When the first hashtag was used way back in 2007 by Twitter user Chris Messina, the intention was to groups tweets together.
These days, people say “hashtag”; it has become such a widely-used symbol that it’s now part many people’s vernacular.
But the humble hashtag still has a purpose, which is indeed to group together similar pieces of content. And when it comes to Instagram, it’s one of the best ways to get your business noticed.
This is particularly the case if you’re running a bar.
Well, firstly, it doesn’t. If you’re running a bar that already has a healthy influx of new and return customers, you’re doing something right.
But if you have a feeling there’s a wider audience out there that is missing out, big time, on what your bar has to offer, Instagram hashtags could put your business right in front of their eyes.
Today’s hashtags aren’t any different to those that first appeared in the late 2000s. They’re designed to group together tweets and Instagram posts and help marketers target their content towards the right audience.
For your bar, a hashtag is a free piece of targeted advertising. This is rare in a world that is full of pay-to-play social networks.
You just need to find the best platform on which to use them.
Try this experiment:
- Come up with a social posting for your restaurant that features a photo - a snap of the team and confirmation that you’re open for business, for instance.
- Brainstorm three or four hashtags that relate to the photo.
- Post the exact same piece of content on both Twitter and Instagram.
Give it a day or so, and then have a look at how each piece of content performed. You’ll almost certainly find that the tweet sank without trace, while the Instagram post gained a like or two, and possibly drew in a couple of new followers, too.
Instagram hashtags work brilliantly when you get them right. Sure, they bring in the odd bot or follower who will never physically become a customer, but they still help you build your influence online.
With that in mind, let’s get straight to our favourite Instagram hashtags for bars.
Some of the following hashtags are obvious. Others are seemingly unconnected to bar culture, but they’re all usable in the right setting.
What’s your favourite?
Promotions, contests and competitions are hugely important for bars, and one of the best ways to get maximum buy-in and participation from your audience is to rely on hashtags.
By attaching one (or several) of the following hashtags to your bar’s competition or contest, you should find that far more people get involved.
Quick tips for bar Instagram posts
So, we’ve now got a bunch of hashtags you can use for your bar.
But what sort of content should you post? After all, an Instagram hashtag is nothing without the right content sitting above it.
Here are some quick-fire tips for posting on Instagram if you’re running a bar or pub.
Avoid looking like an ad. Instagram users are savvy - they can spot an advert a mile off. It’s why you need to make sure your content is as non-ad-like as possible. You can do this by taking natural photos (the more rough and ready the better), and avoiding using too many hashtags or overly long descriptions. Create content you’d want to see.
Think beyond the photo. Instagram is indeed a photo sharing social media platform, but you need to think beyond the photo. What’s the story behind the image? How can you spice it up with a sentence or two? Only post if you have something to say that is of benefit to your audience.
Feature the team. Providing they’re happy for you to do so, featuring the team is one of the best ways to add personality to your Instagram persona. Feature them each week by snapping away while they’re working, or running mini interviews with them behind-the-scenes. You’ll find that this content will probably perform the best.
Engage! Don’t forget to engage with your audience. If you get the content and use of hashtags right, you should find you receive lots more engagement on Instagram; this is where the magic happens, so make sure you get involved.
You’ve probably got one lingering question on your mind: how often should your bar post on Instagram?
The answer is simple: whenever it feels right to do so! There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to how often you should post on Instagram.
Too much, and you’ll irritate your audience. Too little, and they’ll forget you exist. The sweet spot arrives when you only post when there’s a story to tell; the rhythm should therefore come naturally.
Whatever you do with your Instagram hashtags, remember the golden rule: experiment and have fun. The feedback you can gain from Instagram analytics will give you all the insight you need and help you pick the best hashtags for the future.