Prioritising Hashtags for Targeted Follower Growth with Sidekick | Author Platform Sidekick

Prioritising Hashtags for Targeted Follower Growth with Sidekick

July 3, 2017

Early in the Sidekick setup process, you will provide a range of hashtags as one element of Sidekick's audience targeting activity. Sidekick searches for people who've tweeted using these hashtags and then follows them on your behalf.

Sidekick requires hashtags to be grouped into five layers of up to five hashtags per layer. This allows you to define a maximum of 25 hashtags in total.

But what is the right order to layer your hashtags?

How Sidekick's Operators Process Follows

Knowing how Sidekick's operators process your follows helps to understand this.

Sidekick will search for candidates who've recently tweeted with any of the hashtags in your top layer. The results of this search will be presented to our operators to click through, following people on your behalf. 

If the operators reach your daily limit of follows, then they will stop there and the audience targeting process will restart from scratch the next day.

If the first group is exhausted and our operators have not yet reached your daily limit, then they will move onto the second layer of five hashtags. Again, they will work through until your daily limit is reached or until they run out of candidates again, in which case they'll move to the third layer of hashtags. And so on.

Narrow to Broad

Because of the layered approach, the best approach is to include you're most narrowly focused hashtags in the first layer. These are likely to be hashtags that are less popular but if someone includes it in their tweet it is more likely that they will be someone interested in you or your brand.

Even if the first layer only returns a handful of results, they will be highly targeted, so should always be searched for first each day. Clearly, we cannot guarantee they will follow back, but if they do they will likely be very interested in what you have to offer.

The second layer should have slightly less focused hashtags. And so on until the fifth layer, which would have the most generic, popular hashtags, acting as a catch all to make sure you provide enough candidates to our operators to reach your quota of follows each day.

Thriller Author Example

Ian Sutherland, the social media expert behind Author Platform Sidekick, applies this approach for his fiction persona, where he writes crime fiction thrillers but with a particular emphasis on cybercrime.

Layer 1 - #cyberthriller, #cybercrime, #espionage, #cybersecurity, #cyberfiction

These are the most specific hashtags to his genre and niche area of interest. Anyone tweeting using these hashtags has the most likliehood of being interested in his cyberthriller novels.

Layer 2 - #thriller, #mystery, #suspense, #crimefiction, #action

The second layer contains more generic hashtags related to the thriller genre. This means the search results are likely to be larger and still relevant, although slightly less focused than layer 1.

Layer 3 - #amreading, #amwriting, #writerslife, #amediting, #writingtips

The third layer contains more generic writing/reading focused hashtags.

Layer 4 - #hacking, #malware, #hackers, #cyber, #infosec

The fourth layer contains generic hashtags related to information security and computer hacking, which are relevant to the content of Ian's thrillers. However, not everyone who tweets using these hashtags read novels, so the interest rate will be lower.

Layer 5 - #ASMSG, #IAN1, IARTG, #BYNR, #selfpub

The last layer contains very popular hashtags often used and retweeted by authors. If the layers above haven't provided enough candidates to fill Ian's daily quota, then this last layer certainly will, although the focus is broad. That said, they are all still relevant to being an author. 


The five hashtag layers are the fourth and last element of Sidekick's audience targeting strategy. It is entirely possible that your daily quota ma be fulfilled by the first three strategies and so the five layers of hashtags may not be used every day. However, when used, they will be worked through in order, ensuring that the most relevant people are targeted first.