If you’re an artist, Instagram is great for sharing your artwork. This powerful platform can increase your exposure and allow you to engage with people who appreciate your art. This increased exposure and reach can lead to more sales of your art/
However, artists must know how to fully take advantage of this visual social space. And, using hashtags correctly is one such way to boost your chances of success. Here’s why.
What is a Hashtag?
Back in the day, the 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 may be used to make phrases easier to read, and hashtags can also contain numbers and even emojis (the heart is the most common) but never spaces or special characters. Basically, think of a hashtag as a keyword or search term.
How Do They 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. If you’re trying to increase your exposure and build your art business, this is always a good thing, too.
Where Should You Put Hashtags?
Hashtags can be included in your caption. But, some Instagram marketers feel this creates a cluttered look. And, as artists, we’re all about the visual appeal!
An alternate and equally effective way of placing hashtags in your posts is to put them in the comments. This way, you’re still getting the benefits of the hashtags without bombarding your followers with tons of pound signs in the initial caption. The ultimate win-win, if you ask me!
What Is the Ideal Number to Use?
The answer to this question is highly debatable. Instagram allows users to place up to 30 hashtags per post — that’s a lot of hashbrowns…er, hashtags! But, few experts advise using this many. Some say only two are ideal; others suggest using five to 11.
I recommend testing out both theories, each for roughly a month or so, and seeing which way brings you the most exposure.
Which Hashtags Should You Use?
This may sound 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 #seascapes.
Simply be mindful that your tags are relevant. A handy tip is to wait for Instagram to recognize what you are entering because it will start to auto-populate the hashtag (and any that might be related to what you have typed thus far) and show you how many times it has been used before.
In addition to auto-populating tags within your actual post, you can also search for a tag in Instagram within the magnifying glass section at the bottom. 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 quick way to see which tags are more popular.
Keep in mind, though, some common tags may be so popular your post has a good chance of being buried in the stream. Sometimes a less common but more targeted tag will 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.
When Should You Make Your Own?
This week’s #artistsnetspotlight goes to @steveockler: “All done. I hope it’s enjoyed as much as I enjoyed painting it.” * We certainly enjoy and ❤️ this amazing artwork! Well done! * All artists deserve their moment in the ✨SPOTLIGHT✨ Tag us with your art and you could be our next call out. Happy art-making, artists! #myartistnetwork #schminckewatercolor #worldwatercolormonth #watercolorart #watercolor #watercolorpainting #paintinganimals #artistsofinstagram #artistsoninstagram #artistsnetwork
Creating a tag for your brand or art-business name is also a good practice to consider. Although this tag will not be too searchable when you first use it, in time those who follow you can find your work easily in one place. You can direct others to use your branded hashtag as well, such as in situations where they’ve hung your work, or when they want to share your art with others.
Moreover, if you’re running a contest or campaign, you can use an existing hashtag — such as #watercolorwednesday or #shareyoursky — or, you can create one specific to your campaign to engage followers.
We created #artistsnetspotlight to encourage our followers to tag us with their art for a chance to be featured in our ongoing artist spotlight campaign. (Check out an example of this campaign above.)
Popular Hashtags for Artists on Instagram
In addition to directly searching via Instagram, you can search “popular hashtags for artists” through search engines for articles and lists filled with options to consider. Also, 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. Remember to keep your tags relevant, and use a combination of popular and niche tags.
Finally, spend a bit of time researching the most appropriate tags for your unique needs. And, consider using tag searches to see what other artists are doing and to engage with like-minded creatives.
For those of you looking for even more ideas on how to share your art with others, check out this informative video below. Enjoy!
Do you use Instagram to promote and/or share your art with others? Share your experiences with us in the comments below!