If you’re on Instagram, you’ve probably spent some time clicking on hashtags, trying to figure out what they are and why people use them. (If you’re still unsure, head over to my two-part blog series that explains them before reading on.) In this blog post, I want to dig a bit deeper and talk about how to find hashtags that will help you attract your ideal client/customer on Instagram, specifically.
You need hashtags with EVERY post. You do, trust me. Otherwise, your post will get lost due to the latest algorithm updates. People really do click into tags that interest them, and that’s how they find the content they want to see. If you’re using the right hashtags, the right people will come.
Here’s how you find the right hashtags.
1. Think about who you’re wanting to attract. How old is your ideal client, where do they live, what are they interested in? Write these answers down, and put yourself in their shoes. If you were your ideal client/customer, what hashtags would you be using? Use the same ones! If you’re a florist, you may be looking to reach brides. Try a combination of location and wedding centric tags to get started. If you’re in Vermont, try #vermontbride. Find additional hashtags that people around you are using. For example, #keenenh or #ilovermont or even a hashtag for a local upcoming event. These help narrow your audience to a geographic area and will help local people find you!
2. Use the explore feature to find related tags. Click the magnifying glass icon and in the search field, type a hashtag that you think is a good one for you. Let’s stay with the florist example. Type in florist, click on the Tags tab, then click on the #florist hashtag at the top of the list. This will return a list of related hashtags that you can try on your posts!
3. Make sure your tags are not too popular, or too obscure. Now, still looking at the same screen with the results of searching the #florist hashtag, you’ll see that #florist has 2,220,390 posts. It’s not likely that people will see your post if you use that hashtag-there are simply too many people using it. But, if you click on that #florist hashtag, it’ll give you related tags just above the top posts with that hashtag. Click into #floristry, and you’ll find it only has about 152,984 posts, your photo is much more likely to be seen when you use that tag.
4. Check to see that these tags are appropriate for your audience. Sometimes it seems like a no-brainer to use very innocent-sounding tags. However, it’s a good idea to always click into it and scroll through the photos to be sure! You don’t want your customers to click on one of your tags and to be shocked by what they see!
5. Keep a running list of your researched tags in your smart phone’s notes app. You’ll want a list of 20-30 researched hashtags at the ready in your phone (Note: Instagram will only allow 30 hashtags in any one post.) Copy and paste that whole block of hashtags as a comment as soon as possible after posting your photo and caption. Posting hashtags in the comments keeps your caption clean and easy to read, while still categorizing your post to be delivered with all other photos using those hashtags.
Bonus Tip: If you’d like to deep dive into hashtag research, I recommend Alex Tooby’s Hashtag Hero online course. (This is an affiliate link, and I may get a small commission if you make a purchase.) This is a relatively quick training that you can get done in an hour, and you’ll get a better understanding of just how hashtags can propel your account forward!