Every month, the pet care industry celebrates an array of pet-related holidays and awareness initiatives—which gives your veterinary practice some awesome opportunities for client education. What better way to spread the word on pet health than through using hashtags (#) on social media?
Chances are, you’ve seen hashtags in action—or maybe even used them—on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. These useful symbols act like an online tag that labels your content under specific topics to make it easier to find.
Whether you’re unclear on the world of hashtags or simply looking for a refresh, we’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to rock the hashtag game and expand the reach of your educational content.

Why should you use hashtags?

Hashtags may look redundant but when used properly they can help your veterinary content get seen by more pet owners so your practice can help more pets. Hashtags are also great for boosting engagement because they invite your clients to join important conversations about pet health and well-being.
Let’s say you’re launching a heartworm campaign to encourage heart health in pets and you post an educational meme captioned with #AmericanHeartMonth. Not only does this hashtag encourage your clients to ask questions and book appointments, it also broadens your reach for client acquisition too.

How do you find effective hashtags?

In order to reach the right audience, you’ll need to do a bit of research to learn what keywords and phrases pet owners are likely to search.
Start by checking out the social accounts of other local practices to see what types of topics they’re covering and which respective hashtags work best for them. While you want to avoid copying their strategy, it helps to get a general sense of how pet owners are thinking.
Hashtag monitoring tools like hashtagify.me are another useful way to check out popular hashtags for certain topics, so if you have an idea for a post, you can always plug in the topic to find related and proven successful hashtags.

What are some popular hashtags you can use?

Speaking of the most successful hashtags, there are some failsafe types known to improve engagement on a daily basis—like these hashtags for every day of the week. These include fun, pet-related choices like #MeowMonday or #BigDogSunday and educational options like #TuesdayTip or #WednesdayWisdom.
There are also plenty of holiday, seasonal, and charity-related hashtags that you and your clients will enjoy. Feel free to experiment with different hashtags when referring to specific pet species and breeds too, so you can expand your reach to a wider variety of pet owners.

How many hashtags should you use per post?

So you’ve filled your social toolkit with heaps of different hashtags and you’re eager to put them all to good use, but try not to overdo it. Nobody wants to be spammed by content with too many hashtags: it looks messy and it’s just bad etiquette.
Instead, use hashtags strategically by only adding those which are relevant to your content and of interest to your desired audience. While there are no exact rules governing the number of hashtags to use on every platform, best practices suggest:

  • Use a minimal amount of hashtags on Facebook posts—around 1 or 2
  • Use a moderate amount on Twitter—about 2 or 3
  • Use a substantial amount on Instagram—about 11+

Whichever number you settle on, always prioritize quality over quantity.
Now that you’ve mastered the basics, you’re ready to get out there and show off your hashtag expertise like a #pro.

Need a new place to plan your hashtag strategy? With WebDVM Social—included with every WebDVM Website—you can brainstorm, schedule, and publish your veterinary social all from one platform! Click here to learn more.