Creating great TikTok content is one thing; getting people to actually look at it is another. But harness the power of TikTok hashtags to complement your editing techniques, and you’ll be set to conquer the TikTokosphere (a cool new phrase that is not taking off at the rate I want it to).
If you’re here reading this, you probably already are more than aware TikTok is the social media app that’s swept the world’s smartphone users off their feet. It’s been downloaded more than two billion times and is available in more than 200 countries. TikTok is jam-packed with content and users, which means that it takes some effort and intention to make your videos stand out from the crowd.
Here’s how to master the fine art of the TikTok hashtag to ensure your TikTok marketing strategy will make a splash in the thrashing white-water rapids of today’s hottest social network.
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A hashtag is a # symbol, followed by words, acronyms, phrases, numbers, or sometimes even emoji. (Think #halloween or #dancemom or #y2kstyle.)
Basically: hashtags are a way of categorizing content to make it easy for others to find — and for social media algorithms to understand.
TikTok users add hashtags to video captions to help label their content. Importantly, these tags are clickable: if you tap one hashtag, you’ll be taken to a search page with other content that also is labeled with that hashtag. All your #studywithme content in one place, finally.
Hashtags are important to use on TikTok because they can extend your reach beyond your followers.
They can also get your content discovered by people interested in a particular topic, who might be searching for a specific phrase or tag. For instance, if I want to watch some videos about dinosaurs (and who wouldn’t?), I can just search for videos tagged #dinosaur and then gorge on triceratops content for the rest of the night.
TikTok users can follow specific hashtags, so you can wind up in their feed even if they aren’t following your account directly.
One more reason to embrace the #hashtaglife? Hashtags can be a good way to build an online community. Encourage others to use a specific branded hashtag, or find and comment on other popular content that’s labeled with relevant hashtags to immerse yourself with the movers and shakers out there.
(Curious about how Instagram’s hashtags work? We’ve got you covered there, too.)
Consider this list a good starting point, but TikTok hashtag trends tend to rise quickly and change often, so keep your eye on the Discover page regularly to see what’s hot now.
Some food for thought: the most popular TikTok hashtags will be getting the most attention… but you’re also going to have the most competition for that attention. (Everybody and their mom—literally—are getting on board the #arrestedtrend train!)
So, yes, it can be helpful to wedge yourself into a trending conversation, but a good rule of thumb is to balance out high-use hashtags (#FYP) with more niche ones (#tiktokwitches), so you’re hitting a nice blend of broad and specific audiences.
Of course, you can just go with your gut and use the most descriptive tags that pop to mind to label your TikTok masterpiece (#howtomakeapeanutbutterandbananasandwich). But a solid hashtag strategy involves a little less guessing and a little more studying.
Take a cue from the competition
We don’t want to play copycat here, but it’s important to peep the competition. Seeing which hashtags they’re using can offer some insight into what others in your industry might be doing and inspire you to try reaching audiences or using search phrases you might not have considered.
Cheerios, for instance, might want to know that Magic Spoon is getting some reason traction with the tags #cerealgourmet and #fallbaking.
Or, there’s the opposite benefit: checking in on your rivals can offer a roadmap for what not to do, or what hashtags to avoid so you’re not in a head-to-head competition for eyeballs.
Study your audience’s hashtag habits
What hashtags does your audience use already? Scoop some inspiration right from their videos to wedge yourself into the same conversation. Chances are, other people just like them are using or searching for the same words or phrases.
Members of the bookworm community on TikTok (a.k.a BookTok) regularly tag their fave reads with hashtags like #booktokFYP, #bookrecs, and #booktok, but you might also find specific tags related to series, events, or seasons… like #booktober in the fall.
Tapping into these pre-existing TikTok communities is an opportunity to expand your reach, so spend some time combing through your top followers’ videos to collect some key hashtag inspiration.
Got some time to dive deeper? Look into who else those followers are following, and what hashtags those accounts are using. You might learn something about your own fan culture or industry along the way.
Create a branded hashtag
While it’s important to use pre-existing hashtags, you also have the opportunity on TikTok to create a branded hashtag of your very own.
Cookware brand OurPlace uses #alwayspan in posts about its best-selling skillet. Click through, and you’ll find all the account’s pan-related TikTok videos in one place… plus content from fans who also want to, uh, fry up some conversation.
A branded hashtag is just a hashtag that you invent to promote a campaign, product or your whole brand. This is something you can start adding to your TikTok videos. The dream, of course, is that fans and followers start organically using your hashtag and that you collect user-generated content in the process, but you can always try running a full-on contest to help popularize its use.
Make the most of your new hashtag wisdom by studying these pro-level TikTok tagging skills and insights.
How many hashtags to use on TikTok
TikTok’s limit for captions is 100 characters, and you can squeeze as many hashtags in there as you’d like. There doesn’t seem to be any disadvantage to maxing out your hashtag count, so have at ‘er and squish as many as you can in there.
How to reach the most people with hashtags on TikTok
The secret sauce to maximizing your reach with hashtags is to mix popular hashtags with niche ones. As mentioned above, this spicy brew will help you reach both broad and narrow audiences.
Canadian sketch comedy show This Hour Has 22 Minutes is trying to maximize the reach of their videos with both the wide-reaching #canada hashtag, and one that zooms in on the topic of this sketch: #potatoes.
On the one hand, with top TikTok hashtags, you’ll get more people searching for the term… but you’ll also be just one post among many. Niche hashtags might have fewer people searching for them, but you can bet the people who are looking for #sonicthehedgehogfanart are going to be thrilled to discover your content.
How to create a hashtag on TikTok
Want to make your own hashtag on TikTok? Just type your perfect combo of letters and numbers into your caption, post your video, and like magic, you’ve birthed a hashtag out into the world.
For best chances of other people hopping on board your cool new tag, try to create something with simple spelling that’s easy to remember and is self-explanatory. Something that incorporates the name of your brand or product is typically a good idea, like #liveinlevis.
How to create a hashtag challenge on TikTok
Encourage people to use your custom hashtag by promoting it with a challenge. In other words: give your followers a specific task to accomplish or ask them to show off something particular. That could be a dance move, a makeover sequence, a dare (someone please bring back coning), a product demo, whatever!
Get creative, and you could have the next #twotowelchallenge on your hands.
How to increase the number of TikTok hashtags
If you run out of characters in the caption, here’s a little trick: add even more hashtags in the comments.
The algorithm doesn’t prioritize these hashtags to the same level as those in the caption, but it is a way to boost your opportunity for discovery in search… so it certainly can’t hurt.
How to save hashtags for future use
Find yourself using the same hashtags over and over again? Save time by saving your faves in the notes app on your phone so you can simply copy and paste them into your caption for your next video.
If you’re sharing different types of content that each have their own set of use-specific hashtags, make a few different lists that cover all your bases: one list for your how-to videos, one for your behind-the-scenes content, and so on.
Now that you’re brimming with#hashtagconfidence, go forth and tag fast, tag furious. Show that TikTok just what you’re made of! You’ll be lighting up the For You page and racking up TikTok followers in no time.