Using hashtags on your Instagram posts can be a great way to categorize the photo, connect with the local community, and even inspire new posts from your followers. While more than 90% of Instagram users follow at least one business account, many users also follow specific hashtags in addition. You can see how many users follow a particular hashtag when you type it in the search and click on the “tags” tab at the top.
While it’s super tempting to add #puppiesofinstagram and #cute #instagood #photooftheday to every post, it’s unlikely that those who follow those hashtags are ever going to become clients of your practice. Focus on hashtags that are already in circulation in your neighborhood and community, and even consider adding your own (e.g. #petsofYourVetClinic) to inspire photo tags at your practice. Spend a few minutes on Instagram looking up hashtags in your area, including community name, #dogsofyourcity, #yourcitydogs, #catsofyourcity, #yourcitycats, etc. and see which ones are most popular. If you’ve got neighboring businesses with strong Instagram presences, check out what community-themed hashtags they’re using and jump on the band wagon. You can still add the generic #weloveourjob, #puppybreath, #muttsrule type hashtags to your post but know that they’re largely functioning to convey emotion and humor.
Get my whole list of hashtags to get you started here.
While you can add up to 30 hashtags to each post, the sweet spot tends to be around 11. Any more than that and your post might look spammy, and is less likely to be using hashtags strategically.
Save Time: Storage
Tired of typing out the same hashtags over and over again? Or do you have them saved on a note on your phone to copy and paste? Save yourself time and energy, and also be more strategic with your hashtags by creating a hashtag document. I use Google docs, simply because it’s free, everyone can open it without any special software, and it’s saved in the cloud so I can access it anytime, from any device. If you use a scheduling software like Buffer, these platforms often have a feature that will allow you to save common hashtags as well, sometimes referred to as a hashtag manager.
Save Time: Post Themes
In addition to creating the reusable list of hashtags, consider creating sections in your document for common types of post. For instance, if you’re posting an awesome picture of one of your veterinarians with a cat, using the #dogsofyourcity hashtag isn’t going to work. Create a list for dog-centric posts, cat-centric posts, general pet-themed post, and any other specific niche you commonly post about.
Don’t Forget To Change It Up
While you can certainly save a lot of time by using these handy pre-built hashtag lists, don’t rely on them entirely. Add new relevant hashtags when appropriate, keep an eye on hashtag analytics (if included in your platform), and review other posts using that hashtag quarterly to ensure you’re meeting your strategic goals and connecting with the right pet parents.
Caitlin DeWilde, DVM