the style of the picture #landscape, #portrait #closeup #blackandwhite etc
5. Miscellaneous tags — You can add these tags when your picture is about a moment or a certain element. For example you can add popular hashtags to an early morning picture such as #morningslikethese,#sunriseporn. Food pictures can also be tagged in such a way.
6. Personalized hashtags — These tags are helpful for businesses. Create a hashtag specifying your brand or your company, like #TravelwithAdventuresome. You can ask others to add your hashtag and feature them on your feed.
7. Feature hashtags — A lot of accounts may feature your posts if you tag or use their hashtags. This helps in faster growth. Many of these are contests or magazine pages such as #LP (Lonely Planet). Check this list for more.
Certain Don’ts to remember
Now that we discussed tricks that are helpful. Here are certain things you shouldn’t do to prevent reducing your popularity.
Don’t add unnecessary hashtags — Do not add hashtags such as #love #fame etc or break sentences into tags.
Don’t oversaturate hashtags — Do not add 20 popular hashtags in a single post. Instead try to optimize it and maintain a balance between the local and city related hashtags and popular ones.
Don’t engage in fake likes/follow — A lot of hashtags such as #likeforlike or #followforfollow may get you likes or followers temporarily but will not get you an engaging audience in the future which is bad for your account’s credibility. Stay away from those.
Hope the above tips were helpful. Growth on Instagram is a slow process and you have to be patient and persistent and keep at it! Keep looking for inspiration from your peers. Experiment and explore with hashtags and success will surely come your way!