Instagram has always been the kind of social network where you follow specific people. Sure, there’s an Explore section where you can find something new, but that’s about it.
Now, the social network has introduced a new feature, one that’ll have you following your interests while still getting to know new people.
The service now lets you follow hashtags, in addition to specific handles. This way, you see Stories and top posts about a topic on your home page, rather than having to search for it in Explore. So if it’s a #Slime trend you’re keeping an eye on, or just want to see all the #catsofinstagram, just follow the hashtag and it’ll be delivered conveniently to your home page.
Of course, the change also involves a very intricate filtering system by Instagram, to prevent people from hitting spam, or even inappropriate content they don’t want to see. However, it’s good that you’ll get to see how other unknowns engage with a trend or your favourite hobby, without just being enclosed in a bubble of your favourite influencers.
It’s also good for Instagram, as the ability to follow hashtags gives the company some juicy metadata for advertising, something they may implement once it’s properly taken hold.
So if you want your posts showing up in people’s hashtag follows, you’re going to have to post good stuff, but also post often. Recency and quality are the two factors considered by the app’s algorithm when surfacing these posts on home pages. That means you’re not going to get bounced out by someone captioning every photo with 500 hashtags, as long as you post stuff people like with even one hashtag.
And don’t worry if your interests are embarrassing, hashtag follows work with your privacy settings. If you set your account to private, only followers will see them.