Using Hashtags To Grow Your Online Following Organically #HashtagTheory

I still remember the agony of finding out your mom was on the phone when you wanted to be on AIM chatting with your friends. It was simple then, you just waited until your friends got online, or even better, your secret crush and chatted the afternoon away. Then it was Xanga and Myspace, still, the wild west of Social Media before the monolith that is Facebook took over the world.

Now we have Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, (RIP VINE) and I’m sure there’s a new social media app being created right now that will soon join the limelight. As these platforms emerge, how can your business leverage them to grow your audience? If I had one simple easy answer to that question I likely would be on a yacht somewhere (Update: Still no yacht). Recently, I had the chance to hear from Natalie Ellis from Boss Babe at the Boutique Hub’s annual “Boutique Summit” and she shared some advice that is priceless for retailers in growing their online following.

Now I know we all know what hashtags are, as well as their purpose, but how should we be using them as a business?

Use 30 Hashtags

Now, I know what you’re thinking, 30 hashtags, that’s a lot! However, it’s way more attainable than you think, but more on that in a bit. For now, 30 hashtags, will be our general goal when creating a post. The simple reason? It’s three different groupings of ten hashtags that start with generally broad to hyper-specific. Now, let’s talk about those groupings.

Your First 10 Hashtags

The first 10 Hashtags should apply to every post you make, so go ahead, bust out the notepad, or sticky notes app and save yourself the headache of typing them every time. More importantly, the first 10 hashtags should be broad topics that have at least 1 million posts for each hashtag. Not sure how to check how many posts a hashtag has? If you will search the discover tag for the hashtag, you can look at how many results show up, if it’s more than a million, you found yourself a hashtag! Some great places to start could be #Retail #Fashion etc. Think of very general terms that apply for your business.

Hashtags 10-20

Now that we’ve got our broad hashtags out of the way it’s time to find 10 more that are more specific to your store, for each of these hashtags you’re still looking for a large audience, albeit a smaller one. For these hashtags, you’ll want to find some that apply directly to your store but have at least 100,000 posts for each hashtag, again the discover section will be your best friend. The best part about these 10 hashtags? They also stay mostly the same form post to post, so add them to that sticky note we talked about earlier!

The Final Ten

The final ten hashtags on your post should be specific to THAT post. Drinking coffee at a waterfall to showcase your rainboots? Great, create 10 hashtags that are relevant to whatever post you are sharing, these are the only 10 hashtags that should evolve with each post.

Get started:

The truth is, social media is all about execution. Natalie’s advice is one of 1000 things you can do to grow your following online but none of it will come through without consistent posting and involvement on social. Unfortunately, there’s not going to be the magic thing that makes it easy, it’s just going to take you starting. Don’t let one more excuse get in the way of your posting and working to grow your business.

Streamline Retail is a consulting firm for independent retailers obsessed with helping retailers adopt a better process and better tools to grow their online and brick and mortar business. We also love tacos, as previously mentioned.

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