The Future of Hashtags
Instagram has struggled with hashtag abuse. There are rumors that they are working to possibly elminate hashtags all together in the future. We shall see. In the meantime, they are still powerful and useful. We recommend using hashtags until the day comes (if the day comes) when Instagram takes them down.
Instagram is taking back its platform. This is nothing new. Ever since the algorithm changes began showing up back in 2016 we’ve know that Instagram was taking back control. And it seems as soon as we forget that IG is in charge they shake things up again if only to remind us.
How will they do this? With a new system of artificial intelligence based on photo recognition. This technology is already in use on Facebook and is currently being tested on a select number on IG. This is what was misdiagnosed as a “shadowban”.
Get Ready for the Future Now
It has been said that those who are the chosen “test” accounts who formerly thought they were shadowbanned are actually the lucky ones. Even though they showed a decline in engagement they have a leg up on the rest of us. Our best advice is to start practicing now so you will be ready for the new Instagram when it happens.
The new Instagram will rely on computerized photo recognition. It will work by recognizing elements in your photos. Therefore it becomes imperative that your photos show your content clearly. If your content isn’t easily discernible by IG technology it will not be sorted and shown.
Additionally, it will become very important to match your words (key words) in your caption/text. For example, a picture of you and your family on a beach…what will be recognized is sky, beach, water, towel, people, family. Your caption should have these words as well for best results.
You can see how this is going to be an adjustment so the sooner you start thinking in this new way the better adapted you will be and the more success you will see.
Play by IG Rules or Else
Instagram is continuing to increase their technology to control their platform. Did you know they can tell if you’ve taken a photo from a Canon Rebel or an iPhone7? Their technology understands what you are doing and how you are doing it. If you break their rules they may suspend you. Or they may just not show your photo. They can easily put your post wherever they want it. You can very easily go to the bottom of everyone’s feed. They have total control over who they show your photo to…if anyone at all.
It remains true that Instagram filters out accounts that aren’t complying with their terms. Instagram is cracking down across the board. They are dedicated to stopping all forms of artificial growth and inappropriate use. Several years ago when the take down of a large IG automation company made news, we saw Instagram really putting their plans into action. For those of us who base our accounts on pure authenticity and high-quality content this is actually good news.
A Few Pointed Reminders of What IG Does NOT Want
- Do not follow/unfollow
- Do not use bots and automated services of any kind
- Don’t use irrelevant hashtags
How To Avoid Being Suspended
To avoid ever being suspended by Instagram refrain from ANY AND ALL activity that could possibly be interpreted as spammy. Knowing that Instagram means serious business should be enough to keep us all on the straight and narrow. When in doubt err on the side of caution, which in Instagram’s language, err on the side of AUTHENTICITY.
Abide by the above practices and you will help ensure your success. Protect your account by familiarizing yourself with the “community guidelines” so you aren’t caught in the trap of being penalized by IG. We also suggest you further educate yourself by reading the “platform policy” on Instagram.
There are so many factors involved and Instagram leaves a lot unsaid. Knowing that Instagram is continually increasing its strictness our best advice is comply now before things get worse. Follow this advice, stick to the rules, and your future on IG will be brighter regardless of the past.
What Else Might Cause Your Engagement/Visibility to Suffer?
- Did you know that IG has hourly and daily limits to activity? It may sound surprising, but when you think about it, it makes sense. In an effort to catch bots and artificial growth activity Instagram has placed limits. Depending on the age of your account, your limits may be slightly different but in most cases you shouldn’t exceed 150 likes, 60 comments or 60 follows/unfollows per hour. If you do, you will receive a stop message on your device. It is not clear what this does to your account but should be avoided as a precaution.
- Avoid any “growth hacks” and adhere to all community guidelines. This is not the time to be taking advantage of loopholes or breaking rules. For example, there is a “growth hack” going around that suggests adding 30 hashtags to a comment, then editing your caption and adding an additional 30 there. This leaves you with 60 tags when normally you’re only allowed to use 30. Yes, this does appear to work (however the reported uptick in engagement isn’t that much) but really, this is NOT the time to be doing anything “tricky”.
What Does Instagram Want?
Instagram makes it abundantly clear.
- Create a strong, unique visual brand.
- Be a storyteller.
- Quality over quantity.
- Alignment between photo content & text.
- Clear & discernible visual content (recognizable by computer “artificial” intelligence)
Instagram wants you to focus on targeting the right audience, not just any audience. Instagram wants consistent, clear visual content. This is done not by using hashtags or gaming with artificial “growth strategies,” but by creating clear, high quality content and proactively engaging with your audience in authentic ways.
The New Instagram
By now we know one thing for sure: It is a waste of time to complain about changes on Instagram. The one constant on this platform is CHANGE! So we either roll with things, adapt, and play by their rules or suffer the consequences. As in life, those who acclimate quickly will prosper. The environment of constant evolution on Instagram is a parallel for life, especially life in this increasingly fast-evolving 21st century.
To stay on the cutting edge means you need to keep updated and informed. The last thing you want to do is waste time lamenting about “the good old days.” Embrace today and reap all the rewards. Remember, this is Instagram’s Game. If we want to play their game we either play by their rules or lose. It’s as simple as that.
- Stay updated with all the latest and make sure you to subscribe to our blog. We will keep you informed of all the latest to make the most of your IG Journey.
- Make sure to read all our other blog posts that are designed to help you with every aspect of IG no matter who you are, no matter your goals or your stage of development.
- Want more personalized help? Sign up for our one-hour Instagram Analysis with Jodie and me. Sign up or find out more HERE. We will analyze your account including current and past activity and help direct you toward a successful future.
Cheers to your success!
With love & gratitude,
Julie & Jodie