Why Instagram Stories Hashtags Matter for Events

social media marketing evolution

Instagram Adds Yet Another New Feature

Due to the ongoing war between Facebook/Instagram and Snapchat, users are benefitting from new tools being added each day. Some are just goofy ways to add a bit more fun to your messages and posts while other new features can have real marketing impact. The inclusion of Instagram Stories in August 2016 was a direct copy of a core feature of Snapchat. With Stories, you can add full screen vertical photos and videos that are only available for 24 hours. Stories are another way to share your world with others, but until the inclusion of hashtags, no one but your followers were seeing these moments.

Why use Instagram Stories?

Instagram Stories are only available for 24 hours which, like Snapchat, frustrated many marketers. Investing in a post that has such a short shelf life seemed like a poor use of resources. That is until you look at what Snapchat has done with the model. It is powered by FOMO. FOMO, or “Fear Of Missing Out”, is a desire to experience something in order to avoid regretting not doing it later. It turns out, Snapchat users say that 60% of the reason they watch every single story shared by their friends is because they don’t want to miss it. Engagement like that doesn’t happen on other platforms. To give you an example, Instagram changed it’s feed from chronological to one powered by an algorithm last year because their users were only seeing 30% of their friends posts per day. That number is actually much higher than other social medias such as Facebook, Twitter and especially LinkedIn. The Stories concept works, that’s why Instagram stole it.

Snapchat or Instagram Stories?

Instagram stories have a lower consumption rate than Snapchat or YouTube. This is due to the fact that an average Instagram user follows many more people there than on Snapchat. Estimates say that Instagram Stories consumption rate for users is around 30% of those they follow. While that number is low from an adoption standpoint, it still represents 233 million users which is double the amount of total Snapchat users. So, if you are between creating stories on Instagram and Snapchat and are looking for maximum impressions – go with Instagram.

When do you use Instagram Stories?

Now that your photos can sent to Stories or as part of your feed, how do you know where to put each image or video? Here’s my hard and fast rule: posts you carefully curate as the best of the best, post to your feed. These are the posts that will be seen by people maybe as much as a year or so later. If they would still be relevant and tell a whole story, your feed is the right location. Now, let’s say you have something a bit more disposable worth sharing. An idea off the top of your head, something contextually specific to that day and time (wearing a Ken Bone sweater or using the word Covfefe for example), or just variations of the post you already posted to your feed – these are stories. For event professionals, in particular, stories offer you the chance to post every single detail you want to share about your event without risk of your followers feeling fatigue because of oversharing.

Why are Instagram Stories hashtags a game changer?

Up until now, the only people who saw your stories were your followers and perhaps someone finding you through a post with a hashtag and then stumbling upon the story you posted. This meant stories were not contributing to you being discovered. My Story strategies for clients for the past 9 months were aimed at creating content for your choir and not in order to bring people into the fold. That’s all changed now and it’s opened up a lot of possibilities. It’s likely you have a lot to say and to different people. Creating content that appeals to all your segments and verticals while not annoying your followers with too many posts has been problematic for marketers on Instagram. Now Story hashtags are here to help give you the missing tool you need to really grow your audience.

How do you add hashtags to Instagram Stories?

Here’s a 60 video describing the process. Below are pictures that make it a bit more step by step.


Step 1

Take a picture in stories. Add a sticker by clicking on the square smiley face at the top right.

Step 2

Choose the sticker marked “#HASHTAG”.

Step 3

Start typing out the hashtag you want to add.

Step 4

Once you start typing it will give you popular suggestions of hashtags that start off how you are typing.

Step 5

Add your hashtag as a sticker anywhere

Step 6

If you want, add a location as well. It works the same as the hashtag sticker.

Step 7

Once you start typing out the location, you will get options to choose from.

Step 8

Send that story to a friend, group of friends, or as “Your Story”. If you don’t choose “Your Story” the hashtag won’t be added to the day’s public hashtags.

If your brand is trying to add more relevant followers through social media posts, consider adding hashtags to your Stories. It’s one more way to be seen.


If you are looking for social media strategies that will help you reach your goals, reach out!