Do you remember a time when hashtags weren’t a thing? It seems as the Internet gets older and older—with social media aging along with it—certain norms in online culture seem to have always been there, even when they haven’t.
Effectively using hashtags for your small business can seem like a challenge, but when everyone’s doing it, being the only brand not on the bandwagon can leave you in the dust. Fortunately, it’s a lot simpler than it looks, and getting into the swing of things isn’t difficult at all.
Hashtags that Describe Your Small Business
One of the easiest ways to jump into the hashtag game is by thinking of your business in terms of short, simple descriptions, or even keywords. Let’s say you run a vegan cafe. It’s easy to go straight to #cafe, but a quick peek on Instagram shows that hashtag is used just under 34 million times. Remember, you want to stick out above the noise here!
More true to your business, #vegancafe is more specific and also just appears under 83,000 times on Instagram. And while it describes your business better than just a simple #cafe or #coffeeshop, it’s still relatively short, which is the other side of choosing a good hashtag.
Try writing out a list of 2- or 3-word descriptions of your business. Those descriptions can seamlessly transition into a good hashtag, and you’ll find, because you know your business better than anyone, finding those perfect hashtags will be a piece of cake.
Hashtags to Help Customers Find Your Small Business
You can certainly fill up your hashtag quota with descriptive and accurate tags, but you also should throw in some basic ones to pull in folks who may be searching in simpler terms. The trick here is to get into the mentality of a would-be customer, and attach a variety of hashtags to corner every kind of person you may attract.
Let’s go back to the vegan cafe. You already know attaching more specific yet all-encompassing hashtags like #vegancafe or #vegancoffeeshop works wonders, but you can also try using location-specific hashtags, too. After all, people probably won’t be traveling far and wide to go to your cafe, so throwing in some location-specific hashtags will work well reeling in locals.
Say your vegan cafe is located in Brooklyn (where else?). You can use hashtags like #brooklynvegancafe, but because Brooklyn alone is a great specifier, you can get away with #brooklyncafe. You already know using too many hashtags can clutter things up, so using shorter ones where it works can prevent that from happening.
Hashtags to Make Your Customers Fall in Love With Your Small Business
When it comes to posting on social media, you always want to keep in the back of your mind not to annoy your followers. Excessive or irrelevant hashtag use is a huge no-no, and I recommend sticking to ten or so hashtags to prevent oversaturating your posts.
There’s no one way to use hashtags, and again, I really stress finding your niche and not allowing yourself to get overwhelmed by what is and is not correct. Take a look at what some of your competitors are doing. Experiment with trending hashtags. And remember, hashtags at the root of it are just fancy 21st century keywords.
I can assure you that potential customers are out there, searching for you. And as long as you keep producing great content and keep your hashtags consistent and tight, those customers will trickle in—as followers first, and then loyal customers.