Hashtags were ALLLLLL the rage for maybe two years. Are they still in? Do we still need to use them?
Get the scoop below.👇
But, before we get into it. Question for ya… When was the last time YOU searched hashtags on Instagram? 🦗
If you’re an avid Pet Marketing Unleashed follower, you may have read our previous blog post on Hashtags, ‘Instagram Hashtag Tips and Tricks for The Pet Industry’ that we posted back in 2019. And while the premise behind them remains pretttttty accurate, the importance of using them to the extent people do has dwindled significantly.
And if you don’t believe me, hear from the big dogs at Instagram itself! Back in September of 2022, Adam Mosseri (head of IG!) shared that adding the full 30 hashtags to your Instagram post ‘doesn’t actually help you reach more people.’ SAY WHAT?! Listen to his short video and hear it for yourself.
On top of that, the wonderful Instagram Creators account shared some hashtag tips we’d love to pass on to you:
Keep the number of hashtags between 3-5
Use specific, relevant hashtags
Don’t use overly generic hashtags - if there are too many people using that hashtag, it’ll be gone before anyone can even find your post!
They followed it up with this main takeaway: “Think of a hashtag as a tool that provides context about your post and supports delivering content to people who are interested in a particular topic.”
This is a bit wild, considering hashtags were talked about ALL. THE. TIME. when people talked about social media. But… honestly, we ain’t mad about it. In fact, it’s one thing we can take off our plate, am I right?!
Something else that’s changed about Instagram majorly since 2020 is the way people can search for content! No longer is it JUST your username and Instagram name that are searchable. Your entire bio and captions are now searchable. Instagram is slowly transitioning to more of a search engine, so make sure you're using organic keywords in your captions (and if you're using hashtags, that you’re placing them IN your caption and not in the comments).
Even if you’re not using hashtags as a way to search for content, we younger folks are using Instagram to search for things instead of Google, especially when it comes to products and services near us. If you’re not a Millennial or younger, ask any of your friends or family in that age range how they find the best local spots when traveling. Is it Google or is it Instagram? Most likely… Instagram! (even if they end up using both, it’s still important to show up in the results for Instagram).
If you want to learn more about how search results work, I recommend reading through one of our search engine optimization (SEO) blog posts as it’s much more similar to that method of creating content:
Something to note: This may differ slightly by industry. For example, travel or recipe-related content may be something people can find more easily with hashtags. And while I did find my elopement photographer by searching hashtags on Instagram, now one can simply search for “elopement photographer Joshua Tree” on Instagram without ONLY looking at hashtags! The results that will pop up will come from captions, locations, AND bios.
Biggest takeaways for those busy pet business owners who need to skim this post:
And first, here’s the biggest one: Don’t stress about hashtags. Take this ONE thing off your plate! It’s not as important as your caption, especially now.
Use only 3-5 relevant, specific hashtags.
Don’t use hashtags with millions of views - Your post won’t show up in the results that way. It’ll be gone too fast for anyone to see.
Only use hashtags IN your caption (NOT the comments!)
Learn a bit about how SEO works, and apply that to your Instagram captions.
Be mindful of keywords in your caption, username and name, and bio. These things ALL need to be related to what you do/offer so that people are more likely to find you. For example, if you’re a pet sitter, make sure your bio includes what you do and where you’re located.
Who else is happy to rid themselves of the stress of hashtag creation?! We sure are! 🙋♀️
Happy pet biz growth to you my friend! You’ve got this! 💪