In 2022 we saw some great #progress in the use of social media as a marketing tool for small businesses. Hashtags are a small piece of the puzzle when it comes to the larger context of your social media strategy.
Hashtags inform the algorithm of what kind of content you’re posting. This allows the algorithm to show your account to people who would be interested in it. If everything goes well, this will be your target audience. Hashtags also allow people to discover your post if they follow that hashtag or click on that hashtag in someone else’s post.
Generating hashtags takes some creativity and a little background knowledge, but it can be fun too!
What is a hashtag?
As a 22-year-old, I am probably one of the last generations of people to know that the character used for hashtags is called a pound sign, or a number sign. (Yes, my 17-year-old brother actually asked me this). However, in the social media world, this symbol is a category divider. When you use a hashtag on your Instagram post, the algorithm distributes the post to other users’ feeds who are observing posts with the same hashtag or multiple similar hashtags.
Some examples could be:
- #Interiordesign – For people purchasing furniture, shopping for interior paint, or fully remodeling their homes.
- #foodie – For people who love trying new restaurants & interesting foods, and want to post this kind of content.
- #localbusiness – For people who enjoy contributing to local businesses, staying close to home, and giving back to their community.
Each of these examples represents a different target audience. Hashtags help users filter out what content they want to consume and what content they want to ignore.
If you are running a small business, using hashtags can be an easy way to get new eyes on your small business. If you have been posting to Instagram, but you haven’t seen any new followers or comments, hashtags might be a contributing factor!
Using hashtags to make your small business more visible to your target audience will open your account up to more growth, and hopefully more sales.
Selecting and sharing
So how do we use appropriate and engagement-worthy hashtags?
These are the four rules I like to keep in mind when picking hashtags. This list can be helpful when brainstorming.
Relevancy – Is your hashtag relevant to your post or organization?
Location – Is there a location hashtag you could add that would alert the Instagram users in the area of your organization? (For example, you run a small business in Edmond, Oklahoma. You can geotag your physical location and #EdmondOk. This lets users know where your business is!)
Length – Is your hashtag too long or too short? Making a hashtag too long can decrease the hashtag’s accuracy, while making the hashtag too short will cause the hashtag to not register with the platform.
Precision – Is your hashtag precise enough to narrow your target audience to the exact Instagram users that you want interacting with your content?
There is no set number of hashtags that you should use on a post, though many people say 5-7. I find that reviewing this list usually helps me decide how many hashtags are necessary. If your hashtags hit all of these points, you are well on your way to improving the visibility of your content.
Remember, hashtags don’t work alone. They are part of a system of moving parts that makes up the way content on Instagram is shown to users.
Social media can be a time-consuming task, especially when done correctly. If you need some help with your social media, website, or even your Google ranking, we’d be happy to talk. Reach out to schedule a conversation today!