The goal of every social media algorithm is to keep users on the platform for as long as possible. TikTok is really good at this with over 800 million users now on the platform. But not all platforms are created equal. And when it comes to TikTok, it's similar yet different to others in many aspects such as TikTok hashtags.
Earlier this year, I made my first viral TikTok video with over 748K views.
Here's the Video
TikTok Hashtags VS Instagram Hashtags
On Instagram, the goal is to use all 30 tags. Yet on TikTok, stuffing a post with hashtags not only gets perceived by users as spam but makes your caption take up more valuable screen space on your video.
While on Instagram you might use tags with less than 20K posts because they allow you to be competitive and rank on the explore page. On TikTok – based on my personal experience – these lower views are interpreted as lower quality content not likely to be picked and distributed to the For You Page and featured TikTok hashtag pages.
How to Use Hashtags on TikTok
To be 100% transparent, I'm sharing what I learn as I go. The more I refine my insights on this topic the more I'll update this article. I post, fail, learn, adapt, and then succeed so you can have a better idea of a good starting point for you.
Pick a Few Popular General Industry-Related TikTok Hashtags
Pick a few tags that are relevant to what you do and what you will be creating content around. For example, since I am a social strategist and content creator I use tags like:
- #socialmediatips (27.2M views)
- #contentcreation (1.7M views)
- #contentmarketing (19.6M views)
I use a general tag or two on every post to continue dominating the feed for that tag. Go to the pages of popular creators, click on their tags, and you'll notice how the feeds of their tags are often dominated by a 1 to 3 people at the very top of the feed and then becomes more random as you scroll lower and lower.
Pick Context-Specific TikTok Hashtags Every Video
Your TikTok hashtags help the TikTok algorithm better categorize and share your post with the right users. Your context-specific tags are especially helpful for this. Think of your general tags as a folder on your desktop with business assets and your context-specific tags as subfolders.
Although I might always use a general tag or two, if I post about how to use Instagram stories I'd apply contextually relevant hashtags with a decent amount of views. I try to aim for tags that have at least 500K views but I still have more testing to do before narrowing down the specifics.
Here are some examples of context-specifc tags I use and rank for on the TikTok hashtags featured page:
- #instagramtips (54.5M views)
- #instagramstories (75M views)
- #videocontent (897.3M views)
- #videoediting (78.7M views)
- #videomarketing (4.3m views)
How Do You Know If Your TikTok Hashtags Are Working?
TikTok is weird in the sense a video might blow up hours, even weeks after you've posted it. My 748KK view video blew up hours after. I have another with over 100K that also took some hours.
It's not as immediate as other social platforms.
So don't get discouraged if nothing happens at first. Normally, I like to review if a hashtag worked for me a few days to a week after posting it. Here's how to know if a TikTok hashtag worked for you.
- Make your video and post it
- Go back to it a day or more later
- Click on your hashtags
- If you see your video on the featured page for this tag then it worked well for you.
If you didn't see your TikTok featured on the page for that hashtag, it doesn't necessarily mean the tag is bad. There are also so many variables like your TikTok caption, the text you add over your video, the quality of your voiceover, trendy vs non-trendy sounds, or anything else you might've done to produce and edit your video.
Want to Blow Up On TikTok? Keep This In Mind
Many people post one video and blow up with thousands or even millions of views and followers overnight. But that doesn't mean it'll be the same for you.
Social media is often a big educated guess.
Sometimes our first move is the right one and other times it's not. But you never know unless you post and dare to churn out videos that might never get more than 5 views. I made over 40+ videos before figuring out my TikTok video format.
I promise you don't need to dance or be an entertainer.
At some point, all of your favorite creators were new to this too. And now it's your turn to pay your dues as a newcomer. But you got this!