We are in such an interesting time in the terms of the digital world. Everything is evolving rapidly and it can get incredibly hard to keep up. I got my Instagram account back in 2011, when I was a sophomore in high school - and I used the account to post mirror selfies and photos that didn’t mean anything, didn’t look cohesive, didn’t tell a story, and I didn’t care. But I didn’t need to care; I wasn’t growing a network. I was just connecting with my friends on this new and exciting platform.
Once I graduated college, I realized what a powerful tool Instagram can be for your business, but it can be really challenging to grow your network organically without a ton of work. Most of the people who followed me were the same people who followed me in 2011, and it can be hard to expand your audience after years of connecting solely with people you are friends with in real life. This is where hashtags come in.
There are a ton of hashtags and if you had to quickly choose 30 to put on your posts, you probably wouldn’t know where to start. Let this be your quick guide to utilizing hashtags to grow your business:
Location based hashtags: It is always a good idea to include hashtags specific to where you run your business. This can get tricky if you live in a highly populated area such as New York City or Los Angeles. For example, the hashtag #LosAngeles has 47.7 million posts. The odds of your content falling into the correct hands with such a saturated hashtag is slim to none.
However, hashtags like #LosAngelesBlogger (95.3k), #losangeles_city (173k), and #LosAngelesLife (86.9k) are all more niche hashtags that could have relevance, and tourists most likely aren’t using. That means you can tap into your city’s local hashtags and utilize them for your business because these hashtags are being searched by people who actually live in your city, not people just passing through.
In Denver, the most common hashtag is #denver (9.7 million). It is smart to utilize location specific hashtags that are also tapping into your industry. A few examples could be #denverhair (125k) if you’re a hair artist, #denverfoodie (80k) if you run a local food truck, or #denverevents (37k) if you run an event planning business.
Industry Hashtags: These hashtags include anything your ideal customer is searching. Say you run a personal training business and want to connect with people nearby. However, only tapping into the audience of people who live directly in your area will not grow your following in the way you most likely dreamed of it. Fitness influencers have 250k+ followers, and they’re not just people from their town or state. These hashtags usually are more saturated 500k+ posts per hashtag, but it is okay because they’re also hashtags that people are searching for all the time. High traffic hashtags can get your content in the hands of someone looking to follow an account for inspiration, work out tips, healthy living, etc. While these people aren’t located near your brick and mortar location, it is a great way to expand your brand reach and visibility, which ultimately brings more local customers to you. The hashtags for a personal training business could be #girlswholift, #transformationtuesday, #fitnessjourney, #couchto5k, etc.
Once you have created your list of 30-50 hashtags, keep a record of them. Then, each time you post, you can grab 30 of those hashtags to plug in and play with your content. But it doesn’t stop there. When trying to grow your audience via hashtags, you can’t just post and forget about it. Try being active on those hashtags by clicking on them and engaging with the content you like. Look at the people who have liked your photo who aren’t following you (meaning they found you from hashtags) and start a conversation on their photo. Taking 10 minutes a day to engage with your target audience through the hashtags you’re using can grow your following and allow you to come across as the genuine, hard-working business you are. In other words, show your audience some love and watch your brand awareness as well as reach soar.