When I first started using Instagram for equine marketing, I built myself a large and very engaged community of competitors. Everyone who followed me was either a social media manager or content creator. They’re wonderful, supportive women, but they didn’t grow my business.
This happened because I only used hashtags around content creation and social media management. My ideal client wasn’t hanging out in those hashtags. Once I started using the right hashtags, I built a community of horse business owners who needed help with their social media marketing.
Size Doesn’t Matter
The size of your following on Instagram is not important, how engaged your followers are, and who they are, is. You can create an engaged following that brings you clients with 1000 followers or less. You just have to use a hashtag strategy that reaches the right people.
The goal with hashtags is to show up in the top nine posts like in the photo here. When you click on a hashtag on Instagram, you can see how many posts it has. Using hashtags with too many, or too few posts ruins your reach.
When you’re first starting out, you don’t want to use hashtags that have 5 million posts, because you’re not going to hit the top nine. Make sure you’re using hashtags with under 200,000 competing posts.
There are three different types of hashtags:
- Niche Hashtags: 1,000 – 10,000 posts
- Standard Hashtags: 10,001 – 50,000 posts
- Traffic Hashtags 50,001 – 200,000 posts
Get Prepared for Equine Marketing
If you think you’re going to individually search for hashtags every time you post on Instagram, you’re crazy. You don’t have time to do that. Instead, create a pre-researched hashtag bank so all you have to do is go in and copy paste into my posts. You can grab my template in the sidebar.
Create at least five sets of 30 hashtags. Reusing hashtag sets over and over lands you in algorithm jail because Instagram assumes you are a bot. Having at least five sets solves this problem.
Use the Right Hashtags
When you create your bank, use a mix of hashtags that categorize your equine business and, target your ideal client. Don’t be like me and create an audience of competitors. You absolutely want to use a few #horsetrainer tags, but using 30 tags like #horsetrainer, #horsetrainerlife, #horsetrainerproblems means only other horse trainers will see your posts.
Use tags that your ideal clients use. For example, #horsemom, #horselover, #horsecrazy, and #trailride. It’s okay if your post doesn’t fit perfectly with your hashtag. There’s no Instagram, hashtag police. No one is going to be mad if you use the tag #horsemom and you are obviously a horse trainer.
The goal is creating content that speaks to your ideal client. If you’re talking about trailer loading, and you use the tag #horsemom, any horse mom out there who’s struggling with trailer loading is going to resonate with that post, even if you’re not a horse Mom.
Engage with Your Tags
Interact with the hashtags that you use. Each hashtag is a community, and the more you engage in those communities, the more you become known within them. Every time you post, spend 15 minutes engaging in your hashtag communities.
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