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Hashtag Strategy & How It Works

There have been so many times when we’re scrolling online, doing a little research, or just looking around for fun, and we’ve seen certain accounts—usually businesses or influencers—using a host of hashtags on their social media content. This is especially the case when it comes to Instagram. So, what’s the deal? Why the hashtags?

Let’s start with the reason behind hashtags. What do they mean, and why are so many people using them? Hashtags are #amazing when it comes to connecting your social media profiles with other users. In fact, the whole point of hashtags is to draw people to a certain key word so that they’re able to connect with people who have the same interests and questions.

When considering hashtags for your business account, you want to strategize key words that are relevant to your dream clients. Think about all the words that would attract people to your products or services—and how new followers may just find themselves on your page! 

With these hashtags, though, you want to make sure the ones you’re using are directly relevant to the content of the post itself. Otherwise, you lose credibility. You don’t want to find yourself cultivating a clickbait vibe, so be sure to follow through with consistency in all areas.

We put together the top five categories of hashtags that businesses across the globe use to gain discoverability and traction. The best part? We gave you plenty of examples to choose from, too!

CATEGORIES OF HASHTAGS

If you haven’t looked too deeply into hashtag strategy, then you may be thinking that most hashtags pretty much look the same or that they fall into one sole category. So, you may be surprised to learn that there are specific hashtag categories, and the ones people use may depend on things like the time of year or their unique industries.

INDUSTRY HASHTAGS

Industry hashtags are designated key words (in the form of hashtags) that apply to your overarching industry. They tend to be more general but still allow for your target audience and dream clients to navigate their way to you. 

For instance, if you’re a chef, you may post a picture of a recent meal you’ve whipped up on your Instagram with a hashtag of #chefsofinstagram included in the caption. Another example could be #blogger if you’re posting content in the hopes of connecting with other bloggers.

The idea with any industry hashtag is to establish yourself in the overall realm, working to draw more people to your social media accounts who are already interested in your industry. By using these industry hashtags on a regular basis—they should be a staple for all your Instagram and Twitter posts—you begin to live in this hashtag sphere where current and potential dream clients are able to access all you have to offer.

For us, as professional photographers, one of our industry hashtags is #photographer, and we’ll use this or a version of this on all of our Instagram posts to essentially plant our seed in this particular area. To figure out what your own industry hashtags are, you can always do a bit of research on your competitors. What are they using, and are you able to make those industry hashtags work for you?

NICHE HASHTAGS

Niche hashtags are basically a peeled-back layer of industry hashtags. They give a more detailed look into the overall category of your brand or business, which is a great way to reach an audience that is truly looking for you.

For example, going back to the #blogger—well, what kind of blogger are you? Get nitty gritty with it to attract the people who you’re hoping to connect and work with.

  • #sustainablefashionblogger
  • #foodandwineblogger
  • #outdoorgoodsblogger

We mentioned above that we use #photographer on our own social media posts. To take this one step further for our particular niche, we use #brandphotographer as one of our hashtags, too. This helps to differentiate ourselves from the sea of people who use #photographer on their posts, and it helps point out what we specialize in as a business.

LOCATION HASHTAGS

Location hashtags are wonderful because they give you a greater opportunity to connect with individuals in your local community.  Proximity is powerful!

If you’re a business owner in a smaller town and are wondering how to make an impact on your local audience, include the city or town you live in as one of the consistent hashtags on your social media posts. This habit will draw target followers to your account as they search for products, services, and/or events in their general area. 

As a business based in Greensboro, NC, we like to include some form of #greensboro in our Instagram posts. For example, we may use #greensborophotographer as one of our hashtags, and this helps us link up with people in our general proximity who may be looking for our services! Don’t underestimate the usefulness of location as a way to bring people together.

SEASONAL HASHTAGS

Seasonal hashtags are rather self-explanatory in that they’re relevant and useful depending on the season. We tend to see these in relation to specific holiday seasons—especially around the latter half of the year, once fall and winter roll around. 

Depending on what’s true to your brand and audience, there are numerous opportunities for brands to capitalize on secular holidays centered on fall-happenings—like #spookyszn around Halloween—or to emphasize #gratitude or the #seasonofthanks during the weeks surrounding Thanksgiving. 

If your business celebrates the Christmas holiday, there’s an abundance of chances to incorporate holiday phrases as hashtags, or you can stick to something more general and go with winter-themed hashtags. 

The main point we want to emphasize here is to use seasonal hashtags that are authentic to your brand. If your brand is on the more formal (rather than more conversational side), it definitely would feel out of place to see a #spookyszn hashtag on an Instagram post come October. Always go with what suits your brand as a whole.

These top five categories of hashtags don’t provide an exhaustive list, but they should absolutely help get the wheels turning for you! Remember: Your hashtag strategy should be a main part of your overall social media strategy.

We highly encourage you to take the time to come up with 10-15 hashtags that can permanently live on your social media posts. Even if they’re not the same 10-15 on each post, you want to have an array of choices to include on your posts in a consistent fashion. Aim for industry and niche hashtags to be a staple on every single Instagram or Twitter post, and take note of the followers you gain!

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