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How do I do hashtag research for a small business?

Traders- Hints & Tips

Some hashtag inspiration…

If you don’t know what a hashtag is by now, you must have missed the start of the millennium! Hashtags are everywhere – but using the right ones for your small business is a different matter entirely.

Hashtags are super important in extending your reach, getting you out to a wider audience and working the algorithm. Here are our top tips for using hashtags:

1. How many hashtags should I use?

When it comes to Instagram, you can use up to 30 hashtags on a post to enable people to find your page/post. However, general advice is that 5-15 hashtags is optimal – if you use the full 30 it can look too ‘sales orientated’ and crowded. 5 is the minimum – but can work best.

However, when you’re only just starting your business feel free to use as many as possible – you want to get that instant reach until you’re a bit more confident with what works.

Stuck on what hashtags to use? Click here for a list of useful ones, or check out this blog for knitting, sewing and crochet hashtags.

2. Create some ‘content buckets’

Do you often use the same hashtags? If so, you’re not giving a wider audience the chance to see you – it’s important to mix it up. If you want some inspiration on creative hashtags, check out this blog on the best creative hashtags to use.

It’s great to stick with some consistent ones – say 4 or 5 that you know get success (definitely make your brand name a hashtag too!). We use #Pedddle, #PedddleUK, and #PedddleYourWares often. However, using different ones in each post means that you’re more likely to be seen by different people.

Imagine a spider diagram of words and topics that you frequently use or talk about on your page. These are your ‘content buckets’. For example, two of ours might be ‘markets’, ‘stallholders’. We’d then think of words and phrases relating to those things, for people who’d like to find markets or stallholders, such as #SmallBusiness or #CreativeCommunity.

Think about what kind of shopper you want to target too. For example, using #EthicalShopper or #EthicallyMade might bring you to a different audience than talking about the product itself, if you’re using hashtags such as #candle or #illustration.

3. Engage with the hashtags you use

After you’ve posted a certain hashtag, search for and follow that hashtag thread on Instagram. Start engaging with the hashtag – like and comment on some of the other posts which use that hashtag. You’ll then be interacting with your community, supporting other businesses, boosting your own engagement levels and helping with the algorithm – it’s a win-win!

4. Check out the competition

We all feel a little sly when looking at other people’s posts, especially if they create similar products. We are all about community over competition, BUT there is no harm in seeing what works for other people! After all, they are part of your community too. Do some research. See which hashtags they are using and how many people are following those hashtags for a bit of inspiration!