Got hashtags? Instagram, for artists, is a wonderful place to share your artwork. It’s a powerful platform to increase your exposure and engage with people who appreciate your art. This increased exposure is great for your art business and can lead to sales of your art. So where do hashtags come in and are they really useful for artists in marketing your work? Yes!
What Is a Hashtag?
In the olden days, this symbol (#) was primarily recognized as the pound sign. By now, you’ve probably heard that this symbol preceding a word or phrase is known as a hashtag. Hashtags (often referred to as “tags”) can be single words or phrases. Capital letters can be used to make phrases easier to read, and they can also contain numbers and even emoji (the heart is the most common) but never spaces or special characters. You can think of a hashtag as a keyword or search term.
How Instagram Hashtags Work
Anyone who clicks on a hashtag, is taken to a stream of all posts that have also included that particular tag. Searches can be done for anything created as a hashtag.
The right combination of hashtags helps expose you and your work to a larger, but also targeted audience by making what you’re specifically offering easier to find. Being searchable in this way also tends to impact the number of people who follow you and if you’re trying to increase your exposure and build your art business, that’s always a good thing, too.
Where Should You Put Hashtags?
Hashtags can be included in your caption, but some feel that creates a cluttered look, and as artists we’re all about the visual! An alternate and equally effective way of placing hashtags is to put them in the comments.
What Is the Ideal Number of Hashtags?
This answer is highly debatable. Instagram allows uses up to 30 hashtags per post, but few experts advise using that many. Some say 2 is ideal, while 5–11 is also a common suggestion.
Which Hashtags Should You Use?
It sounds obvious, but look to what you’re posting when crafting tags. If you’re posting a photo of your studio, consider: #studio, #artinspiration, #artiststudio, #creativetime or even #metime. A watercolor painting of a seascape might get: #watercolor, #watercolorart, #beach or #malibu. Simply be mindful that your tags are relevant.
Consider creating a tag for your brand or art-business name. When first using this tag, it may not be too searchable, but in time, those who follow you can find your work easily in one place. It’s also something you can direct others to use, such as situations where they’ve hung your work or they’d like to share your work with others.
When searching for a tag in Instagram, as you type, Instagram will auto-populate results, showing existing tags and also letting you see a stream of the total number of posts in which the tag has been used. This is a great way to decide which tags are the most common.
Take into consideration, though, that some common tags may be so popular that your post has a good chance of being buried in the stream. Sometimes a less common but more targeted tag may draw exactly the people you’re trying to reach. Try experimenting with a combination of popular and more niche tags—#watercolorportrait vs. #portrait—as well as general tags such as #artistsoninstagram.
If you’re running a contest or campaign, you can create a hashtag for it to engage followers. For example, #WatercolorWednesday, #ShareYourSky or #SketchbookSale.
Popular Hashtags for Artists on Instagram
Try Googling “popular hashtags for artists” and you will see many lists to consult and consider. Two fun tools to use when deciding on hashtags are Hashtagify.me and RiteTag. These tools provide you with analysis of any hashtag and also give you the top related tags to consider, helping you with even more ideas.
Using hashtags in your Instagram posts increases your following, strengthens your art business and makes what you long to share with the world easier to find for those to whom it will resonate the strongest. Keep your tags relevant and use a combination of popular tags as well as niche tags. Finally, spend a bit of time researching the most appropriate tags for you and remember to think of tag searches to see what other artists are doing as well as to engage with like-minded artists.
If you’re looking for more ideas for how to share your art with others, you might enjoy this video.