The key to higher visibility and more online sales via social media is finding the best Instagram hashtags for YOUR skin care business.
Your business mission is unique. Your product line is unique. Your audience is unique.
That means you can’t expect great results by copy/pasting someone else’s Instagram hashtag list or completely deferring to the ‘Top 50 Most Popular Hashtags of All Time’.
This post will walk you through the ins and outs of finding hashtags for Instagram posts that are tailor-fit to YOUR specific business and will get you seen by YOUR ideal target market.
CLARIFYING YOUR PURPOSE
Before we can begin to compile possible Instagram hashtags for you, we have to be crystal clear on the actual PURPOSE of your account.
Sounds obvious, I’m sure. Most business owners want the same things: more followers, more sales, more engagement over all.
But those ‘things’ come the easiest by having a foundation that guides the content you share and the hashtags you use.
KNOW YOUR TARGET MARKET
If you haven’t set a target market for your skin care business, do not pass go.
Take the time to create your ideal customer avatar.
You need to know exactly who you’re selling to, what their needs are, and why they’re following you/buying from you in the first place.
A retired engineer and a vintage-grunge college student are going to have very different sets of accounts that they follow: different information, different hashtags, different imagery, etc.
Your target market should 100% guide the overall goal of your Instagram account (as well as every other business decision).
KNOW YOUR INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT GOALS
So how does a target market help to set an account goal?
Consider that it takes an average of seven times of seeing a product before an individual decides to purchase it.
This means that posting a photo of your soap, adding a caption that says ‘Buy This Yummy-Smelling Bar’, and then expecting the sales to roll in from new followers is not realistic (…don’t shoot the messenger).
And that means we need to be writing content for our current followers (our ideal TARGET MARKET) to stay top-of-mind for when it IS time for them to make a purchase.
They don’t want to be seeing sales pitches all the time (and will unfollow quickly if they do)…they want actual VALUE from you on the regular.
I have seen very effective use of the following ‘account goals’:
⭐️ Showing the behind-the-scenes work of your business to build the like/know/trust factor
⭐️ Educating an audience about ingredients, how to use products, etc. to become an AUTHORITY and go-to account for all things skin care
⭐️ Branching way out to create an account that embodies a lifestyle (ex: natural living account that covers holistic skin care, yoga, healthy diet, etc.)
No matter your plan of attack, by clarifying the overall goal of your account that supports your current followers, content will be easier to come up with, posts will be so much easier to write, and you’ll simultaneously be creating a brand experience for your cherry-picked audience.
HOW MANY INSTAGRAM HASHTAGS TO RESEARCH?
If you’re wondering about the exact number of hashtags you need, my answer is: MORE.
This entire exercise isn’t meant to give you hashtag ideas for ONE post.
It’s meant to give you slammin’ researched hashtags for an entire QUARTER (or even a YEAR) – put in the work now for a much smaller workload later.
- you should be using the maximum allotment of 30 Instagram hashtags per post…
- you do NOT want to be using the same hashtags over and over again…
…that puts us at needing HUNDREDS of usable hashtags for our accounts to use over a long span of time.
A WORD ABOUT “POPULAR SKIN CARE HASHTAGS” LISTS
If you’ve found yourself to this article, I’m sure you’ve also come across the various ‘popular skin care hashtag lists’ or ‘top hashtag lists for beauty accounts’.
I’m also sure you’re wondering why we can’t just look up one of those lists, pick out the best hashtags for your skin care business, and then quickly add them to our posts because ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’.
Here’s the problem with that:
The words ‘popular’ and ‘top’ also mean HEAVILY USED.
Let’s look at an example.
This website is showing a list of hashtags they recommend using to ‘get popular and boost your view’.
Let’s type #exfoliate (the first hashtag they recommend) into Instagram and see what comes up:
It’s not a lie. The exfoliate hashtag is indeed popular!
So popular, in fact, that over ONE MILLION posts have used it (the number under the hashtag in the image above).
If you add that hashtag onto one of your posts right now, the likelihood of many (many) other accounts using it as well is very (very) likely.
This means that your post is getting pushed down further and further as the seconds tick away.
It would be the same as never adding that hashtag at all, which is a wasted opportunity.
Do you see why ‘popular’ doesn’t necessarily equal ‘view boosting’?
THE 5K – 500K SWEET SPOT
As we go through the methods below to find the best Instagram hashtags for YOUR skin care business, we are looking for words that have between 5,000 and 500,000 posts.
The lower limit of 5,000 lets us know that a word is popular enough that people are actually searching for it. Any less than that and you won’t have much (if any) traffic at all.
The upper limit of 500,000 means that the hashtag IS very popular, but you may have a fighting chance of floating on top of the recent posts for a bit.
Any hashtag that we see in our research below that is outside of the ‘Sweet Spot’ (5k – 500k posts) is going to be INVISIBLE to us.
CREATE HASHTAG CATEGORIES
With our target market and overall goals/brand experience in mind, we’re going to start brainstorming some categories and words (no hashtags yet!) that our customer avatar would be interested in and searching for on Instagram.
On a piece of paper, create a table for your ideas – room to list several categories across the top and plenty of space for words/phrases underneath each one.
In the examples below, I will be using the ‘New Crunchy Mommy’ as the target market for my all-natural skin care business.
Write down all of the products that are in your skin care line:
- lip balm, tinted lip balm, belly balm, nursing balm, body oil, facial serum, under eye cream, aromatherapy rollers, milk baths, face masks, etc.
Write down the ingredients you use to create your skin care products:
- beeswax, shea butter, coconut oil, essential oils, mango butter, marshmallow root, avocado oil, jojoba oil, activated charcoal, goats milk, rosehip oil, vitamin e, etc.
Many individuals that support small handmade businesses also like to shop local when they can. Adding a few mentions of your city and state is incredibly beneficial.
Don’t forget to include any common spellings or location ‘nicknames’:
- St. Louis, Saint Louis, STL, The Lou, STLMO, etc.
Write down all of the identifiers of your customer avatar: demographics, psychographics, interests, voice, etc. Include trending words in your niche.
- crunchy, natural living, new mom, stay-at-home-mom, fourth trimester, yoga, hiking, mom life, meal planning, nap time, mom bun, etc.
The categories above are to give us some hashtag research ideas to start with – come up with as many topics and words as you can!
HOW TO FIND THE BEST SKIN CARE INSTAGRAM HASHTAGS
Next, we’re going to use your category words in five easy methods of finding the best Instagram hashtags for your skin care business.
We’ll be coming up with a LOT, so make sure you have plenty of paper to continue adding to the same chart you did before or create a quick Excel spreadsheet or Google Sheet.
For every hashtag you write down, be sure to also record the number of posts it’s been used in (this is the number that comes up when you type the hashtag in the search bar on Instagram).
Remember, we are only keeping hashtags that have between 5,000 and 500,000 posts.
METHOD 1: SEARCH YOUR CATEGORY LISTS
- Grab the category lists you made earlier and go to www.instagram.com or your phone app.
- In the search bar at the top, type in #(first word on your list with no spaces).
- For our example, I’ll use ‘lip balm’ (#lipbalm).
- As you can see in the image below, the actual lip balm hashtag (#lipbalm) has WAY too many posts for us to even consider using it (2.5 MILLION).
- However, it did populate MANY more hashtags that ARE within our Sweet Spot (high visibility range).
- Write down all of the hashtag recommendations between 5k – 500k that WOULD MAKE SENSE FOR YOUR TARGET MARKET (*write down the number of posts next to it on your chart).
- The circled examples in the photo are just the VERY tip of the iceberg. Instagram Search generated DOZENS of ideas within our range.
- Repeat this method for every word on your category lists.
METHOD 2: SEARCH POPULAR POSTS
- Next, we’re going to find hashtag ideas from popular posts that have a lot of views (if it’s a video) or a lot of likes (if it’s a photo).
- You can discover popular posts by searching with words from your category lists or new hashtags that you found in Method 1 above.
- Once you find a popular post (that appears it would have hashtags geared towards your target market), open it fully to find the hashtags either in the caption or in the comments.
- You’ll be able to tell immediately that some of the popular post’s hashtags will work for you, and some won’t (you’ll have different target markets, after all) – simply right click the hashtag to open it in another tab and see the number of posts it has been used in.
- Just as in Method 1, keep all of the hashtags that have between 5k – 500k posts and make sense for your target market (don’t forget to write down all of the suggestions underneath the main hashtag you search).
METHOD 3: HASHTAG LISTS FROM INDUSTRY LEADERS
- You can also search for possible hashtags by referencing accounts that are big in our industry.
- Accounts are found on Instagram by using the same search bar but using an ‘@’ sign instead of a ‘#’ sign.
- For example, typing @burtsbees in the search bar will pull up Burt’s Bees® Instagram account, but typing #burtsbees will pull up all posts from every Instagram user that has used that hashtag. Understand the difference?
- Find a post that would speak to your target market, just as we did in Method 2. Right click or open a new tab to research the hashtags they used and write down any that fall within our desired 5k – 500k range.
- A word of caution with this method. Industry leaders don’t necessarily have to have good hashtag strategy to be seen on Instagram. People are following them because they’re already so well known.
- As you can see in the example below, this post received over two thousand likes in less than an hour. They used FAR less than the 30 hashtags we want to use. Three of their hashtags have over a million posts. One hashtag has less than five hundred posts. This works fine for them because of their already HUGE visibility. This won’t work fine for small indie skin care accounts.
METHOD 4: PEER HASHTAG LISTS
- My absolute FAVORITE way to find the BEST Instagram hashtags for skin care businesses is by looking at other small handmade accounts. Our peers. Our fellow makers on a similar mission.
- No, this isn’t stealing or cheating, because we all have different product lines, different target markets, and different account goals!
- Scroll through this post on social media prompt ideas for fantastic peer Instagram users in our industry.
- Do the same exact steps as you did in Method 2 (but you’ll probably need a LOT more paper for all of the ideas you’ll find).
METHOD 5: SEARCH HASHTAG GENERATORS
- Saving this one for last…on purpose. If you recall, I said at the very beginning of this post that copying ‘popular hashtag lists’ will get you nowhere. And that is absolutely true.
- But that doesn’t means we can’t use them as INSPIRATION for further digging.
- Grab one of those ‘Top 100 Hashtags’ lists or Google ‘free hashtag generator’ and type in words that you came up with for your category lists.
- Just as you did with the other methods, pick out the hashtags that seem to jive well with your skin care target market and pop them into the Instagram search bar to see if they fall within the 5k – 500k Sweet Spot.
- It is possible that none of the words that are populated in the generators are in our Sweet Spot, but keep your eye out for those amazing finds that appear under the main keyword you search for.
This exercise should have landed you with hundreds of Instagram hashtags that are perfect for your unique skin care business and target audience.
There is literally no end to the amount of research you can do, so it’s up to you to say ‘WHEN’.
I personally do new hashtag research a couple of times a year – if you feel your engagement and growth start to plateau, do a little hashtag refresh.
And remember to keep those charts and spreadsheets readily available – you never know when inspiration will strike!