Hashtags… or as your parents would say: the pound key. They are so easy to use and yet so often misused!

I’m here to clear that shit up for you.

There are three types of hashtags that you should care about:

  • Mass Hashtags: These are hashtags that have over 1 million posts to them. Your post will get buried very quickly if you use these types of hashtags, so I don’t find them to be useful on posts, but they can be useful in your stories.
  • Examples: #wine #beer #winetasting #craftbeer #winelover #beerporn
  • Niche Hashtags: These are hashtags with less than 500k posts to them. Your post is less likely to get buried under these hashtags and if you use the right ones, your ideal customer is likely searching for or following them.
  • Examples: #wineandfood #womeninwine #homebrewer #craftbrewery
  • Local Hashtags: These are hashtags that your ideal customer will likely post under when visiting an area and is where you should be posting if you want to get local business.
  • Examples: #santabarbarawinecountry #visitsyv #seeSB #SanLuisObispo #SLOlife #PasoWine

And here are the three ways you should be using these hashtags on Instagram:

  • In your Post: Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags per post and you can place them in the caption for your post and/or in the comments of the post. I personally find that using between 7-12 hashtags is sufficient, but if you want to post 30, then you do you. Use Niche Hashtags and Local Hashtags in your posts.
  • In your Stories: More and more people are discovering new accounts by searching for stories. I recommend using Mass Hashtags in your stories in order to get a wider reach. But you can also use local and niche hashtags. 
  • To engage with: I recommend searching local and niche hashtags and engaging with (read: liking and commenting on) at least ten posts per day. I would also recommend following a few local and niche hashtags to make this engaging a little easier. Some of my favorite hashtags to follow are: #santabarbarawinecountry #womeninwine #winesocial #beerphotography

Heather Daenitz is the founder and photographer of Craft & Cluster, a wine & beer photography and social media marketing company based in Santa Barbara County, California.

When she isn't photographing and assisting wineries and breweries with their social media, Heather can be found hanging out with her husband, two dogs, and three chickens in their backyard garden.