Instagram Tips is a series that features Instagram-related pro-tips for both novice and expert users alike! Check out the Support Center, help.instagram.com, for more tips & help for Instagram, including basic information on how to use #hashtags.

Adding tags to your photos is a great way to find new followers and share your photos with more people. But hashtags can be tricky. To get the most out of them, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind. We’ll use this photo of a beautiful 1966 Volkswagen van as an example!

Be Specific

Choosing specific tags will help you connect with other like-minded people on Instagram. For this photo, instead of using the tag #van, we could use #vwvan. The photo will be added to that highly targeted tag page, where other Volkswagen lovers will be able to find the photo more easily (without sifting through photos of Toyota Siennas and Chevy Astros).

Be Relevant

Make it easy for other like-minded Instagrammers to find you by making sure your tags describe your photo. Using very general tags like #photo might get you a few likes, but with over 700,000 photos tagged #photo, it isn’t the best way to make your photos stand out and connect with the people most like you. Relevant tags will help you attract new followers who will take a genuine interest in your photos and continue liking and commenting on your photos over time. For the photo above, in addition to #vwbus, we could use the tag #volkswagen.

Be Observant

Pay attention to the other hashtags used on photos that use the same tag as yours. You may discover a popular hashtag you hadn’t thought of on your own. For example, on photos tagged #volkswagen, we can see that many of those photos also use the tag #vw. When you do a search for those tags, you’ll find out that Instagrammers use #vw to describe their Volkswagen photos more than twice as often as they use #volkswagen!

After tagging the photo with relevant and specific tags, you may also find that people sharing photos similar to yours are using even more specialized tags that you hadn’t thought of originally. For our photo, we found that photos tagged #vw and #vwvan also use #vwbus.

Do you have any tips for tagging your photos? Reblog this and let us know in the comments!

The photo at the top of this post was taken by jameswagner.