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New Instagram hashtags for bird photographers and how to increase fan engagement

Instagram has done it again.  They’ve gone and changed the game and now have everyone searching for the best bird photography hashtags all over again. I’m not sure about you but I’m getting a little ticked off with Instagram and how they treat us photographers.  We provide content mostly for free and they change more to compete against other social platforms than to improve the experience for all.  The latest hashtag changes underscores just that.

New changes on Instagram and how they affect bird and wildlife photographers

On Sept 27, 2021 Instagram posted an interesting set of tips on hashtags and how to use them.  It looks like the whole planet was using them incorrectly all along.  Personally I am suspicious about how smart Instagram’s algorithm is and what engagement metrics they actually use to promote posts.  I feel it’s much simpler than they say or we think.  Or, it’s so messed up they don’t even have a good handle on it.

This is what they said in the new hashtag post.

“To use or not to use hashtags? Here’s what you need to know + what you should avoid to get the most out of adding hashtags to your content”

So what does this mean for bird photographers?

Well first I would test what they are advising and see if it actually changes things for you.  Again, I’m not 100% sold on this type of guidance.  There are plenty of examples where photographers on instagram do the opposite and are very successful.  So test and adjust for your own channel.

These two posts of a common chickadee with similar framing and posing were a test of the new Instagram hashtag tips.


CLICK THE IMAGE TO SEE THE RESULTS

2021 Instagram hashtag tips for bird and wildlife photographers

best hashtags bird photographers 2021
This image was posted on Instagram after they published new guidelines in 2021 for bird and wildlife photographers.
How to use hashtags on Instagram for bird and wildlife photographers.
This image was posted on Instagram before the new guidelines published in 2021.

What hashtags should bird photographers use on Instagram

  1. First you should use between 3-5 hashtags for your bird photography posts
  2. Second, you should use hashtags that your audience (followers) use.
  3. Third, use hashtags that are relevant to your photo and bird photography
  4. Fourth, mix up your hashtags between common ones for bird photos and more niche photos in the bird and wildlife community.
  5. Fifth and last use specific hashtags even ones of your own so your fans can more easily find you.

Bird photography hashtags 2021

If you’re looking for bird hashtags for likes I think you’re on the wrong page.  Although we’d all like more likes I don’t think that’s a good way to grow your channel.  Having followers you like the type of bird photography you do is to me the most critical thing.

How to pick bird hashtags for Instagram

I think it boils down to this for bird photography hashtags on Instagram.  Pick ones that work for your photo and your fans.  I recommend starting off with a few, maybe the 3-5, and see where it goes.  Always push these tips and try more or fewer hashtags for your bird photos to see what works.  I tend to have a few go to hashtags just in case.

Simple tips on how to pick Instagram hashtags for bird photography

  • Think of your photo and pick hashtags that align with the bird pic
  • Help your fans understand your photo by using hashtags
  • Keep it simple, not too many hashtags to start

I’m curious to know what you think about these changes for your bird photography on Instagram.  Has Instagram’s new hashtag advice changed the way you post?

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