If you’re not yet using trending hashtags on Twitter to their fullest potential, you could be missing out on a lot of prospective impressions and engagement. In other words, it could be a missed opportunity to attract a relevant audience on the platform. So even if you know what to Tweet, you might not get optimum visibility for your Tweets without the right hashtags.

This post gives you a detailed guide on Twitter hashtags, why you need them for your brand, when you should use them and how you can find the best ones. Let’s get started.

Why are Twitter hashtags important?

Hashtags are a combination of keywords or phrases preceded by the # symbol, excluding any spaces or punctuations. 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 around a similar topic so people can easily find and follow what interests them. So when someone clicks on or searches a specific hashtag, they will be able to find all the profiles and public posts that use that hashtag. For instance, if I search for #homecooking, I can see plenty of posts of home-cooked meals.

Trending Twitter search results for #homecooking

So when you use relevant hashtags with your Tweet, there’s a good chance it will appear when people search that hashtag or topic. And the more visible your Tweet is, the more likely people will engage with it.

Engaging in trending Twitter hashtags could also help you attract a highly relevant audience that is interested in what you have to say. Some might discover your products through these hashtags, while others might start following your brand.

When to use Twitter hashtags for your brand

The key to Twitter hashtags is to use them correctly rather than just blindly using them and hoping for the best. This is especially true for those running brand social media accounts as it requires taking a calculated approach for proper hashtag marketing.

Check out when you should use Twitter hashtags for your brand:

1. Tweeting about events and conferences

Make the most of Twitter trending hashtags to join in on conversations around popular events (#Oscars) and industry conferences (#SocialMediaWeek). Better yet if your brand is making an appearance or a relevant contribution to an event, you can use these hashtags to share news about your participation.

See how Billboard uses the #Grammys hashtag in the following Tweet to create a discussion around the event.

2. Observing holidays and celebrations

Use Twitter hashtags when celebrating a national (#Thanksgiving) or global holiday (#EarthDay) with your community. In addition to highly significant and important holiday, you could join in on the fun with lesser-known celebrations such as National Pancake Day or National Emoji Day. Be sure to make the most of celebrations that are highly relevant to your product.

Take, for example, take the popular burger chain Five Guys posting about #NationalBurgerDay.

3. Promoting brand campaigns

The best time to use Twitter hashtags is when you’re promoting your brand and its products. This could be through a hashtag for a certain marketing campaign or even a hashtag for the product itself. You could also create a branded hashtag campaign to collect user-generated content and drive even more visibility around your brand.

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

4. Joining in on pop culture topics

Twitter is a conversation hub, especially on pop culture topics. So if you decide to join in on those conversations, using a relevant hashtag for the topic will help your Tweet get some visibility.

See for example how the official Wendy’s Twitter uses the Animal Crossing: New Horizons hashtag #ACNH in the following Tweet.

Keep in mind that your brand doesn’t need to get involved in every pop culture topic. Social media crises can happen even when you think your Tweet was on par with the topic. Make sure you understand the topic before you post.

5. Joining in on popular weekly challenges/trends

A lot of the trending Twitter hashtags involve weekly challenges and trends, such as #ThrowbackThursday, #MondayMotivation, etc. So if you ever decide to join in on these challenges and trends, don’t forget to make use of the relevant hashtags.

Check out Subaru retweeting something for #FeelGoodFriday.

6. Showing your support for a cause

In an era of socially conscious consumers, it’s become crucial for brands to stand up for a cause. According to the Sprout Social #BrandsGetReal survey, 70% of consumers feel that brands should take a stand on public issues.

And when showing your support for a cause, use trending Twitter hashtags to gain more visibility. Ben & Jerry’s has been exemplary in this aspect, as covered in our recent Social Spotlight. See how they used #StopHateforProfit in the Tweet below, for example.

7. Posting about general interest topics

Even when you post about general interest topics (#nature, #marketing, etc.), including a relevant hashtag will help you gain more visibility among an interested audience.

See the use of hashtags like #ethicalfashion and #sustainablefashion in the following Tweet from the UK brand Pretty Polly, for instance. By using those general interest topics, they’ve expanded their audience beyond their local market.

3 ways to find trending Twitter hashtags

Besides knowing when to use Twitter hashtags, you need to find which hashtags are trending. Here are three ways to find trending Twitter hashtags:

1. Native Twitter trends search

Twitter comes with a native search feature that lets you keep up with the latest trending topics and hashtags. From your Twitter dashboard, click on the #Explore tab. Then select the“trending” tab to get a list of the topics and hashtags currently trending in your region.

How to find the Twitter trends list

You can also find a list of popular topics and hashtags personalized according to your interests. And you can check out the most popular topics in different categories such as sports and entertainment. But there’s little option to further personalize and filter these results based on what your brand needs at that moment.

2. Sprout Social

To create a more relevant list of trending Twitter hashtags, make the most of Sprout’s social listening tools. The Twitter Trends Report lets you view topics and hashtags that people use frequently when mentioning your brand. You can even get comprehensive hashtag analytics for each of the hashtags that are mentioned in the Trends Report including frequency by day, or by people and brands mentioning or talking about you.

Sprout Social Twitter trends report and hashtag analytics

3. Trendsmap

Trendsmap helps you tackle the limitations of the native Twitter hashtag search function by showing you the latest trending hashtags as well as letting you explore their performance over time. It also gives you a detailed perspective about certain topics, allowing you to see the most popular Tweets and accounts related to them.

Letting Twitter hashtags lead the way

Although it’s important to find hashtags relevant to your content before you publish, you could also create content based on trending Twitter hashtags. Jump in on trending conversations in an engaging way to gain more visibility on the platform.

Have you noticed how fast food brands like Wendy’s created their own hashtags and made it go viral on Twitter? The brand used their #WendysBreakfastBattle hashtag to Tweet scorching roasts about its competitors. Read more about their viral hashtag campaign and more trends in our 2020 Sprout Social Index and see how you can improve your social strategy.