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How to grow your business on Instagram: Part two - Hashtags

Updated: Oct 9, 2020

Interested about growing your business on Instagram, but not sure where to begin? We’ve got you covered! In this three part series, we’ll cover the basics that will make it easy to get started, and easy to keep it up. Before we begin: if you have questions about whether Instagram is the right platform for your business, check out our recent blog post on the top four social media platforms and what you need to know for each. See part one here: How to grow your business on Instagram: When and what to post See part three here: How to grow your business on Instagram: Part three - stories

What's the deal with hashtags?

The "#" symbol was reinvented on Twitter over ten years ago as a way to tag digital content. Now, you can use hashtags on all social platforms, including Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Hashtags allow people who are interested in specific topics to easily find content on those topics. For example, if you are posting about some rainbow funfetti cupcakes you are excited about on Instagram, you could tag your post with the hashtag #funfetticupcakes. If you searched for that hashtag on Instagram, there are over 18,000 additional pieces of content tagged with that hashtag. There's certainly lots to explore!

Funfetti cupcake #funfetticupcakes hashtag results on Instagram

How do I use hashtags?

There are just a few simple tips to remember.

Use the "#" symbol before your tag.

Place the # symbol before any words you want to convert into hashtags. For example, if you want to turn the term "local bakery" into a hashtag, post "#localbakery".

Local bakery #localbakery hashtag results on Instagram

No spaces!

Remember not to put any spaces in your hashtag, or it won't show up! If you post "#local bakery" (see the space?) it will only tag the word "local".

Will using hashtags make a difference for my business?

Yes! Hashtags allow people who don’t already follow you to discover your posts, so it’s a great way to grow your audience. Using hashtags can connect you to more people, posts, and ideas.

Here are some tips for developing a good hashtag game:

See what other small businesses are using.

Take a peek at accounts that are similar to yours and make note of the hashtags they use.

Incorporate brand hashtags.

Many large brands have their own hashtag that they encourage followers to use, and will then occasionally share these posts in their feed. If your photo is chosen, this is a great way to get exposure to a bigger audience and gain new followers.

Use targeted hashtags.

Let’s say you own a bakery in Seattle and you’re posting a picture of a cake—rather than using the hashtags #cake, #bakery, and #smallbusiness, choose hashtags that are more specific like #cakedecorating, #seattlebakery, and #smallbusinesssaturday.

Only use relevant hashtags

If you're posting a photo on Instagram about carrot cake, you should use any hashtags that relate to carrot cake. If you're stuck, take a look on Instagram using their search feature to search for hashtags relevant to #carrotcake for some ideas.

Mix it up.

You’re allowed up to 30 hashtags per post, but Instagram warns against posting any duplicative content, so it’s best to avoid posting the same hashtags each time. You're ready to start using hashtags on Instagram! Get out there and post some content, and don't forget to tag #madewithripl on all of your Ripl post creations for a chance to be featured.