Local Business Hashtag Strategy

Snaggle Foot | Published:

What in the #hashtag?!

We’ve all heard that hashtags are an important tool in social media strategy, but understanding how to use them effectively to grow your local business can be a challenge.  The truth is, if you’re hashtag fluent, you can reach a much larger share of local customers.  And, if used incorrectly, you could be wasting time and resources.

The great news is that it’s not that difficult to master!

Step One: Consider the Platform

Instagram Tip:

If you are leveraging the social media content provided by Snaggle Foot Corporate, you can customize this content to make it work even harder for you by adding a few hashtags that are specific to your local audience. You can do this by adding the hashtags right to the caption, or you can comment on your post with the added hashtags. Both options will allow you to reach a larger and more targeted audience locally.

Step Two: Start Following Hashtags

A great way to determine what hashtags you should be using, is to start following them yourself.  This also allows you to keep up with industry trends, follow competitors (without actually following competitors), and gain valuable insights about your audience.  Look at the other pet service companies in your market.  What hashtags are they using?  What hashtags are other local businesses in your area using?  

An added bonus is that your social media feed will be flooded with photos and videos of cute animals.  #Winning

Step Three: Select Your Hashtags

Hashtags that work for big national brands, don’t always work for small businesses.  Here are a few considerations to ensure you are reaching the right audience. 

Match up your content with your hashtags.

It’s important to ensure that each hashtag directly relates back to the photo or video that you are sharing.  For example, if you use the hashtag #doglover when you’re featuring a photo of one of your favorite feline clients, it will be far less effective.  That’s not the type of content that people are looking for when they search that hashtag.

Instagram Tip:

It might be tempting to simply copy and paste the same hashtags for every post on Instagram, but don't do it! Instagram's official community guidelines state that "repetitive posting of comments or content" is not allowed. They will actually penalize you for continually repeating the same hashtags. There are free hashtag generator apps, like Hashtag Expert, that you can download to make life a little easier for you.

Vary the types of hashtags you use. 

Social media hashtags typically fall into 4 categories: brand, subject matter, trends, and community.  By selecting hashtags that blend these categories, you diversify the audience you are reaching.  Here are a few examples.

  • Brand: #SnaggleFoot, #OutrageouslyProfessional
  • Subject Matter: #CatLovers, #DogMom, #BirdSitting
  • Trends: #DogsOfInstagram, #DogoftheDay
  • Community: #DogsOfAnnArbor, #CatsOfDallas

 

Evaluate the hashtag audience size.

Not all hashtags are created equally.  The number of followers for a specific hashtag will vary drastically.  The more general the hashtag, typically the more followers there will be.  But that doesn’t mean that they are the best ones to use.  If a hashtag has millions of followers, it will be harder for your small business to stand out.  But, you also want to make sure that the hashtags you are selecting are ones that people are at least searching for. 

Select a hashtag for this photo based on audience size.

Below are three perfectly acceptable hashtags to use based on the subject matter. However, your post is much more likely to reach the intended audience when using one of the last two options. Think: bigger fish, smaller pond.

Step Four: Have Fun With It!

Hashtags open the door for more people in your community to find out about you, your business, and your amazing team!  Rest assured, there is usually no “right” answer when it comes to social media… the same thing holds true to the use of hashtags.  Have some fun with it, follow a few new hashtags, and reach an even larger audience!

Questions about your local social media hashtag strategies?  We are here for you!  
Contact Jana Rewey Huffman at jana.huffman@snagglefoot.com