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Use This New Instagram Hashtag Research Tool

by Kate Dessa
money & life, photo & video

iphone instagram

In the wonderful world of social media, hashtags reign king. The hashtag, which originated on Twitter, is essentially a searchable keyword or phrase without spaces (ex. #creativelive). On social networks, these keywords or phrases are clickable and direct users of them to other people who are talking about the same hashtag. While a novel concept at inception, (hats off to you Twitter) the hashtag has now made its way across a variety of other social media networks including Facebook and Instagram.


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On both Twitter and Facebook, users can see trending topics (or trending hashtags) right on their home screen. This feature makes it easy for users (and social media marketing gurus) to tag the content they are sharing with a correlating hashtag. In end, making it easy for others to discover their content.

For Instagram, discovering the right hashtags to tie to your photographs hasn’t been so simple. That is, until Nick Smith, a 22-year-old London-native, created an app called Focalmark.

It’s an easy-to-use Instagram hashtag discovery tool for photographers. And if you want your photos to be found on the constantly growing social network, using popular or trending hashtags will certainly help. Smith’s app segments Instagram hashtags by category and location.

For example:

Sun begins to set over the city by the bay

A photo posted by Justin Katz Photography (@justinkatzphoto) on

For this photo,  Justin Katz didn’t spend a bunch of time doing research to find the most relevant Instgram hashtags to help his photo be seen. Instead, he used Dehaze.co. By simply selecting “Cityscape” and “San Francisco”, the hashtag discovery tool generated a long list of hashtag suggestions for him to use.

dehaze instagram hashtags

From there, it was as easy as copy & paste. The question is… are these Instagram hashtags really generating traffic?

Let’s take a look.

#seemycity is sitting at approximately 284,000 public posts, while #streetsofsf has about 158,000. #visitcalifornia  is close to the 300K mark and #onlyinsf is coming in at 105,000. So, yes, these hashtags are getting traffic, meaning this is first tool for Instagrammers to do quick hashtag research.

Yes, we’ll wait, while you finish rejoicing.

When it comes to using social media as a marketing tactic having a hashtag strategy is key. Whether you are using social media for your business or you are just looking to grow personal brand, it’s important to understand the value of getting your content in front of the right audience. And hashtags can help make that happen. But it’s just as important to remember hashtags are not a cure all.

Social media is a constantly changing machine. And right now, while hashtags are still extremely relevant, many social networks are moving towards “live” original content. With the growing popularity of apps like Snapchat, social networks like Facebook and Instagram are jumping on the live stream bandwagon with new features like Facebook Live and Instagram Stories.

If you want to learn more about the ever-changing world of social media, join us September 8 -9 for our special two-part class with the influential Joel Comm. He will be teaching students how to harness the power of social media through online broadcasts.


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Kate Dessa