If you’ve been using Instagram for a while, you probably already know what a great place it is to find inspiration. But to see the best content, ditch following users and start looking at hashtags instead.
Following hashtags on Instagram isn’t a new feature, but it’s one you shouldn’t overlook—its hard to overstate their value. In my opinion, this is one of the best parts of the entire network. Why? Because it allows me two conveniences: first, it bypasses all the fluff most users post; and secondly, it lets me build a specially curated feed.
For example, I mostly use Instagram for my hobbies: guitars and bikes. Those are my favorite things to look at on Instagram because there’s just so much good, relevant content. These things inspire me to dig deeper into my hobbies and give me ideas for ways to improve technique, form, and so on. But here’s the thing: while there are many curated accounts out there, they don’t always show what I want to see. I fact, they miss the mark more often than not.
Let’s use bikes as an example. I’m a cyclist, and like so many other cyclists, I love looking at pictures of other riders’ custom builds—bikeporn, if you will. And while I follow several cycling-based accounts already, they don’t always post pictures of bikes. And even when they do, they’re not always bikes I care about. That’s not a problem, of course, as I don’t expect people I follow only to post content I like—they’re posting for themselves, not for me. I respect that.
So to see more specific content, I follow hashtags related to my specific interests. For example, I’m pretty into gravel bikes at the moment, so I follow the #gravelbike and #gravelbikes hashtags. I see some absolutely killer bikes that way.
But I can get even more granular, too. On the same topic of gravel bikes, I’m pretty obsessed with the 3T Exploro (the first aero gravel bike!) and would love to have one. There isn’t a single Instagram account that shares only pictures of Exploros, so that’s where the hashtag comes in. I follow both the #exploro and #3texploro hashtags and see all sorts of amazing Exploro content as a result. It’s great, even if a little disheartening because I don’t have one of my own to stare at.
I do the same thing for my bikes—#caad12 and #caadx are staple hashtags in my feed—as well as any other highly specific content I want to see. Sure, sometimes it misses the mark (#superx shows the Cannondale Super X bike, but also some sort of hair product of the same name which is just weird as hell), but for the most part, you can build a specialized feed this way. I can’t remember the last time I started following a new user—I rely on hashtags for nearly all of my Instagramming now.
To follow a hashtag, either search for a specific tag or click on one and then click the Follow button—just like following a user. From that point forward, content with that particular tag will show up directly in your feed. It’s such a great way to bolster your feed with real things you care about.
So if you’re looking to curate your feed a little more, this is a great way to do it. There’s a good chance you’re missing out on a ton of great content if you’re only following people. Give it a go and see for yourself.