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How to use hash-tags on Instagram

6 Dec 2020 10:51 PM | Lesley Samms (Administrator)

Cultivating your Instagram presence...

As promised and much requested, today we are talking about the DREADED Hash-tagging!

Hash-tags are essentially an indexing or filing tool. They are a way of connecting content to a specific topic, event, theme or conversation. They also make it easier to discover posts around  specific topics, because hash-tags aggregate all social media content with that same hash-tag.

There are conflicting views around this much maligned Instagram tool, but we are going to give you our top tips for effective hash-tag use. 

Something that is important to understand with Instagram from the outset is they change their algorithms all the time. Some days, the posts that come up most often are the ones with the most likes, or the accounts with the most followers. Recently they have changed to the posts with the most ‘saves’ and most ‘shares’!

Hash-tags have recently fallen down the popularity scale as they have been seen as less useful. For example, on our Pure Instagram, only 9% of traffic comes from our hash-tag use. While this seems small, this is STILL 9%, so it is still important.

We spoke again to Pure ART360 Artist Hannah Buchanan about her feelings around Hash-tagging: 

Hannah said: 

“Hash-tagging is the least fun part of Instagram, but probably one of the most important.

This is how you can direct your posts to new and specific audiences. I know the maximum amount of hash-tags in one post is 30, but I would stick to 10-15.

You can either put the hash-tags in a comment on the post or in the original text, but make sure you separate it from anything genuine you have to say. I usually write the text accompanying the post first and then make a bit of space below before posting hash-tags. This makes it clearer for your audience to read.

Furthermore, try and use obscure hashtags which are less likely to be used. For example, the number of people posting with #art will be huge compared to people posting #artontheeasel. The fewer people posting with your hash-tag, the more likely you are going to be seen.”

Let’s go through our Top Tips for Instagram Hash-tagging:

1.   As Hannah says, we recommend putting your hashtags in the caption box underneath the image you are posting. Often people will put them in the comments, but this is by and large less effective even when done immediately.

As Hannah suggests, there should be some distinction between your words and your hash-tags. You can have fun with this.

For example:





#hashtag #hashtag #hashtag #hashtag #hashtag #hashtag #hashtag #hashtag #hashtag #hashtag #hashtag #hashtag

Or, you can replace dots with emojis!

You can even just leave lines. Whatever you do, it will draw a distinction between the two, and make your caption more aesthetic and pleasing.

2.  You can use up to 30 hash-tags. As a rule of thumb, the more you use the better, but if you are running out of ideas DON’T use random hash-tags. Make sure they are relevant to your image or your post won’t do so well on the Instagram analytics.

Suggested hash-tags could be:
#workinprogress #painter #collectartwork #workoneasel #unfinishedpainting #galleryshot #inthestudio #pureartsgroupartist etc…

It is often suggested that too many hash-tags looks unappealing. Again, do whatever looks and feels right for each post.

Pure ART360 artist Richard Heeps, says about hash-tags:

Use the full thirty hash-tags and engage with other accounts and posts using those hash-tags in order to increase your visibility.” 

3.  Take a few days and notice the search words you are looking for. Are you typing in ‘British Artist’ or ‘Painterly’ – if not, why are you using them as hash-tags? Try and get inside the mind of someone who might be interested in finding your work. This will help you build up a collection of personally relevant hash-tags.

4.  There is little wrong with having a ‘copy and paste’ list of a few hash-tags relevant to you and your practice. For example, a hash-tag of your name (eg. #lesleysamms), or your gallery. We recommend saving these in the Notes app on your phone, copying them into each post and then adding specific and relevant ones on top. This will make the task less intimidating, and less tedious!

Do you have any other tips on Hash-tagging?

Tell us in the comments on this blog post!

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