Welcome to the Marketing in the Wild podcast. I’m Julia from Stratos Creative Marketing, where we are obsessed with finding real-life examples of the good, the bad, and sometimes wild, in marketing.

Hashtags; you may have questions, and I know a lot of other people do too, and that’s okay. A lot of things have changed over the years since hashtags first became a thing. But there are some things that are pretty foundational that have stayed the same. And so today, we’re going to talk about hashtags. The reason that this is top of mind is because I actually had a recent need to look through them. One thing that people will do is they’ll use hashtags to try to find somebody that they want to connect with on Instagram, especially. So for example, my husband and I were just watching the Drink Master show on Netflix, we loved it. How somebody can spend like two to three hours creating a drink is beyond me. I thought that by watching the show, we would be really inspired to make some new fancy cocktails. But halfway through the first episode, I was like, “I’m never going to make any of these because they’re so complicated.” But it was a fun show to watch. People are so dang creative. 

So halfway through the show, my husband, who very rarely wants anything for his birthday, and actually isn’t a birthday person, I’m the birthday person of the two of us, and he looked over to me, he’s like, “You know what would be fun? It would be fun to have a mixology class for our friends for my birthday.” I was like, well, I better get on this. And so, this is the thing though, is if you know anything about Utah, Utah has weird laws around drinking, a weird culture around drinking. I can get into it more one-on-one if you would like, but Utah is very different than the rest of the United States, especially where I come from, which is Wisconsin, which if you don’t have alcohol at your party, then you’re a weirdo. I started looking up and googling mixology classes, or mixologist for hire. Literally, nothing is coming up. It is like bartenders who you can “rent” for your venue or for your wedding. There was one website that was mixology classes, but it’s basically in every city except for Salt Lake City, so that wasn’t going to work. And I am looking through – Like you know when you first search something, usually you just stay on the first page of Google, I’m on page five trying to dig through using all of these different keywords. 

And so, that’s the problem, is I’m not finding a mixology class, not just a bartender for rent, but somebody who would walk us through how to make one. So I’m like, “Well, this is not going to work.” And so, I start thinking, are there virtual classes that we could take, or what would we do? And so, then I was like, well, you know what, that’s something that would be on Instagram. So let me go to Instagram. So I start searching #mixologistSLC, #SaltLakeCityMixology. Also guys, nothing is coming up. I’m like, what in the world? This is where I would find it. That’s how I found our photographer for our wedding, Florida photographers, that’s also how I found our videographer for our wedding. This is not something that shouldn’t work, it should work. You should be able to look up some hashtags and find somebody who’s in the biz. 

And so, I am getting really frustrated at this point, but then I noticed, I think I was on #mixologySLC, and there is a graphic. I opened up that graphic, because at this point, I’m desperate, but it was a nonprofit who had posted the graphic. I started reading this graphic, and it says that they’re having a mixology fundraiser led by so and so from this business. Guys, that is what I was looking for. And so then I look up this business, and it is exactly what I want. They do mixology classes, you can pay per person, and they give a history of the drink that you’re learning, you can add more drinks onto it. Like it’s not just like oh, a bartender to rent for your birthday. Exactly what I wanted. Guys, this is the part. This is the part that makes me so mad. This person had an Instagram account, and they were not using any hashtags on any of their posts. So how did I find them? I found them through a hashtag on a nonprofit’s page, who happened to be doing a partnered fundraiser, two years ago, mind you, and I found that post. And so, this is why I have been thinking about hashtags. This is the definition of marketing in the wild; how are we using marketing in the real world to support our businesses?

Guys, I hate to interrupt this podcast, but I want to share a quick message about a resource we have here at Stratos for you. 

Hey, this is Bryce Shockley from Stratos. If you’re DIYing your website, you’re going to want this freebie. Our website layout worksheet is exactly that, a worksheet to help you lay out your website. Create a webpage that draws your customers into a story while selling your goods and services. You’ll find a free copy of the worksheet at marketinginthewildpodcast.com/freebies, https://marketinginthewildpodcast.com/freebies

At first, I was just going to leave it up there, and just rant about the importance of hashtags. We recently went over our hashtag SOP within our own company, and so I wanted to share some of the tips that we use to find hashtags. One of the biggest common questions around hashtags is how many do we need? Instagram lets you use up to 30. And for the purposes of this episode, we’re going to be talking mainly about Instagram, but you can totally use them on LinkedIn. You should, in fact, be using them on LinkedIn, Tiktok. You can technically use them on Facebook, but Facebook’s use of them is in and out. They worked for a while, then they stopped working, now they’re working again. But Instagram, it is an important, important thing. 

So how many to use? You can use up to 30, but you don’t have to. The one reason I normally don’t recommend using 30 is that then your post starts feeling cluttered. I usually try to find between five and 15 perfect hashtags. And so, how do you find them? Next question. You can go onto your Instagram app, and in the search bar, you put a hashtag, which is a pound sign, and then the words afterwards. You don’t want to use spaces, and that is how you can find a hashtag. If you click on that hashtag, it will show you all of the posts that have used that hashtag. You’ll see top posts and recent posts. Top posts are the ones that have gotten the most engagement, most likes under that hashtag, and then the recent posts are posts that were obviously most recently used. And so when you research it, you’ll see how many posts have used that hashtag. Usually, my sweet spot is I like to find hashtags that have been used between 50 and 250,000. This shows to me that it’s not overused with a million or 500 plus thousand, and it’s not so niche that it’s like 1,000. 50 to 250,000. Because this is the thing, is we want it to be used enough that people are using it. 

We know that 50,000 to 250,000 people have seen these or are using it, so it’s being used, but it’s not so many like a million, that yours is going to be like a drop in the bucket and nobody’s going to see it. Here are the exceptions to that rule, is if you have a perfect hashtag that is under or over, use it. So it’s very subjective, but if you have something that is a perfect one – And even, I have a friend who used one that was so niche, like #marketingforchiropractors. If that is your sweet spot, marketing for chiropractors, the only people using that hashtag will be the marketers or the chiropractors. And so, use that knowing like, hey, even if there’s like 1,000 or less, if somebody searches this, I’m going to be in my prime spot. So that’s the thing. Also, think of, what are the people searching? 

Let’s think about, we have a client who does business coaching. So instead of searching #businesscoach, while you could do that, that would be a good one, somebody might search it. Maybe put something like #businesstipsformarketers. I can put #StoryBrandCertified as a hashtag, and people who are familiar with that will know StoryBrand is the kind of marketer I want, but I should also be putting social media tips or storytelling, things that people will be searching even if they don’t know what I am doing specifically. So those are a few things to think about. The other thing, practically, that we like to do is we’ll search for 50 to 70 at a time, but then we’ll make categories. So if you are using social media, you probably have content buckets. If you don’t, you should do this, it’ll make your life so much easier. But have content buckets, like say we’re having a parenting company, and well, this one in particular is a consignment company for kids’ clothing. And so, you might have company-specific ones with their name, but you also might have kids’ consignment category, like what is it like to save money on your kids, donate your clothing, get money back for your clothing. Also, maybe you also have something that’s budget-related, and so that’s a category that you’re going to post about to help families do budget-friendly things.

And so, what I would do is I would search 50 to 70 hashtags ahead of time, and then add them to categories, so that when you are like, okay, I wrote a budget-friendly post, maybe it’s not exactly about clothes and consignment, but it’s about shopping on a budget or living on a budget, then you can copy and paste your hashtags that are about your budget-friendly posts, and use just those, rather than having to sift through them. I like to have them on my phone in my notepad, so I can just copy and paste them real quick, rather than typing them out again. Those are some principles that we do. 

A couple random things, if you’re a brick and mortar, or operate out of one location, use location hashtags. So just like I was looking up Salt Lake City mixologist, I can’t use a mixologist from Seattle for my husband’s birthday party. So I’m not looking for mixologists at large, I’m looking for SLC mixology. So especially if you serve one location, and don’t have an online component to your business, use location hashtags. They work really, really well. Another random fact is make sure you look at the hashtags. For a while, we had a hashtag. It was a very general one, like #reallife, or something like that. I can’t remember. Or #behindthescenes, or something like that. Look those up, they’re probably totally fine. But it was a very general hashtag that you could use, and our client was like, “When I look at the hashtag, there’s a bunch of people who are dressed very promiscuously.” Like they were dressed not great. And it was very clearly being used by people who were in an industry that our client did not want to be related to, to put it loosely. 
So make sure you are looking into it a little bit to make sure that, hey, I’m not coming up with a bunch of nudes. And so make sure that you research them, make sure that you look through them a little bit to know how many people are using them, but also to make sure that this is a category that you want to show up in. So those are a few of our little random anecdotes about hashtags. Hopefully, this is helpful. Like I said, if you’re not using hashtags, get on it. There are people like me who might be looking through their favorite search engine like Instagram, which is not known as a search engine, but it is becoming one. And so, make sure you’re using hashtags so that you can show up where your people are looking for you. If you have any more questions about hashtags, either email them to me at julia@stratoscreativemarketing.com, or come over and visit us on our Instagram page, and let us know what questions you might have. Well guys, I will be here next week, and I hope that you will be too.

Friends, thanks for tuning into this week’s podcast episode. I am so glad that you have, if you’ve enjoyed it as much as we have, I just ask you to subscribe so you know each time we have a new episode coming out. If you loved our podcast and want to give us a rating or a review, I promise we will read each and every one of them. A special shout out to our friend, Carson Childers, who is producing our podcast. We really appreciate him and all the hard work that he’s done for us.

Also, thanks to the Stratos team. They have been behind the scenes doing all of the graphic design, brainstorming, et cetera, et cetera. Really, this wouldn’t be possible without them. I’m thankful for each and every one of you guys. Lastly, listener, we’ll be back next week and I hope you will be too.