How to use an Instagram Hashtag Strategy for Your Small Business

December 14, 2023

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A question that my social media management clients ask a lot is how to use an Instagram hashtag strategy for their small business.

Yes, they do! BUT the way you’re using hashtags might not be ideal.

Don’t worry: in this post, I’ll break down how to create a hashtag strategy that gets more views and engagement for your posts.

graphic that says how to create a hashtag strategy

What are Keywords on Instagram?:

The first thing you should know is that Instagram is leaning towards emphasizing keywords and phrases. If a user searches for a particular word or phrase, the algorithm scans posts and shows the user relevant content.

So, what does that mean for you? It means that you should use key phrases in your captions whenever you can!

Are Using Hashtags on Instagram Pointless?

While keywords are gaining in popularity, it doesn’t mean that using hashtags are pointless. Adding hashtags helps Instagram better categorize and understand your content. When users search for content, Instagram can look at your hashtags and see if it’s what they’re looking for!

How to use an Instagram Hashtag Strategy for Your Small Business

What hashtags should you be using? What hashtags should you stay away from?

The hashtags you should include largely depends on your content. When describing a picture, you can use hashtags that relate to the photo, your niche, and even your location.

When you’re creating a hashtag strategy to get more views and engagement, you’ll want to put them in the caption of the post—not the comments!

Beware of using broad hashtags! A lot of them are shadow banned, which could majorly affect your other content. For example, #beautyblogger is banned. But if you add an -s on the end, (#beautybloggers), it’s safe. Other example of banned hashtags is #dating and #besties. You can look up a full list of banned hashtags online!

Feeling stuck and unsure of what your small business can post on Instagram? Get ideas by going to my post: “30 Content Ideas for When You Don’t Know What to Post on Instagram”

Using Metricool to create a hashtag strategy for instagram

I’ve been using Metricool for the past couple of months to track my analytics. (It’s free for one person to use.) Among other insights, Metricool tracks which hashtags you use and highlights the ones that perform the best. I’d recommend testing it out to see if it helps with your strategy. (This is not sponsored!)

what does a hashtag strategy for your small business look like?

phone with a hashtag on it

If I wanted to post the picture above on my Instagram, here’s what I would do:

You’ll see that I’ve already added some keywords to the caption (Organized, productive, Full Focus planner, Q4). Of course, my actual caption would be longer, but let’s go ahead and list a few hashtags.

I’d use hashtags like: #fullfocusplanner and #planneraddicts (both directly relate to the content of my photo), #businesswomencommunity (describes me as a business woman), #socialmediatipsandtricks and #socialmediamanagement (relates to my niche).

To sum up:

  • The most important rule on Instagram is to create quality content. Instagram prioritizes good content that helps and serves followers rather than content that’s just carelessly put together with 30 hashtags on it.
  • Include keywords and phrases in your caption.
  • Be intentional with your hashtag strategy, using hashtags that go along with your photo, niche, and location.
  • Always test different strategies out and see what works best for your account!

Was this blog post about how to use an Instagram hashtag strategy for your small business helpful? What are your favorite hashtags to use?

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