[Podcast] Growing Your Social Media Following through Hashtags

5 promoting your writing media podcast post May 24, 2021

By Melissa Parks

I've been growing my social media following for over seven years. I have nearly 25k followers.  I'd like to say it has been easy. But it hasn't.

Growing a social media following is exciting as you connect with people from your tribe. But it's also exhausting, when days go by and nobody clicks "Follow." You might wonder, "Where is my tribe? How do I reach them? How do I get them to follow me?"

Ultimately, you have to provide valuable content for your tribe to stick around. But getting them to even see your content is the first step. Using hashtags  is one of the best ways to gain exposure among your tribe.

Let me be clear. I hate using hashtags. They are a hassle. It's hard enough to write a thoughtful post and create an arresting image.  Hashtags feel like taking out the trash. It has to be done. But nobody wants to do it.

But, did you know that posts with hashtags have 12.6% increased exposure? It's true. When I strategically include hashtags at the end of my posts, I inevitably increase my visibility. And often I increase my followers. Sometimes by one. Sometime by many.

Here are three insights to help you understand hashtags a bit better:

1. A tribe-specific hashtag makes a great hashtag. Building a following isn't about attracting the masses. You want to attract people who need what you've got, whether it's information or inspiration. Your hashtags should use language your tribe would use to search for content.

You might look at peer accounts to see what  hashtags they use; there likely will be some you can use on your posts as well. 

2. Use long-tail hashtags. Short-tail hashtags are comprised of no more than two words, often only one word. For instance, if I'm posting a vintage collection of McCoy pottery, short-tail hashtags would be #vintage, #collection, and #pottery. When you use hashtags like these, your posts are lost in the archive of the thousands of other posts who use similarly general hashtags. 

To reach your tribe, it's important to be more specific, without being obtuse. Better longtail hashtags would be #mccoypottery. Even better #mccoypotterycollection. Or even #vintagepotterycollector. 

3. Mix up your hashtags. One strategy for not having to generate new hashtags for every post is to create a notepad of hashtag lists that you can copy and paste at the end of posts. Of course, each post is unique, so you'll need to add specific hashtags to each post. But you'll at least have a baseline to work from.

Be cautious, however, of using the exact same group of hashtags post after post. When you do this, social media platforms identify it as spam, and will hide your posts from people whom don't follow you. This is called shadow banning. Create multiple groups of hashtags to choose from.

For more insights on how to successfully incorporate a hashtag strategy, tune into our latest podcast episode.



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