Hashtags are powerful. Hashtags are also complicated. 

Did you know? Instagram posts with at least one hashtag have an average of 12.6% more engagement than posts with no hashtags. 

Before you start hashtagging anything and everything, do your research. Take the time to find the right hashtags for your brand. Having your own hashtag strategy can make a real difference.

USE RELEVANT, SEARCHABLE HASHTAGS

Instagram hashtags are frequently searched aka your chance of discovery is higher if you choose relevant hashtags. This can be a major advantage. If people follow the hashtags you use, your posts will automatically show up their feeds. This can potentially mean new followers for you. 

As you choose hashtags, think searchable. What is your audience looking for? Which hashtags are your followers searching for? Which hashtags are they already following? 

For example, when promoting breweries in Buffalo and beyond, we use hashtags like #buffalobeer and #thinknydrinkny.

DON’T ONLY USE THE MOST POPULAR HASHTAGS

Just because millions of Instagram posts use hashtags like #love, #nofilter, or #instagood doesn’t mean your brand should use these. Instead of focusing on the most popular hashtags, focus on the most relevant hashtags to your brand. 

Which hashtags are considered most relevant? If you own a local business, try following this rule for the majority of your hashtags. Use hashtags that have between 5,000 and 70,000 posts. Anything less than that nobody will see. Anything more and you’ll get lost in the shuffle. 

There is an exception to this rule: branded hashtags.

CREATE YOUR OWN BRANDED HASHTAGS

Wait, what’s a branded hashtag? Hashtags created specifically for your brand, by your brand. Branded hashtags can be as simple as your business name or tagline. They can also be a more creative representation of your brand identity. Either way, branded hashtags can help spread the word and create a community around your business. 

Branded hashtags should be specific yet simple, clever yet relevant, and most importantly memorable. Take #brewwithaview for example. This hashtag doubles as the account name and is straightforward and catchy.

P.S. Add your branded hashtag(s) to your Instagram bio to encourage your followers to use them in their own posts. This is an easy way to find user generated content aka content your followers create for you aka free content.

SWITCH UP YOUR HASHTAGS

Copying and pasting the exact same list of hashtags into every.single.post is super tempting, but don’t do it. This looks spammy. Plus, different hashtags reach different audiences. Instead create hashtag lists organized by themes or categories. This way, you can easily switch up your hashtags without starting from scratch for every post.

CHOOSE STRATEGICALLY

Using gimmicky hashtags such as #likeforlike might boost your like count, but they won’t help you grow an engaged, targeted following. If your hashtags aren’t reaching your target audience, they are irrelevant. Instead, choose hashtags that describe your business, your products, and connects with your target market.

  • Use hashtags to describe your ideal customers, like #craftbeergirls or #whiskeydrinker 
  • Use community hashtags that connect followers around a specific subject, like #drinklocal, #drinkcraft, and #thinknydrinkny
  • Use geographic hashtags, like #buffalo, #buffalony, and #wny

TRACK YOUR HASHTAG SUCCESS

If you aren’t tracking your data, you are #doingitwrong. But really. The benefits are major. Data tracking helps us stay on top of what’s working and what’s not. 

Thanks to Instagram Insights, you can see exactly how many people discovered your post through the hashtags you used. Look to the “From Hashtags” metric to find this data. 
You can take this one step further by analyzing exactly which hashtags are driving the most likes, comments, impressions, saves, and reach. If you’re ready to refine your hashtag strategy, let’s chat.