Updated: Jul 21, 2020
Hashtags became popular in 2007 when Twitter decided to give the pound sign a promotion. Today hashtags are more popular and productive than ever and show no signs of slowing down. If you have been spending time and energy trying to build an online community through Facebook and Instagram now is the time to figure out a hashtag strategy that can help you get the best results.
Hashtags can lead to greater engagement through likes, comments, shares and new followers. Hashtags are a way to streamline, sort and easily find content on Instagram.
Hashtags also help your target audience find you!
If you were trying to find a dentist in a new town what hashtag would you search? Likely the name of your town and dentist #(your city) dentist. Try it. Who shows up? Likely your competition.
If you were interested in a smile makeover what keyword would you search? Try it! Search #smilemakeover, you will find videos, photos, blogs...a huge amount of smile makeover content cataloged and easily searchable thanks to a hashtag.
Where to start with your hashtag strategy
Start by creating a brand hashtag, mine is the name of my business, #allthedentalthings. Every time I post content I add this hashtag, if someone was interested in working with me they could easily search my hashtag and find a great deal of information. This can be extremely beneficial for dental offices as well.
For dental practices, including hashtags that make searching you geographically will likely be MOST beneficial. I would include your city a few different ways to attempt to show up for different searches, #detroitdentist #dentistdetroit #detroitmidentist #bestdentistindetroit Although these hashtags might not exist or have very low use in your town I would recommend using them anyways. These serve as a locator tool for potential patients and this is one hashtag where the fewer using it the better.
Create a few different hashtag lists that you can easily copy and paste into your posts. You want the hashtags to be relevant to the content that you are posting so typically one list won't work for all your posts. It is possible for people to report your hashtag if they feel it isn't relevant and your account can be suspended as a result if it is reported more than once.
How to find the right hashtags
I typically research and find my hashtags while posting on Instagram. This screenshot shows the list that Instagram generates when you # and add a word. The numbers next to the words show how many times that word has been hash-tagged.
Another way to research useful hashtags is to look at the hashtags your competitors and dental influencers are using.
There are also plenty of websites that offer hashtag help for a fee.
Where to place your hashtags
You can place your hashtags in your caption, or, if you prefer to keep your captions looking clean you can post them in the first comment. Instagram’s algorithm is time sensitive though, meaning it looks at engagement from the second your image is posted, so you’ll want to add your hashtag comment immediately to create engagement fast. A third option is to use styling (periods and line breaks) to hide your hashtags below the “more” button.
How many hashtags should be used
Currently it seems that 1-2 hashtags on Facebook, 5-20 on Instagram... these recommendations change frequently as algorithms change.
Although creating your hashtag strategy will take a little time and research to get the best results the outcome of greater reach, search-ability and engagement will be worth it in the long run. #happyhashtagging