Branded hashtags are an effective but misunderstood tool for brands on Instagram and TikTok. This post explains how to create your own (and why you...
Everything You Need To Know About TikTok Hashtags
Hashtags are responsible for billions of TikTok views but what are they actually for? This post breaks down TikTok hashtags and how they work from A to Z.
“But, like, what are the hashtags on TikTok for?”
For brands and everyday users alike, getting started on TikTok involves a learning curve.
Now that TikTok is such a big social platform for discovering new products, it’s important to understand features like hashtags. This is especially true as TikTok is edging out Google when it comes to online searches.
Beyond that, hashtags are key to standing out on the platform and growing your account.
Want to maximize the reach of your videos and get more eyes on your products? You need to learn how TikTok hashtags work. This post breaks down everything you need to know.
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What Are Hashtags on TikTok, Anyway?
Indicated by the pound symbol (#), hashtags are words or phrases attached to a piece of social media content. Hashtags are usually included in a post’s caption or description.
These tags are used to identify the subject or topic of a social post. People can then search hashtags to find specific pieces of content.
Chances are you’ve seen your share of hashtags on other networks like Instagram or Twitter.
Well, hashtags on TikTok basically work the same way!
For example, let’s say you’re interested in foundation recommendations from makeup creators. Simply start typing a term under the “Hashtag” tab in the search bar. TikTok will then deliver results based on the most popular tags related to your term.
From there, you can see the top posts attached to any given hashtag. These posts are aggregated largely based on their engagement. In other words, the most “Liked” and looped TikToks will pop up first. That’s because the platform sees these videos as the most relevant to your search.
Tapping through the top result, we can also see how creators attach tags to their posts to help people find them. For example, the video below is tagged for #foundationreviews and #makeuprecommendations.
Not all hashtags on TikTok are related to general search terms, though. For example, brands have their own company or campaign hashtags for product-related posts. Below is an example of an influencer using the #kosprotein tag to promote her collab with KOS.
Why Are Hashtags Important on TikTok?
Fair question! At a glance, hashtags might not seem like much of a priority. Here’s a snapshot of why they’re so valuable, though:
- Hashtags organize videos and make them searchable. With the demise of the Discover tab, TikTok hashtags are the primary means of content discovery on the platform. Tags make it easier to uncover relevant content. Likewise, they help other TikTokers discover you and your videos.
- Hashtags help videos rank with the TikTok algorithm. Much like the Instagram algorithm uses contextual information about your post is figure out “what” it is, TikTok does the same. Translation? Hashtags help the platform understand what your posts are about. This allows the algorithm to serve your content to relevant accounts based on their activity and the tags they engage with.
- Hashtags encourage participation on the platform. Whether through challenges or campaigns, hashtags drive conversations and engagement on TikTok. These types of interactions are key to growing your account and following.
5 Types of TikTok Hashtags (and What They’re Used For)
Spend two minutes on the platform and you’ll see tons of hashtags across TikTok.
If you’re overwhelmed or don’t really “get” what all the tags are about, don’t sweat it! Below is a basic breakdown of the most common types of hashtags and what they’re for.
1. Branded Hashtags
Branded hashtags are tags created by companies to promote themselves and their products. Examples include:
- #OptOutside (REI)
- #MyColoredHair (Sally Beauty)
- #LiveYourLook (MilkMakeUp)
Hashtags are crucial if you’re using TikTok for business. For example, a brand might invite followers and customers to use a hashtag to make a video featuring their products. You can typically find a brand’s hashtag in their TikTok bio (see below).
In turn, TikTokers will use the tag to promote a brand. Check out this example of an influencer featuring Sally Beauty’s #MyColoredHair tag in her post.
Since hashtags are searchable, you can find each and every tagged video attached to a branded hashtag in a matter of seconds. If you’re a brand, this is one of the easiest ways to get more user-generated content from TikTok.
2. Product-Centric Hashtags
Product-centric hashtags are used to highlight reviews, recommendations and discoveries of products. Examples include:
As more young consumers rely on TikTok to discover new brands, having videos tied to product-centric hashtags is a big deal.
That’s because products go viral on TikTok all the time. TikTokers are constantly on the hunt for their next purchases. For reference, the #amazonfinds tag has well over 16 billion views.
3. Community Hashtags
Community hashtags are tags that identify specific groups or consumers on TikTok. Examples include:
For example, new moms or parenting influencers might attach their content to the #MomTok. Doing so gives them exposure and helps introduce them to new accounts. TikTok notes that “hashtag categorization” is on the rise as communities and cliques grow on the platform.
Becoming part of a community helps everyday TikTokers connect with people that share the same interests. Brands can get featured within communities, too. For example, consider how a skincare brand might go viral or get recommended within the #SkinCare101 community.
4. Sponsored Hashtags
Sponsored hashtags are branded tags tied to TikTok ad campaigns. This includes challenges, contests and promotions that require customers to tag themselves. Examples include:
- #HealthAdePopIt (Health-Ade)
- #InMyDenim (Guess)
- #MakeNightsEpic (Samsung)
These tags highlight the creative potential of TikTok advertising. Brands promote TikTok hashtags to generate buzz and content from consumers. For example, Health-Ade Kombucha’s recent #HealthAdePopIt challenge asks participants to create duets.
5. General Hashtags
General hashtags are broad, non-specific terms and phrases for labeling TikTok content. Example include:
Think of these tags almost like you would search terms on Google. For example, someone might use the #EasyRecipes tag to find some quick cooking inspiration.
Getting discovered on these tags is difficult because they’re so broad. That said, they do have utility for everyday users looking for videos on a subject.
Why Use Hashtags on TikTok?
It’s true that hashtags aren’t a requirement for posting or even interacting with TikTok content.
That said, they’re invaluable for brands looking to get discovered and promote products.
Consider how hashtag usage is ticking up, too. According to TikTok themselves, the top 100 hashtags on the platform saw an average of 25 million videos published to them last year.
Beyond recommendations from the algorithm, hashtags are the primary way to uncover content and new accounts to follow. If you don’t take advantage of them, your competitors likely will.
Why Brands Use TikTok Hashtags
Although hashtags may seem like a minor detail of the platform, they’re incredibly valuable if you know how to leverage them. Below are three key benefits to consider.
Encourage, Source and Track User-Generated Content
As noted earlier, branded hashtags allow brands to get and promote user-generated content in the form of customer videos. For example, Peach&Lily use the #GlassSkin hashtag to promote their K-beauty products and source content from customers.
Create a Sense of Community With Your Audience
Consistently using hashtags related to your brand creates a community among your followers.
And despite popular belief, hashtags on TikTok aren’t just reserved for big-box brands.
For example, Whateva Lola is an independent business that specializes in handmade accessories. The brand has built a unique and engaging social presence, featuring a variety of hashtags in their posts including:
These tags identify the brand and increase discoverability with supporters of indie artists Whateva Lola’s branded hashtag has over 53,000 views on TikTok which is incredibly impressive for a small business. This highlights how hashtags on TikTok create a sense of community.
Promote and Track TikTok Campaigns and Promotions
Hashtags are a valuable tool for getting more eyes on your profile and posts. This is especially true if you collaborate with influencers that have established followings. Whether it’s an announcement or a new product drop, attaching your brand to a hashtag can help spread the word.
Consider how hashtags can also be used to organize and promote product gifting campaigns. For example, Redken’s #GiftedByRedken tag helps the brand track the content of their influencers and ambassadors.
Note: TikTok requires consumers to disclose branded content and sponsorships with hashtags such as #gifted or #ad.
Why Everyday Consumers Use Hashtags
The benefits of using TikTok hashtags are crystal clear for brands.
That said, what’s the incentive for everyday TikTokers to search and use them? Below we’ve broken down why hashtags matter to consumers at large.
To Discover and Research Products
As noted earlier, TikTok is a massive hub for product discovery and research. Viral product tags like the infamous #TikTokMadeMyBuyIt boast over 17 billion views. Note how more specific product hashtags (like #makeuprecommendations) still earn millions of views.
Translation? Hashtags help people find out about new products no matter what those products might be.
To Learn Something New
Fact: 49% of content discovery on TikTok is driven by the desire to “discover something new.”
If you want to learn how to do just about anything, the platform has you covered. This applies to new products, fun facts or life hacks alike.
Looking for an easy recipe? Want to shake up your haircare routine? Answers and inspiration are only a hashtag search away.
To Contribute to Communities Through Content
Remember what we said earlier about the importance of community on TikTok? Given the platform’s one billion monthly active users, it’s no surprise that communities are growing.
Connecting with others on the platform means reducing noise from the algorithm. Whether it’s #BookTok or #MomTok, hashtags help TikTokers uncover communities posting relevant content.
4 Frequently Asked Questions About TikTok Hashtags for Brands
To wrap things up, let’s answer some of the most common questions we see about hashtags
1. How Do I Create My Own TikTok Hashtag?
Creating your own hashtag doesn’t have to be rocket science!
Some brands simply use their brand name but we recommend getting a bit more creative than that! Snappy slogans, taglines and phrases that feature your brand are all fair game. Our own #statusworthy tag is a great example of a simple but effective hashtag in action.
If you already promoting a branded hashtag elsewhere, it’s usually a smart move to use it on TikTok. This is especially true if your tag is already seeing traction on Instagram.
Are hashtags necessary on TikTok? Not exactly. Heck, many of the best brands on TikTok don’t promote unique hashtags. That said, having one is a low-hanging way to organize your videos and encourage user-generated content.
2. How Many Hashtags Should I Include In My Posts?
Note that TikTok’s video descriptions are limited to only a couple hundred characters.
That means that you don’t want to cram them full of hashtags. Doing so looks spammy and likewise distracts from the main message of your descriptions.
Based on what we’ve seen, two to three hashtags seem to be the sweet spot for TikTok.
In terms of which tags to post on TikTok, you have no shortage of options. Start by looking at relevant hashtags based on your industry, audience and what’s trending. Again, don’t rack your brain too much!
For more tips on writing video descriptions, check out our list of creative TikTok account ideas.
3. What Does “Joining” a Hashtag Mean on TikTok?
You’ve probably noticed the “Join a Hashtag” button pop up during a hashtag search.
Wondering what it means? All that tapping the “Join” button does is create a draft of a post that features the hashtag of the page you were on. This feature is sort of a novelty that makes it easy to create videos in a snap.
4. What the Deal with the “#FYP” Tag?
The #FYP or #ForYouPage tags totally dominate TikTok. What are they for, though?
Well, these tags have billions of views and many TikTokers believe that using these tags will somehow get them featured on the For You Page.
Thing is, TikTok states that attaching yourself to trending hashtags is not a guarantee for going viral. Convention wisdom says that they really don’t help or hurt when it comes to your reach.
How to Boost Brand Awareness on TikTok Beyond Hashtags
As more and more brands turn to TikTok, understanding features like hashtags is a must-do. Hopefully our breakdown and tips cleared things up for you!
Wrapping your head around hashtags is just one step in growing your TikTok presence, though.
The next step? Implementing an always-on influencer marketing strategy and getting authentic creators promoting your brand with those tags at scale.
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This article was first published in January 2021. It was last updated July 8, 2022.