Monday, June 26, 2017

Intro to Instagram, Part 3 - Microblogging & Hashtags

by Bethany Jett @BetJett

In April I promised to write the third installment of the Instagram Series. Then I got pseudo-spammed on LinkedIn and that experience overtook last month’s post. Let’s dive back into the world of hashtags and microblogging. It’s important to do both well, and for today’s post, I’d like to direct you to Sarahat @TheBirdsPapaya, who does an amazing job at both microblogging and hashtags. It wasn’t until her success on Instagram (56k followers) that she started a “real” blog on her website.

What is Microblogging?
In a nutshell, microblogging is a shorter form of blogging, aka, the marriage of blogging and instant messaging.  Essentially, one could argue that Twitter is a form of microblogging, and it’s true, but IMO (in my opinion) for the purposes of this post, I consider a few paragraphs in an Instagram post to be more the length of what is considered a microblog.

The beautiful thing about Instagram is that you can tell a story both with pictures and words. In fact, there are several people who have left the world of blogging on their website to fully invest in their Instagram communities.
It’s a beautiful thing if you can do both.

Under your photo on Instagram, you have space to type out a mini blog post, short devotional, or even a few lines the describe what is going on in the picture. Sarah does a great job with sharing her personal thoughts in her post on body criticism.

A fantastic example of microblogging would be to post a photo of a meal, then share the recipe. My mom’s latest book includes references to an award-winning chili recipe. To promote the book, I hope to post step-by-step pics in my Instagram Stories and a photo of the mouth-watering heaping bowl as the pic of the day. Under the photo, I’ll include the recipe. Sarah does a similar thing in this post.

By sharing the recipe in Instagram, you’re providing valuable content to your followers. They don’t have to leave the site (because they won’t) and they’ll love you for allowing them to consume content on their terms. Oftentimes, your followers will screen shot the picture and recipe and become a follower for life.

What about Hashtags?
I honestly hated hashtags when they first came out. I was anti all social media because I wasn’t in this writing world. I didn’t get it. Why would anyone need to search a word with a pound sign in front of it?

Things have changed. So much so, that when I was coaching high school cheerleading, the other coach and I would yell at the girls “in hashtag.” On Twitter, it’s wise to limit hashtags to two or three, but on Instagram, you can maximize them at thirty. However, depending on the context of the photo and content of your microblog, you can get away with ten-to-fifteen.

With hashtags, it’s great to have one that you use consistently. Sarah’s signature hashtag is #SayGetsFit, a combination of her nickname “Say” and the fact that she runs a health and fitness Instagram, although it’s more than just health and wellness. She does an amazing job at lifestyle blogging.

It’s super smart to research which hashtags to use for the different posts you use. If you have mommy pics, some popular hashtags are #LetThemBeLittle and #MotherhoodRising. For fitness people, #Gainz is big.

Spend some time on Instagram looking at the different hashtags being used. Click on a hashtag to see who is using it. Choose another user who used the same hashtag and see what other hashtags they brought in. I call this Hashtag Rabbit-Trailing, and it’s how I collect different hashtags to use. You can create a Word document that has different hashtag grouping, then copy and paste with your phone. I use the Notes app to do this so that I’m not constantly typing out all the hashtags.

One of my “best practices” on the iPhone is to use text replacement. So, if I want to use a grouping of hashtags relative to being a #momboss, I’ll put them all in the text replacement “Phrase” section and use a “Shortcut.”

That sounds confusing but it looks like this:

I enter “#MB” and it will automatically change the “#MB” shortcut to all the #momboss phrase hashtags I want to use for those types of posts.

To create that in an iPhone:

Settings > General > Keyboard > Text Replacement > click the + button in the top right >

Sprout Social has a great post called the “Complete Guide to Hashtag Analytics” which goes more in depth into analytic tools. I highly suggest you take a look and let us know in the comments if you have any questions or ideas!


Bethany Jett is a military wife and homeschool boy-mom who is addicted to suspense novels and all things girly. She is an award-winning author, speaker, ghostwriter, and founder of JETTsetter Ink. In her spare time, Bethany is working on her Masters degree in Marketing: New Media and Communication.

Bethany writes on being the CEO of your life at Connect with her on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

Additional posts in this series:
Intro to Instagram, part 1
Intro to Instagram, part 2


  1. Helpful! Especially the text-replacement trick. I'm having fun microblogging (hey, I learned a new term!) on Insta and also posting blog excerpts pointing to my site with a "read more." Will be keeping my eye out in case you post any tips about that, and generally whether it's even realistic to grow blog readership through Instagram.

    1. I really like your idea of posting blog excerpts and then pointing the reader to your blog site with "read more". I may try that. Very creative, Kit.

  2. Bethany, this post is very helpful. The microblogging is something I'm going to try. Thank you

  3. Really helpful info. You've given me
    great ideas to increase my IG following and interaction with my current followers.

  4. Replies
    1. Part 1:
      Part 2:

  5. You're rocking my world, Bethany Jett!

  6. I'm thinking about Instagram like I've been thinking about Twitter (for years). I do like photos, so maybe I'll find my second home there. FB is my first. Thanks for this post. It really did get me thinking more about Instagram.

    1. Instagram has gained so much traction, I definitely recommend trying it out!! Glad this was helpful!

  7. Great post. I have dabbling in Instagram since your part 1. I have a few followers. How do you grow your tribe in IG? I can connect to my friends, but how do I get beyond to the outside world? How do they find me to follow me? I love taking pictures and combining scripture, so IG works perfectly for that. Thanks for the info.

    1. Hi Sheryl! One way to grow outside of your friends network is to find a common hashtag or group and start commenting and liking other people's posts. For example, the #biblejournal community is really big, so you could start by searching that hashtag and seeing which users also use that hashtag. Check out their feeds and if they look like people you'd like to be connected with, Follow them, like their stuff, etc. :)

  8. Great post!!!! For the month of June (while I finished the rewrite of my novel--which happened yesterday :)) I stayed off FB and focused on Instagram. I did a post a daily about my word for the year, Love. I LOVE Instagram.

    Will be tweeting this post!


    1. Congrats!!!! That's super cool! I love IG, too!

  9. I echo Marcie's request. Links to what we are sure are helpful parts 1 and 2. Thank you.

    1. Lisa, here are the links:
      Part 1:
      Part 2: