Last weekend, Instagram changed the way they handle hashtags. Previously, photos were displayed in the order the hashtag was applied to the photo. Now, photos are displayed in the order the photo was posted–regardless of when you apply the hashtag. This means that you can no longer go back and apply a new hashtag to an old photo and have that photo appear at the top of the hashtag list. Instead, your photo will appear after every photo posted more recently than yours.
Instagram made this change to prevent spammers from adding popular new hashtags to their old spam posts. But the change has negative effects for us non-spammers too. For example, if you want to hashtag an old photo for a contest, your photo might appear several pages down in the hashtag list and no one will ever see it. Also, if you post a photo, and then go back a few minutes later to add your hashtags, it might be too late. For popular hashtags, your photo will already be several screens down and people may not scroll that far to see it.
So, what can you do about it? One thing you can do is add your hashtags to your photo before you publish it. That way, as soon as your photo uploads, the hashtags are active and your photo is the first one in the list.
I recently discovered an iOS app that makes it very easy to add saved snippets of text. It’s called Ditto Keyboard. It stores text for you that you can insert into any text field with just a few taps. I’m using it to store my commonly used hashtags. The app makes it a breeze to add them. You just tap the globe key on your keyboard twice to get to the Ditto keyboard, tap the text you want to insert, and you’re done.
Another thing you might need to do is repost photos if you want to hashtag them for contests. Check the hashtag you’re using to see how many photos are already tagged. If a lot of photos are already tagged and you don’t want your post to show up after them, repost and tag the image.