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How to find the best Hashtags to use in Twitter

By Chris Soames 16 Dec, 2013

3 tools to find out the most popular and relevant topics

Before we look at tools for finding the best hashtags for twitter growth, I thought it best to explain what a hashtag is (I still often get asked this when talking to clients):

A hashtag is simply a way for people to label and search for social media updates. It may be a trending topic such as #cybermonday or a campaign-specific label such as a discount or campaign name.  In most social networks if you click on the hashtag you see updates where others have used it.

Hashtags originated on Twitter, but their popularity means that they're now ubiquitous across social networks as this History of Hashtags shows. Hashtags can help get your message across and engage your audience in a concept. For example, we recommended Smart Insights used #PlanToSucceed as a hashtag to highlight the importance of planning and to flag up specific resources for this on a landing page.

So how do you see which Hashtags are relevant to your audience which you should be using. Well here are three, free tools to help. Do share your recommendations!


The service was launched in 2007 and has evolved into a paid service. It's main value now in the free service is seeing what is trending over the past 24 hours. If you want to store and monitor hashtags over time you will need to use the paid service.

2. What the Trend

WhatTheTrend is a huge resource for Twitter-related stats and information. It's main benefit is that it allows you to see global trends as well as country & even city data. It's a great place for bloggers to look for inspiration for currently trending topics to cover. It gives daily and monthly options, so is more valuable than Hashtags these days.

It's now owned by Hootsuite, which reminds us that if you use this (if you don't use it for social media monitoring and updates you're missing out!) you can track individual hashtags as streams in Hootsuite. Here you can see engagement with a Christmas campaign from ASOS:



Very different to the other tools I have mention but, Trendsmap a great tool which visualises the use of hashtags locally & displays on them on a world map. You can view currently trending hashtags by continent, country or city. Great for local business wanting to keep up with local trends. Not a very inspirational site but practical if local trends are important to your business!

Tips for utilizing hashtags

  • Keep it relevant to the subject
  • Don't use them all the time
  • Don't just piggy back on other trends, start your own, particularly for campaigns
  • Utilise popular keywords (Google Keyword Planner) to base your hastags on
  • Make your content entertaining or educational to encourage sharing
  • Use tools like TweetDeck & hashtags to find other twitter users that are following similar subjects / trends

By Chris Soames

Chris Soames is a Smart Insights blogger and consultant, he has worked in digital marketing for over 6 years with the last few years managing international web strategies for a leading travel brand. Now the Commercial Director at First 10, an Integrated marketing agency, he helps clients get clarity on their marketing strategy and create campaigns engineered to engage with their consumers to help drive sell-through. Most of all, Chris enjoys working with talented people who want to create great (& commercial) things not just tick boxes.

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