Hashtags are not dead: How to use tags on Instagram and TikTok in 2022
While there still are discussions about whether social media tags are relevant in 2022, 82% of digital marketers continue leveraging Instagram hashtags due to their efficiency. 85% even have so-called hashtag guides with tried-and-true tips on using hashtags for their businesses. Social media tags are still in the game if you use them properly.
Twitter was the first platform to adopt hashtags in 2007. Yet, they soon emerged on other channels, like Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, and TikTok. While hashtags have a similar role on all the platforms — to help people find relevant content faster — social media channels have different approaches to leveraging them.
Let’s focus on those socials where hashtags do make a difference and boost the content they go with. These are Instagram and TikTok. We’ll explore the specifics of using hashtags for each of these channels and answer the following questions:
- Why use hashtags in 2022?
- How do you use hashtags on Instagram and TikTok to maximize their value?
- Where do you search for relevant industry-related hashtags?
- Which small business hashtags are trending in 2022?
Why leverage hashtags for your content?
There are differences in hashtag marketing strategies for various platforms. For instance, marketers advocate the “less is more” approach to hashtags on Facebook and Twitter: they recommend using 1-2 tags per post. At the same time, Instagram researchers suggest adding about 11 hashtags to a post to get noticed. Nevertheless, the reasons people use them are similar for all the platforms:
1. Reach audience
Solid research of your audience — what content they engage with, what accounts they follow, and, most importantly, what hashtags they use — can give you a better understanding of how to build your hashtag strategy. Use relevant tags to make your content visible to your audience.
2. Boost engagement
Businesses often create hashtags for their brand activities, like contests, giveaways, and challenges. Tags help them collect user-generated content for their needs or define a winner.
Brand activities are the easiest way to encourage people to like, share, and comment on your content, as they usually require gifts (free products, discounts, etc.). As a result, the engagement rate rises.
3. Build awareness
Well-known brands have their own customized hashtags. Think of the #justdoit tag by Nike or the #letsdolunch tag by Domino’s Pizza. People use them whenever they post a run or a pizza party.
These are hashtag examples that convey a message and promote a brand simultaneously. Although, customized hashtags are more efficient when you already have followers to pick them up, so focus on growing your account first.
4. Categorize content
Think of hashtags as shelves for your content. For instance, if you’re posting tips on opening a coffee shop once a week. By adding the same hashtags to such posts, you’ll make it easier for your followers to find all your content related to this particular topic.
5. Jump on trend
Tags are also helpful when looking for trends, although trending hashtags may vary on different platforms. For TikTok, they are usually related to popular challenges and songs. Twitter is a platform where people use the most popular hashtags to support a conversation on global issues or tag world-known events, like sports games, championships, or concerts.
Top hashtags on Instagram are usually more generic: #love, #nature, #family, #selfie, #viral, etc.
Hashtag strategies for Instagram and TikTok: Best practices
Although people use hashtags on various platforms, including Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok, for some of these channels, hashtags are more organic due to their algorithm. Instagram and TikTok are among them.
Deep dive into the Instagram hashtag strategy
➡️ How to use hashtags on Instagram
First and foremost, use tags that are relevant to your posts or Stories. Think of them as a tool that provides context to your content and delivers it to people interested in the topic.
It’s tempting to add generic hashtags with millions of views to your posts, like #food, #fitness, #beauty, #fashion, #selfcare, #business. However, it’s more efficient to use industry-specific tags.
🤓 Pro tip from VistaCreate: Mix trending hashtags (~1M posts) with medium-frequency ones (~10-200K posts) not to get lost among other user content.
You can add hashtags to a post caption or leave them in the first comment. The second option is perfect if you’re wondering how to hide hashtags on Instagram. If you already have a solid base of followers, try adding the branded hashtag to your bio so that your clients can mention your brand in their content.
➡️ How many hashtags on Instagram should you use?
The platform guidelines allow you to leverage up to 30 Instagram tags per post and 10 per Story, but this doesn’t mean you need to use them all. The Instagram creators community recommends keeping their number between 3 and 5; otherwise, your post can look spammy and annoy followers.
🤓 Pro tip from VistaCreate: try this success formula for hashtag choice — Industry + Product + Customer + Location. Mix hashtags from each of these sections, like #womenclothing + #summerdress + fashionista + #nyc, so that your audience can easily find you.
➡️ Where do you look for relevant hashtags?
Organic search is the easiest and the cheapest way to look for hashtags. Besides, while typing Instagram tags in the search bar, you can see their frequency immediately. There are also other ways to find the best Instagram hashtags for your business:
- Research which tags your followers use;
- Analyze which hashtags are popular among your competitors;
- Check out the choice of hashtags made by industry influencers;
- Use platforms that will help you find or generate the best hashtags for Instagram, like Best Hashtag, Brand24, or All Hashtag.
Deep dive into the TikTok hashtag strategy
➡️ How to use hashtags on TikTok
TikTok is famous for its personalized approach to content. Its algorithm can determine the content users find interesting and push it to their newsfeed. And hashtags play a significant role in it. So, as a brand, you can use them for your benefit: to get into the “For you” section of your target audience.
TikTok marketers suggest a content ratio of “30% Evergreen + 70% Trending” content, which means that most of the videos you create for TikTok should include top trending hashtags. At the same time, TikTok trends are short-lived, so you need to constantly keep up with them. Trend Discovery — a TikTok platform with popular songs, videos, creators, and hashtags — will help you with this.
Although the most popular hashtags on TikTok are good for reaching a vast audience, they are also very competitive. So combine trending tags with niche ones, just like you do on Instagram.
🤓 Pro tip: Use hashtags between 300K-2M views to avoid getting lost among other videos.
➡️ How many hashtags do you use?
TikTok allows only 300 characters for video captions, including tags. So, you need to optimize the hashtag number to 3-5.
You can also leave some of the hashtags in the comments if you lack characters for them. However, TikTok’s algorithm won’t prioritize them in the same way it does with video descriptions.
➡️ Where do you search for relevant hashtags?
Organic search on TikTok is a good source of hashtag ideas, just like with other platforms. The same works with your follower, competitor, and TikTok influencers research. All these can help you build a solid hashtag strategy for TikTok. Besides, there are other ways to look for relevant tags:
- Use the Trend Discovery platform to find trending hashtags on TikTok. Choose your location and industry to make your search easier;
- Leverage a TikTok hashtag generator to create different tags on the chosen topic;
- Create your own branded hashtags to start a challenge or a duet with other users.
Trending hashtags for small businesses in 2022
For small businesses:
#supportsmallbusiness #handmade #handmadewithlove #shopsmall #shoplocal #smallbusinessowner #localbusiness #businessowner #etsyshop #blackownedbusiness #instagood #smallbusinesssupport #womeninbusiness #onlineshopping #enterpreneurlife
For banking and finance:
#banking #finance #fintech #finance #investing #financialfreedom #trading #stockmarket #bitcoin #investor #cryptocurrency #accounting #personalfinance #crypto #financialliteracy #financetips
For fashion and beauty:
#styleinspo #ootd #outfitoftheday #whatiwore #instastyle #lookgoodfeelgood #fashionista #fashiongram #fashionblog #fashiondiaries #fashionaddict #fashionweek #blackbeauty #beautytips #beautyqueen
For restaurants and cafes:
#foodpics #foodies #goodfood #foodgram #foodporn #instafood #foodstagram #yummy #instagood #foodlover #healthyfood #foodgasm #restaurant #beverages #coctails
For fitness and health:
#healthylifestyle #stayhealthy #healthyskin #healthcoach #fitnessfreak #fitnessfood #bodyfitness #fitnessjourney #fitnessmotivation #fitgram #gymlife #personaltrainer #healthcare #wellness
For real estate and home interior:
#realestatesales #realestateagents #realestateforsale #realestategoals #realestateexperts #luxuryrealestate #realestatelife #myhomedecor #homedecorinspo #homedecors #luxuryhomedecor #homedecorlover #interiordesign #interiordecor #interiordesigner
Hashtags can and should be used to reach your target audience and boost your socials, but only if you have a well-thought-out strategy. Here are some more tips to keep in mind while leveraging hashtags for your business:
- Be consistent: reuse hashtags relevant to your brand, as most social media channels show recently posted content first. At the same time, don’t use the same tags every day, as you can get shadowbanned.
- Review your hashtag analytics: most platforms allow you to analyze what works for the audience, so why not leverage this information? For example, Instagram shows the number of impressions from hashtags.
- Don’t overdo it: this is a rule of thumb for hashtags. Remember that not every post needs a hashtag. Mix those with and without ones to look organic in your followers’ feeds.
Experiment to find out what works best for your business. And keep up with VistaCreate for more marketing and design tips!