How One Brand Created a Hashtag That Attracts Millions

Hashtags are rapidly becoming a very important aspect in Digital Marketing. If a hashtag is smartly chosen it can do wonders. Today we will show you how a brand created a smart hashtag and attracted millions. We are talking about a retailer Herschel Supply Co. who created a hashtag #WellTravelled that attracted millions of users from around the world. This experiment has shown how we can do effective marketing on Instagram by choosing the right hashtags. Hootsuite Team interviewed Herschel’s community manager, Sheila Lam, and global marketing director, Mikey Scott, to find the secrets behind this massive success of this hashtag. The interview was recorded and has been put up on soundcloud as a podcast

In the podcast we get to understand some of the most important aspects of hashtag marketing:

  • The successful story behind hashtag #WellTravelled
  • How to create a powerful hashtag for your brand
  • How to inspire people with quality content


Q&A with the Herschel Supply Co.

How has social media played a role in the development of your brand story?

It was pretty natural. Instagram had just started blossoming. We were already on Facebook, but didn’t really have official Pages. So we reserved all the names. We said; let’s wait a second until we know what we want to do. We knew we wanted to celebrate our photography, which we already celebrate internally.

We started showing how we travel through our community of users, which created momentum for a travel vibe. We elevated that into #WellTravelled and now #CityLimitless. We’ve built other different storytelling platforms and content series through different partnerships, too.

Can you tell us a little bit about the #WellTravelled hashtag and the story behind it?

The #WellTravelled hashtag is a route of escapism on Instagram for us. We can showcase not only where our product goes, but the stories and people behind it.

The hashtag allows you to see the world from your phone. So we promote far off destinations. We’ve got a great series in the Faroe Islands and Fez, along with places that are little more well-known like Sydney and New York. It’s an inclusive community of people who love to travel.



What do you want people to feel when they’re looking at your #WellTravelled photos?

A sense of wonder. The imagery we promote—both that we’ve produced in-house and the user-generated content—it’s beautiful. It’s a painterly landscape or insane cavernous cliffside. It’s all these moments that take your breath away.

It is difficult to use the user-generated content because the content may not always reflect your brand, but Herschel has done such an amazing job at effectively using customer-submitted content. What’s the process and criteria for choosing what content ends up on the channel?

Our director of photography, Stephen Wilde, has set a precedent of having such amazing visuals. To promote user-generated content, it has to match that. We’ve taken it upon ourselves to curate the images that meet those standards.


A surreal view of Gásadalur. #WellTravelled Faroe Islands. Link in bio. Photo: @leonardfong_travel

A post shared by Herschel Supply Co (@herschelsupply) on


Would you say that’s probably one of the biggest ways that you inspire your customers to share great content?

Yeah, absolutely. When you see Herschel you know the quality of content that you’re receiving is at a high level. There’s always consideration behind it—even when it comes from an amateur photographer, it’s about the framing or the subject or how it’s been edited or shot.

It’s all these things that go into making a beautiful image. I don’t want to say that our followers necessarily aspire to us, but they aspire to that. So it’s that quality, that type of content that they can identify with and want to produce.

The #WellTravelled hashtag is a branded hashtag. Is there a reason that you chose not to include your brand name in the hashtag when you were conceiving it?

I think that instead of getting people to just talk about your brand, they inherently talk about something that’s so embedded inside your brand that it ties back to it. #WellTravelled has 1.8 million hashtags on it and Herschel Supply has 225,000. On the basis of looking at both of them you could say that we’ve created something that’s bigger than our brand, which is pretty awesome. And it’s the same thing with #CityLimitless.

We really looked at; first of all, the whole purpose of a hashtag and what people do when they go through it. A hashtag lets people direct back to your brand without you having to advertise the name of your brand. It allows people to become a part of a movement versus just a number one brand fan. I think launching these types of hashtags creates a path for people to be involved in your brand and all the moments that come with it.

It definitely worked because you can see that it has become a community.

So much stuff is about the moment and then every once in awhile I’ll come across our product. I’ll start to see these waves where there are lots of product and lots of moments and lots of products and lots of moments. For me, that’s cool because it’s like a red thread that ties everything together and it’s great to be part of that.

On the topic of world travel—you guys have become a pretty global brand in the last few years. Does your strategy and content differ from region to region?

We are in just under 80 countries and over 180 territories. That’s great for a seven-year-old brand. That being said, we have great partners in all these regions and we need to give them a strategy to localize. Somewhere along the line, being global and acting local became hard.

We need to make sure that we’re engaging and working with different types of partners. We’ve started different hashtags where it’s Herschel Supply HK for Hong Kong, Herschel Supply PH for Philippines, and we’re actually searching those to pull content from.

We’re trying to keep things consistent without opening up the floodgates to have a page for this, a page for that, a profile for this, a profile for that. We want to make sure that there’s that red thread. If someone who travels starts out on the other side of the world and they make it over to this side, our brand looks the same, but there is a little bit of a nuance that they can see and understand.



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