Including trending and popular Twitter hashtags in your social media posts is a great way to boost your messages to reach people beyond just your own followers. When you use a popular hashtag in a post you expose that message to everyone discussing that topic and looking at the messages relevant to that subject. However, in order to take full advantage of this you’ll need to know which hashtags will work best for you.
9 Tools to Find the Best Twitter Hashtags
For quite some time this topic has been one of the most widely discussed on the Sprout Social Insights’s blog, so we thought it was due to really build it out to help our readers. We’ve put together a list of nine hashtag tools broken down by category that will help you increase your social reach and brand awareness.
- Find Trending Twitter Hashtags
- Find Popular Twitter Hashtags
- Visualize Your Hashtags
If you’re completely new to the concept of hashtags, you can check out this guide we put together all about how to use hashtags on Twitter.
Find Trending Twitter Hashtags
Great marketers have found success in the use of real-time marketing, which is the idea that you include something topical—something that’s trending—in your social media posts to help increase the overall reach.
For example, this Tweet from Doritos used the trending topic #Sharknado3 to post a funny picture promoting its product.
— Doritos (@Doritos) July 23, 2015
In order to capture the most reach, you’ll need to figure out what is trending at the time and create relevant content for that hashtag. These tools can help you find trending hashtags and give you a description so that you can create fitting content.
1. Twitter Native
The most obvious place to check out trending hashtags is the actual Twitter website as it has the most accurate information on the subject. Not only is this the best source based on legitimacy of data, but Twitter also offers “tailored trends” to each user based on where they are and who they follow. The only negative to Twitter’s hashtags is that it is limited to the top 10 trending. If you’re looking for more hashtags you’ll need to use a third-party application.
Trendsmap is a navigational tool that allows you to look up the trending hashtags by location. This is fun and powerful for marketers because you can see how different locations are discussing different events online, and use that information to geo-target your messaging. We can see that Taylor Swift and Chance the Rapper are trending in Chicago, which is no surprise as they played shows in the city just last night. So a company trying to take advantage of real-time marketing could target a post strictly to Chicago discussing Taylor Swift.
Full disclosure, Sprout Social is the company that brought you this article, but we really do have a fantastic tool for hashtag research. When you’re researching hashtags to use, it can be beneficial to see which hashtags are already associated with your brand. Sprout Social’s Trends Report analyzes all of your incoming messages and shows which hashtags are trending with your personal brand.
Once you know which topics and hashtags are being associated with your brand, you can start to use those terms to jump into the conversations with your followers.
RiteTag is an amazing tool for a handful of reasons. The first is that it provides a list of trending hashtags on its site that you can use to take advantage of real-time marketing. Another amazing reason to use RiteTag is that you can download a browser extension that integrates with popular social media tools—like Sprout Social— and shows you great hashtags to use as you’re creating and scheduling social posts. This makes scheduling and publishing posts about popular trends easy, which is a great way to scale your reach.
Find Popular Twitter Hashtags
Leveraging trending hashtags for increased reach is a great idea, but what’s trending isn’t always what’s most relevant for your brand. However, it’s still a good idea to pepper your posts with hashtags to incrementally increase impressions. Try using hashtags that used to be popular. One example would be the NBA taking part in the “throwback Thursday” discussion.
— Domino’s Pizza UK (@Dominos_UK) July 23, 2015
Tagdef—as in hashtag definition—is a site that lists popular hashtags by time frame, including current, weekly and all-time top hashtags. Tagdef is also great since the site provides the definition for each hashtag, making it easier for marketers to familiarize themselves with the topic before diving in to create the content.
Without a site like this, how could anyone ever conclude that #sos means “smoking on something amazing?”
Hashtagify.me makes it easy to find hashtags related to those you want to target. You can then use those hashtags along with your original to increase your reach by that much, leading to more clicks and conversion on your posts.
Visualize Your Hashtags
When you’re creating and managing hashtag campaigns, it can be incredibly valuable to visualize all of the engagement taking place. These tools will help you visualize campaigns, making it easy to monitor all the activity surrounding your hashtag.
Once you’ve started your hashtag campaign you can use Tint to aggregate all of the social posts containing that hashtag into a beautifully designed social hub.
The above is an example of the Nasdaq team displaying its social feeds using Tint.
Tagboard is one of the most aesthetically pleasing of all of the hashtag research sites. For each “Tagboard” you create, you specify a hashtag for it to track. Tagboard then displays popular posts containing that hashtag on a board that looks similar to the one below.
You can then easily peruse all of the posts that contain the hashtag you’re interested in. The tool has also incorporated the ability to “Feature Post,” which pulls that post to a separate board, making responding easy.
Keyhole originally created its platform for internal use, but decided to open it up to the public when it started receiving some positive feedback. Keyhole has features that are available for free, but more advanced features are accessible only for paid membership.
The above is an example of a fantastic word cloud that Keyhole generated when we searched for the hashtag #socialmedia. Each of those hashtags associated with #socialmedia are also clickable, which makes it easy to search Twitter hashtags around a specific theme.
Hashtags are an extremely popular aspect of Twitter and other social media sites, and should be utilized by brands to assist in their marketing. That’s why it’s important to make sure that you’re using the best tools to research, create and monitor all of the hashtags associated with your brand. If you’re looking for a good place to start, try out Sprout Social’s Twitter Listening Report to see which hashtags and keywords people are currently discussing around your brand.
Michael Patterson: Michael enjoys writing about all things social media, and his insights can be found on Adweek's SocialTimes, Social Media Today and Social Media Examiner. When he isn't pouring over blog posts he can usually be found exploring Chicago's unique neighborhoods and breweries.
Pretty ridiculous that unless you pay $500/mo. to SproutSocial, you can't actually TAG. It's one of the most basic features, and you're excluding individuals like me from being able to use it.
Great information here! Lots of site I had not heard of so thank you! I will be checking them out and sharing this out. I always find it interesting that when it comes to hashtags its really hard to determine which ones work and which ones don't given anything can be one.
Thanks so much for this article. I am doing research for a twitter class and I learned a lot from all the applications you introduced
@legacyofpretty Happy to hear you got some great takeaways from the article!
Great article. I have used many of these tools. I also use iconosquare.com to search for hashtag mentions on Instagram. I wish there were more hashtag measurement tools. I use rowfeeder.com (from Simply Measured) to get basic reach stats, but I would also love to see engagement stats. How many times was the hashtag used in RTs and @replies, for instance. Not even sure the Twitter, Facebook and Instagram APIs would allow for this but it would be awesomesauce to get it. Right now we are hand calculating these numbers. Sprout would be a great place to get this for branded hashtags used in campaigns, for instance :-)
@kamichat Hi, there! Loving all the insight and suggestions from you. Sprout will be rolling out some exciting new analytics for Instagram very soon. Stay tuned!
I tried RiteTag, because I was hoping for a long list of trending hashtags, but the most I could get was 19. Then it wanted me to search, but I don't know what to search for. I just want to see what everyone is talking about, Like the top 200 hashtags etc... Is there a program that shows that info?
@msanjelpie Hi, please try searching in the upper-left hashtag search box, and for various topics/key words. Then, switch to "only green" to get those with best current engagement. Hope this helps.
@Tim Sae Koo Absolutely Tim! I hope all is going well on your end.
Great article! Hashtags make a huge impact on traffic channels on social media, especially for those of us in the health field. I will definitely be utilizing #sproutchat; this tool is a great resource to make a authentic connections with your audience. Thanks Michael!
@LeilaniSpring Thank you so much! They do make a huge impact, and I hope this article can help marketers take full advantage.
Now that Twitter and Google are sharing their data feeds again, Twitter (and its hashtags) are more important. Some of these tools I was familiar with, some are new. Knowing which hashtag to use with your Tweets is a skil definitely worth getting better at.
@Social SEO Consultant Great point about the Twitter/Google integration, there should be more of an emphasis on hashtags now more than ever!
Thanks for this post Michael. I have gone through each suggestion and documented what works best for our purposes. This was an essential post for our Twitter presence.
@WebEasyMe I'm glad you found it helpful!
@Matthew Kernodle thats so true!
Thanks! This was very informational! It will really help with our campaign for our organization, borgenproject.org ! We are doing a #callingcongress campaign! Once again thanks so much.
You can also use Hashtify Beta, Topsy or Meltwater Ice Rocket, they track live conversations, google hashtags and more! @Josh Blauvelt
@Josh Blauvelt This was updated today! What did tagal.us do? That could help me point you in the right direction.