Social Media Best Practices

What the @# #@!

Based on some recent research I have realized that many (most?) people are confounded by the differences between # and @ tags; and as a result, they tend to use them interchangeably. Doing so, however, can undermine the goals one is trying to achieve by incorporating tags into their social media communications.

Let me try to clarify the differences and offer guidance on how to use # and @ tags...

First, let’s frame social media updates and comments in the context of interpersonal communication. With that in mind, the best way to think of the difference between these two tags is that using the

@ refers to a person/group in a conversation, and the

# refers to a topic of conversation.

Using the # tag generally indicates that you want to participate in a larger, ongoing conversation - for example, a conference (#SHRM15) or a popular subject (#PreDiabetesReversal). Using the @ tag signifies to someone that you’re talking about them, giving them a head’s up about something, and/or would like them to respond.

To bring it down to earth...

  • If you’re at an event and you hear someone using your name or they call out to you, that’s equivalent to using an @ tag.
  • If you join a conversation about a subject you’re interested in and welcome other people to join you by speaking loudly enough for them to overhear, that’s equivalent to using an # tag.

In some cases you may use both @ and # tags to reference the same thing. For example, a tweet with @potus and #potus indicates you’re both talking about the President of the United States and alerting him (or whoever runs that Twitter account) about your comment. Most of the time, however, it’s better to use one or the other for a specific reference, as described above.

Nuances in Using Tags in Social Media
Like many things with social media, the use of # and @ tags is not universal across platforms or with different social media management tools. To add even more complexity, they also don’t work the same across different devices (e.g., desktop vs. mobile apps). Here are some nuances to keep in mind for some of the most frequently used channels and tools, based on my experience with each of them.


You can use both @ and # tags in original tweets, replies, and comments for retweets.
A list of accounts will populate when you use the @ tag, and popular hashtags will populate when you use the # tag. When the account or topic you want to use appears, select it from the drop-down list.


You can @ tag individuals and organizations in both individual updates and page updates, as well as in comments on each. A list of accounts will populate when you use the @ tag. When the account you want to use appears, select it from the drop-down list.
# tags work in both updates and comments; however, there is no drop-down from which to select a topic. You will have to know the exact hashtags you want to use in advance.
You can add both @ and # tags when you’re creating a scheduled post for a page.


You can @ tag individuals and organizations in both shares and comments. A list of accounts you follow will populate when you use the @ tag. When the account you want to use appears, select it from the drop-down list. If you don’t yet follow an account you want to tag, you will either need to follow it first or look up the precise user name before tagging them.
# tags work in both shares and comments; however, the drop-down functionality seems to vary by mobile device. If you’re using a hashtag for the first time, you may have to look it up in advance to find the right one. Once you have used a hashtag, it should autopopulate for future use.


If you want to tag an individual or organization in Google+, you can use either the @ symbol or the + symbol. A list of options will start to populate after you start typing.
You can @ or + tag individuals and organizations in both individual updates and page updates, as well as comments.
# tags work in both updates and comments. A list of options will populate after you start typing.


You can use the @ tag in an individual status update to tag both individuals and organizations. A list of options will start to populate after you start typing, but it’s not particularly reliable. Often the individual/organization you’re trying to tag doesn’t show up right away, and it may take multiple attempts to get the drop-down list to include them. Many people give up before that of course, which makes @ tagging relatively ineffective on this platform.

You can also use the @ tag when commenting on someone else’s status update.
@ tags do not work in company page updates, group posts, or group comments.
# tags aren’t functional in LinkedIn and should not be used unless the intent is add an aside to a comment (e.g., #focused or #todolist)


You can @ tag other Pinners in both pins and comments. Although a drop-down of options appears when you start typing after the @, it is not necessarily complete, which limits the effectiveness of @ tagging.
You can add # tags to both pins and comments, but they’re generally not very useful primarily due to platform limitations. If you choose to add hashtags to a pin, you have to know the exact terms you want to use in advance as there are no drop-down options to choose from.

Twitter: You can incorporate both @ and # in tweets you create via Hootsuite, including those you’re scheduling in advance. When you use the @, a list of accounts you’ve previously @ tagged will auto-populate in a drop-down list. If you haven’t tagged an account before, you will have to know their exact handle beforehand. You will also have to know precise # tags in advance, as options are never listed for them.

Facebook: You cannot @ tag an individual or page or # tag a topic when creating Facebook updates via Hootsuite. Once an item is published, however, it’s easy enough to edit it via Facebook to add both.

This list of nuances is far from complete, and I’m sure it’s quite confusing for social media rookies in particular. My general advice for tagging is “when in doubt leave it out.” If you believe tags are critical to your social media engagement, however, be sure you know how to use them correctly on every platform.

It’s easy to paste in a bunch of hashtags into your posts, but do you know what that does for your Pilates Studio and your brand?


What are viral TikTok hashtags?

Just like fellow social media platforms Twitter, Facebook and Instagram hashtags, TikTok users have the option to add hashtags to their posts. By searching specific hashtags, users are able to find content from accounts and users they don’t yet follow.

Since TikTok’s home feed, called For You page (FYP), is personalised for each user, the TikTok algorithm will take into account things like the hashtags used in video captions and even in the video itself to help determine the video’s content and decide which users to promote the video towards.

This is why it’s a good idea for brands to use hashtags in their TikTok posts and as part of their marketing campaigns, as it can increase the chance of the TikTok algorithm spreading the video more widely on the platform – towards more target customers.

An updated list of viral TikTok hashtags used to be seen under the “Discover” tab. However, trending Tiktok hashtags are now harder to find – but that’s where we can help.

Best TikTok hashtags = most popular hashtags?

Some hashtags trend for only a short time, while others are consistently popular.

Some of the most popular TikTok hashtags that have accrued the most total views, are: 

  •  #foryou 
  •  #foryoupage 
  •  #fyp 
  •  #duet 
  •  #viralvideos 
  •  #trending 
  •  #comedy 
  •  #funnyvideos 
  •  #tiktokchallenge

While it’s tempting to use TikTok hashtags like these that are consistently popular, remember that they’re also incredibly competitive. The reason these viral TikTok hashtags have the highest view count is because there are thousands of TikTok videos using them. But if you scroll down on the hashtag’s page, you’ll eventually see many videos with these hashtags that haven’t accrued many views individually, at all. That’s because it’s hard to stand out.

A better solution is to research trending hashtags that are relevant to your audience, or learn which relevant hashtags are just beginning to trend, so that you can ride the wave as they become more popular.

What hashtags get the most likes on TikTok?
Funny TikTok hashtags, educational TikTok hashtags, hashtags that relate to specific communities, hashtags that inspire crafting, cooking, investing… There really is something for everyone.

Generally, the most-liked hashtags on TikTok are: 

  •  #tiktok 
  •  #love 
  •  #like 
  •  #follo 
  •  #memes 
  •  #explorepage 
  •  #likeforlikes 
  •  #trending 
  •  #music 
  •  #followforfollowback 
  •  #explore 
  •  #funny 
  •  #meme 
  •  #cute 
  •  #art 
  •  #fashion 
  •  #likes 
  •  #tiktokers 
  •  #lfl 
  •  #followme 
  •  #repost

As you can see, most of the hashtags listed are fairly generic. Again, these hashtags get the most likes because huge numbers of people use them. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll deliver the most likes for your individual video. Additionally, the engagement they garner is not guaranteed to be the most specific – or the most useful for brands.

If you want to get the best likes – and the most valuable engagement – on your Tiktok video, the hashtag you use should be relevant to your niche. You’re much better served by picking hashtags that direct your posts towards a more targeted audience of users who are more likely to be interested in your specific brand offering.

Standing out from the crowd is essential for success – which is why it’s so important to find the right hashtags to properly promote your TikTok content.

How to find the best hashtags for your TikTok videos
There’s plenty of advice out there telling brands to simply consult one of the internet’s TikTok hashtag generators to find the best hashtags for your TikTok videos. However, compared to genuine research into hashtags, this method is far less likely to land you the engagement your brand is looking for. So how do you conduct thorough hashtag research?

As we’ve seen above, finding the best hashtags for your TikTok videos means more than simply listing whichever tags are currently ranking the highest in the lists. In order to achieve the best results for your TikTok content, you need to figure out where you want your content to land. Here are three tips for making the most of your TikTok hashtags:

1. Define your target audience:
With such a huge number of users – over 20% of the worldwide internet users are on TikTok – narrowing down your target audience is key to figuring out the right hashtags you’ll need to reach them. The best TikTok hashtags for music are not the same as those for cooking content, after all: both interests have specific hashtags that are popular on the platform.

On TikTok, communities can be built around hashtags. The platform itself listed some of the most popular of these hashtag communities in its end-of-year roundup, where it cited #OlympicTikTok, #BookTok and #ZodiacTikTok amongst its top finds.

To start discovering your target audience – and which hashtags your audience is likely to browse, begin with a generic search to find your community. For example, if you’re a tech company, search #Tech. From there, look at which other related hashtags the best-performing videos are using alongside that umbrella term. You’ll soon be able to find specific hashtags that cater to more niche, and therefore more engaged, audiences.

The next step? Engage with the content you see. TikTok’s algorithm is finely tuned and will respond to content that you like, comment or watch several times by showing you more, similar, videos. So, start ramping up your activity as a TikTok viewer. Soon enough, TikTok’s recommendation system will show you more content that’s relevant to your niche in your FYP – and when you see those popular videos roll in, check out the hashtags they use. These are the viral TikTok hashtags you need to add to your list.

2. Keep up with the competition:
When it comes to finding the secret TikTok hashtags and trends that are getting the most views, it’s a good idea to seek out your competition. Chances are they’ll be posting content similar to your own, and if they’ve had a successful video, researching which hashtags they’ve used can help you to understand how best to promote your own content.

It’s not just your brand competitors you should look at, either. Once you’ve completed step 1, you’ll start seeing TikTok influencers in your niche. Make a note of the hashtags these TikTok users employ. TikTok influencers’ livelihoods depend on their ability to make trending content, so they’ll be hot off the mark when spotting TikTok hashtags that are beginning to go viral.

The great thing about this is TikTok users who engage favourably with these hashtagged videos are more likely to be served your video with the same hashtag by the TikTok algorithm. These TikTok users are likely to be interested in your brand too. Getting your content in front of them by using the same hashtags is a great way to win over valuable audiences.

3. See viral hashtags, early on:
There’s no point coming late to a hashtag trend: chances are, your video will get buried under the hundreds of videos on the hashtag that already have thousands of views, or your audience will have already moved onto the next viral hashtag trend on the platform.

But how can you ensure you’re always up-to-date with the top TikTok hashtags and incoming TikTok hashtag trends that your brand can use?

Here are some important tips to consider:

1. Learn from others getting it right

When you’re using already-existing hashtags on TikTok, a vital step to nailing your strategy is to examine what the most viewed videos (i.e. the videos Tiktok deems the most worthy of promoting) for that hashtag have in common.

After all, there’s a reason this hashtag is becoming popular – and it’s usually connected to something engaging in the TikTok posts. If you don’t create a TikTok video that conforms to these engaging elements, using this viral TikTok hashtag is probably not going to lead to success.

Many viral TikTok hashtags are related to memes or Tiktok sounds. They may have other common elements, too, such as specific types of transitions or style of video content. Identify the traits that crop up in the most viewed videos, then employ them in your content.

Of course – it’s important to include your own twist, too. If you’ve just copied another user, this can be easily spotted. Use the hashtag to show off your unique brand personality!

2. Use hashtags in more places
Most social media marketers use hashtags in their social captions. But there are more places you should consider using them to help increase your visibility.

If you spot a hashtag that’s beginning to go viral that has more permanent relevance to your brand, add it to your TikTok bio. This is also a great way to help your TikTok audience know how to tag their own videos when they want to be part of your conversation.

TikTok SEO also factors the content within videos themselves. This means that using the hashtag in the in-video text as well as the caption can help tell the algorithm how relevant your video is for the hashtag search.

3. Use influencer marketing to leverage viral TikTok hashtags into engagement with your brand

Keeping an eye on influencers ins’t just a great way to spot the best TikTok hashtags to use: well-considered influencer marketing can be your secret weapon when it comes to leveraging hashtags that are gaining popularity into engagement with your brand.

As we’ve discussed, there’s no point using a viral hashtag if your content is getting buried under better-performing videos. But TikTok influencers are naturals at creating engaging TikTok content. This is how they became influencers in the first place: people flock to them because they love watching their TikTok videos.

Let your influencer in on your creative process. They will know how to use the hashtag to create the best-performing video for their audience – and they may even be able to advise you on newer, trendier hashtags to use instead. After all, they’re the best placed to know exactly what their niche is talking about on TikTok at any given moment.

This is what Talbots did when the #CoastalGrandmother hashtag became popular. Despite only having a small following themselves on TikTok, the brand accrued more than 2.1 million views by partnering with a TikTok influencer who used the brand’s products to illustrate why they’re perfect for dressing as the #CoastalGrandmother fashion trend.

This influencer got on the hashtag trend early, meaning as more TikTok users searched for #CoastalGrandmother, Talbots’ products came up at the top. And as Nielsen found that a 1% increase in awareness drives a 1% increase in future sales, that’s a huge boost to their business.

Of course, collaborations like this require having a strong brand-influencer relationship. Building this rapport is something we pride ourselves in. If you’d like to explore influencer marketing to turn hashtags into sales, get in touch.

Creating a new trending hashtag:
One effective marketing method available to brands on TikTok is creating branded hashtags.

These are custom hashtags that you create to group together all of your posts around a topic. If you use it consistently, users will be able to find all of your relevant posts in one place – and even get involved themselves.

One example of a successful branded hashtag is clothing brand Levi’s #LiveInLevis. The hashtag incorporates their brand name, which is great for exposure, and also allows users to easily participate. The hashtag has over 634M views, and a majority of the posts under it are organic content posted by fans of the brand.

Running a hashtag challenge is another great way to encourage interaction with your brand. Hashtag Challenges encourage users to get involved and post their own content responding to a theme you dictate. It’s a great way to establish a base of User Generated Content, and it can help to popularise use of your branded hashtag.

Ref:, #fanbytes