Since its inception, and even before it was acquired by Facebook, Instagram has always been a platform where people can share with and follow friends and brands. Today the photo-sharing app announced a new way to follow hashtags, so that users can better discover photos, videos, people, and brands on Instagram.
“Every day, millions of people share photos and videos and tag them with relevant [and trending] hashtags,” the company said in a corporate statement. “#OnTheTable, #Slime, and #FloralNails are just a few examples of hashtags that represent the many interests and passions of our community.”
To make these posts even more discoverable, Instagram is introducing hashtags you can follow. This has huge implications for brands looking to connect with and establish a long-term relationship with consumers.
According to the memo, “Following a hashtag is just like following a friend…You’ll begin seeing top posts from that hashtag in your feed and some of the latest stories in your stories bar.”
For brands, creating a dedicated hashtag to follow is just another way to make sure audiences and consumers are staying engaged with what you’re offering. The new feature has the potential to help Instagram users see beyond their inner circles, for one. For another, hashtag following gives the company access to huge vats of powerful ad targeting data that brands can likely make use of down the line.
While the feature has undergone testing in the last month, the new feature rollout is available to all users today, which can be reached through a Follow button on hashtag pages. With an algorithm that ranks and places associated hashtag’s with popular and respectable content, Instagram ensures that quality won’t be lost behind quantity; there are, after all, endless amounts of hashtags for users to search through.
“Following hashtags is just the beginning of how we’re giving you the tools to discover and be inspired by [the] community,” the company said.
If this is just the beginning, we’re looking forward to seeing what other new and revolutionary ways Instagram and Facebook can think of to connect communities with users. In terms of branding, it’s just the tip of the iceberg in terms of consumer connection. And just one more method of personalizing your message delivery.