How to Add Topics to Instagram: Everything You Need to Know

Updated on November 20, 2022

4 min to read

Head of Marketing @ Vista Social

Published November 1, 2022

How to Add Topics to Instagram: Everything You Need to Know
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Want to learn how to add Topics to Reels on Instagram? You’re in the right place.

Recently, Instagram launched a new way to categorize Reels by adding a topic to help its algorithm recommend content to its users.

So, what are Instagram Topics, where do you find them, and how do you know which ones are taking off?

We’ve got you covered. This post will give you everything you need to know about how to add Topics to your Reels, which ones to use, and so much more!

Table of contents

What are Topics on Instagram?

Topics on Instagram are tags that you can add to your Reel to help categorize your content. 

First discovered by social media consultant Matt Navarra, the Topic tag is intended to help increase the reach of your content and connect it to people that share similar interests. 

How to add Topics to your Reels on Instagram?

One of the best ways to gain virality on Instagram Reels is by finding your niche and posting consistently.

Adding Topics to your Reels is a great way to do just that by helping the IG algorithm understand your content and serve it to relevant audiences. 

With that being said, here’s how to add Topics to your Reels on Instagram:

1. Create a Reel 

There are 2 ways you can create a Reel on Instagram:

  • Click the plus “+” icon on the top right side of the app and select Reel
  • Swipe left to the Instagram camera and select Reel from the bottom options

2. Upload or film your video

If you choose to film your video, it can be done in a series of clips or in one shot. 

Pro Tip: Vista Social has a ton of content creation tools, from sourcing authentic content from Pexels, Unsplash, and Instagram to our Canva integration—we’ve got you covered! 

3. Add Topic tags

Once you’re ready to publish your Reel, you can scroll to the bottom and select ‘Add Topic.’

You can add up to 3 Topic tags to your Reels—it is recommended to use tags from different categories to reach a larger audience. 

Auto-publish your Reels with trending audio in Vista Social, the top-rated social media management tool trusted by thousands of brands and agencies. Sign up for free today!

Why add Topics to your Reels?

When you add Topics to your Reels, you’re signaling to Instagram what your niche is. Then, both the algorithm and your audience know what to expect from you.

Most social media managers use content pillars for their social media strategy to stay consistent, organized, and on-brand. 

Content pillars are 3 to 5 topics your brand will consistently discuss, amplify, and create content for on social media. 

Instagram creators have sworn by content pillars, referring to them as the key to success for Reels on the app.

Instagram Topics will allow you to add what content pillars you are focusing on in your Reels to ensure that it reaches the right audience.

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So, with that out of the way…what’s the difference between hashtags and Topics on Instagram?

Instagram Topics vs. Hashtags

Are hashtag deads? Many of us have been wondering exactly that. 

If they weren’t dead before, they could be now after Instagram’s latest feature, Topics.

Hashtags were intended to categorize content, but somewhere along the lines got a bad reputation for keyword stuffing (RIP #follow4follow). 

Instagram head Adam Mosseri has said that “[hashtags] don’t actually help you reach more people.”

Instagram Topics could be a smarter recommendation engine that can be one of the most powerful tools for reaching new audiences within your niche.

So, why is Instagram narrowing in on categorizing Reels?

Are Instagram Topics copied from TikTok?

As most notably said by Oscar Wilde, “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

It’s been a long-standing joke now that Instagram has been ripping off TikTok’s features.

Justin Bieber Copy Cat GIF by 2016 MTV EMA - Find & Share on GIPHY

So, are Instagram Topics copied from TikTok? Yes and no.

Content categorization has been around for a while, cue hashtags. 

But TikTok’s for you page (FYP) has been a powerhouse at recommending the right content to the right audiences. 

This is how TikTok has defined their For You page algorithm:

“This feed is powered by a recommendation system that delivers content to each user that is likely to be of interest to that particular user. Part of the magic of TikTok is that there’s no one For You feed – while different people may come upon some of the same standout videos, each person’s feed is unique and tailored to that specific individual.”

And it’s proved to be successful. 

The WSJ reported that, users on TikTok spend over 10x as many hours on the app consuming content than viewing Reels.

And, according to an Instagram report that was leaked, Reels engagement has dropped 13.6% in recent—with most Reels seeing no engagement at all.

The reason? Some people think that it’s caused by Instagram continually pushing content from accounts you don’t follow into your main Feed.

Instagram Topics could be their saving grace to declining engagement and staying competitive with TikTok! 

So, where do you go from here?

Since this is a new feature, having concrete data on if it actually improves reach is limited.

Like anything in social, we recommend testing it out, monitoring the results, and optimizing your strategy.

The best part? With Vista Social, you can schedule all of your short-form videos to Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok at the same time—yet have them auto-publish at your best time for each network. 

This lets you identify which platforms are driving the best engagement by going beyond the standard 30-day metrics.

And with our optimal time feature, you’re guaranteeing your posts reach the right audiences at the right time across all social media platforms. 

Now is the time to level up your Reels strategy so your content can climb the ranks. Start planning and scheduling posts in advance with Vista Social—Sign Up

About the Author

Head of Marketing @ Vista Social

Brittany Garlin serves as the Head of Marketing at Vista Social, the leading social media suite that's pushing the boundaries of innovation. Steering the platform to achieve an impressive milestone of over 2 million connected social profiles, Brittany's expertise has been acknowledged in a recent appearance on the Social Pros podcast, where she discussed making marketing to marketers more human-centered. With a knack for strategic disruption, Brittany also redefines what it means to be a woman in the tech sector. Her thought leadership is frequently highlighted in prestigious outlets like Forbes and HubSpot.

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