How brands can use tagging and mentions on Instagram

Hashtag Tracking as we once knew it on Instagram is dead. So what now? How does your brand track a campaign or run a contest?

Fortunately there’s a better way that’s just as easy to execute: Using tagging and mentions on Instagram.  We’ll break it all down.

Got questions or something we missed? Find us on Twitter @UnionMetrics.

Don’t rely on hashtags

As we’ve written before, hashtag tracking isn’t completely dead, but it’s definitely not something your brand wants to rely on for tracking a campaign or running a contest on Instagram; where there was once comprehensive data available for tracking through the API, there is now just a trickle. So you might get some data, but not enough to capture the full impact of a campaign or everyone participating in a contest.

Luckily there’s an easy switch: Tagging and mentions.

Many campaigns and contests had participants tag the brand account in a photo and/or mention them in a comment or caption, along with using a hashtag. Now there’s just one less thing to do!

Hashtags were almost always a hack for not being able to consistently track mentions in the first place, as our Co-Founder Jenn Deering Davis pointed out in our emergency webinar on the Instagram API changes a few weeks ago.

But you don’t have to say goodbye to hashtags completely 

If you’ve spent years building up a branded hashtag used in your community of customers, fans and followers, there’s no reason to stop using it. You can follow it natively on Instagram to keep tabs on how your community is using it to talk about and to your brand.

Just encourage them to tag your brand more- in photos, in comments and in captions where appropriate- so you don’t miss anything.


Still not sure how this works?

Say you’re a coffee company who regularly reposts and celebrates photos your customers, fans and followers take of them enjoying your products. Maybe you’ve always used a branded hashtag to track that content. You still can by following it natively and interacting with content that way (a great way to build a community!) in real time.

But if you also want to look at comprehensive data about those posts easily, you could ask your customers, fans and followers to be sure they tag you in those photos in addition to using your branded hashtag.

Running a contest? Structure the rules so participants have to tag a photo featuring your brand in some way, or have them mention you in a caption or comment. Decide what will work best for your audience without being too high of a barrier for entry.

Photo by Joao Tzanno on Unsplash