Finding the right niche hashtags on Instagram

We’ve talked a lot about hashtag strategy and how it’s smart to combine large popular hashtags with smaller niche hashtags to maximize your content’s reach, especially on Instagram. Today we wanted to go a little more into why it’s so important to find the right niche hashtags for your posts and how to find them.

A great place to start with niche hashtags is those specific to your geographic location. These are a little different from the geotagging and reporting we’ve discussed before; these are hashtags used by locals (and visitors who are savvy enough to seek them out) sharing their adventures around town and what life is like in a certain place. Adding them to your posts can help fans and followers know where you’re located (or where your products are available) which is especially important to those who like to shop and support local companies. Visitors can also note if you’re a place they’d like to stop by on their travels for the experience and/or souvenirs.

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How do I find geo-specific hashtags to use?

There are a few ways to find these kinds of hashtags:

  • If there’s a nickname for your town or area, search that and see what related hashtags also come up. For example: Austin is often called ATX and there are many more specific related hashtags like #ATXfit and #ATXeats
  • Click on one of these hashtags to see even more related hashtags
  • If your town (or the towns your products are available in, if that’s your approach) doesn’t have a nickname, just start searching different variations of it to see what comes up
  • Check other accounts you know are local to see what hashtags they’re using

geo hashtag search 1 geo hashtag search 2

How do I know when I find the right hashtags to use?

Before you just start adding any of these hashtag finds to your posts, spend a little time browsing the photo results to see if they match the tone and values of your brand. Even if another local brand is using it, you still want to double-check for yourself.

As  you’re browsing ask yourself questions like: Do any of the tags have a second meaning that you don’t want to be associated with? At best you might end up getting associated with spam, but the worst can be a bad association for your brand that’s hard to shake. Asking this question is an easy way to avoid a social disaster down the line.

Any niche hashtags I should think about other than geo-related ones?

Yes! Do a little word association with your brand and make a list of things that would make sense to include as part of your visual brand story on Instagram. Start searching those hashtags and drill down into the smaller niche ones to get a list to test with posts that have related subject matter. As a bonus, this should also give you some good ideas for content to create for Instagram!

You  might also want to come up with a hashtag that’s just for your brand. Make it unique and short enough to use across platforms- something really long would be fine on Instagram, but not on Twitter, for example- and be absolutely sure no one else is already using it. Have your employees use it and make sure fans, followers and customers know to use it when they’re talking about your brand. Spread the word by using it in your own posts, promoting and sharing employee posts that use it, and you might even consider a contest as a kickoff to get the rest of your audience using it.

Instagram is all about creativity, so unleash that in the way that makes the most sense for your particular brand and industry.

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