Hashtags adorn content across all socials and play a vital role in sending it out to a wider audience with the intention of increasing engagement, recruiting new followers, expanding online presence and a whole host of other goals.
They were initially launched on Twitter as a way of organising content. Users could simply type a hashtag of interest into the search bar and indulge in the unlimited thread of related content at their fingertips. Today, they still serve this purpose, but can now also promote, connect, and draw attention to brands, campaigns, creators etc.
Today, spotting a digital naive from a digital native is easy. It’s all in their ability to use hashtags. For marketers looking to present as the latter, knowing how to use hashtags is crucial for running successful marketing campaigns and refining content strategies.
For some social media platforms, hashtags are so integrated into their functionality that it is harder for marketers to not utilise them. The algorithm of networking giants Instagram and TikTok relies so heavily on them that knowing how to use hashtags quickly becomes second nature.
But what does hashtagging on these platforms actually entail?
How to use hashtags on TikTok
Just like on any other social media platform, TikTok hashtags categorise content and help to make it more discoverable. This allows users to join in on trending or relevant conversations by using the right hashtags.
As well as this, implementing them into your TikTok strategy can also boost engagement, help build a community, identify competitors, find influencers, give great content ideas and allow you to hop on trends. Their power isn’t to be underestimated.
Hashtag implementation can look like one of five ways.
These are personal to brands which help promote their products and themselves.
For example, Rimmel’s #LiveTheLondonLook ensures that any content using that hashtag, is associated with the brand.
These are used to highlight reviews, recommendations and product discoveries.
For example #AmazonFinds has 54.3B views and helps people discover the latest gadgets Amazon is selling.
These identify specific groups or consumers on TikTok.
A great example of a community hashtag is #BookTok – a tag which connects book lovers across the internet and now has 153.5B views.
These are branded hashtags tied to marketing campaigns, including challenges, contests and promotions which require customers to tag themselves.
CeraVe’s #21DaysOfSPF campaign has now seen over 460.6M views.
These are broad, non-specific terms and phrases used for labelling content on TikTok.
For example, users could contribute their content to interior design fans by labelling it #BedroomDesign.
Conducting relevant research plays a vital role in learning how to use hashtags on TikTok. To find those that work best for your brand you can use the TikTok Discover tab to see which hashtags are currently trending or actively seek out articles that compile lists of the top tags for each category.
Remember, it’s just as important to know which hashtags to use as it is to know how to use hashtags, so to help give you a head start, here are our top tips for using hashtags on TikTok:
Combine niche ones with relevant/trending ones
Popular hashtags are great for reaching a wider audience, but are also highly competitive, making it harder to get noticed. Implementing niche ones will ensure your content is seen by a hyper-targeted, relevant audience who have actively sought out that hashtag.
Consider your caption character count
TikTok have recently upgraded their caption character limit to 2,200 characters, however for punchy, impactful content, sticking to something short and sweet will grab the most attention.
Use #ForYou, #ForYouPage and #FYP with caution
These highly popular hashtags have trillions of views combined. If your goal is to boost visibility, relying too much on them isn’t the best idea. As mentioned above, a good mix of varying hashtags will put you in good stead for achieving your goals.
How to use hashtags on Instagram
Known for the circulation of famed hashtags such as #WCW and #OOTD, Instagram presents multiple opportunities to make use of hashtags for both business and creative endeavours, alike. Firstly, not only can you add them to your posts, but you can also follow hashtags of interest.
When it comes to learning how to use hashtags on Instagram, there are five categories to keep in mind when stuck for inspiration.
Location-based: such as #UpperEastSide
Branded: for branded campaigns such as #MyCalvins
Industry: to let users know which niche you belong to, #socialmediaagency, for example
Community-focused: such as #IAmASweatyBetty
Descriptive: describe your content
Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, recently revealed that “[hashtags] aren’t going to meaningfully change the amount of reach you get when you post”. Instead, what they can do is improve your discoverability by ensuring your content appears in relevant searches.
While Mosseri’s statement may have come as a surprise to many marketers – seeing as it doesn’t align with the general conviction that hashtags affect reach – it forces marketers to begin thinking about other tactics for increasing reach on Instagram.
Now that it’s common knowledge that Instagram hashtags don’t technically affect reach, knowing how to use hashtags for the purpose of engaging your community remains crucial.
Here are our top tips for doing so:
Stick with 3-5 tags
Though Instagram allows up to 30 per post, we don’t advise using all 30. Instead, 3-5 carefully selected hashtags – a mixture of trending and niche – will be most effective.
Use them in both your captions and comment sections
Instagram has confirmed that hashtags are effective in both of these locations. If including them in your caption interrupts your aesthetic, putting them out of sight in the comment section is a sure way to combat this.
If you want to find industry insights, visit our influencer marketing and social media blogs here.