Two weeks ago, Instagram added the ability to follow hashtags. Now, when you follow a hashtag, trending posts from that hashtag will show up in your main feed.
What does this mean for the user experience?
Users are already battling Instagram’s algorithm and this will affect organic reach on the platform. Instagram has stated that hashtagged posts will use the same algorithm as regular posts so it will show up on your feed based on the quality of the post.
This also means more scrolling, which is something the company wants from their users as they spend more time on the app going through posts from their friends, brands, and now strangers using the hashtags they follow.
On the other hand, what does it mean for brands and influencers?
A great way to expand their reach.
This is another way for your posts to be discovered by other users. Previously, a post could only be discovered through the “trending” page or if people click/searched that particular hashtag.
Now, if you have an engaging post, it will have a chance to show up on other users’s feeds (as long as they are following a hashtag you used in the post).
Overall, this is not a bad strategy if you are a brand or influencer because it means more eyeballs and engagement on your posts but for the regular user, it could lead to more clutter and potential spam from hashtag abusers.