If you don’t know today’s most popular Instagram hashtags and trends, you’re probably missing out. And it could explain why your engagement stats are beginning to tank.
If there’s one thing marketers and social media specialists have learned about Instagram, it’s that this ridiculously popular platform is always changing. If you’re posting to Instagram today the same way that you were in 2015 or 2016, you’re snubbing massive opportunities.
Before we get into the trends and hashtags themselves, it’s worth saying a word or two in defense of trends. It’s tempting to dismiss any trend as a simple fad, a short-lived and low yield attempt to cash in.
But marketers need to remember that social media is by its nature a fast-moving medium. Attention spans are short and content is displayed merely for moments. Trends are the currency of the social media environment, so you need to position your brand accordingly.
Some trends are pushed by the platform—often for monetary purposes. In other instances, popular Instagram hashtags and trends will organically develop from the user base and catch on. As a digital marketer or social media expert, you need to be prepared for all kinds of trends.
Many of the latest and greatest Instagram fads originate with its incredibly diverse, powerful, and talented user group. Whether that’s a new set of popular Instagram hashtags or a powerful and trending new topic, it’s the often the users who guide what’s popular.
Some of the organic Instagram trends you want to keep your eye on include:
While Instagram Stories was developed as a way for Instagram to tap into the success of social media rival Snapchat, it has become a big trend all on its own. In order to be successful in today’s Instagram environment, your strategy needs to tap into Instagram stories because Instagram’s users already are.
Because they disappear within 24 hours, Instagram stories are a perfect way to capture a younger audience—that is, to capture an audience that has a relatively short attention span. They can also be more playful and less formal than your typical brand posts, opening up a lot of possibilities.
How to use Instagram stories:
Related popular Instagram hashtags: #Goodmorning #Goodnight #mood #Happybirthday #TBT #Love #Work #Home
One of the more cooperative trends on Instagram in 2018 is the use of shoutouts. The exact formulation of shoutouts can vary from user to user, but they all basically involve one user encouraging his or her followers to begin following another user.
It’s a trend that is both altruistic and effective at building relationships and liaisons. On Instagram, good relationships build better engagement.
How to boost accounts to follow:
Related popular Instagram hashtags: #FollowFriday #Shoutout #FollowTrain
Some trends are more challenging for brands to take advantage of. For example, one popular topic of discussion on Instagram is self-care, especially as it applies to good mental health practices. For a brand, joining that conversation is full of risk. Specifically, it can seem as though that brand is trying to hijack or take advantage of a conversation.
Entrepreneur Melyssa Griffin is a big advocate of self-care and takes the time to encourage her audience to make time for themselves. Self-care is also a regular theme in her podcasts, which she promotes using Instagram Stories.
How to be authentic:
Related popular Instagram hashtags: #Mentalhealth #Mentalhealthawareness #Authentic #Keepit100 #Keepitreal
Sometimes new Instagram trends come not from the users, necessarily, but from the social media giant itself. In some cases, these are due to changes in the Instagram algorithm or because Instagram released a brand new feature or changed up some popular Instagram hashtags.
Whatever the cause, these are trends that are deliberately pushed by Instagram itself, for a variety of reasons.
One of the most popular trends introduced by Instagram is the shoppable post. These post types are particularly effective and interesting for brands that want to promote their eCommerce store because they offer users an easy way to make purchases.
Women’s fashion brand Kookai always includes shoppable links in Instagram posts, ensuring followers can easily click through to purchase any clothing that catches their eye.
How to use shoppable posts:
Related popular Instagram hashtags: #ThrowbackThursday #Shopping #Shoppingcart #Savings #Instashop #Instashopping
Instagram users have been able to post short videos in posts and stories for some time now, and it’s been a great way to generate engagement. Building on that success, Instagram has recently unveiled a new feature called IGTV, which allows users to post longer, higher quality video on its own mini-platform.
Meditation app Headspace has been leveraging IGTV since its launch, providing mind training videos for followers.
How to use video on Instagram:
Related popular Instagram hashtags: #igtv #Video #Videoedits #Instavideo
Instagram is more popular than ever, but that also means it’s more crowded. It’s harder to stand out today than at any point in Instagram’s history (even when you’re using the most popular Instagram hashtags), which means you might need a little help in the form of Sponsored posts.
And you aren’t the only one. That’s why sponsored posts have become a huge trend among brands and individuals alike.
With modest payments to Instagram, you can ensure you show up in highly relevant groups (or groups with selective demographics). In many ways, this trend is not dissimilar from similar services available on Facebook or Twitter, but it might work even better on Instagram, where users tend to appreciate a good picture no matter where it came from.
Travel photographer Jason Charles Hill regularly partners with big brands on Instagram. His sponsored posts highlight that they are paid partnerships.
Sponsored posts best practices:
Related popular Instagram hashtags: #Ad #Sponsored #Spon #Sp
The trends we’ve discussed are all important, and digital marketers need to take note of where the platform is obviously heading. But there’s one trend that seems to be more important to marketers in particular: automation.
For a long time, Instagram was difficult to automate. The app’s compatibility with scheduling software was dubious at best. And that was intentional. Instagram itself wanted to ensure the “insta” in its name meant something, doing all it could to encourage users to post just-taken photos.
But that seems to be changing. New software is available (and new workarounds) that enables automation like never before. What’s more, the most popular Instagram hashtags are becoming easier to target. That makes automation exceptionally useful for digital marketers and social media strategists, but only when used properly. After all, a poorly-timed post will fizzle due to lack of engagement.
How to use Instagram automation the right way:
It’s not too late to hop on some of the most influential trends of 2018. Many of those trends will likely continue into 2019 and beyond (if they were short-lived, we’d call them fads). The important thing is to use those trends without leaving behind your Instagram best practices.
With Instagram’s algorithm becoming ever-more sophisticated and users ever-more fickle, your best bet is going to be remembering that content truly is king (and using the most popular Instagram hashtags). You can take advantage of all the posts you want, but your images have to be stellar. Your hashtags need to be on point. Your description needs to be captivating.