How Do You Find Trending Hashtags on Twitter?

People often ask, ‘How do you find trending hashtags on Twitter?’ Well, there are three parts to this question. First, what’s a hashtag (and how do they work)? Second, how do you identify hashtags that are relevant to your business? And, third, how do you find ‘trending hashtags on Twitter?’ Let’s investigate.

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WHAT IS A HASHTAG ON TWITTER?

First, what is a hashtag on Twitter? A hashtag begins with the “hash” symbol as in #organic and related hashtags like #vegan or #organicbaby. A hashtag is simply a “conversation” on Twitter (or LinkedIn, Instagram, or TikTok). It’s a way that people who are interested in a topic can “tune in” and either read / consume content on that topic and/or “chime in” with their own tweet, content, photo, image, etc. So, in sum a hashtag is just a way that Twitter organizes content around a theme. You can read the official Twitter explanation on what is a hashtag, here.



IDENTIFYING HASHTAGS ON TWITTER

Second, once you know what a hashtag is, you need to research the hashtags that are directly and indirectly related to your product or service.  For example, if you sell “organic baby food,” you want to find hashtags that are conversations on Twitter that would be a) directly, people talking about #organicbabyfood, or #babyfood, or b) indirectly / adjacently, people talking either about #babies or #organic or both. Distinguish between these types of hashtags and your business marketing needs:

  • Direct. These would be people directly talking about your product or service; spot-on hashtags such as #organicbabyfood.  They want what you have (!).
  • Indirect / adjacent. These would be people talking about nearby themes, such as “babies” or “organic.” So, for example, a person might have a baby but not be interested in (or thinking about) organic baby food, or baby food in general. Or a person might be “into” organic but either not have a baby or not be thinking about the advantages of organic baby food for their baby. Adjacent conversational themes are important to research.
  • Evergreen. These are topics that never go away. People will hopefully keep having babies till the end of times, and they will hopefully want their babies to have the best in quality, healthy food – hence “organic baby food” is an evergreen topic.
  • Trending Hashtags. Here, a trend merely means that either it’s a “new” hashtag / conversation that is just getting started OR it is accelerating. People are talking more and more and more and more about it at an accelerating pace.


FIND TRENDING HASHTAGS ON TWITTER

Third, distinguish between finding trending hashtags and just hashtags or popular hashtags. So here’s how you can research hashtags / trending hashtags:

  1. Simply search. Go to Twitter and simply search for one hashtag (a starter hashtags), and then browse adjacent / related hashtags. Make a list or a spreadsheet. Be sure to drill into the variations on a Twitter search such as in the “latest” tweets for organic. A little disorganization can help you find different hashtags and jump on them.
  2. Google search. Use Google’s site: command and drill into hashtags on Twitter  as in site:https://twitter.com/hashtag/ organic.  You can also use the tools menu to drill into past week, month, or even twenty-four hours as in this search, here.
  3. Use a Tool. I’m partial to Ritetag, which is a paid tool with a “free trial” for hashtag discovery. They have a Firefox / Chrome extension which helps you discover related and trending hashtags as you type in a Tweet. It’s very cool! They have a video explainer, here. Another good tool is Hashtags.org. They allow you to drill into a hashtag and look for related hashtags, as in #organicHashtagify.me used to be amazing but then the idiots in their marketing department put EVERYTHING behind the registration / pay wall. #Sad. It’s like an ice cream store that doesn’t offer free samples. #stupid. Another good one is Trendsmap, though I find the user interface difficult.   It has a free version, and it is especially good for finding local trending hashtags.
  4. Use a General Tool. I’m not a big fan of general trending tools on Twitter. Twitter is JUST TOO BIG for most of us to play in the trending on twitter. However, there are tools such as https://trends24.in/united-states/ that will do this for you.  You can also use the “explore” feature on Twitter, and even drill into the trending tab on Twitter.
  5. Use Buzzsumo. Buzzsumo is a paid tool, but I am a big fan. You can use it to drill into a topic and then see the top accounts that tweet on it.  They do have a free version as well, albeit with limited functionality.

Pay attention!  Most of us aren’t marketing to the mega trending topics on Twitter. These are invariably political or pop culture. Most of us are in nichier industries, so I recommend making a hashtag  list or spreadsheet, and monitoring the conversations that are out there that are directly or indirectly related to your topic(s) of interest. I also think people often confuse finding “evergreen” hashtags that are related to their business (i.e., hashtag discovery) with “trending” hashtags which are either new, or accelerating or both.

There is no better tool than paying attention and using your God-given brain to brainstorm hashtags on Twitter for your marketing efforts.

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Jason McDonald

About Jason McDonald

Jason McDonald is a top-rated San Francisco SEO Consultant. His consulting services include search engine optimization consulting, social media marketing consulting, and Google AdWords consulting. Jason's motto as a consultant is that he doesn't do SEO 'for you' but rather he does SEO 'with you.' That goes as well for his social media marketing consultant activities and Google AdWords consultant services. Besides serving clients in the San Francisco Bay Area, Jason consults with clients in Silicon Valley (San Jose), Oakland and other cities throughout the Bay Area. Beyond the Bay Area, Jason is available as an SEO consultant, Social Media Consultant, and as an expert witness in litigation involving social media marketing, search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising.