Small Town Heroes


It’s been a while since my last blog post. I often pride myself in being ahead of the game, always planning months ahead. The reality is that things like blog posts take a back seat. Always. But, I hope to be spending more time writing over the course of the coming months because, when I’m writing about something I’m passionate about, it does me soooo much good.

At the time I’m writing this, I am traveling back from a vacation and felt inspired to write about the unsung small town heroes – those men and women who may not have rescued people from a burning building – but they are real, living, breathing, life-saving people who live down just down the street. They are everywhere. And in Laurel, one of these heroes is my friend, Lauren Gebauer.

When Jay and I moved to Laurel, Lauren and her husband Ben were living just down the street from the home we bought. We both had moved to Laurel for the same reason, to be a part of Agape Church in Laurel. The Gebauers, however, moved much farther that we did with a team from California to help the church get started. When we moved to Laurel in 2015, Ben and Lauren had no children and neither did we. We made breakfast feasts and back porch dinner hangouts a regular occurrence. We were expecting our first son, and they were completing the process to begin fostering.

In my life, Lauren has been a hero in the form of morning walks with coffee, checking on me when my kid is throwing up everywhere, bringing me desserts for no reason, and watering my plants or caring for my dog when we are out of town. And in the lives of many children, she been a hero in the form of serving as a foster mom. 

Laura Johns and Lauren Gebauer

I asked Lauren to share her story on my blog not only to help promote her new book (shameless plug…go buy it here), but also because I wanted you to be blessed by reading her story. I have seen firsthand how Lauren and Ben handle the joys and challenges of fostering. And it’s amazing to me that in between fostering up to seven children in her home (four at one time), she has found the time to write a book to give children in foster care hope and encouragement.

So, without further ado, here is Lauren’s story and how her book Come to Find Out came to be.

I ended up in Laurel because I was in love with a guy and followed him out here. I still believe my mom was speaking with wisdom when she told me, “You should never move across the country for a man!” But I guess you could say it worked out for us because that guy is now my husband, and we’re still very much in love.

Ben moved out here as part of the original team to help launch Agape Church in downtown Laurel. He had been living at his parent’s house in California when we started dating, and the guy was ready for a new adventure. He heard about a group of crazy folks moving to The Bible Belt to launch a church, and he thought that would be his opportunity to be part of something bigger than himself. He actually signed up as part of the team at the last minute, which only left him two weeks to pack his stuff and get on the road. Although I had only known him for a couple months, I had fallen hard for this guy and was ready to pursue a real relationship with him, only for him to up and leave to Mississippi. I was bummed.

The team moved to Laurel in January 2010. I wasn’t on track to graduate from my university until December 2011, so as soon as I received my diploma, I hit the road and moved myself to Mississippi.

Even as kids, Ben and I have both always planned to adopt. I remember having a conversation with my parents at just seven or eight years old about orphans and adoption. I made somewhat of a promise to myself that I would adopt because I couldn’t fathom the idea that some children had to grow up without parents.

Lauren and Ben Gebauer

After we were married, we often had conversations about family planning. We both felt strongly that we would adopt before we attempted to have biological children, if we ever did decide to have biological children. I started researching adoption (cost, timelines, etc.). In my research, I learned how truly expensive it is to adopt through traditional channels. I also learned that adoption through foster care is, essentially, free.

The deeper I dug into learning about foster care, the more I felt called to start fostering. We went into it thinking we would just be foster parents without necessarily looking for a child to adopt. Our goal was to take children that need a home and do our best to be good parents to them.

Going through the process to get a license, we were able to choose the age, gender and race of children that we were willing to accept. We were open to fostering children of any race and gender between the ages of 0-8. We assumed we would likely be placed with children on the older side of our age range since it is known to be most difficult to find homes for older children. We were ready to accept the difficult cases. After all, we didn’t have any children already living in our home we needed to protect. We went to the training classes, completed our home study, bought a fire extinguisher and some outlet protectors, got our license, then began waiting.  

We received a call asking us to take a newborn from the hospital. Today, we are on track to adopt that newborn, who is now two years old. Since receiving our son in 2016, we have had seven other children come in and out of our home.

 Throughout our foster care journey, I have spent time connecting with other foster parents through social media to share advice and resources. Every few weeks or so, someone posts on a foster parent support group asking, “What are some good foster care books for foster children?” The answer to that question is that there are a handful of books for kids in foster care, but they could be so much better, and there really should be more. On any given day, there are 438,000 children in US foster care. There should be more books made specifically for them, especially if those books can be used therapeutically to help them through a difficult life situation.

So I set out to write a book for kids in foster care. I compiled a list to help me get started on my first book, Come To Find Out. This was the first thing I wrote in my journal: 

What do I want to leave the kids with?

·      hope

·      excitement for their future

·      a feeling of empowerment

·      a reminder that they don’t have to follow in their parents footsteps

·      the confidence that their life has value

·      a reminder that the best is yet to come

·      a success story

Reflecting on that list, I definitely feel like I accomplished what I set out to achieve. Now, I am actively seeking the best way to get this story into the hands of kids in foster care.

There is still a lot of work to do. Ideally, I’d like to have a whole series of books created for children in foster care. Come To Find Out focuses on the perseverance of a young girl, and I’d like to have a similar book for boys. After that, I want to create a book focusing on TPR (Termination of Parental Rights). Nearly half of all children in foster care will have to experience TPR, and it’s a confusing and painful thing to navigate. We need a book to help kids navigate that difficult transition.

 There are so many parts of the foster care journey that need to be discussed and explored for the benefit of the kids living through it, so I might as well be the one to do it.

I hope by reading this, you were as encouraged as I am. Help me support Lauren in her goal to get more books like Come to Find Out available to children in foster care. Purchase the book here. And to connect with Lauren, find her on Instagram at @lauren_._margaret


My Instagram Dreams are Coming True

My Instagram dreams are coming true, and yours are too, you just don't know it yet. But I'm about to tell you why. PLANN, my favorite visual Instagram planning app, just announced that they will soon be releasing a desktop platform. This may seem like they are going backwards (as people may think things are moving away from computers and to mobile devices). However, for me, planning social media content from a computer is so.much.easier. than using a phone. And with PLANN, they make it so intuitive, so I know it will only be that much better. 

What I already love about PLANN.
For Instagram, PLANN does it all.  Here are a few key things I love about the app. And you can do most of this for FREE.

1. View your feed before you post.
With PLANN, you can arrange photos in the order you'd like them. I like to simply dump all my good photos as I have them into the app, and go ahead and move them around (knowing that it will be within the next 10-20 days or so). If something better comes up, so be it, but at least I am able to maintain a cohesive look for the most part. SPOILER ALERT! Here's a sneak peek of my feed for the next few weeks. 

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2. Save hashtags.
Hashtags really can be such a pain, but they really so important for finding your tribe on Instagram. I've said it before, and I'll say it again...just like with everything, the more advanced planning you do, the easier it will be. Hashtags can be stored by topic easily right here in the app. That way, every time you get ready to post, you can grab the most appropriate hashtags for that post. If you spend 30 minutes right now, you can save 10-15 segments of hashtags. I promise it makes it a zillion times less complicated when you get ready to post. Just grab and go. Here are a few hashtags I've saved.

PLANN Hashtag Strategy

3. Know when to post.
You can set a reminder or manually determine the time you'd like to post from PLANN. And, if you don't know when to post, the app will suggest the most optimal time for you. Beautiful, huh?

4. Determine a strategy.
Do you hear people talk about Instagram strategy, and all you know is you don't have one? The beautiful thing about PLANN is they make it simple for you. It gives you the ability to create themes for your feed to help make it easy. Decide what your key themes are (5 or so), and post consistently with those themes each week. This not only helps you stay organized, but it helps build your tribe on Instagram, allowing you to hone in on the people you really want to connect with on the app. 

PLANN also gives great analytics, too, but I actually use a different application (S/O Sprout Social) for all of my analytics, so I can't speak to it as thoroughly as the other items on my list.

Honestly, the only negative I have to say about PLANN is that it be a little challenging to navigate for multiple platforms. But they've made it as easy as possible considering you're flipping from one to another. No platform is truly "simple" when it comes to that. 

Why PLANN for Desktop Will Rock
Call me old fashioned, but I love knocking out social media scheduling and planning at a computer, so I can use my mouse and drag things rather than my finger. Plus, sometimes I just get tired of my dang phone. But that aside, to be able to visually see photos, type content and plan it out.

So, if you want to see the Desktop app, too, use this link to let PLANN know! They'll put you in line to receive this awesome application on your computer, and we will all be rejoicing on that day.

In the spirit of stepping up your Instagram game, I have created a downloadable 31-day content plan for FREE. So, check it out by clicking here.

Becoming a Small Town Creative

This blog post was cross posted on The Laurel Mercantile Journal. Check it out here

Although Laurel is a small town relatively speaking, I grew up in a town that makes Laurel look like New York City.  It was understood that if fun was happening, it was up to me and my brothers to find it. Television was a Saturday morning thing, cartoons on demand certainly didn’t exist and the closest thing to an iPad was my etch-a-sketch. I vividly remember creating back yard soup concoctions in a green five gallon bucket with my next door neighbor on a regular basis. I also remember spending three consecutive days one summer choreographing a line dance to “Boot Scootin’ Boogie.” I still know every move to this day.

Pickard Kids Childhood
Pickard Kids 2

Childhood brings out our inner creative, doesn’t it? Yet, at some point, as we grow up, the outside world filters into the beautiful imagination we’ve been given and tells us there’s no time for that anymore. It’s time to be an adult, get practical and chase the American dream. I would argue, though, that the key to living out that dream is going right back to the place where we created things for the sake of creating. After all, creativity is simply imagination mixed with a goal to make things better. Forget the three car garage. Give me something that inspires the soul.

The Creative “Gene”

I often hear people say they don’t have the creative “gene.” While it’s impossible to ignore that some people have a distinct, God-given artistic talent, I also believe that genuine creativity can be found in something as simple as a “yes.” And I believe it’s critical for those living small towns to recognize that a “yes” is all it takes to make a significant impact where you live. While we may not all be artists or sculptors, we can all contribute our ideas and time to create positive change.

Here in Laurel, we have artists, woodworkers, boutique owners and antique finders. And we also have volunteers, churches, organizations, clubs, athletes and people young and old – all who have the ability to make a contribution to this town. Laurel has seen a transformation in the last few years, not only because of a television show, but also because a lot of people genuinely care about making things better. In a small town, a “yes” goes a long way. And Laurel is proof of that.

There are a few key things that, whether a creative by definition or by self-designation, are shared by “yes” people.

1.    The willingness to work for it.

Years ago, I entered a graduate school program that assumed the students admitted knew how to use the latest graphic software. Not only was I older than most in my program (I had worked between undergraduate and graduate school), I also had never learned how to use this particular type of software. It presented quite a problem when our first assignment was to design an advertising campaign using the software. Lucky me.

Regardless of what I knew or didn’t, the assignment was the same for me as it was for my peers, most of whom were quite skilled graphic designers. But letting that intimidate me wouldn’t help a single thing. The assignment resulted in many long nights alone in the computer lab, teaching myself how to become a graphic designer. Today, my methods might seem odd to a trained professional, and you’ll never see me teach a YouTube video on how to create a logo, but the end goal was accomplished.

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I’ll never forget the girl who sat next to me in that class. Not only is she still friend to this day, but I’m not sure I would have completed the class had she not helped me. Doing something to make an impact in your town will require extra hours and help from others, but it will always be worth it.

2. Outside-the-box thinking.

If your town does the same thing every year because “that’s the way we did it last year,” I want to issue a challenge. Start the next conversation, board or committee meeting with, “What can we do this year to make it better?” Creative gene or not, everyone has original ideas to contribute that can make a difference. And if everything is working, then great! But, the more we open ourselves to new perspectives, we may find that there is room for improvement.

Small towns tend to get stuck in a rut. The remedy is being intentional about outside-the-box thinking. Encourage diversity, listen to perspectives from all ages, empower others to lead and let their “yes” truly make a difference.

3. Leave it better than you found it.

This goes for everything from cleaning up trash on the sidewalk to turning an old, dilapidated building into a new coffee shop. Active, creative thinking in a small town means finding ways to leave something better than you found it. This means turning five gallon bucket into a massive bowl of soup, y’all. Looking for space for your next event? Find a parking lot or public space that needs some love, grab some friends and make it your mission to turn it into something beautiful. 

It doesn’t take a degree in fine art, knowledge of graphic design software (trust me) or the ability to play an instrument to be creative in a small town. It takes a community of people willing to say “yes,” the investment of time, open minds and hearts. It’s not rocket science. It’s creativity, imagination mixed with a goal to make things better. 


New Instagram Updates Your Small Biz Needs to Know

June has been a big month for Instagram! Coming off a recent local training for business owners, I feel like there's always more Insta knowledge and learning that can be shared week up on week. There have been several clarifications, new announcements and upcoming ideas announced by Instagram that are really important and small business owners need to know. 

Instagram Updates

The Algorithm
Instagram knows they threw a wholllllleeee lotta people off with the algorithm change. No longer do we see posts in the order in which they were posted, but now the way we see these posts is determined by many different factors. 

1. Relevancy Sorting
Basically, Instagram is giving people what they want to see by showing posts in feeds based on how relevant it is to the person viewing. Here's how it works. Instagram relies on your past behavior to create a customized feed JUST FOR THE VIEWER. This means the feed is literally customized based on how the user interacts with different accounts. Crazy, right?.

2. Interest
Instagram will rank posts higher by the user's past behavior. This means, their little machines will actually analyze the content of the post. Here is an example: If Joe and Tom both follow ABC Shoe Store, and Joe shops and searches for shoes all the time on Instagram, Joe will see content more often from ABC Shoe Store than Tom does. Tom may never see some of the posts by ABC Shoe Store.

3. Recency
How recent the post was shared is definitely a factor when it comes to what people see. More timely posts generally come first, BUT Instagram does push out older posts if the user interacts with that account a lot (see point #1 above). The more a user comments, tags and engages with other accounts will determine how much they see the content from those accounts. 

3. Frequency
How often you are in Instagram and how many people follow can impact what you're seeing. For example, if you follow thousands of accounts, you may see fewer posts from any one account.

4. Usage
How long people are spending on Instagram is also factored into the equation. Not only things like total time browsing but also the length of time a user spends on the app determines how what content they see. Instagram will prioritize the most popular content if they know a user is only going to be on the app for a few seconds each day. Whereas, they may show more/different content if you're on the app all day long. 

Why This Matters for Your Business
Here is the kicker. With all of these changes, the most important thing for your business to do is focus on quality content and engagement. Don't worry bout posting every day if your content isn't good quality. Posting things that will get people talking means more people will see it, which is what we want. 

Also, if you post a sale, event or special every day, it may never make it in front of your customer.  Or, they may see it two days after the sale ends. So, think before you post, "Could I use my story for this?" Stories are a great way to post content relevant to that day, since they are seen by anyone (not just your followers).

What's Coming - Long-Form Video
Instagram is introducing long-form video to the app (woo hoo!!!). This means, party people, that basically Instagram is becoming You Tube. I personally have a love/hate with YouTube (ever used it to save your toddler from a meltdown and a commercial come on????) So, I'm going to put in my request to Instagram to do without the five second commercials. Please and thank you.

With long-form video, you can post videos for up to an hour. Further proof that Instagram is taking over the world. So, get your cameras ready and prepare to use this tool for your business to show off anything you want without getting cut off after 15 seconds. Read about it here

That's a wrap on the Instagram updates. Keep up that good content, and I'll do my best to keep you posted as more new updates arise.




How Community Can Make Your Small Business Thrive


I have never been more encouraged professionally than I was this week. On Tuesday, nearly 50 women (and two brave men) from around Jones County came to the YWCO to learn how to make their businesses better using Instagram. I felt the truest sense of community - all from a little app that sits on a cell phone. I was blown away. 

Say all the negative that you want about social media, but I am convinced that there is so much good in it. I have been encouraged this week by people commenting on my feed, asking if I plan to do the class again, wishing they had been able to join. And these are people I don't know. I had a new friend from Georgia discover my blog and send some kind words, reminding me why I started this in the first place - community. Finding my tribe, leaning into new ideas, challenging other women and men in their creative genius and helping those who struggle to find any creative bone in their body. Finding and learning from my people.  

At the event on Tuesday, I made a precious new friend who struggles with finding the right content to promote a non-profit with a sensitive subject matter, a successful woman who has several businesses in town and struggles with getting ahead in strategy and planning, a sweet jewelry maker who wants to find her community and enjoy serving them in an honest and transparent way. While we might have all all been passionate about Instagram, were are all passionate about something. And we are trying to soak up everything we can to make these dreams we have work. This is the GOOD in social media, y'all. 

Laura Johns, Instagram for Business
The Small Town Creative Instagram Class

In a world where our news feeds are filled with nasty political jabs, articles that remind us we're feeding our kids all the wrong things and opinions that could drive us all insane, community is what reminds us that in this big ole world, we can find the people who will encourage us and keep us going when we're no longer inspired - those who will remind us why we started in the first place. And those who will tell us that we don't have to have everything together to do something good and create positive change.

I once listened to a podcast where someone was talking about community. He asked, "Will a plant thrive if you stick it in a closet without sunlight or water?" He added that a for day or two, the plant would be fine. One might look at it on the outside and not see any immediate difference. But after a week or two, the plant will wilt in solitude. 

We need community to encourage us, help us, remind us why we are doing what we are doing and help us keep our heads up when all we want to do is lock ourselves in a closet with no exposure to the outside world. And I'm convinced that as small business owners, entrepreneurs and solo marketers, we need a little extra inspiration (since we're the ones expected to inspire people to buy in to what we are offering).

This world is hard enough, y'all. Find your community. Find your people. Weed out those who bring you down or make you feel further from the place where you know you love to be. We all have that moment where we realized - THIS is what I'm supposed to be doing...THIS brings me life. Find people who bring you life. This will bring life to your business. Exchanging ideas over coffee once a week, weekly lunch bunch to talk about all the things that frustrate you (Let's get real, y'all. It's not all peaches and rainbows.) I encourage you this week to find one or two and start to grow and learn from them. It's a beautiful thing when people come together in community.  

If you're interested in catching the FREE 31-day Instagram for Business Content Calendar I offered in the class, you can CLICK HERE and grab your free download. 




Downtown Thursday Giveaway: Adam Trest "Eat Local" Print


I'm so excited to announce a GIVEAWAY this week in honor of Laurel's upcoming Downtown Thursday festivities. Starting this Thursday and continuing each week through the end of June, Laurel will be overflowing with fun. The summer will include everything from a first-class Farmers Market to live music, family-friendly movies and a variety of other special events each week. I have had the honor of participating on the planning team, and let me tell you, it is going to be an AWESOME summer. You can find everything you need to know at

Downtown Thursday Details
This year, Downtown Movie Night will take place at The Backlot at 8 p.m. as usual. The Farmer's Market will now be at 5 p.m. on Magnolia Street downtown (between Central Avenue and Oak Street). We have a lineup of well over 30 vendors with everything from fresh seafood, to art, dog treats, blueberry lemonade, homemade candles and, of course, all the fresh produce you could want. This is the real deal, y'all. And I'm so excited about filling my bags full of goodies made by people in my own community and state. 

Each week, there will be something special to make the night even that much more exciting. This week, we'll have a fireworks show and live music by artist Kerry Thomas. On June 7, we have the pleasure of welcoming Erin and Ben Napier and live music by my friend and super talented musician, Topher Brown. June 14 will be Food Truck Night with a few special food trucks offering something unique for your taste buds. Grayson Capps will bring some blue-rock tunes that night. On June 21, we'll be celebrating the Big Easy with Mardi Gras Night with the John Milham Jazz Trio. Then, the final night, June 28, we will be celebrating Independence Day a little early with the Red, White and Vroom. Yours truly will be co-hosting with Amanda Matthews at Shug's from the Coca-Cola stage (at Southern Antiques). The highlight of the evening will be a Car and Bike Show

Adam Trest Eat Local Print

Giveaway Details
Now...what you've all been waiting for. My friend and artist Adam Trest just finished a BEAUTIFUL watercolor that I can already picture in my kitchen. The Eat Local painting is to commemorate the Farmers Market moving to Magnolia, right in front of the Adam Trest Home store. The painting is currently being made into prints, and we are giving you a chance to win one of the first batches of prints! Details can be found on my Instagram page, so hurry up and enter to win.  And special thanks to my friend Adam for allowing me to participate in this awesome giveaway. 

Adam Trest Eat Local Print

Creative Spotlight: EAU Jewelry

Sometimes, you have those friends that you know, no matter what they do, it will be successful. I want give a big shout out to Emily Brown. She is one of those people. Emily is one of my best friends, college suite mate and the person who I can always count on to bring encouragement when I need it most. She always has a way of making me look at things in a whole new way, and I think that's what makes her one of my favorite friends and also what makes her creativity so unique.

I'm honored that she Emily sees me as worthy of getting a "first look" at her jewelry experiments. Any jewelry request I've thrown at her, she's been up to the task. She is a brilliant artist, creator, maker and visionary. And her next genius creation is one for the books.

Me and Em in 2007, shoving ourselves into a cab with barely enough time to get back before our Martha's Vineyard shuttle left us. 

Me and Em in 2007, shoving ourselves into a cab with barely enough time to get back before our Martha's Vineyard shuttle left us. 

Emily grew up in Clinton, Mississippi, and attended Mississippi College (go Choctaws!). She married Wayne Brown, her college sweetheart and loved him wholeheartedly even though he went to Millsaps (kidding, y'all). Not long after they married, they headed off to Los Angeles to pursue what God had for them on the West Coast. Emily attended FIDM, one of the most well-known colleges for creatives in the world, and they served at Mosaic, an explosive missional church with multiple campuses in California. After L.A., Emily and Wayne made their way back to Mississippi (via Houston) and settled in Madison where she spends her time creating and raising their precious two little ones. 

Although Emily had been making jewelry for years, Emily officially started EAU Jewelry in 2013. Rather than waiting on someone to hand her a roadmap to difference making (admit it, some of us are still waiting for it), Emily had the vision to see that there was a way she could make difference in the world right from her home. She named her business EAU (French for water) and, bit by bit, Emily used her proceeds from EAU to give money to clean water organizations. It wasn't long before she was able to spread the love to other non-profits. 

Original water drop bangle bracelet from EAU Jewelry.

Original water drop bangle bracelet from EAU Jewelry.


With a simple style, Emily creates some of the most stunning pieces with her own two hands. "I love every piece I made with EAU, but I strive for everything to tell stories, like my nest and mama bear necklaces," Emily said. While Emily's business ebbs and flows with the demands of motherhood, she is able to draw inspiration from her children. "My kids inspire me to do what I love, and I want them to see how important it is to find joy in giving back," she said. "I think about lessons I want to teach by example, and those are two things are pretty high in priority for me."

While I can't choose what my favorites are either, the gold hoops are the item I would cry if I ever left at home while on a weekend trip. I also will forever love the knot bracelets that Emily made for several of my closes girlfriends on my wedding day. I still wear mine nearly every day.


Emily's Most Recent Work
Her most recent pieces are in limited supply, so I put my order in before this blog post published, of course. Emily's mother-in-law recently traveled to Israel and brought shells back from the Sea of Galilee. "She knew I loved to create jewelry and had seen my wire wrapped shells from previous vacations, so she gave them to me to make something," Emily said. "My entire life, I've carried stories in my heart that happened near this exact location," she added. "Now, I can wear shells to remind me of the miracles of Jesus daily."

Sea of Galilee Necklaces - EAU Jewelry
Sea of Galilee Necklaces

Shop this necklace now and customize your own Sea of Galilee treasure.

Keeping Up with the #Hashtags

Hashtags Blog Post

"I'm not good at hashtags."

"Do I need to have my own hashtag?"

"Why so many hashtags?"

Just a few of the questions I hear on the regular regarding Instagram. The truth is, sometimes hashtag research can be as time consuming as content development, but research shows that Instagram posts with at least one hastag typically perform 12.6% better than a post without hashtags. And posts with 11+ hashtags get the highest engagement (you can do up to 30 so max those bad boys out!). 

Ok, so I need to use them. But why?
Wondering why hashtags amp up your Insta? Because people have Google search so deeply embedded in their blood, that they are using social media platforms like Instagram as a search engine. I don't know about you, but I sometimes take my shopping inspiration straight from the little square app. In fact, you can actually follow hashtags you like or that might connect with your customers just to see what other people using that hashtag are saying.

Example, if you sell shoes, determine what hashtags your buyers would be searching for when they go to look for inspiration (black suede pump, classy shoes, dressy shoes), and there are some hashtag ideas. I even recommend splitting the hashtags into general to specific. For example, shoot for ten generic (#shoe, #shoes, #black shoe), ten mid-specific (#blackleathershoe) and ten specific (#blackpeeptoepump). This gives you variety and, in the event you get overlooked in the #shoe category, surely someone will notice that #blackpeeptoepump!

But hashtag research is exhausting.
Excuses, excuses! Well, yes, sometimes it is. But so is running a business. So, rather than you throwing a perfectly curated post out into la la land, remember with hashtags, you're actually HELPING the post get in front of more eyes that actually care about your products or service. This means you'll generally have more people engaging in your post. You have helped someone find something they need or like, so props to you!

Where do I find hashtags?
You can do your own research, of course. But sites like All Hashtag and Display Purposes  help you generate hashtags specific to words that make sense for your brand or product. Also, be sure to add your location in your post (posts tagged with a location receive 79% higher engagement).

I'll spend an hour posting all these things.
No you won't because you're going to be smart and download the PLANN app right this minute and spend 30 mins saving your most popular hashtags. Then, they are all stored and when you post, you can mozy on over to PLANN and grab your hashtags you worked so hard to save.

So, don't stress about hashtags. Here's a shortlist of what to do to amp up your hashtag game today.

  • Research your hashtags
  • Pick 30 for your top 10 categories (it's okay if some overlap)
  • Download PLANN and save the hashtags to categories
  • Voila! You're a hashtagging pro!