How to Use Hashtags as a Digital Marketing Tool


Did you know that the hashtag turned 10 last year? Being a social media phenomenon, a post is rarely seen without one. When people view Instagram, it’s essential for Instagramers to use these pound signs to sort posts and attract viewers alike. 

“Hashtags are like a funnel. For instance, #marketing is incredibly broad and attracts all types of posts. We’ve found #digitalmarketing or #marketingmotivation gives us a more specific, targeted reach. The audience searching for these hashtags are also trying to narrow their search to what we offer related to Marketing, so we’re actually reaching more of the RIGHT people.”

— Krystal Gillespie, Hubspot’s Social Media Community Manager 

Hashtags are on the rise, other platforms like Twitter and Facebook have recently jumped in on the fun, too. Hashtags have evolved into such an extraordinary tool for businesses, celebrities, organizations, and even the average teen.

So, why are hashtags so important? 

Well, despite the humorous incorrect use of hashtags, they can be a huge leg-up in digital marketing. People are now able to engage with specific hashtags and stay up-to-date on current trends and topics. Hashtags can be created by anyone! It’s also important for a business to figure out who their competitors are and for them to analyze how they advertise to their customers. This not only makes their business model stronger, but also helps gauge their audience’s responses. 

Hashtags can also enhance the success of any visual branding and/or visibility. By utilizing these tools, businesses can expand their target audience and increase brand awareness. One way to do this is creating a personalized hashtag to encourage followers to use and include in their own images—therefore curating a network of like-minded individuals in one playing field and further establishing a brand.

Last week we did a live Q&A and went through quite a few questions that were submitted related to digital and content strategy (thank you all who sent your questions in!). And the question we were asked repeatedly was…

“What are the best hashtags to use on Instagram?” 

I, personally, love this question and have previously answered it on Facebook LIVE, but, I thought why not do it as a blog as well? Afterall, hashtags are a fundamental element in social media marketing, and I think this question deserves a full deep dive in helping our community truly understand the impact hashtags can have in the building of their own business strategies.

First and foremost, a hashtag strategy should be customized and ultimately fit the specific needs, values and goals of a business. Everyone has their own way of looking at the world, and my recommendation, is finding a strategy that ticks all the boxes.

Let’s Start With the Basics

As mentioned earlier, hashtags are used as a marketing tool in assisting the end user (or potential clients) in finding what they are looking for. And remember, the more specific and definitive the better! The job of a business owner and/or influencer is to form a sort of foundation with these hashtags that allows them to connect with their ideal client, while creating a trustworthy relationship with the surrounding community. With that being said, this is where strategy comes in. Think about potential client questions, like: “How To,” “Where,” “What,” and “Why”.

Do a little research to find an ideal client. Think about what hashtags they are using to find similar results, what should be delivered, what isn’t being delivered, what others are doing in certain niches, etc. Look at the bigger picture, as in what is being posted in each of these niche areas and again, ask the question: “Does it fit my specific needs, values and goals as a business?” Because if it doesn’t, walk away sister! There is a lot more content out there to be discovered.

Boss Babe Tip #1: Start by going to the discover search bar on Instagram. Type in a hashtag where the services, product or business values are relative, and from here, look at the most popular tags.

Things to Think About When Researching

  1. Personal Niche

  2. Ideal Community (target audience and their values)

  3. Location, Location, Location (this can be state, city, business, community, etc.)

Think about this: If there were a fitness GYM located in LA, CA that wanted to attract fit Millennials, they would use hashtags like #fitness, #getfit, #fitnesslifestyle, #lafitness, #lafitnesslifestyle, or my personal favorite… #lafitgirl. The funny thing is, it ACTUALLY works and people are frequently looking these hashtags up online. There are also a few guidelines as what to look for when creating a foundation, such as:

  • A research plan and implementation

  • 10-20 relevant hashtags

  • Hashtag usage on posts and stories

  • Hashtag community engagement on a regular schedule

  • Comments, likes and messages to show presence and reliability

Trust me when I say the hashtag game is no joke.

BONUS Hashtag Engagement (Most Often Missed)

When I work with clients, I am always shocked by the missed opportunities in this "follow up" realm. What this means is going on Instagram, liking and commenting on other people’s posts that have shown an interest. Ultimately, it is the engagement that really sells it for any target audience or ideal client. Knowing that a business owner/influencer is willing to communicate with them regarding their work, concerns or interests is going to seal the deal 99% of the time.

Boss Babe Tip #2: Reach out, send messages, like there images, comment on their page. This takes the relationship to the next level by showing up and being real, however, time is valuable. Use it wisely!

Still, need help?

Book a discovery call here, and I would love to help you put a strategy together that makes the most sense for you and your business.



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Thank you for your time.


Lucy Stange