By Barbara Bordas
Nowadays the hashtag is everywhere, whether you know its background or not. It serves as a kind of motto to get people of similar interests together in real time.
What exactly is the hashtag?
The idea of the hashtag was conceived by the brand designer Chris Messina in 2007, who has seen this symbol in online chat rooms (#Barcamp). Twitter has introduced this function to its platform in 2009, giving people the opportunity to be part of a global conversation. They have undoubtedly changed social media’s history.
How does a hashtag look like?
We use the hashtag for labelling, differentiating and use the hash mark so various social media platforms can identify it. The reason for choosing this symbol is that it is easy to find on the keyboard, easy to memorize and already works with the common user behavior.
When using hashtags it is important to make sure that they do not contain blank spaces. Hashtags should be written in one piece, contain at least 1 letter and should not have any punctuation characters in them (e.g.: ‘!’; ’?’).
It should be short and simple, understandable. The fact is the longer the hashtag, the harder it is for users to memorize it. The hashtag ends after the first punctuation character, if it contains more words you should use capitalization (#ILoveBudapest).
It is good to know how many hashtags should be used before they become annoying:
- Both on Facebook and Twitter you can reach the highest user engagement with posts that have a maximum of 2 hashtags, and they will be the posts that are retweeted the most
- In the beginning, the trend was 3-5 hashtags to avoid „hashtag-pollution”, but today 11 is the most efficient, to be more precise: at most 30 in posts, 10 in stories.
Hashtags can function as links, and as starters in hashtag-activism as well. Nowadays some slogans have gained a big momentum: #BlackLivesMatters, #TimesUp or as a reaction to the latest president-selection: #BidenHarris2020.
What types of hashtags can you choose?
- Brand hashtags: It means the company’s / brand’s own, unique hashtag. The purpose of applying the branding name is to be unique, dense and memorable. These hashtags can be shown in the UGCs (user generated content), increasing your brand’s popularity.
- Social hashtags: these hashtags connect users with similar interests in a specific subject. The following categories belong here:
- Hashtags related to activities: these are connected to specific areas: #coffeshop, #hotel
- Hashtags related to places: think not only about your country or city, but combine it with your activities: #CaféBudapest #HotelSydney
- Niche hashtags: these hashtags are connected to the company. They are more specific, e.g.: an agency’s niche hashtag can be #onlinemarketingagency
- Event, festivity, international day hashtags: #streetfood #christmas #nutelladay
- Campaign hashtags: these hashtags are applied in shorter time periods, because they are related to a campaign. The campaigns are about new products, events or changes. The goal of these hashtag campaigns is to generate UGCs and with this move increase the potential customers’ circle. A good example for this is FOREO’s campaign on Women’s Day: #PayItForwardWithFOREO
How to use hashtags in the business life?
The hashtag is an important tool in the company’s management. The most efficient solution from the business viewpoint is to invent a unique hashtag for your brand or product and use it in your posts, e.g.: #qbcs.
Try to think like your target group, define your buyer persona’s interests and problems, then react to it! The best hashtags are those, which places you right in front of your target group. If your hashtag is finished, don’t forget to remind your customers, partners and users to use it.
Helpful hashtags in commerce: #customer #ecommerce #economy #retail #retailproblems #retailnews #retailinvestment #onlinemarketing
Where can you generate hashtags?
- com-Instagram Hashtag Generator