Learning how to use hashtags on TikTok the right way is a task worst prioritizing. Whether running a small business or simply looking to boost your reach, hashtags hold the key to exposure. TikTok’s growth in the space of a few short years has been remarkable.
The platform was only launched in 2017 yet already has more than 1 billion active users—all competing for the same attention, with the goal of building authority, influence, and appeal. This is where an effective hashtags growth strategy can make all the difference.
But what’s interesting is how comparatively few creators know how to use hashtags effectively or efficiently. Making things up as you go along isn’t advisable if looking to conquer the world’s most dynamic social network.
How Do Hashtags Work on TikTok?
The basic mechanics of hashtags are fairly straightforward. A hashtag is a # symbol, followed by words, numbers, phrases, acronyms, and so on. TikTok imposes a strict character limit for hashtags, meaning they need to be kept concise. Basically, anything that starts with a “#” and is followed by a string of characters is a hashtag.
As for their purpose, hashtags are used by creators to categorize the content they publish. When you share a video, you can add several hashtags to it to give an indication of what it is about. This subsequently makes the content easier to find using the search bar on TikTok.
The platform’s algorithm looks at hashtags when choosing which content to recommend in accordance with the search terms entered. In a nutshell, hashtags enable creators to bracket their posts within the categories of their choosing in order to make them easier to find.
Why Do Hashtags Matters on TikTok?
Hashtags are essential across all social media platforms without exception. The reason is that they play a major role in enabling the TikTok’s algorithm to find content based on a specific theme or trending topic. The simple fact of the matter is that if you do not use hashtags, you make it difficult for the platform’s algorithm to know what your content is about.
Social media algorithms are not yet sophisticated enough to examine video content in order to determine its theme, relevance, value, or purpose. Instead, it’s things like hashtags and written descriptions that let the algorithm know what you are posting.
TikTok can only categorize and recommend user-generated content based on key indicators like hashtags. Consequently, the strategic use of hashtags can be beneficial in a variety of ways. Some of the biggest advantages of getting to grips with hashtags on TikTok include the following:
1. Amplify the Reach of Your Content
First and foremost, hashtags play a pivotal role in determining who finds your content in the first place. Using hashtags ensures your content is presented to those who have shown an interest in similar subjects.
Rather than your content only being presented to your existing followers, hashtags can amplify the reach of your posts to a broader audience. However, this is only true if the hashtags you use are 100% relevant to your content.
2. Identify Competitors
Keeping a close eye on industry-specific hashtags can be a great way of keeping an equally close eye on your competitors. The hashtags you use to categorize your own content will undoubtedly be used by others within your niche.
Some of whom you may not have even been aware existed – great for identifying (and subsequently monitoring) the competition. The closer you watch your competitors, the easier it becomes to gain the upper hand.
3. Get More Followers
Of course, getting more eyes on your content also opens the door to getting more followers. If your goal is to increase TikTok followers, you need to broadcast your content as broadly as possible.
The hashtags you choose will determine who sees your content and how your posts are categorized by the TikTok algorithm. Another reason why sticking exclusively with 100% relevant hashtags is essential.
How to Use Hashtags on TikTok?
The importance of hashtags is fairly evident, but how to ensure your own hashtag strategy is effective? Contrary to popular belief, making the most of the hashtags you use is fairly straightforward. There are really just five things you need to do to take your hashtag strategy to the next level, as follows:
1. Find Relevant Hashtags
Again, the importance of exclusively using 100% relevant hashtags cannot be overstated. A great place to start is to check out the hashtags being used by other creators in your niche.
Look at their most popular posts, then see which hashtags are resulting in maximum reach and engagement. Alternatively, you could start out by using a hashtag generator tool to get things off the ground.
2. Mix Popular Hashtags with Less Competitive Ones
Popular and trending hashtags are naturally the most tempting options when publishing content on TikTok. However, trending hashtags are also the most competitive, making it difficult (or impossible) to rank prominently for the most popular hashtags at the time.
This is why it is important to strike the right balance between popular hashtags and less competitive hashtags. Don’t center your campaign exclusively on trending hashtags, as they can be difficult to gain any real traction with.
3. Follow Current (and seasonal) Trends
If choosing hashtags on the basis of trends, ensure that they are current. It’s a fairly obvious example, but a hashtag like #summernights isn’t going to work as well in December as in mid-August.
Hashtags, by their very nature, are seasonal and have a limited lifespan in terms of their relevance, impact, and appeal. Keeping an eye on trends is vital, but so too is ensuring they’re leveraged at the right times.
4. Branded Hashtags & Hashtag Challenges
If you’re serious about making things work, why not develop your own branded hashtags? Or, for that matter, start your own hashtag challenge? Challenges on TikTok have the kind of viral potential that goes beyond almost any other type of content.
All you need to do is to set a challenge, tell those taking part to attach your branded hashtag, and wait for their posts to flood in. Of course, having first shown them how the challenge should be done, by doing it yourself!
5. Creating Your Own Hashtags
On that note, here are a few essential pointers for publishers looking to create their own hashtags:
- Set your sights on creating just a single hashtag per campaign, rather than complicating things with a whole bunch of hashtags nobody will remember or use.
- Make your hashtags as clear and relevant as possible to the campaign or objective in question.
- Make sure the hashtag is self-explanatory, as simple as possible, and easy to remember. It should also be easy to type without having to be copy-pasted.
- Create and use a unique yet familiar hashtag for every campaign or project so that you can track its performance and reach accordingly.
How Many Hashtags Can You Use on TikTok?
TikTok doesn’t set any specific limitations with regard to how many hashtags you can use. There’s a character limit of 100 characters per caption, and you need to enter at least three characters to create a hashtag. In which case, you could technically stuff 33 short hashtags into a single caption. Not that this would be a good idea, for obvious reasons.
Generally speaking, it’s advisable to use no more than a handful of relevant hashtags per post. The overuse of hashtags almost always proves counterproductive – they’re better used strategically and sparingly.
How to Find Hashtags on TikTok?
Last up, a few tried, tested, and trusted tactics for finding high-impact hashtags on TikTok:
1. Take a Cue from the Competition
As already touched upon, keeping a close eye on your competitors is essential. Taking inspiration from others within your niche means just that. Not ripping off their ideas wholesale, but tracking what they do and finding ways to do it better. You can copy other creators’ hashtags if you like, but creativity often holds the key to making things work.
2. Study Your Audience’s Hashtag Habits
Of course, you’ll also want to keep a close eye on your target audience. Track and monitor the hashtags your audience is using most prominently and frequently, along with what they are searching for using the search bar.
You’ll also find a bunch of useful reports published throughout the year on the most-used hashtags and search terms – try a quick Google search.
3. Use a Hashtag Generator
Last up, one of the quickest and easiest ways to come up with a list of relevant hashtags to try out is to use a hashtag generator. Some of which can be surprisingly intuitive but can never take the place of in-depth research and continuous monitoring—still, a great place to start when formulating a new hashtag strategy.
In summary, hashtags play an essential role in all creators’ SEO strategies on TikTok. The hashtags you use tell the platform’s algorithm what kind of content you’re publishing and who it should be recommended to.
Used correctly, hashtags can significantly boost your reach, resulting in more views for your videos and more followers for your accounts. But it’s worth remembering that hashtags only work when they are 100% relevant to your content – never chosen purely at random.