There’s no question that TikTok remains popular, despite all the controversy. And, it is increasingly a critical forum to reach the younger generations. However, you can produce all the content that you want, and it will have minimal impact if people cannot find it. For that, TikTok uses hashtags.
Generally speaking, TikTok Hashtags function similarly on every other major platform — they sort content, help people find videos they’ll enjoy, and are a major component of TikTok’s recommendations algorithm. For this reason, it’s critical that TikTokers, both commercial and individual, know how to use hashtags. Proper use will help you find great content and grow your channel. Meanwhile, improper use cannot only fail to get your content viewed but also backfire.
Fortunately, if you understand where to find relevant hashtags and how to use them properly, you can dramatically improve the overall performance of your videos. In turn, your channel should be able to grow as the algorithm serves your videos to the right people.
- How Does TikTok’s Algorithm Work?
- Do Hashtags Work on TikTok Content?
- Why is Using TikTok Hashtags Important?
- How Many Hashtags Can Be Used In a TikTok Post?
- Tips on Researching & Using TikTok Hashtags
- Hashtag Usage Mistakes to Avoid
How Does TikTok’s Algorithm Work?
Arguably, one of the best aspects of TikTok is its algorithm. Rather than putting users into static groups, TikTok takes a personalized approach to recommend content. The algorithm uses many factors, including hashtags, to match posts with potential followers. By contrast, many other social media algorithms work heavily with demographics and viewing history without considering hashtags. YouTube is a prime example of this – and even though they say that hashtags there can help make your video more discoverable, it is rarely brought up by YouTube marketers as an important aspect to consider (outside of the original recommendation to use #shorts, of course).
Based on hashtags and a number of different aspects, the ‘For You’ page is tailored to the viewer’s interests. And if you spent any time on TikTok, you understand that the FYP is the first thing that people see when they open the app. If a piece of content is not on somebody’s FYP, then they’ll have to search for using keywords and hashtags.
Because hashtags play a role in the TikTok algorithm, knowing what your community is looking for will help you get more engagement and reach the right people with your content. Then, as with most other social networks, people will share your content with others who might find it interesting. In TikTok’s case, your simply viewing that video sends a powerful message to the algorithm. This helps produce the coveted snowball effect, even if a video does not go “viral.”
Do Hashtags Work on TikTok Content?
Not only do hashtags work on TikTok content, but TikTok Hashtags are one of many factors that contribute to the success of a video. That’s because members use hashtags on TikTok to help other users find and share content. Furthermore, using the right hashtags on TikTok can get you farther than it can on other social media platforms. Even Instagram, which is also heavily hashtag-dependent, will show you content that you may enjoy based on the users that you follow.
Also, TikTok hashtags are harder to invent. One reason for this is undoubtedly the dominance of hashtag use on the platform. Creating a new hashtag requires research and creativity to ensure it stands out from the crowd. In other words, you can’t simply create a hashtag out of your business name or claim your favorite catchphrase automatically. Maybe you’ll get lucky, but you’ll usually have to do your homework and brainstorm for something that’s highly effective.
Looking for an appropriate hashtag that may take your video viral? Popular TikTok hashtags can be found by researching trending topics or using hashtag generators. Maybe you can enter a challenge or meaningfully contribute to an ongoing discussion using one or more of those hashtags. It can be a great way to build brand awareness.
To use a hashtag in a post, write the # symbol followed by a phrase without any spaces. Sometimes the hashtag will be just one word, too. The length of the hashtag it doesn’t matter, only its relevance to your topic.
Why is Using TikTok Hashtags Important?
While it’s pretty obvious that TikTok hashtags help sort mountains of content into meaningful categories, it’s a lot more complicated than that. In fact, there are certain specific benefits that help with channel growth and creating relevant content.
Getting Discovered by More People
TikTok hashtags can help boost your content’s visibility by exposing it to potential followers and trending topics. To maximize this effect, you should use both topic-based hashtags and have a branded hashtag. You can also incorporate hashtags indicating that a particular piece of content is appropriate for certain audiences, as applicable. For instance, if you have a business in the Bahamas, you might add corresponding hashtags.
Another reason that hashtags are important is that they can make your content appear on Discovery pages, allowing millions of users to see it. Sometimes, these users are people who wouldn’t ordinarily find your content for whatever reason. Similarly, hashtags help ensure that your content appears when people search for related topics on TikTok.
Sense of Community
Like other social networks, TikTok is an online community. And like any other community, channels and content need an introduction to various users. Using specific TikTok hashtags helps the algorithm understand what your video is about and can lead to more followers, likes, and comments.
Likewise, creating a branded hashtag is a great way to collect and share user-generated content. That’s because many social media monitoring tools track hashtags. Depending on the software, you’ll set up alerts for each hashtag you want to monitor. And as people create content with those TikTok hashtags, you’ll be notified.
Finally, following trends in hashtags can help create a community of followers who are interested in your content. This doesn’t just work for branded hashtags. In fact, any hashtags that are relevant can be great choices for tracking. Plus, the intelligence you gain from it may help with future campaigns.
Catch Up With the Latest Trends
Stay on top of trending hashtags that align with your brand to show your audience you’re in the know. Being an expert in your niche or professional field helps with credibility, whether you market to businesses or consumers. After all, people generally prefer to buy things from brands that are more respected.
Similarly, always use accurate and responsible TikTok hashtags to maintain brand trust. It’s very important to avoid using inaccurate hashtags because you’ll draw the wrong people to your channel. Then, they may get annoyed by not getting the kind of content they were looking for.
Avoid using random, high-traffic hashtags, as it could negatively impact your brand and result in TikTok hiding your videos. Nobody likes spam email, and they don’t like spam in TikTok hashtags, either. Furthermore, TikTok can hide your videos if you spam with hashtags. Ultimately, this means you won’t have very many people viewing those videos. In that case, why bother to make the content in the first place?
How Many Hashtags Can Be Used In a TikTok Post?
With TikTok hashtags being so important, it’s natural to wonder how many hashtags you can use. After all, you want your content to appear in all relevant searches, right?
Technically, there isn’t an exact limit to the number of hashtags you can use. However, there is a caption character limit, so you want to choose the most relevant hashtags for each of your posts.
Since TikTok has arguably the most robust algorithm for analyzing video content, it isn’t necessary to use as many as 30 hashtags that you might see on Instagram. Most TikTok influencers will use somewhere between 3 to 10 hashtags, so you might want to experiment with different numbers of hashtags and see if your results vary between using a few and many.
Further Reading: 15 Legit Ways How to Get More Views on TikTok
Tips on Researching & Using TikTok Hashtags
Like other networks, you need to do hashtag research to be effective in using them on TikTok. This is unsurprising when you consider that some niches will have a lot of hashtags. In addition, some hashtags could be relevant to multiple topics or niches. Knowing which hashtags to use is critical to maximizing your overall success.
There are several ways to discover and use hashtags:
- TikTok Discover tab in TikTok app. Here, you can turn keywords into hashtags. Or, you can look for a hashtag and find similar ones.
- Observe which hashtags your competitors are utilizing. A good social media monitoring/management tool that works with TikTok is very helpful here. Obviously, you won’t want to use their branded hashtag, but anything else is fair game.
- Analyze your current audience demographic in your existing TikTok account. Sometimes particular hashtags will be relevant to these groups at large while also being appropriate for your content.
- Mixing popular and niche hashtags. You never know what else people will associate with your topic, and sometimes you can capitalize on pleasant surprises.
- Come up with unique hashtag challenges on TikTok. This option sparks creativity and encourages user-generated content. Plus, these often become viral, raising your brand visibility significantly.
- For a better visibility, add additional hashtags to the comments section of your post. This way, your content can be discovered by as many people as possible. In turn, you can increase the size of your following through content discovery.
- Include relevant hashtags that directly describe your target audience. You might find that people in certain niche groups use a hashtag to identify each other. Or maybe a hashtag corresponds with an attribute of your target audience, such as high net worth.
As you can see, there are a lot of different ways to use TikTok hashtags. And plenty of ways to find the right ones. Over time, you’ll use most of these techniques, depending on your brand and its goals.
Further Reading: TikTok Marketing: 5 Reasons Why, 5 Strategy Tips How, and 5 Examples to Help You Master the Channel
Hashtag Usage Mistakes to Avoid
Of course, not all hashtag use is appropriate. Not only can you use the wrong hashtags that miscategorize your posts, but you can also use the right ones inappropriately. Or, you can fail to maximize your hashtag use in ways that enhance your post and its audience-building capabilities.
Let’s break these down.
Using Irrelevant Hashtags
Irrelevant hashtag use clouds the message of your TikTok posts. People will see your content and wonder how it got onto their FYP or video recommendations during watch time. Needless to say, this is a major no-no. Not only do you lose an opportunity with the viewer you shouldn’t have had, but you might miss out on the “right” people. In other words, it’s bad news for almost everyone.
Narrow down your target audience on TikTok.
Despite its popularity, the largely younger audience on TikTok means that it isn’t the best place to reach older consumers. However, there are other ways to segment your audience besides age. Using TikTok hashtags that are relevant to a micro-niche can help. Similarly, choosing something that best fits your buyer persona will help increase the size of your audience.
With that said, don’t just use random hashtags. Spamming typically fails, and it can work against you. People ignore spam, and it can get your content hidden by TikTok.
Further Reading: How to Get Unshadowbanned on TikTok: 5 Things to Try
Although you CAN use 30-plus TikTok hashtags in the same post, this isn’t usually recommended. Rather, you should normally limit your hashtag use to five per video. Using too many hashtags can seem spammy. Of course, you can sometimes use more than five, so long as it’s appropriate.
Of course, limiting hashtags also gives you an opportunity to segment your audience. In other words, you don’t need for each video to reach everyone. Rather, create some videos for certain segments and a different one tailored elsewhere. This way, you don’t have to please everyone all the time.
Ignoring Trending Hashtags
Failing to use the most popular hashtags in your niche can limit the reach of posts, as well as miss out on potential customers. While you won’t want to use a competitor’s hashtag when it’s popular, you can use secondary tags to hone in on their audience. Alter your content to suit your business’s hashtags to reach a wider audience.
Further Reading: Here is How to Get On the TikTok For You Page in 2023
While marketers use the platform to build a brand community and help sell things, TikTok is not purely for brand promotion. Rather, as I’ve said before, social media is made for humans, and TikTok is no exception. Shameless plugs aren’t well-received.
Maybe that’s why there’s no point in using hashtags when your content is merely promotional. Certainly, you’ll want to use your branded tag and, if applicable, the FTC-required disclosure tags. But you don’t want to place too many hashtags on your promotional TikTok videos. People tend to skip them anyway.
Further Reading: 9 Proven Ways How To Grow Your TikTok Account
Using TikTok hashtags is essential to success on the platform. Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to find the right hashtags and use them in your videos. Then, you can grow your audience and boost your brand’s profile over time.
Hero photo by Olivier Bergeron on Unsplash