How do I get my business noticed online? How can I create an engaged social media audience? How do I convert website visitors and social media followers into customers? What hashtags should I be using? Are Google ads a good investment?

I'm Sydney Chakalos, a marketing nerd and small business owner with a passion for helping other small business owners grow their business using effective online marketing strategies on any budget.

Learn how to create and implement a marketing strategy that strengthens relationships with your audience and increases your bottom line. We'll cover topics around social media, email, Google ads, branding, and websites. Building your brand is a marathon and I'm here to help you win the race.


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Marketing Your Local Business Online Podcast

Social Media



Social Media

5 Ways to Win at Hashtags

If you’re marketing your business on Instagram, it’s important that you have a solid hashtag strategy in place. Hashtags help your content go further by reaching new people that may not be following your account. There are infinite hashtags you could use, so keep reading to learn more about how to choose the right ones and up your hashtag game!

Research Quality Hashtags

The hashtags you choose matter and should be relevant to your post, your business, and your ideal client. Take some time to do hashtag research. Search hashtags and see what kinds of posts come up for that hashtag. Does the content look like it fits your business and the people you want to reach or is it showing posts for something completely different than what you had in mind when you chose the hashtag? You can start generating ideas for hashtags to use by researching the hashtags your competitors and ideal clients are using for their content.

*Fun Fact: There is actually a list of banned hashtags on Instagram and using them can hurt your reach. Make sure the hashtags you’re using aren’t on that list. You can find a compiled list quickly by conducting a quick Google search.

Don’t Use the Same Hashtags Repeatedly

Switch up the hashtags you are using with each post. This doesn’t mean that there can’t be overlap with hashtags that you’ve used before. It simply means don’t copy and paste your hashtags from another post without changing it up every once and a while. If you’re using the same set of hashtags repeatedly, Instagram may think you are a bot (fake) account and it will hurt your reach. Start building a library that you can turn to when you need hashtags to choose for your posts.

Use More Hashtags

Instagram allows for you to use up to 30 hashtags on your post and 10 hashtags on your story. Using more hashtags can help increase your reach. I get asked a lot about how many hashtags you should use. Personally, I like to maximize my reach and use all 30. However, if coming up with 30 hashtags sounds intimidating. Start with a smaller number like 10, and as your library of hashtags grows, start to increase how many you use.

Use Niche Hashtags

A hashtag being used more times, does not mean it is the best hashtag to use. In fact, the more niche the better. When you search a hashtag on Instagram, it will tell you the number of times that the hashtag has been used. For example, if a hashtag has been used over 1 million times that means it will be harder for your post to be seen on that particular hashtag. Instead aim for most of your hashtags to have between 5K-250K uses to increase the likelihood of more eyes on your content.

Identify What Your Target Customer Is Searching For

Instagram can be used like a search engine. Think about what your ideal client could be searching for to find the services or products that you provide. A few examples, #socialmediamanager, #mindsetcoach, #happybirthdaytshirts, #farmtotablerestaurant. Make sure you’re identifying what you do in a few of your hashtags.

*Bonus Tip! Create a Branded Hashtag

Create a hashtag for your business and encourage your customers to use it too! You can easily search for people sharing about your business on Instagram and reshare how much people love your products or services.


Now go out and rock your hashtag game! If you’re still feeling stuck or in need of a social media strategy session to up your social media presence, sign up for a 1:1 strategy session with me here.

meet sydney

Strategist. coach. educator.

get to know me

Hi friends! My name is Sydney, founder of Marathon Marketing & Branding, and I’m so happy you’re here! As you might have guessed, I am an avid runner, which allows me to have more of that pinot and pasta in life. Running long-distance is all about training, endurance, and consistency. I realized that these same traits are directly applicable to social media marketing as well.