Hashtags (#) — They are not just a tool millennials use to seem cool and trendy. Hashtags actually provide a great deal of utility and benefits to businesses looking to promote themselves on instagram. They can be very useful in helping to boost the reach and engagement of your Instagram posts.
The reason behind this is because we can not only follow accounts on Instagram, but we can also follow specific hashtags as well. Additionally, people also search for certain hashtags, meaning even if someone isn’t following you or your business, they can still be shown your wonderful posts!
Left to its own devices, this post would have only received 92 interactions from the account’s followers. However, with the use of strategic hashtags, we were able to increase the post’s exposure by over 200%.
Best of all, it was completely free!
The use of hashtags does come with a disclaimer: Try to avoid using hashtags such as #f4f (follow for follow) or #likeforlike. These hashtags may generate a lot of attention to your posts, however, when used too many times can lead Instagram to think you are a spam account and warrant some unwanted consequences.
Adding to this, you also do not want to target too many popular hashtags (>100k followers), as these tend to be rather competitive. In addition to using some popular hashtags, try some less common options, those with between 80–20k followers.
Where Can I Use Hashtags?
- Instagram Posts
Shocking, I know! As I am sure many of you are aware, you can use hashtags to boost instagram posts. However, what you may not know is where to place the hashtags.
The general consensus, and what I have found to be best, is to place your desired hashtags in the first comment of a post. You want to avoid placing hashtags in the description of a post, as this looks clunky and unprofessional.
For example, see this post from the Instagram page @_thepod:
The description is clean, concise and hashtag free. Meanwhile, all her post-boosting hashtags are hidden in her comments section, free from the eyes of the general Instagram scrollers who will most likely enjoy the post without clicking on the comments.
This is a prime example of how an Instagram description should be!
Now, I know what you may be thinking…
“But it still doesn’t look great in the comments section”.
I must agree, I would LOVE if Instagram had a feature where you could turn hashtags invisible. However, this feature doesn’t exist (at least, not yet anyway). So, putting your hashtags in as the first comment is the next best thing.
Think about it, how often do you click on a post and read the comments? If you’re anything like me, it wouldn’t be that regular of an occurrence.
2. Instagram Stories
Yes, you read correctly. If you are running a competition on your Instagram stories, sharing a new feature of your business or are just generally proud of a story you posted, you can actually increase its reach using hashtags!
Best of all, you can easily hide the hashtags so nobody has to know that you have even used them.
For example, with the story shown above, I simply made the text the same colour as the background, which allows you to easily hide the text (not completely, but honestly, who is going to look that hard).
Alternatively, if you are posting a video or a multicoloured post where hiding with colour is not feasible, you can hide the hashtag by laying items over the top, such as:
- Geotags (Eg. Melbourne)
- Other pieces of text with a colour background
3. Instagram Reels
Contrary to Instagram posts, you do not want to put your reel hashtags as the first comment. The reason for this is because this method of hashtag posting does not actually increase a posts reach… at all.
But, fear not! Fortunately, people who watch reels tend not to view them in the Instagram feed, so they will be lucky to see your description at all, let alone the hashtags you place in there.
My preferred method of captioning a reel is to put in a sentence or two, and then cap it off with 3–5 relevant hashtags at the end.
What Type of Hashtags Can I Use?
There are many different types of hashtags, the ones I have found most effective in healthcare marketing are:
- Location Hashtags: Eg. “#MelbournePhysio”
- Niche Hashtags: Eg. “#LowBackStretch”
- Community Hashtags: Eg. “#WFHproblems”
- Seasonal Hashtags: Eg. “#SchoolHolidays”
Depending on the type of post and time of year, I usually aim for 3–4 different hashtags from each option (If there are no large events occurring, seasonal hashtags can be replaced by hashtags from the other options).
How Do I Choose My Hashtags?
The easiest way is to look through the list of suggested hashtags instagram gives you when you start typing a hashtag. For example, if you were to type “#christmas”, a long list of various hashtags with “christmas” in them would come up.
Searching for hashtags in this way also allows you to see how popular certain hashtags are. I tend to stay away from hashtags that have over 500,000 posts attached to them. The reason for this is because those hashtags will be highly competitive and the chances of my posts being seen diminish with each additional post.
For location-based hashtags, I recommend sticking to your location(s) and your discipline(s) (Eg. #PrestonDentist).
It can also be helpful to look at your competitor’s Instagram accounts (sneaky, I know!) and see what posts of theirs are doing well and what hashtags they have used on these posts. This should give you a decent insight into what your target market is responding to.
How Many Hashtags Should I Use?
Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags, however I have found that between 12–16 hashtags is often the sweet spot. Using too many hashtags (Usually 25+) too often can get your account banned for spam.
To Wrap Up
Hashtags are a free, convenient and effective way to boost your Instagram posts. They allow you to increase the exposure of your business and build social proof in your brand through improving your post likes and follower statistics.
So don’t wait another second, start posting your hashtags today and watch your accounts grow!
Do you need help with marketing for your healthcare business?
If you would like a free 30-minute strategy call, in which we will assess your current healthcare marketing strategy and provide some easily implementable strategies that have been proven to help increase profits, please email Aidan at: