Even social media pros struggle with hashtags. It’s difficult to find the right balance of tags — especially when you’re not even sure why you’re using them. At first, these phrases or words almost look like bumper stickers, and some worry they may discredit their content, but they couldn’t be more wrong.
Hashtag marketing is one of the best ways to drive organic traffic. Every time you use a hashtag (which is a word or phrase preceded by the # symbol), you submit your content to a pool of other relevant content.
For example, if you tag a photo #Friday and click on the #Friday tag, you will see your photo against every other photo containing that tag. When you find certain tags you can hone in on, you can make sure your content shows up against your competitors and a relevant audience.
This makes your content “discoverable.” To attract new fans and followers, you’ll need to market your content to the people who are most likely to follow you. This is often called “targeting” and is why hashtags are not a tool to be ignored.
How to Find the Right Hashtags to Use
If you use hashtags that are too popular or too general, your content may get lost in the mix. Instead, try to find a few niche tags that are related to your business or market.
A restaurant that uses the tag “#Taco Tuesday” will boost its content against every competitor offering the same deal. Similarly, a salon that uses the name of a specialty product will get to show off its resources.
An easy way to see what tags are in your niche is to look at your competition. Examine their content and see what tags they’re using. Click on each, and you’ll be able to see other brands that you can draw from and get a sense of what content is showing up under each tag.
If you see a ton of high-def, delicious menu photos, you probably don’t want to post a flier under the same tag. Instead, push yourself to create the best version of the content that users are already looking for.
How to Use the Search Bar to Find Hashtags
Some people only use the search bar on social media to find their friends’ profiles. Real pros know that you can type a phrase or keyword into the bar and see all the relevant hashtags for that phrase.
If you’re grappling with writer’s block and can’t figure out what tags to use or even search for, think about ones you’ve used in the past or a general keyword related to your industry.
For example, a salon might search “hair” under “Tags” on Instagram and find “hairstylist,” “hair transformation,” “hair ideas,” and even “hair painting.”
This process can be repeated for any keyword relevant to your business and give you a ton of tags to add to your photos. When sifting through some stranger tags, it may even inspire you for your next post.
Hashtags for Small Businesses
It’s essential to research hashtags relevant to your business specifically, but sometimes you need a shortcut. Below, we’ve listed several hashtags that small business owners use to boost their content to the right audience.
Remember that you’ll need to include your hashtags as one word when it comes time to post your content. For example, “hair painting” would become “#hairpainting.” This is so the platform can register your tag as one big word to separate it from similar tags only using one word in the phrase.
Check out these hashtags for small businesses:
1. Small Businesses: #Small Business Love, #Shop Small, #Business Growth, #Shop Local + Your City, #Small Business + Your City, #Business Owners, #Called to Create, #Business Passion, #Entrepreneurs of Instagram
2. Restaurant Owners: #Foodie #Delivery #Foodstagram #Food photography #homemade #Healthy Food #Clean Eating #Happy Hour #Sunday Brunch #Foodography
3. Salon Owners: #Salon #Haircare #Modern Salon #Treat Yourself #Salon Style #Skincare #Hair Goals #Hair Inspo #Hair Fashion #Salon Life #Behind the Chair
How to Monitor the Success of Your Hashtags
Make sure you’re keeping track of what tags you’re using so you know which ones are working. It’s unlikely that every single one of your tags will hit the right spot on social media, and it’s better to evolve your practice around those tags that do work. You may find that a tag like “#Hair Cuts” doesn’t trigger the same huge following as “#Hair Inspo.” Give yourself time to figure out what works for your brand and see the project as a means for research and development.
If it’s too challenging to track impressions on your own, you can always use the Instagram Analytics Tool. This can show you the same metrics you’re used to seeing (likes, comments, follows), but it can also tell you how many people saved your post, watched your stories all the way through, or swiped up.
Remember that it’s important to experiment with hashtags because you only want to use 3-5 tags per post. Anything more may flag your content, so it’s essential to try to find the tags that work and stick to them.
How to Grow Impressions in Your Community
The biggest issue with social media marketing is that you can’t always control where your content is going. While it’s awesome to grow a following, it’s not super helpful to gain fans two states away. Instead, make sure to combine your social media presence with a local campaign like grocery store advertising.
The right grocery store advertising campaign can bring thousands of impressions each week to your supermarket advertisement. Programs like coupon-receipt advertising allow you to send every single shopper home with your ad, which can be a coupon, flier, or handout you’ve designed.
Grocery store advertising is an excellent medium because it allows for hyper-local targeting, with most shoppers coming in from just a three-mile radius of the store. If you haven’t looked into plans before, it’s essential to do so soon to ensure your business’s success in real life.