What Is A Hashtag and How The Heck Do You Use Them?

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How To use Hashtags to grow your small business

When I'm teaching one of my social media workshops the top two questions are about hashtags (#) and instagram stories. If you get nothing else from this post other than this I will be a happy lady: You need to use hashtags on EVERY post on Instagram. 

Ok, now that we've got that out of the way let's talk about WHAT a hashtag even is. A hashtag is the little pound or number symbol that you put before a keyword to make it searchable. Instagram uses these hashtags as a way to collate all the posts with the same hashtag on them. You can follow hashtags you are interested in and each feed post can have a maximum of 30 hashtags added. Essentially hashtags allow you to reach your customers where they are already hanging out. 

How do you find the right hashtags to use on your posts? There are few ways but I find the best one is to go to your customers posts and see what hashtags they are using and keep note of the ones that apply to you. Then go to brands in your sphere but who you admire or are doing their instagram well, and see what hashtags they are using. Only keep note of the ones that actually apply to your posts, and brand. From here I use an app called Tag O' Matic to find related hashtags. 

The types of tags (aka Hashtags) you use will depend on the type of business you have and who you are trying to target. For example if you are a local spot that is trying to gain in person customers then you want to find location based tags to use on most of your posts. If your business is based entirely online then you would only need to use location tags to target potential customers in that area. 

There are a lot of generic tags out there (#blessed #love #puppy) and the volume of posts that use them will mean that you will get ZERO traction from using them. So I suggest you find more targeted words to use that have a lower volume of posts but are still actively used by people daily. It is all about balancing more basic terms with niche ones that will get you less likes but will get you in the face of your ideal customer. 

I know all this sounds very overwhelming and like it will be a total pain in the butt, but I promise putting in the work and doing a bit of research will help you succeed at reaching the right people online. 

Key Take Aways: 

1. Always use Hashtags

2. Don't be generic

3. Use Location based hashtags to get local followers OR to target global customers you want to see your posts. 

4. Use an app like Tag O' Matic to help you find related tags to the ones you already found. 

Proof is in the pudding, this is a screen shot of a recent post on my instagram and LOOK at how many impressions I got from hashtags in comparison to people seeing it in their feed. 

How Do Hashtags Work and How Do I use Hashtags

If you or your team wants to have a chat about how to effectively use social media for your small business, send me an email. I offer workshops, and tutorials on how to use social media as well as how to actually USE the apps themselves. 


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