In 2021, it may seem that hashtags are a cliche. Back when Instagram first began its upward climb to popularity, it was trendy to use hashtags to let people know what you were up to, where you were & join the multiverse of people doing the same things. Still today, hashtags are a popular tool to use, however, their use may have found a better purpose. Now, instead of using tags like #LiveLoveLaugh for fun, business and personal accounts alike use them to gain more traffic and engagement.

A study by Fohr showed that a post with at least one hashtag will average 12.6% more engagement than a post without any. For a small business, that can mean a lot more business! Instagram is a machine designed to help you circulate to audiences outside of your followers and build brand awareness, if done correctly. Luckily, Insta’s “pandora box” isn’t so hard to open. Here are 5 simple tips & tricks to remember when creating your captions:

1. You can use up to 30 hashtags per post. Make sure you optimize the use of all 30 on every post & keep them relevant! Here are 9 hashtags that should be included in each post (for some inspiration):
◦ Your product or service: #skincare or #photgography
◦ Your niche in your industry: #DigitalDesign or #BoutiqueOwner
◦ Similar Instagram communities in your industry: #bakersofinstagram or #ContentCreators
◦ Special events or seasons: #Easter2021 or #NationalPizzaDay
◦ Relative Locations: #ShopLocalSouthFlorida, #NYCTreats, or #MiamiFoodies
◦ Daily hashtags: #mondaymotivation, #throwbacktuesday, or #wellnesswednesday, or you can create your own!
◦ Phrases relevant to what you do: #BeCreative or #EditingLife
◦ Acronyms: #b2b (business to business) , #qotd (quote of the day)
◦ Hashtags with emojis

2. Make sure you use hashtags on your stories & in your bio as well! Stories circulate on the “Discover” page just as posts do, and keyword searches make it easier for users to find content and pages that relate.

3. Keep your hashtags relevant to your business and mission! If you’re a boutique, you shouldn’t be using #BeachDay or #HappyHour in an attempt to gain a wider audience. Instead, focus on branded hashtags unique to your business and tailoring to the audience already in the market for your products and services. “Instead of using the most popular Instagram hashtags, it’s better to find and use hashtags that are smaller, more niche, and have an engaged audience that’s relevant to your industry.”

4. Do your research! Don’t just use a hashtag because it’s trending, you may find yourself using something inappropriate or misinterpreted. Make sure the trending hashtags will be beneficial to your brand & the abbreviations are what you think they are.


5. Don’t neglect campaigns and ads! Campaign hashtags are usually short-term and only run for a designated amount of time. For example, Coca Cola’s #KindnessStartsWith