Websites such as Instagram, facebook, youtube, Etsy & Pinterest are always changing and updating their algorithm, making it difficult for businesses to set a method in stone for how to utilize hashtags for their business.
This Instagram hashtag guide will help you go from not knowing what a hashtag is to be the hashtag master for your business.
What is a hashtag in this context? A word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#), used on social media websites and applications, especially Twitter, to identify messages on a specific topic. #coffeeaddict, for example. Adding this to your Instagram post will place your photo in a particular group of pictures related to people addicted to coffee. Why is this a powerful tool as a business? Because it puts you in the correct place, you need to be so you will be discovered by people who are interested in what you offer.
To make this clear, I will use my own business as an example of utilizing hashtags on Instagram for your business. I run a video production company in Ventura, California. A small, tight-knit beach community that values small business owners and the entrepreneur spirit.
A byproduct of being a video production company, I happen to love photography, which I sell as well. But my passion for it goes much deeper than just profit.
I love posting pictures of sunsets and the ocean and even just the city of Ventura. So when I go to post a photo, I make sure there are a few steps that I follow every single time I post on my business Instagram account.
ALWAYS UTILIZE THE LOCATION!
Posting a photo of the Ventura Pier by tagging the location, everyone who posts at the pier and looks at the location will see my picture, and if they like it, they click my profile and give me a follow!
Why it is essential to use relevant hashtags
You will get the best results with Instagram hashtags if they are relevant to the photo and what you do. The Instagram algorithm in 2019 is much smarter than you think. It can detect what is in the picture and will decide if the hashtags are relevant. It sounds spooky, but it is true.
We are at a step where businesses and users make a terrible decision and use irrelevant hashtags and doing something called Hashtag stuffing. Where they copy and paste 30 hashtags from google after searching “Most popular hashtags for Instagram.” Instagram knows you just did this, and many times will hide your photos from a bigger audience because it detects it is irrelevant, and you are spamming.
How many hashtags can you use on Instagram? 30. Don’t! It’s a trap! While that is the limit. It will tip Instagram off to that you are spamming. After much trial and error and research. The golden number is 11 hashtags.
There is an argument for using all 30, but the issue lies in the latest Instagram Algorithm and making sure the hashtags are relevant. This action stops posts from becoming spammy and not making sense. If some clicks on #cutepuppies, Instagram does not want the person to see spam ads for candles and clothes on sale!
Now that you understand the mentality behind this, here is an example of how I do my hashtags for each post I do on Instagram. For the sunset picture, we have here — Aw perty little sandpipers.
I have a staple of a few hashtags I regularly use, which I keep in my notes app on my iPhone for quick access. #visitventura #downtownventura These first two I use are bigger instagram accounts that repost photography and showcase them for up to 100K users! A great oppurtunity! Followed by #ventura #805 #beachtown #Venturabusiness #Venturapier #venturastrong #sandpipers #landscapephotography #beachsunset
These hashtags all serve a purpose. They describe the photo as well as place my photos in a category that allows me to network within these hashtags. Hence it is a social network! I always like putting a couple of very populated hashtags like #beachtown & #beachsunset they are very competitive with 100K+ photos but the sweet spot is combining them with local hashtags such as Venturabusiness #805 #venturapier this is a more niche audience and allows me to rise to the top of the category giving me great marketing advertisement for my business for free!
You may be thinking well this sunset picture doesn’t really help me promote my business on Instagram. Yes it does. Instagram is about being social and not just selling people. Use it to express your business and what you enjoy. If you run a coffee shop. Create cool posts about the benefits of coffee! Funny coffee memes and special brews that you just got in! People want to engage with you not just be sold to. I do use it to show my recent work but I don’t try to sell people on my services. I showcase it and make them aware of what I can provide and when they reach out I discuss how I can help them. I hope this helps and if you have any questions feel free to ask or message me privately and we can get your social media set up in a jiffy! Thank you for reading!