TikTok is about to become one of the largest social networks in the world. It currently has over 800 million active monthly users and many more are joining everyday. The precise use of the platform, however, can be quite a mystery and many users seem to struggle understanding the functioning of the algorithm. One question that we get asked over and over again is how hashtags should be used on TikTok when posting a video. Which hashtags should be used and what is the optimal amount? Does it make sense to add #foryou and #fyp to every video? Here come the most important answers
Fist things first: Use hashtags differently than on Instagram!
Be aware that hashtags are used in different ways across different social networks. On Facebook and LinkedIn for example, hashtags are primarily inserted for descriptive reasons. They should indicate in an efficient way to the reader what a post is about. On Twitter and Instagram on the other side, hashtags are used to generate traffic to your post and page. On these platforms, users actively search for hashtags and though potentially land on your profile.
The story is slightly different for TikTok though. Using hashtags like you would do on Instagram will not bring the desired effect. While there is a search bar to look up specific hashtags in the app, those searches will most certainly not generate a lot of traffic to your profile. The majority of traffic is generated through the “For You” page. Here it’s the algorithm who decides to how many and what kind of people your video is being shown. And it’s exactly in this context that hashtags should be used: to position yourself.
As we described in a previous article, it is very important to position your account on TikTok. You do this by providing specific added value with your videos and by using the hashtags that best describe the specific niche you are covering with your account. So use them to tell the algorithm what category you want to be allocated to.
Example: Imagine you are a real estate agent and want to grow on TikTok. The best way to start your account would be to define your strategy. What is the added value you want to provide and what is the niche and audience you want to target? Then you write down a selection of hashtags that best describe your category and use these hashtags consistently in all of your videos.
Actually, you should use these hashtags from the first videos on. After approximately five videos, the TikTok algorithm starts to understand what category you belong to and shows your content to those users that should have the highest interest in your content.
The primary goal of TikTok is for their users to spend as much time in the app as possible. The matching of content and interests is thus super important. Therefore, it is important that you only use hashtags that clearly match your category. If you use bad hashtags, people will show no interest in your content and your videos will flop.
#FYP, #foryou, #FY, #trending, #viral, etc.
Many people still use the #FYP hashtags, hoping that this will increase their chances to land on the “For You” page of many users. However, these hashtags have no impact on the performance of your videos and professional TikTokers don’t actually use them.
First of all, a hashtag that is used by a lot of people is worthless, as it makes it harder to compete and land on the “For You” page of the users you want to target. This highlights even more the fact that it’s important to find a good niche and use appropriate hashtags. Furthermore, the #foryou hashtags provide no added value and don’t help positioning your profile as described in the section above.
Challenges and trends
Challenges and trends are a huge deal on TikTok. They are the reason why you see so many different videos based on the same idea or concept, like the #renegade dance challenge or the #imbored trend during the COVID-19 lockdown. Different trends come up one after the other, and it may make sense for you to jump on the train and participate in a challenge to boost your views.
You can easily participate in these trends by starting to understand their characteristics (like a specific dance choreography for example), then imitating it while giving it a personal touch and then posting your video with the correct hashtag.
Identifying these trends is easy, as there is a dedicated section in the app (see Screenshot below). On the so called “Discover” page, you can simply scroll through the different trends and see what matches your brand. Make sure to use the correct hashtag! Each trend/challenge has one single hashtag allocated to it.
How many hashtags should I use?
All of this doesn’t mean that you should simply post a block of hashtags in all of your videos, though. We recommend to use a set of 2-3 hashtags to categorize, plus 1-2 hashtags that describe the actual video you are posting (like for example the challenge you chose to participate in). Furthermore, the algorithm not only analyses hashtags, but also reads the normal text in your description to categorize your account. Therefore, a good mix of text and hashtags is essential.
Finally, keep in mind that too much text will increase the amount of space occupied by the description in your video and shift the attention of the user from the actual content to your caption.
So choose wisely!
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