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  • Mary Delicate

Using Hashtags for Marketing Food Locally

Below I share tips for using hashtags on Instagram to reach new customers. Farms and farmers markets can take a few easy steps to broaden their reach.

I also include lists of hashtags that can help you reach different audience segments. Just remember, your focus may be on farms and farmers markets but your ideal customers may not even think to look at those hashtags. They're looking at hashtags around meal prepping, whole 30 diets, clean eating and zero waste living. Put yourself in their shoes and update your hashtags.

Hashtags are very useful on Instagram. They are words or phrases that become clickable when you add a “#” without any spaces. Hashtags help people find your posts. So, if you want to attract more followers – definitely use hashtags!

You can think of hashtags as labels that categorize all of the content on Instagram. They also let Instagram know what is in your photo and who you are trying to reach.

Where do I put the hashtags?

I like to add hashtags in the first comment under my post. Some people like to put them in their caption. I think it looks better and less distracting to put them in the first comment. However, I have not seen any consistent research proving one way is better than the other. It’s up to you.

How many hashtags do I use?

Instagram has set 30 as the maximum number of hashtags you can use on an individual post. That’s 30 different ways people can find your post. That’s why I say go ahead and use up to 30 as long as they are relevant to your content. Being relevant is the key here. Do not use a super popular hashtag if it has nothing to do with your content.

I encourage you to mix up the hashtags you use – don’t use all of the same ones over and over.

How do I remember all of those hashtags?

I create lists of 20 – 30 hashtags and keep them in the notes app on my phone. All I have to do is copy a list and paste it into a comment after I make a post. This is so much easier than trying to come up with them on the fly! I add hashtags to my notes as I find them – usually after seeing someone else use them.

Which hashtags do I use?

Use hashtags that are relevant to your post and that are relevant to the people you are trying to reach.

Go heavy on your local and regional hashtags

Definitely make use of any local or regional food, farm and market hashtags that are popular in your area.

In Virginia for example, Lynchburg has #lynchburgisforlocavores and the state has #virginiagrown. We also have #loveva for tourism and #vafarmersmarkets for the state’s farmers markets.

Farmers markets often have their own hashtag. If you sell through a market, follow their hashtag and use it! This will help you connect with the people who shop there.

If there is an active chapter of Buy Fresh Buy Local or Slow Food in your area, check to see if they have specific hashtags for your region.

Use hashtags that reflect your customers’ interests

Think about who you are trying to reach – who are your best customers? Why do they buy your products? Who else shops for local food in your area? Think about the topics that interest them. What hashtags do the foodies and influencers in your area use?

You likely want to connect with people who are ...

  • home cooks, chefs and serious foodies

  • environmentally conscious

  • concerned with animal welfare

  • farmers market shoppers

  • interested in clean eating and whole food diets

  • living with food allergies or illnesses requiring restricted meal plans

  • motivated to conserve farmland

Hashtags to Reach Your Target Audience

Below are hashtags that can help you connect with these different groups. Use a mix of your local and regional hashtags with a handful of these nationally oriented tags.

Create your targeted lists of hashtags and keep them in the notes app on your phone. That way you can copy and paste them into Instagram.

Farmers Markets and Local Food

Home Cooks, Chefs and Foodies

Health Minded, Clean Eating & Specific Diets

Environment, Low Waste, Animal Welfare

About Mary Delicate

Since 2009 Mary has used her marketing, research and web design skills to promote local food in Virginia. She creates websites, newsletters, blog posts and social media all to spread the word about local farms and farmers markets.


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