You should be putting a bit of thought into your hashtags, rather than just adding whatever you think sounds good. Use them correctly and get discovered by new clients and customers. Use wrong and annoy your current followers, look unprofessional, and get penalized by Instagram algorithms.
WHY SHOULD I EVEN USE HASHTAGS
Hashtags add an element of discoverability to your post. They increase your reach and have the power to build your community. When you use a hashtag you end up on the page for the hashtag, or in the feed of someone following the ‘keyword(s)’.
Your hashtags should at least check these three boxes:
- Audience: the people you want to attract, so your potential audience or potential customers. eg. #SmallBusiness #DurhamRegionBusiness #DurhamRegion
- Content: this is what your content is about, your niche, and what your ideal audience may search for to learn. eg. #SocialMediaHelp #SocialMediaTips #InstagramTips
- Brand: what your business is about, or what your ideal audience may search for if they need help. eg. #SocialMediaMarketer #DigitalMediaSpecialist #InstagramGuru
Here are more types of hashtags that can be used more loosely and when applicable:
- Product or Service
- Special Event
- Acronym (eg. #TBT)
You can use up to 30 hashtags in a post and 10 hashtags in a story. If you use more, your post won’t push to the platform. There is no correct amount to use, rather it depends on your business. Hashtags are all about testing and adjusting.
HOW TO FIND THE BEST HASHTAGS FOR YOUR BUSINESS
I recommend looking at the competition to see what hashtags they are using. You can also create a brand hashtag and ask your followers to use it. Once it starts getting some action, check the posts for other hashtags your followers are using. Store what you find in a spreadsheet or simple document. You can also use Instagram’s related hashtag feature found when you visit a specific hashtag page.