If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know that I love bright colors, chunky yarn and cat cozies BUT you may not know that I also work full time as a social media specialist for a non-profit organization based in Atlanta! I love the way social media allows us to connect with people across the country (and the globe), express our creativity, and market our goods, services and talents! If you are a creative, maker, or artist you are also most likely on Instagram and although it can be an AMAZING marketing tool for many small businesses, it can also feel overwhelming, especially when you feel like you’ve gotten the hang of things and all of the sudden IG something causing your engagement to plummet and you feel like you’re back to square one! I completely understand! I wanted to take a few minutes to talk about something that has stayed pretty consistent on IG when it comes to increasing the reach and “find-ability” of your posts, and that is HASHTAGS!
If you are not currently using hashtags, you should be! They can singlehandedly get your post in front of more people eyes and allow your content to become “searchable” on Instagram! Maybe you ARE using hashtags but are unsure if they are doing anything for you. The quickest way to know if they are helping increase your reach is to check your quick analytics on your posts. NOTE: you cannot check your analytics if you are still set to a personal account on Instagram. Analytics are only available to business accounts but the good news is, it is easy to switch! On the IG app, click on the three bars at the top right of your screen and then choose settings at the very bottom. You will then want to clock “account” and then at the bottom you will see options (in blue) including “switch to a business account”! Click this option and off you go!
In order to check your quick analytics, click on one of your most recent posts and at the bottom of the post you will see a bar that says “view insights”, click on this and then swipe up to see the breakdown. You can easily see how many impressions your post received based on your use of hashtags!! Cool right? So, if your % of impressions from hashtags is low compared to your overall number, it might be time to try some new hashtags!
How many hashtags should I be using?
You can use 30 hashtags, so maximize it! I usually use between 20 and 30 hashtags on every post but the important thing is I don’t always use the same mix! Sure, there are a few hashtags I use quite often (if not on every post) and I save them in Google Notes as a block of text that I can copy and paste as needed to save me time! The ones I use often are hashtags that are specific to my maker “community” (other crocheters and fiber artists) so things like:
- #Ourmakerlife, #stitchandhustle, #yarnpunk, #crochetgirlgang (these are linked to accounts that feature knitters and crocheters- @ourmakerlife, @stitchandhustle, @yarnpunk, @crochetgirlgang)
- #lionbrandyarn, #michaelsstores, #yarnspiration (these are linked to yarn brands and, of course, Michaels craft store!)
Even though I use these with pretty much every post (except ones that do not feature my crochet work or me crocheting, which are few and far between), they only get me to about 10 hashtags total, so what about the remaining 15-20?
How do I figure out which hashtags to use?
For me, the rest of the hashtags are based on one or more of these four areas: More crochet & yarn related hashtags, Hashtags relating to Makers & Creatives, Hashtags relating to Cats (since I post lots of photos of my signature cat cozies), and Local Hashtags! I will do a quick breakdown of each of these with samples and I suggest you do something similar! Find a few categories that relate to you, your business and your product and brainstorm hashtags for each category!
Crochet and Yarn related hashtags: #crochetallday #netflixandcrochet #happyhooker #crocheters #crochetinpublic #crochetfaster #hookfastdiewarm #crochetporn #yarnporn #yarnaddict #crochetaddict
Maker and Creative Hashtags: #creativehappylife #calledtocreate #keepcreating #makerlife #makersofig #makersofinstagram #makersoftheworld #makersgonnamake #makersgottamake #handmade #handmadeisbetter #supporthandmade #makermonday
Cat related Hashtags: #catmom #catlife #catlady #catmomaf #crazycatlady #catstagram
Local Hashtags: #atlantamakers #madeinatlanta #whyiloveatl #iloveatl #atlantamaker #makersofatlanta #atlantaartists
Keep in mind that there is no magic formula, so you have creative freedom to have fun and switch it up, but you DO want to make sure that your hashtags are relevant to the post copy (the text you include) and the actual photo you are posting! If I were to use the same block of hashtags every single time, I would end up with a photo me crocheting a scarf with the hashtag #catmom (not super relevant, huh?). So be sure to be thoughtful when crafting your “hashtag block” each time. If you are feeling stuck and aren’t sure where to start when sourcing new hashtags, find accounts that are similar to you and see what they are using! I have found some of my favorite hashtags this way!
A few more helpful tips on Hashtags!
Separation methods. Hashtags are great but if you rent careful they can quickly clutter up your post! There seem to be two schools of thought on how to remedy this! I use the “symbol method”, using symbols like periods to separate my block of hashtags from my post’s copy/text (see photo below). The other option lots of people use it to put your hashtags in a comment immediately following your post! If you choose to go the comment route, just be sure to do it as soon as your post is published so that you don’t forget!
Saving Time. I like to save “blocks” of hashtags that I can easily copy and paste for different posts. I usually do this on my phone in Google “Keep” but you can use any note-taking app! If I am posting something very similar to a past post, I will often go in and “edit” the past post so that I can copy and paste the hashtag group into the new post! This is super helpful but be sure to “proof” the hashtags before you click post to make sure that there aren’t any rouge un-relevant hashtags hiding in the crowd!
A note on Brand specific hashtags. Brand specific hashtags can be fun (for me, this would mean hashtags like #pinksheepdesign and #pinksheepofthefamily) but stick with 1 or 2 and be sure your clients and followers know about them! Also, be sure that once you decide to use them to be consistent and use them often so that people will take notice and potentially use them as well when they mention your brand or your products!
Want more IG tips? Check out my 6 steps to run a quick Instagram audit & increase engagement! or join my Facebook group “Marketing + Social Media for Creatives” and join in on the conversation!