Creating a TikTok is half the battle — now you need the right people to watch it. But with over 1 billion monthly users on the platform, it's easy to get lost in the crowd.
Enter your secret weapon — the hashtag. While many marketers approach hashtags as an after-thought, they're a powerhouse for engagement, visibility, and discoverability. Even if you aren't running a full-scale hashtag campaign, they should be a part of your overall TikTok strategy.
Here, we'll explore the benefits of using TikTok hashtags, discuss best practices for using them, and uncover what types of hashtags are most popular on the platform.
What are TikTok hashtags?
Like Instagram and Twitter, TikTok uses hashtags to group content around a particular topic, making it easy for people to find videos that interest them.
The hashtag "formula" includes a hash sign (#), followed by a topic (e.g., crafts, travel, fashion, sports, etc.). The best hashtags tend to be relatively short, concise, and easy to remember.
Brands can use hashtags to build brand awareness, increase social engagement, and drive conversions. To go a step further, they can also sponsor a hashtag — known as a branded hashtag — to encourage TikTokers to create content around it. The most popular branded hashtags have amassed millions of views and thousands of response videos.
Next, let's dive deeper into the importance of TikTok hashtags — and cover best practices for using them.
Why are TikTok hashtags so important?
Hashtags have the power to expand your reach beyond your current audience. Let's dive deeper into their benefits:
1. Provide context.
For one, hashtags provide a layer of context for your TikTok videos. For instance, if you upload a video of you playing a video game, you could include the hashtag #gaming. Then, the TikTok algorithm decides who would be most interested in seeing your video on their feed.
2. Discoverability and engagement.
Hashtags categorize videos under certain topics — like #gaming — so users can easily find content they're interested in. As a result, your content has more chances to be discovered, even if someone doesn't follow your brand.
With more eyes on your content, you have a higher chance of engagement. After all, users can only "like" and comment on videos that appear in front of them. So, more reach typically translates to higher engagement.
3. Building community.
Hashtags are a great tool for building community. For instance, branded hashtags are an effective way to encourage users to engage with your brand and create videos around a sponsored hashtag.
For example, when Nissan Australia wanted to promote its new sports car, the JUKE, they turned to TikTok. They created a branded hashtag — #improvisewithJUKE — and challenged users to make their own car commercial voiceover, with the winner receiving a feature in a future JUKE commercial.
The results? 129.4 million video views globally and over 34,000 video submissions, leading to a 92% lift in brand awareness for the JUKE.
How to Use Hashtags on TikTok
Hashtags on TikTok work just like they do on Instagram and other social platforms. When you upload a video, you have the option to write a caption — and this is where you want to include your hashtags. While this sounds simple, here are a few best practices to keep in mind:
1. Find the best hashtags for your content.
It's essential to research hashtags relevant to your brand, your industry, and your audience. One way to do this is by checking out your competition because there's likely an audience overlap. Observe what hashtags they use and note which ones get the most views and engagement.
You can also find inspiration on the app's Discover page. Here, you can browse through trending hashtags and sounds. Discover also showcases popular videos that use these hashtags to help you find inspiration.
2. Combine niche hashtags with popular ones.
This might sound counterintuitive, but only targeting popular hashtags can be ineffective. While they have a larger audience, they're also highly competitive. Instead, it's better to have a mixture of both niche and popular hashtags.
Niche hashtags have fewer people searching for them, but those who do are highly engaged and interested. For instance, #food is a popular TikTok hashtag with millions of impressions, but #cakedecorating is more niche with a fraction of the audience. By incorporating both, you tap into two different audiences.
3. Stay mindful of the character limit.
TikTok limits captions to 300 characters. While you could squeeze as many hashtags as possible into your caption, a long string of hashtags can confuse your audience — and this does a poor job of explaining your video. Instead, experts suggest 3 to 5 hashtags as the optimal number.
Popular TikTok Hashtags
According to a recent Statista report, TikTok sees the most hashtag views from entertainment content (535 billion views, to be exact). This aligns with another study by HubSpot that reports funny and entertaining content has the highest engagement and ROI than any other content type.
The second most popular category on TikTok is dance with 181 billion hashtag views, followed by pranks, fitness and sports content, home renovations, and beauty and skincare.
To find the most popular hashtags in real-time, visit the Trend Discovery page on TikTok. Here, you will find a comprehensive list of trending hashtags, songs, and creators.
Back to You
Once you create a TikTok video, your work isn't over. Now you need to position your content in front of your audience. One of the best ways to do this is with hashtags. Start with the tips in this article and always keep an eye out for hashtags that relate to your brand or audience.