One of the ways to grow your Instagram account is to add hashtags for popular hubs to your pictures. Instagram wildlife hubs are curated accounts that feature photographs tagged (#) with the hub’s hashtag. Credit is always given to the owner of the photograph, so a feature gives you exposure to all the hub’s followers!
More exposure = more likes and follows!
There are other ways to grow your following too – I share more techniques at the end of the article.
Which Instagram Wildlife Hubs Should I Use?
Instagram wildlife hubs come and go and there are a lot to choose from. To make things easier, I put together a list of the top active wildlife hubs on Instagram! I’ve organized the hubs by category: Birds, Nature, Animals, Insects, Country Specific and Inactive Hubs. There is also a hashtag list at the end of each section for easy cutting and pasting into your photographs.
You can only add 30 tags to each photograph so choose wisely to maximize your exposure.
New to the world of Instagram wildlife hubs and tagging? Keep reading and I’ll explain how to tag your pictures.
Bird Instagram Hubs
These hubs feature wild bird photographs. Follow them and add their hashtags to your bird photographs for a chance to be featured.
This list is in order of followers and is up to date as of February 2018.
@your_best_birds – #your_best_birds
@nuts_about_birds – #nuts_about_birds
@bestbirdshots – #bestbirdshots
@best_birds_of_IG – #bb_of_ig
@_kings_birds_ – #kings_birds
@bird_brilliance – #bird_brilliance
@eye_spy_birds – #eye_spy_birds
@bns_birds – #bns_birds
@feather_perfection – #feather_perfection
@birds_adored – #birds_adored
@pocket_birds – #pocket_birds
@planetbirds – #planetbirds
@thebirdingsquad – #thebirdingsquad
@birdsblooms – #birdsandblooms
@birds_illife – #birds_illife
@sassy_birds – #sassy_birds
@birds_captures – #birds_captures
@birdfreaks – #birdfreaks
@ip_birds – #ip_birds
@total_birds – #total_birds
Cut and paste these tags into your bird photographs:
Inactive Bird Hubs
These bird photography hubs aren’t currently doing features. Use this list to clean up your tags!
@birdingphotography – #birding_photography
@thetweetsuites – #thetweetsuites
@allmightybirds – #allmightybirds
@ig_discover_birdslife – #ig_discover_birdslife
@underdogs_feathers – #udog_feathers
@birding_lounge – #birding_lounge
@birdselite – #birdselite
@aves_del_mundo – #avesdelmundo
@perfect_birds – #perfect_birds
@fridayfowl – #fridayfowl
Specialist Bird Instagram Hubs
@fowl_waterfowl – #fowl_waterfowl
@elite_raptors – #elite_raptors
Nature Instagram Hubs
These hubs feature nature photographs including birds, mammals, flowers, insects and landscapes. Follow them and add their hashtags to your nature photographs.
@nature – #nature
@nature_brilliance – #nature_brilliance
@nature_sultans – #nature_sultans
@macroworld_tr – #macroworld_tr
@exclusive_wildlife – #exclusive_wildlife
@naturehippys_ – #nature_hippys_
@fiftyshades_of_nature_ – #fifyshades_of_nature
@pocket_allnature – #pocket_allnature
@picturetokeep_nature – #picturetokeep_nature
@bestnatureshots – #bestnatureshots
@ip_connect – #ip_connect
@wildlife_in_bl – #wildlife_in_bl
@eye_for_earth – #eye_for_earth
@inspire_nature_now – #inspirenaturenow
@efe_nature_or_nothing – #efe_nature_or_nothing
@addictedto_nature – #addictedto_nature
Cut and paste these tags into your nature photographs:
Inactive Nature Hubs
These nature photography hubs aren’t currently doing features. Use this list to clean up your tags!
@eye_spy_nature – #eye_spy_nature
@photoarena_nature – #photoarena_nature
@allnatureshots – #allnatureshots
@natureaddictsun – #natureaddictsun
@great_captures_nature – #great_captures_nature
@igworld_nature_ – #igworld_nature_
@show_us_nature – #show_us_nature
Animal Instagram Hubs
If mammal photography is your thing, these are the top hubs featuring wild animal photographs. These hubs will also feature birds.
@animalelite – #animalelite
@splendid_animals – #splendid_animals
@animal_sultans – #animal_sultans
@animal.fanatics – #animalfanatics
@world_bestanimal – #world_bestanimal
@ir_animals – #ir_animals
@kings_animals_love – #kings_animals_love
@shots_of_animals – #shots_of_animals
@ok_animals – #ok_animals
@animals_shots_ – #animals_shots_
Cut and paste these tags into your animal photographs:
Inactive Animal Hubs
These are hubs featuring insect photographs. Follow these hubs and add their hashtags to your insect photographs for a chance to be featured.
Cut and paste these 7 tags into your insect photographs:
Country Specific Instagram Hubs
These are hubs that feature photographs, including wildlife shots, taken in specific countries or continents. I like using some of these tags in my 30 as it’s a great way to network with other wildlife photographers in your area or in countries you are visiting.
@visit_costarica – #CRfanphotos
@iceland.explore – #exploreiceland
@discoversouthamerica – #discoversouthamerica
How To Hashtag Your Pictures on Instagram
There are different methods for tagging your pictures. Some photographers will add the hashtags after their caption. I prefer to keep my caption clean and to add tags as a comment. Both methods work, so it’s a personal choice which you prefer.
I keep a list of the tags I’m using in the Notes App on my phone. I cut and paste them from Notes into each photograph I’m posting on Instagram.
You should be aware that if your Instagram account is private, the hashtags won’t work.
Lastly, some people use the “Tag People” feature to tag hubs to their photographs. Your photograph won’t appear in the hashtag, but the hub will get a notification that they’ve been tagged in your picture. You also have the option of doing both: adding a hashtag and using the tag people feature.
Instagram Hashtag Strategy
As mentioned, Instagram allows 30 hashtags per photograph. My strategy is to use all 30 of these spots to maximize the exposure of my photographs. I choose a mixture of hubs with large and small followings. Generally speaking, the more followers a hub has, the lower your chances are of getting featured. But if you do get featured by a large hub, you get the benefit of all their followers seeing your picture!
I also hashtag each photograph with the species in the picture. e.g. #yellowwarbler . People often peruse the hashtag for a species they’re interested in or have recently photographed. Plus, if your photo is popular it will appear in the 9 featured photographs at the top of the hashtag!
Tagging your pictures with general things like #bird or #animal won’t have the impact of the hashtags I’ve covered in this article. For example, #bird has been used nearly 13 million times so your picture will get lost in this huge mix.
Depending on your location, you may also want to include a hashtag for your town or city. I’m currently living in a small mountain town, so using the #Fernie is quite productive. If you live in New York City, #NYC (with 83 million+ photographs) will be too broad.
Downside of Using Hashtags
Although hashtags are great for getting your photographs featured by wildlife hubs, you should be aware that using tags means your account can be found by bots. Bots are robots that like and comment on photographs for a fee. They aren’t allowed by Instagram, but people use them anyway (I don’t recommend this strategy: read more about why here). Bots troll through hashtags to find users, so if you add tags to your photographs you may get comments from robots! It’s not a big deal, but it is something to be aware of.
Grow Your Instagram Account
In addition to adding hashtags to your wildlife photographs, here are some other strategies you can use to grow your following:
- Network with other wildlife photographers. If there are accounts you like to follow, leave them a comment or send them a message. If you comment on someone’s photographs, they will likely start looking at and commenting on your photographs too!
- Get your photographs onto Instagram’s Explore page. You can find the Explore page by clicking on the magnifying glass icon on your Instagram app. This page is different for each user and shows you photos/videos/stories that you may be interested in. While there is no way to guarantee that your photograph makes it onto this page, a good strategy is to increase engagement on your photographs. Everything I’ve read about Explore suggests that the more comments and likes you get, the higher your chances of making it onto there.
- Respond to comments on your photographs. Responding to comments increases your engagement and interactions with your followers, may help you get onto Explore and can encourage people to continue to comment on your work. Also, the more comments and likes you get soon after you post a photograph, the higher your chances the photograph will appear at the top of people’s Insta feeds. Don’t just focus on the number of likes. The number of comments is important too.
- Take great photographs! With all the best strategies in the world, there is no substitute for taking high quality photographs. There are thousands (if not millions) of wildlife photographs on Instagram. You are lucky if people spend more than 2 seconds looking at your photo before scrolling down to the next one in their feed. Taking a great photograph will make people take a second look.
- Let your personality shine through. Captions are important! With so many wildlife photographers on Instagram, you need to make your account unique in some way. Some people like to tell the stories behind their photographs to increase engagement. Others may promote conservation, ethics or other hot topics to get people’s attention. Letting your quirky and fun personality shine through will differentiate your account from others. I also recommend using Instagram Stories so people can get to know you better.
Using appropriate hashtags is a great way to increase the exposure of your photographs. If your photograph gets featured by a wildlife hub, it will reach more users than it would have otherwise. Hubs come and go so it’s important to periodically update your tags for the highest chance of being featured. If you really want to grow your following, then hashtags are only one piece of the equation. Commenting, responding to comments, using Instagram Stories and sending messages are other great ways to increase your engagement.
Did you find this article helpful? Follow me on Instagram to keep updated with the latest hashtags.
If there are Instagram wildlife hubs I haven’t included, please let me know and I will add them to the article.
Thanks for reading,
-The Afternoon Birder