In just a few years, TikTok has taken off as of the leading social media platforms, with high engagement rates and a growing audience. What started as a platform for lip-syncing videos has evolved—now, many people use the app as an alternative to search engines, looking up everything from fashion inspiration to breaking news. For aspiring content creators and businesses alike, a successful TikTok account can lead to greater online visibility or help improve your personal branding. If you’re ready to create the next #viral video on TikTok, mastering the use of hashtags is the first step.
What are TikTok hashtags?
TikTok hashtags are words or phrases, written after the pound sign (#), that appear in the captions of videos and help users find relevant content more easily. When users search on Tiktok, videos that include hashtags related to their search appear, with popular videos appearing first.
Although your videos might not show up in the search results for a popular hashtag with millions of videos, hashtags also affect how videos rank within the TikTok algorithm. By identifying the hashtags included in your caption, TikTok better understands what your posts are about and shows them to users interested in that type of content. The default For You Page, commonly referred to as the FYP, shows content to users tailored to their unique interests and activity on the app. Brands and creators using relevant or trending hashtags have a better chance of appearing in the feeds of users interested in their content. By using the right hashtags, you can jump on trends and reach your target audience.
Hashtags also increases participation on the app by encouraging users to post videos completing challenges, entering contests, or providing feedback. Creating new hashtags makes it possible to start conversations or bring attention to your brand.
Types of TikTok hashtags
Hashtags are key to growing your presence on social media, but not all TikTok hashtags serve the same purpose—understanding the different types can help you use hashtags effectively.
Most often, hashtags refer to trends or topics referenced in the video. For example, a creator posting their favorite vegan cookie recipe might use the hashtags #cookies #vegan or #baking. General hashtags also include hashtags like #fyp, referencing the TikTok For You Page, or #duet for videos created to duet another user.
Businesses create branded hashtags to promote their products and encourage creators to share content about them. For businesses, these hashtags help increase brand visibility and make it easier to find user-generated content. Branded hashtags include hashtags indicating a brand partnership or promoting a contest. Influencers typically use branded hashtags when posting sponsored content.
While content creators don’t usually create branded hashtags, they can benefit from increased visibility when using tags made by their favorite businesses. When someone searches for a product on TikTok, using a branded hashtag makes it more likely that your review will appear in the search results.
Community hashtags help users identify creators and brands with similar interests or identities. Creators use community hashtags like #foodtok to find other foodies posting restaurant reviews or recipes, while #lgbtq helps users find videos from creators within their community. These hashtags are a great way for people to connect with others online, but they can also be useful tools for brands and creators to find a target audience for their content.
How to find trending hashtags
When using hashtags, prioritize hashtags related to trends or relevant niches—hashtags with a high number of views have a better chance of reaching your target audience. In the past, the TikTok Discover tab was the easiest way to find trending hashtags, but after recent updates to the app, this section no longer exists.
Although you’ll be able to see a short list of trending topics within the search bar of the app, you’ll have to do more digging to find the most relevant tags for your content. Watch your own For You Page to identify TikTok trends and their associated hashtags. You can also search online for newly updated articles that compile trending TikTok hashtags—just remember, trends come and go quickly, so the hashtags you identify now may not work in the future.
How to create and use hashtags to boost your following
In addition to using trending hashtags, creating your own hashtags can boost your visibility on TikTok. Create a simple, easy-to-understand hashtag for your business or make hashtags for specific marketing campaigns or social media contests. Custom branded hashtags increase exposure to your account and make it easier for you to search for user-generated content related to your brand. It’s not easy getting a new hashtag to trend, but you can increase the likelihood by associating your branded hashtag with a challenge or contest. If your brand sends products to influencers, ask them to use your hashtags when they post.
Whether using a trending hashtag or a custom, branded one, you’ll want to follow general best practices for using TikTok hashtags.
- Use hashtags sparingly. While there’s no limit on how many hashtags you can use, each video caption has a maximum of 100 characters. Try using two to three hashtags while saving space for an engaging caption.
- Keep it simple. Hashtags with too many words or complicated spellings are less likely to be reused by other TikTok creators.
- Find a balance. While hyper-specific hashtags are less likely to be used, overly broad hashtags usually have more competition. Choose hashtags that are directly related to your content without being too niche. If you’re using a branded hashtag, balance out your caption with more general hashtags.
Creating and using hashtags strategically can help you jump-start your TikTok account and reach more users on the app. Whether you’re trying to grow your small business or start a career as a #influencer, understanding how hashtags work on platforms like TikTok or Twitter is a key element of social media success.