If you’re not already familiar with hashtags, it’s time to learn! Hashtags are a critical part of the social media world, especially when it comes to Instagram and Twitter. A hashtag is a key word or phrase that is used to describe a topic or a theme. When people are searching for something on Instagram, it scans hashtags to come up with search results. So it’s in your best interest to use the most relevant possible hashtags with your posts to increase your chances of appearing in people’s searches.
It’s important to note that Instagram allows 30 hashtags per post. Research has shown that Instagram posts with 9 hashtags seem to get the most engagement (TrackMaven, 2016), so don’t be shy!
Here are a few tips to increase your visibility through hashtags:
1. Be sure to create a brand hashtag specific to your business
To build a following quickly, create 1 or 2 key hashtags that are specific to your company and encourage all your employees and clients to use it each time they post about your salon or spa. It can be #SunshineDaySpaKelowna or anything that identifies your business. Consistency is the key because the more times this hashtag gets used, the more likely your posts are to show up in searches. The last thing you want is for another spa named Sunshine to come up first when people do a search!
2. Use hashtags that influential people in the industry are using
These individuals or businesses are already well established with a similar type of audience that you want to reach. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery so why not use what is already apparently working?!
3. Use Instagram’s search function
You can go to the search bar in your Instagram app and type in a key word that you are interested in using. Tap the # tab and Instagram will show you a list of all hashtags using that particular key word as well as the number of public posts that are tagged with it.
4. Use both general and specific hashtags
You may decide to use very popular hashtags as it means many people are following it, but keep in mind that it means you are competing against many more posts. If you post a shot of a wedding updo, using #WeddingHair is a good idea. However, the hashtag is very broad, so it would yield a lot of search results and your post might not get seen. So in addition to general hashtags, use specific ones too. Maybe something like #FrenchBraidWeddingUpdo. You may want to consider trying a combination and seeing the results for yourself!
5. Mention your location in a hashtag
Help potential customers find your salon by tagging your photos with your business name and its city. Most consumers doing searches for local businesses will include a location in their search. Again, you can check the Instagram search function to see how people most commonly search locally. Do they use the full word ‘Vancouver’, the abbreviation ‘Van’, or perhaps that city’s airport code ‘YVR’?
6. Take advantage of appropriate trending hashtags
You can check Instagram and Twitter around key events and holidays to see that the trending hashtags are in order to join the story. Whether it’s International Women’s Day, the Academy Awards or Mother’s Day, there will be popular hashtags that you can use. Create posts that link to that event and use the hashtag. For example, you can post a photo of a hairstyle you have created that mirrors the style that a celebrity is showing off at the Academy Awards and ask your followers if your photo is worthy of some #AcademyAwards.
7. Make sure your hashtags are relevant to your content
While it may be tempting to use very popular hashtags in an attempt to get noticed, you will actually have the opposite effect if they aren’t related to your content. Instagram’s search algorithm is based on content relevancy, so although the most popular hashtag on Instagram is #love, however using that hashtag without anything related will not only make you not show up, but you could get flagged as a spammer which will negatively impact the performance of your page’s future posts.
8. Use product hashtags
A lot of product lines have established Instagram sites as well as branded hashtags, so use them when your posts are featuring their products. You can try mentioning them as well using their handle (example: @redken). The product company might even feature your post on their Instagram, which would be great exposure! Here are some of the current trending ones:
Looking for more Instagram and social media tips for salons and spas? Check out the rest of our Resource Library for valuable content to help grow your salon or spa business!