The Do's + Don'ts for Tagging on Instagram

To tag on Instagram or not to tag?

The answer might not be as simple as you think but good news! I’m breaking it down for you! What you need to know about tagging on Instagram, the do’s, the don’ts + everything in between!

With so many accounts and so much saturation, tagging is starting to get a bit muddy on Instagram. We're breaking down for you the etiquette for tagging on Instagram, including the rules from Insta's own guidelines! Click through to make sure you're doing it correctly! 

The Benefits of Tagging on Instagram

Before going into the etiquette, let’s chat about why it’s a good idea to tag other brands and people in your Instagram photos. Two reasons–

  • Brand Awareness: When you tag other Instagram accounts in your photos, you increase the potential for your Instagram posts to be seen by more people + who doesn’t want that? With the introduction of the new Instagram algorithm– we’re all looking for ways to increase our brand awareness for free!

Now, if you’re like me– you want to see some proof! Here’s a comparison...

A post we shared with no tags–

The metric we need to be looking at here when determining how adding tags can affect the potential for our brand awareness is “Reach”. Reach refers to the amount of unique people who have seen your post. With no tags (tags meaning accounts tagged in the actual image), this post was seen by 1,335 people.

A post we shared with tags–

On the other hand, in this post, we choose to tag, Free People, Crane and Canopy, Anthropologie, and ourselves. Here, our post was seen by 1,370 unique people. In comparison, this gave us an increase of 2.6% in the amount of people who saw our Instagram post. Meaning, 35 more people saw our post when we added tags to our Instagram. Win!

  • Appreciation + Reciprocation (AKA, social love!): Another reason you might want to tag other accounts in your Instagram posts is to show appreciation to the people involved in your content. Whether that be highlighting your loyal customers, thanking your brand advocates or simply mentioning the people involved– giving back to your community feels good + it let’s them know that they matter to you!

Often times what can happen is that your community will feel so appreciated, they’ll want to reciprocate and return the favor. After tagging Crane & Canopy in this post on September 12, they shared another photo of ours (that we previously tagged them in) to their account on September 22. Win, win for everyone!

Click to Tweet! Social media works when you work together! COE (community over everything!) – @social_studio

Convinced? Let’s get into the do’s + don’ts of tagging on Instagram!

Do: Tag All the Right People

Whether you’re grabbing a coffee with your business bestie, or you just finished with a client’s super rad balayage– gram it + tag it!

Pro Tip: Ask your clients/customers for their Instagram account when they book a service with you or purchase a product from you! You can include an Instagram field on your intake or checkout forms!

Here’s a peek at how we get social with our 1-on-1 consulting clients! We ask for their social info on our client intake forms.

Don't: Tag Just to Increase Your Reach

According to Instagram’s Promotion Guidelines

“You must not inaccurately tag content or encourage users to inaccurately tag content (ex: don’t encourage people to tag themselves in photos if they aren’t in the photo).”

Now, there’s some grey area on this. You might be wondering what about community accounts?! Community accounts like Workspace Goals, Maine The Way and I Have a Thing With Floors all ask their communities to share their posts with them by using their hashtag and/or tagging them in your posts. As long as your content fits the themes that they represent, then I think it could be argued that it’s “okay” to tag them and you might want to to increase your brand awareness. A word to the wise though, these accounts have the ability to report your posts. Repeated reports on your account can lead to deleted content, disabled accounts, or “other restrictions” in Instagram’s own words. GASP! Don’t let this happen to you!

Do: Tag All Brands Involved

Blogger babes + creative bosses– this one’s for you! Just like you would with people, make sure to tag your grams with the appropriate brands involved in the content that lives inside your posts. Your new CLUSE watch, your Sonix iphone case, Rifle Paper Co. notebook– you name it, you tag it! This will increase your post reach, your community will appreciate your transparency + you might get noticed by the brands you tag– helloooo sponsorships + collabs!

Pro Tip: Space your tags out so they don’t overlap each other! Your community + the brands mentioned will appreciate it!

Don't: Tag Just "Anyone"

Just don’t do it! Make sure anyone that you are tagging in your posts are either clearly represented in the image OR in the context to the image.

For example, we tagged Little Petunia in an Onion Patch in this post because Sam wrote the blog post we were promoting. We tagged, Kayt because her company printed these business cards and we tagged Revel Box because she gave us these cute little succulents during a past workshop. The rest of the tags are pretty self-explanatory– you get the gist! Bottom line, think before you tag!

Click to Tweet! Think before you tag! The Do’s + Don’ts for Tagging on Instagram by @social_studio

Do: Use Your Best Judgement

It can be seen as in poor taste to tag a handful of accounts anytime you are directly promoting your products or your services (this includes affiliate links or partnerships!). We’re all trying to make a living doing what we love but it feels better when you sell on social the right way– with morals! Unfortunately, there’s no hard line I can draw for you on when + when not to tag. It’s best to ask yourself, how would I feel, if I were tagged in this image from another account? If the answer is, I wouldn’t like it– don’t tag!

We get tagged on our Instagram account by brands who offer similar services to us a couple times a week. It drove me crazy in the beginning but now I see it as a complement. These individuals (which shall be unnamed) are trying to grow their business by taking a piece of our audience. Our community is smarter than that + we are quick to report them. We remove any tags that do not clearly represent our brand, our core values + well, us!

Pro Tip: to remove a tag from your profile, follow these steps–

  • Visit the tagged photo

  • Click the three dots (. . .) in the top right of the photo

  • Photo Options

  • “Hide from My Profile”

That’s it for the do’s + the don’ts! If you have other questions about tagging on Instagram, sound off below!

Need a visual reminder? Check out this handy infographic we created for you!

With so many accounts and so much saturation, tagging is starting to get a bit muddy on Instagram. We're breaking down for you the etiquette for tagging on Instagram, including the rules from Insta's own guidelines! Click through to make sure you're doing it correctly!