Good morning everyone and happy Friday!
Today on the “What I Have Learned So Far on Bookstagram” series, I want to talk about hashtags.
I’ve seen people have mixed feelings about hashtags. A lot of people don’t care for them because they can look a bit sloppy in the caption section of the post and bookstagrammers are particular about their visual aesthetic. However, hashtags let you file your post in certain discussions, increasing the chance to be seem by different people in the community.
So a couple things about the location of hastags. Like I before, many people feel they look sloppy as part of their caption. And that’s fine! There used to be a thing with the instagram algorithm where if you didn’t post your hashtags in the caption, directly on the post itself, that post wouldn’t show up in the hashtag communities. I’ve done a bit of googling and I don’t see any evidence that is still the case, so, for those who prefer to keep their caption pure, posting your hashtags in the first comment should be fine.
But the point is, you they should be used.
In the above image, I’ve used hashtags in a couple different places. Firstly, I opened by wishing everyone a happy #FunkoFriday. Funko Friday is a community event where, as you may guess, a bunch of people post with a Funko product. I participate in two of these events – #FunkoFriday and #ShelfieSunday – but there are many. #ThrowbackThursday is a pretty well-known one and comes from pre-Instagram days. One of my friends also participates in #TshirtTuesday and #MarvelMonday (he’s not a bookstagrammer, but he’s got the hashtag game down – support a Black creator <3 and check out my friend @icittoo).
One of the perks of joining in on these weekly hashtags is that you’re joining a large community and putting yourself out there to be discovered by other creators also joining in to that event.
Okay, so we’ve joined in a weekly hashtag event. What other hashtags to use?
Honestly, that’s up to you.
I have a few blanket hashtags I use in every posts. This works, of course, because I am always posting bookish content, so all these bookish tags makes sense. I think everyone has different default groups they post in, but if you’re a bookstagrammer, I would recommend always using #bookstagram.
The other tags I always use are:
- #bookishgirl – because I identify with this.
- #bookdragon – because I hoard books
- #bookblogger – because I am a book blogger as well as bookstagrammer
I also use a #theliteraryphoenix hashtag. There’s honestly not a lot of use in this that I know of, though it could be useful if I ever want to run a contest or something, Mostly I like to look at it on non-post days to see what pops up as my “top posts” those days. It always interests me when really old things pop up.
Otherwise, hashtags should be specific to what you are talking about in the caption, or photographing. Instagram limits you to 30 tags and you don’t need to use that many if you don’t want. I hashtag:
- what I’m photographing (book titles, authors)
- aesthetics I’m using (#rusticbooks, #booksandflowers, #booksandpops are common for me)
- community hastags (things like #booksbooksbooks and #bookobsessed are pretty popular)
For myself, I try to change up my hashtags with every photo, except for the ones listed above. Why? I want to dip into different communities and meet different bookstagrammers to grow engagement and grow my following. There are definitely people who follow hashtags (I follow a few myself) and it’s good to try and spread yourself out.
Additionally, unless you are a HUGE blogger, hashtags in the millions are good to join, but I wouldn’t expect a whole lot of return engagement from them. Why not? Because when you follow a hastag, it only shows a few the top posts each week. Joining one smaller hashtags has its benefits, because it’s much easier to get into that “Top Posts” section.
The above screenshot is for #TheSoundofStars. This is a book title hashtag, which I use all the time. This is still a newer release, so the community hasn’t been bombarded with photographs of it yet (though the cover is just!! so!! pretty!!). With this particular hashtag, I know that anyone looking up this book or following this hashtag are sure to see my photos because this week, at least, I’ve managed to nab the top two slots.
And this makes a difference. Even though I posted both images a couple months ago, I’m still seeing engagement on those posts. So smaller hashtags can pay off.
But aside from likes and other forms of engagement, hashtags let you be part of the community. They give you opportunities to connect with users you may not have met – they can discover your feed, and you can discover theirs. It’s one of the best ways to connect in the community.
Hashtags are an aspect of social media I’m pretty sure I don’t really need to sell – they’re present on just about all platforms and most people use them liberally. But sometimes it’s a good reminder to plug into some of your favorites, and to plug into some smaller groups as well and join the conversation there.
Next week will be my final installment in this little series, and we’ll be discussing the last and by far most important aspect of bookstagram engagement – actually being engaged yourself! 🙂 So I’ll see you then!
Do you follow any hashtags on Instagram? I choose my hashtags carefully, lol, and as you saw above, I only follow three. Are there any wonderful ones you follow and I’m missing out on? Let me know in the comments!