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A hashtag is the number sign “#” (a.k.a pound sign) that is followed by a word or a certain phrase without spaces. In social media, hashtags are used to share information with like-minded people because whenever a user clicks on a hashtag he will be redirected to the posts containing the same hashtag.
In ecommerce, hashtags are used to group posts and increase the engagement rate. For example, the “Starbucks” hashtag, which refers to the chain of coffeehouses, is included in more than 36 mil posts worldwide.
Types of hashtags
There are 3 categories of hashtags, which can help promote products or services:
- Content hashtag. This category includes hashtags that refer to a certain event, the topic of the blog or article, or a product discussed by the company. For example, companies can use the hashtag #TrickOrTreatFriday to talk about a special Halloween event on Friday. To make one’s content more visible companies need to make them more specific because generic hashtags like #treat or #Friday can be used by a broader audience and refer to different topics. Still, the usage of long hashtags like #SpecialHalloweenEventOnFriday isn’t recommended either because users won’t be searching specifically for this type of content.
- Trending hashtag. This type of hashtag is dedicated to the event, which doesn’t reoccur and is also shown in Twitter’s “Trending” section. For example, Walmart has recently launched online preorders for an upcoming gaming console Playstation 5 using the hashtag #PlayStation5. However, trending hashtags can also have a political context and thus shouldn’t be used by companies to avoid making a bad impression on their customers.
- Brand-specific. Brand-specific hashtags are created by brands themselves to showcase something they want to be known for. For example, Coca-Cola has a campaign #ShareACoke, which is associated with personalized messages and names on the cans of Coke.
The use of hashtags
Despite the fact that hashtags are used to appeal to certain groups of people, their usage on multiple social media platforms gives different engagement rates. That’s why companies should have different approaches for each social medium:
- Twitter: On Twitter, the optimal number of hashtags shouldn’t extend 2 hashtags, because more than 2 hashtags result in less engagement.
- Instagram: Instagram allows publishers to use a maximum of 10 hashtags before the loss of engagement. Hashtags can be put in the post’s description or as a first comment.
- Facebook: Hashtags are less effective on this social platform, that’s why companies should focus more on captions instead.
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