Twitter Hashtags: The best way to Discover and Use Trending Hashtags

If you’re not already taking full advantage of Twitter hashtags, you may be missing out on a lot of potential impressions and engagements. In other words, it could be a missed opportunity to attract a relevant audience on the platform. Even if you know what to tweet, you may not get optimal visibility for your tweets without the right hashtags.

This guide explains how and why Twitter hashtags are important to your brand, how to find popular, relevant, and trending hashtags, and when to use them for marketing. Let’s begin.

Why are Twitter hashtags important?

Hashtags are a combination of keywords or phrases preceded by the # symbol, with no spaces or punctuation marks. For example, if you put the # symbol in front of the words “Social Media”, it becomes a hashtag #socialmedia.

Hashtags help group tweets and conversations on a related topic so that users can easily find and keep track of what interests them. When someone clicks on or browses a particular hashtag, they can find all profiles and public posts that use that hashtag. For example, when I search for #homecooking I see a lot of posts with homemade meals.

So, if you use relevant hashtags on your tweet, there’s a good chance they’ll show up when people search for that hashtag or topic. And the more visible your tweet is, the more likely people are going to get involved. Hashtags improve the findability of tweets and expand your reach beyond the ones already following.

What are Twitter trending hashtags?

Dealing with trending Twitter hashtags can also target a highly relevant audience who are interested in what you have to say. Some may discover your products through these hashtags, while others may be following your brand.

What does it mean for a Twitter hashtag to become “trending”? You can find Twitter trends in the What’s Happening sidebar on the desktop or the Search tab on mobile devices. They indicate the topics that are currently gaining momentum and driving the conversation on Twitter. These topics, messages and popular hashtags are selected based on global, regional trends or linked to a person’s own interests by the Twitter algorithm, depending on the user settings.

A reliable source of Twitter hashtag trends is the recurring hashtag holidays that occur frequently when they occur. We have created a full annual calendar of hashtag holidays that you can easily include in your release schedules.

Aside from those more predictable top hashtags, Twitter trends are quickly popping up in the news, events, and even memes of the day that unexpectedly gain viral appeal.

Make sure you fully understand the meaning of a particular hashtag and verify its relevance to your brand voice and identity before triggering a tweet. Just as brands have been co-opted by groups looking to skew their message, hashtags used in developing trends can quickly take on additional, unexpected connotations.

This is why you can use hashtag search and research tools to efficiently and effectively incorporate hashtags into your upcoming content. Read on for how to find the best Twitter hashtags.

3 ways to research trending Twitter hashtags

In addition to knowing when to use Twitter hashtags, you need to find out which hashtags are popular and trending. Here are three ways to find trending Twitter hashtags:

1. Finding Twitter native trends

Twitter has a native search feature that lets you stay up to date on the latest trending topics and hashtags. On your Twitter dashboard, click the #Explore tab. Then select the “Trending” tab for a list of the topics and hashtags that are currently trending in your area.

How to find the Twitter trending list

You can also find a list of popular topics and hashtags tailored to your interests. And you can watch the most popular topics in different categories like sports and entertainment. Ultimately, since these are the top trends for a large audience, it can be difficult to pinpoint the specifics that your branded audience might be interested in. This is where a more powerful tool comes in.

2. Sprout Social

Use Sprout’s social listening tools to create a more relevant list of the most popular Twitter hashtags. The Twitter Trends Report lets you view topics and hashtags that are commonly used when mentioning your brand. You can even get in-depth hashtag analysis for each of the hashtags featured in the trending report, including frequency by day or by people and brands you mention or talk about.

Sprout Social Twitter trend report and hashtag analysis

Social listening tools can help you deepen the specific conversation of your branded audience. It’s one thing to bet on hashtags to improve visibility, but you’re much more likely to get longer-term value like brand loyalty and conversions with Twitter hashtags that are highly relevant to your audience’s interest. For example, a bakery chain might have some cute photos to share on #NationalPetDay, but they can drive audience awareness, product discovery, and conversion with eye-catching and appetizing images on #NationalDonutDay.

Conducting this research doesn’t have to be a time-consuming addition to your social media marketing efforts. Check out our list of 40 ways social listening can help you target these powerful insights more efficiently.

3. Trend map

Trendsmap allows you to overcome the limitations of the native Twitter hashtag search functionality by viewing the latest trending hashtags and examining their performance over time. It also gives you a detailed perspective on specific topics so you can see the most popular tweets and accounts on those topics.

When and how to use Twitter hashtags for your brand

The key to Twitter hashtags is to use them correctly instead of just blindly using them and hoping for the best. This is especially true for those who have branded social media accounts, as proper hashtag marketing requires a calculated approach.

Check out when to use Twitter hashtags for your brand:

1. Tweet about events and conferences

Use the hashtags with Twitter trends to join conversations about popular events (#Oscars) and industry conferences (#SocialMediaWeek). Better still, when your brand is making a splash or making a relevant contribution to an event, you can use these hashtags to share news about your attendance.

See in the tweet below how Billboard used the hashtag #Grammys to create a discussion about the event.

2. Observe holidays and festivals

Use Twitter hashtags when celebrating a national (#Thanksgiving) or global holiday (#EarthDay) with your community. In addition to major and major holidays, you can also enjoy lesser-known festivals like National Pancake Day or National Emoji Day. Make the most of celebrations that are highly relevant to your product.

Take, for example, the popular burger chain Five Guys, which writes about #NationalBurgerDay.

3. Promote branding campaigns

The best time to use Twitter hashtags is when you’re promoting your brand and products. This can be done through a hashtag for a specific marketing campaign or even a hashtag for the product itself. You can also create a branded hashtag campaign to collect user generated content and make your brand even more visible.

For example, Social Media Examiner uses the hashtag #SMEchat to promote its Twitter chat.

4. Participate in popular culture topics

Twitter is a conversation center, especially on pop culture topics. So, if you decide to join these conversations, using a relevant hashtag for the topic will help your tweet gain some visibility.

For example, watch the following tweet how Wendy’s official Twitter uses the Animal Crossing: New Horizons hashtag #ACNH.

Remember, your brand doesn’t have to delve into every pop culture theme. Social media crises can also arise if you think your tweet is on topic. Make sure you understand the topic before you post.

5. Take part in popular weekly challenges and trends

Many of the trending Twitter hashtags include weekly challenges and trends like #ThrowbackThursday, #MondayMotivation, etc. So if you ever decide to participate in these challenges and trends don’t forget to use the relevant hashtags.

Check out Subaru retweeting something for #FeelGoodFriday.

6. Show your support for a cause

In an age of socially conscious consumers, it is vital for brands to stand up for something. According to the Sprout Social # BrandsGetReal survey, 70% of consumers believe brands should take a stand on public issues.

When showing your support for a cause, use trending Twitter hashtags to get more visibility. Ben & Jerry’s was exemplary in this regard, as detailed in our recent Social Spotlight. For example, see in the following tweet how they used #StopHateforProfit.

7. Posting on topics of general interest

Even if you’re posting on topics of general interest (#nature, #marketing, etc.), having a relevant hashtag can help you get more visibility with an interested audience.

For example, see the use of hashtags like #ethicalfashion and #sustainablefashion in the following tweet from the UK brand Pretty Polly. By using these topics of general interest, they have expanded their audience beyond their local market.

Twitter hashtags for your marketing strategy

Often times, the key to using Twitter hashtags effectively is to strike a balance between original branded hashtags and get involved in the discussion about relevant trending hashtags. This gives you options for your publishing strategy and content planning: Do you focus on pre-planning content around a campaign hashtag, or do you want to gain visibility through popular Twitter trends and events like existing hashtag holidays?

Either way, hashtags are a powerful route to brand awareness and success. Have you noticed how fast food brands like Wendy’s created their own hashtags and made them go viral on Twitter? The brand used their hashtag #WendysBreakfastBattle to tweet scorching roasts about their competitors. Read more about their viral hashtag campaign and other trends in our 2020 Sprout Social Index and get inspiration for your next campaign.

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