Hashtags at this point are ubiquitous, but for those just getting started: A hashtag is a word or phrase behind the # symbol. For example: #BestFriends or #DogMom or #COVID19

Why do people use hashtags on social media? Hashtags categorize content on social platforms. If you were to type #DogMom into your Instagram search, a TON of images of women with dogs would pop up.

Relevancy Is Key
So what’s the importance of hashtags for business? Well first off, discoverability. When you use relevant hashtags, people searching for that specific hashtag will see ALL of the posts containing it. You want your post to appear at the top of the hashtag page obviously, and of course Instagram’s algorithms have it all figured out. How engaged are people with your post? Do you have a large audience? How long ago did you share your post? These are just a few things taken into consideration by Instagram for how far up the page to place your post.

Use Relevant Hashtags
It is always important to only use relevant hashtags. Many people now follow hashtags; so if you use the correct ones, your post can show up on users’ feeds even if they don’t follow your business. By being consistent and using relevant hashtags, there’s a good chance these users will end up following your page, provided the content is interesting and relevant to what they want. You may be thinking, “I’ll just use a ton of hashtags to show up on everyone’s feeds”… WRONG. Instagram users have the ability to essentially downrate your post by selecting ‘don’t show for this hashtag’. It’s an option Instagram provides its users that can damage your visibility. If enough people click this button, it’s safe to say your content will be buried. Furthermore, the idea is to catch the eye of people who are most likely to become potential followers. If you post irrelevant hashtags, there’s no reason that users will click ‘follow’ on your page.

Check Insights Data
Hopefully by now you’ve switched your profile to an Instagram business profile. There are many benefits to having a business profile vs personal profile, but the relevant benefit here is the insights. Within the insights data on any given post, you can see all of the post data, including how many impressions stem from hashtags. This is important because you’ll start to see trends on which hashtags perform better than others.

Specific vs Generic Hashtags
Another good idea is to focus on more specific hashtags. For example, let’s say you own a burger restaurant. You’ll want your hashtags to be specific to burgers and other menu items. If you were to use the hashtag #FastFood or #Food, the audience definitely won’t be as targeted. HOWEVER, don’t rule generic hashtags out. They will still expand your reach as long as they’re relevant.

Double Check Your Hashtags!
This should be obvious, but in case it’s not – always double check your hashtag. Search it and see what pops up before you use it in your post. What could seem innocent and harmless to you, might just mean something entirely different. Do research first!

Hide Your Hashtags
A common practice now is to hide your hashtags in your posts. This is a good idea as people won’t be distracted by your hashtags but instead can focus on your content. Your hashtags will still register as they are on your own post, so no worries there. There are 2 ways to do this. First, you can add hashtags in your comments. So go ahead and post and after it’s uploaded, leave a comment on your own post with the hashtags. As more and more people comment on your post, your hashtags will be buried by other comments – all while still performing the way they need to. Second, Instagram only shows the top 3 lines of your caption. So write out your caption and then pick a symbol or emoji to add space under your caption followed by your hashtags. Because only the first 3 lines are displayed, users won’t be able to see your hashtags.

Branded Hashtags
Lastly, play around with branded hashtags. You can create multiple branded to your business to categorize your posts. For example, a hashtag to showcase your employees or a hashtag for your food pictures. Branded hashtags promote your business while keeping everything nice and organized. Make sure these are short and easy to remember aka easily searchable!

Below are a couple more basic Instagram Hashtag Tips you may find useful:

  1. Use hashtags in your Instagram stories
  2. Add hashtag links in your bio
  3. A post can only contain up to 30 hashtags, but that’s way too many
  4. You cannot tag other users’ posts, only your own
  5. Check out which hashtags your competitors follow
  6. Follow the same hashtags as your business idols
  7. Search a relevant keyword in Instagram and then click ‘tags’ to see trending hashtags
  8. Use related hashtags generated by Instagram
  9. Save well-performing hashtags
  10. Don’t overkill with hashtags

Need help with content or managing your social media? Stade Marketing is here for you. Reach out and let us know what you’re looking for, we’ll create a great social strategy tailor-made for your small business!