TikTok has seen explosive growth over the past few years. It has amassed over 1.2 billion users worldwide and continues to grow, particularly in key markets. In the US alone, 7 out of every 10 American teens are on TikTok. Influencer engagement rates on the platform are among the highest in the industry. Evidently, it provides a lot of opportunities for brands looking to raise awareness online.
Hashtags are great if you want to get noticed on TikTok, increase visibility, and reach. They improve content discoverability, so even if you’re not running ads, people who are using hashtags to search for content might see your videos. They’re also great for building a community around your brand.
If you’ve already established a presence on TikTok and are looking at ways to achieve growth, here are some of the ways you can use hashtags to do that in 2023.
It’s true that hashtags work on TikTok the same way that they do on other social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. They’re created the same way as well, just type the (#) and type a phrase without any spaces. The primary purpose is also the same, and that is to help users discover new content, join conversations, and form communities.
The fact remains, though, that those platforms have been around for far longer than TikTok. Hashtags aren’t as saturated on TikTok as they can be on other platforms. Using the right mix of hashtags on this platform can help your content go further compared to the other social media networks.
Brands advertising on the platform have access to the TikTok Creative Center which provides additional tools for brands to expand their reach. It includes a Trend Discovery Tool which you can use to see how many views a hashtag is getting and how many posts have used it. You can see trend analytics to get an idea of how the interest has grown in the hashtag over time, the age groups using it most frequently, related interests, etc.
With this tool, TikTok is essentially providing you with everything you need to jump on trends as they’re taking off, not when their virality has subsided.
Prioritize hashtags with high view counts
Any word or phrase can be a hashtag but it’s not necessarily going to find any traction. Hashtags are very specific so unless people know about them, there are limited ways for them to find a new hashtag. When researching, you should ensure that they’re not just relevant to your industry but also have high view counts. The high view count is proof that people are interested in the hashtag and are interacting with the content that’s associated with it.
This has a knock-on effect as people become more likely to find your content. TikTok’s Discover tab is a great resource for users to find trending hashtags. A good example is the #ForYouPage hashtag on TikTok. Since the main content feed on the app is called the For You Page, most creators and brands use this hashtag as people actively check it for new content.
Combine trending hashtags with less popular ones
A good TikTok hashtag marketing strategy is to combine the trending hashtags with ones that aren’t as possible or are entirely new. For example, you may want to associate a unique hashtag with your brand, but it will take some time for it to generate recognition. By combining it with a trending hashtag, people who find your content will also become aware of the unique hashtag.
Even if you’re not introducing a unique hashtag, combining trending ones with niche hashtags is a great strategy. The niche hashtags aren’t as competitive so your content will have a greater chance of finding good exposure.
Launch hashtag challenges
Hashtag challenges are a great way to significantly increase engagement. These challenges tend to do very well on TikTok, users are accustomed to them, and most are always willing to participate in a fun challenge. As more people participate, viral trends emerge, leading to even greater engagement.
Have a fun challenge for your viewers to complete. It could be as simple as asking them to make a drawing or take a photo with their phone. Just make sure it’s relevant to your brand and helps promote it further. When they use the hashtag to post content on their accounts, people in their circle will discover the challenge and may also be motivated to participate, thereby growing the reach of your content.
Leverage content gaps against competitors
It’s entirely possible that you and your competitors are competing for visibility on the same trending hashtags. How do you go about ensuring that you’re able to outperform them? Leveraging content gaps is a proven strategy to outrank your competitors for search engine traffic and it’s also applicable to videos on TikTok.
Pay close attention to the content that they’re posting and figure out the areas where their content is falling short. Perhaps they’re offering limited information about a topic whereas you could do it better. There may also be angles that they’re not taking with their content, so you make the most of that opportunity and expand the scope with your videos.
Don’t overlook location hashtags
The idea with hashtag campaigns is always to cast a wide net. You want to reach as many people as possible to maximize growth and exposure. In that case, it may seem counterproductive to use location hashtags that target people in a particular location, since a smaller target audience limits potential exposure. If done correctly, these TikTok hashtag marketing campaigns can work very well.
For example, if you have a regional offer or want to showcase how a product or service can help people in a particular location, use a location hashtag. This circles back to the point about combining trending hashtags with less popular ones. For example, the #ForYouPage hashtag is incredibly competitive, but if you post includes a location hashtag like #Chicago, people searching for that particular hashtag will find your content too.
Hashtags on TikTok are a great way to expand the visibility of your content so that as many people as possible can find it. You just have to remember to use hashtags in moderation. Don’t fill up the entire video description with them as it not only looks cluttered but also takes attention away from individual hashtags.
People have a short attention span and they’re unlikely to read through a list filled with hashtags to find one they’re interested in. It’s generally recommended to vary between 3-5 hashtags per video so that there’s a decent variety but not enough to overwhelm viewers.