Remember shopping for school pants? You’d come out of the dressing room and your mom would give a little tug on your waist to check for snugness? It wasn’t that long ago that being in a retail business meant setting up shop, and putting actual products (not digital images of products) on display for shoppers to pick up, inspect, and even try on for mom. Until Amazon and Ebay kicked off in the mid-1990s, we didn’t know any other way of selling or shopping for stuff.
For retailers, living in an ecommerce-free age had its advantages – namely, the competition. Previous to online shopping, you need only be better than your competitor down the street. On the flip side, it also meant that your potential for business was limited to foot traffic you could attract from that same, small geographic region.
In the 21st century, retailers can still keep up their brick and mortar presence, but business has expanded to as far as you can ship your products. Customers can shop your digital store while waiting in line at the local post office, or across the globe sipping tea in Mumbai. Adversely, this means your competition is on a global scale. If you’re like most retailers, you work very hard to keep the attention of your audience through social media and other digital marketing mediums.
The colossal task of staying competitive amidst the competition can feel overwhelming. These hashtags can help!
Combine them with your social media strategy to get the most reach and stay fresh in your customer’s minds.
Check out these 49 popular retail hashtags, but then keep reading for a creative way you can use your own branded hashtag to collect user generated content (i.e. marketing gold!) for your business and stay ahead of the local and global competition.
Hashtags for Retailers
Collect UGC with your branded hashtag and use it in your marketing
User-generated Content (UGC) is content created by customers – not by professional marketers. Photos, videos and stories are all forms of UGC that brands can collect on platforms such as Instagram, which can then be reposted, or “regrammed” by a brand for marketing purposes.
The practice of collecting UGC is gaining in popularity because it’s a powerful way to connect with your audience. When surveyed, 76% of individuals said they trusted content shared by people more than by brands, and 92% of consumers say they trust recommendations from others.
Here’s how you can get in on the UGC game: create a branded hashtag – AKA a unique hashtag that is specific to your brand. Then, ask your audience to post a picture featuring your products on Twitter or Instagram using that hashtag.
Aerie asks their followers to post untouched swimsuit photos using #AerieREAL. As an incentive, they donate $1 to a relevant non-profit for every hashtagged post. If you scroll through Aerie’s feed, you’ll see dozens of real people wearing Aerie products and looking fabulous.
View this post on Instagram
“I have been hard on myself my whole life, and I’d be lying if I said I’m always confident in my own skin. But the truth is that even with the moments of self doubt and deprecation, even with the extra pounds, I’m more comfortable with myself now than I ever was in my 20s.” @Keikolynn loves the swim she’s in! Share your unretouched swim photos with #AerieREAL & we’ll donate $1 (up to $25K) to @NEDA for every post.
UGC is a reputable marketing best practice, but there are a few things you must know before diving in. For starters, you can’t use content that isn’t yours without getting the proper permission. To help you navigate the Rights Management waters that go hand in hand with using UGC, check out this handy guide.
As a bonus, turn your UGC collection into a giveaway. Display hashtagged photos in a gallery on a landing page. You can even embed this gallery on your own website. Here’s a great example of hashtagged photos collected in an embedded gallery. It would be really simple to turn this gallery into a giveaway by enabling voting and allowing your audience to vote on the entries.
As an extra bonus, use the following hashtags to promote your online contest or promotion.
Best Hashtags for Contests and Promotions
Want more hashtags, more promotion ideas and more ways to increase engagement and sales? Check out the articles in our Best Hashtag series.