Everything You Need to Know About "Hashtags" for Your Farm
The “hashtag” (#) was popularized on Twitter but is now used to group content across the internet, mainly on Instagram. Farmers often ask us, “what exactly is a hashtag?” Additionally, “why and how do I need to use them?” In this post, we’ll answer these questions and tell you all you need to know to use hashtags effectively to promote your Farm. Don’t worry—we are here to make this a simple learning process. Soon enough, using hashtags on your Farm’s Instagram business profile will become second nature.
WHAT IS IT?
Think of the hashtag as a marketing tool. You can pull it out of your toolbox when you want to accomplish a specific job—targeting customers or topic. Every time you use a hashtag within the content you share, that hashtag’s specific job is to “index” that content so it appears in specific people’s Instagram “feeds.” (A “feed,” by the way, is what Instagram calls their scrolling homepage. It is similar to Facebook’s “newsfeed.”)
When the pound sign “#” is written in front of any words, they become indexed. You’ll see that when you click on the word, it will link you to a different “place” online. We used the hashtag #ArkansasFarmer in this post on our Instagram page. If you click that hashtag, it takes you to an entire collection of photos that have been indexed with this hashtag. See what we mean? It is a tool that categorizes what people share on Instagram to group it, much like how books are grouped by category at the library. As a result, anyone with a passion for #ArkansasFarmer will see post associated with that hashtag—enabling you to target prospective customers who share a common interest or passion.
Because Instagram is a platform for sharing photos, whereas Facebook has many text-only posts, hashtags are more frequently used on Instagram. Take a look through Instagram. Notice what hashtags people you follow are using. Notice the frequency. Click a few of them and look at the collection of photos associated with that hashtag. How many photos have been indexed with that hashtag? As you begin to post more frequently to your Farm’s Instagram, you will get the hang of choosing hashtags that properly index your Farm and increase exposure to like-minded people with a passion for your Farm. Then, consumers will have an easier time discovering you and your products.
HOW DO I USE IT?
As a best practice, try using at least 3 or 4 hashtags for each post you share. Some Farmers use upwards of 30 hashtags—this is fine, as long as they are all relevant to your Farm brand and to the photo you are sharing. For instance, if you share a photo of your orchard, or your livestock, you might use the hashtag #KentuckyProud (if you were a local farmer in Kentucky)—get the picture? Once you begin to use hashtags, you’ll discover you can use common sense to succeed.
That being said, there are certain hashtags that will prove to be sharper tools than others. Whereas #Iowa already has more than 9 million photos associated with it, #DavenportIowa has around 22,000 associated photos. For a Farm in Iowa, you have a much better chance of being discovered and seen by potential customers if you are in a smaller grouping. Once a hashtag hits more than a million users, you will find it's hard to be visible to others. So, instead of #eatclean use #eatcleanfood; instead of #eatlocal use #eatlocalgrown. Aim to use words that have accumulated somewhere between 2,000 and 60,000 posts.
WHY DO I USE IT?
Now that you understand what a hashtag is and how to use them to reach specific groups of people, let’s address the elephant in the room. You are busy, and this is “one more thing.” This is why, as a final tip, we suggest choosing a list of 10-20 hashtags and sticking with those. Once you identify the hashtags that make sense for your Farm and your products, you can reuse them.
Save this group of hashtags as a note on your phone or somewhere you can “copy and paste” it quickly. That way, every time you are about to post a photo to your Instagram feed, you can reference this list and simply transfer a few of those hashtags to your post. It’s worth taking the time to do this so that more people online will see your products and visit your online store. If you are uncertain how to identify and discover the right hashtags for your Farm, or don’t have an online store yet, then we can help. At Barn2Door, we are in the business of making it easier for customers to shop from your Farm. Go ahead and request a demo with our team for assistance.
Note: If you place a link to your online store in your Instagram bio, customers who discover you and browse your page on Instagram can access your online store with one click. Given that most people spend about 4 hours every day browsing social media, this is clearly an important touchpoint for your Farm’s marketing. Remember—it’s all about staying “top-of-mind” for your customers. One way to do this is by appearing in their Instagram feeds with regularity.