How To Use Instagram Hashtags For Small Businesses

Instagram has become a business behemoth.

The social platform that was once a place for random, casual photos is now a sophisticated tool you can use for marketing your business. The first key to cracking the Instagram code is to use hashtags, and use them well. We have a few top tips for using instagram hashtags for small business.

Instagram Hashtags 101

Why Use Instagram Hashtags for Small Business?

Simply put, using hashtags makes it easier for people to find your content on Instagram. Users search on Instagram to find photos and accounts based on the hashtags used. Hashtags use the pound symbol (#) followed by the words you’re tagging, with no spaces. For example, our go-to hashtag is #GetOnlineNOLA, but for the rest of this post we’ll put hashtag examples in quotations, just to make it easier to read.

Currently, the best practice for using hashtags is to keep them in the caption (as opposed to in the comments on the post) and use 10-15 relevant tags. It’s a good idea for your business branding to have one or two hashtags about your brand alone, and the rest can be used so more people will find the awesome work you do.

Keep It Short and Memorable

When coming up with the go-to hashtag for your business it’s important to keep a few things in mind: it needs to be short, easy to remember, and ideally brand new. Not every great hashtag idea is going to be totally brand new, though. If there are a few posts (less than 1,000) already using the same hashtag it may be okay. But, much more than that you’ll want to keep brainstorming.

Let’s say you run a local deli that has a cozy atmosphere, and you’re rolling out a new dinner menu. A fun, short, memorable, and brand new hashtag you could use is “date night deli”. You can use your hashtag in other branding materials, as well as Instagram.

Keep It Specific

Even if you’re the most romantic restaurant in a 10 mile area, using “love” or “date night” as a hashtag isn’t going to do you very much good. Hashtags that have too much content (think 300K posts and up) means it’s more than likely your content is going to get lost in the flood. Instead think of hashtags that are more specific to your fun selling point like “candlelight dinner” or “dinner cruise”.

Geaux Local

Your local area likely has popular hashtags you can use on your photos as well. The New Orleans area has several popular and active hashtags. The benefit to using these hashtags is that people in your local area (or tourists) will look through the photos tagged with, for example, “one time in NOLA”, and hopefully they’ll see your delicious food and want to stop by.

Find Other Relevant Hashtags

You can also add tags to your posts based on what is literally in the photo. Tagging your latest dish with the name (ie #BaconCarbonara) may not get customers in the door (remember people can see your content, worldwide) but it may increase your likes and followers.


Instagram can be such a great tool for small businesses, but it only works well if you play by their rules, and keep your ideal customer in mind. We offer marketing services for small businesses so you can crush the Instagram game.

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