If you are new to Instagram, a hashtag is a word preceded by a pound symbol (#). It categorizes the content that is uploaded to Instagram and therefore it is the best way to have more visability and reach more potential clients and followers. If you use the correct hashtags, you will connect with your audience, build your own  community and meet your marketing goals.


One of the biggest updates to Instagram in 2018 was that you can follow hashtags the same way you can follow a profile, by tapping on the follow button. For instance in the photo below, I found the hashtag #paintingoftheday and I like the feed, so I clicked on the Follow button to see the posts for this hashtag. I can then take it one step further and scroll through the feed to find artists that I’d like to follow by clicking on individual photos and then clicking on the artist’s Follow button. Another cool feature that goes along with this the “Related Hashtags” feature. So, you can find hashtags that are related to the ones you currently use and add them to your list to start using as well. It takes some time to narrow down the ones that work for you, but this is for artists who are in this for the long run. Now do you see how you can get more mileage out of your hashtags with this feature though?


This way, you will be up to date with all of the content published under a hashtag and your posts can now show up in the feeds of new followers. Also, instead of a user searching for a particular hashtag and scrolling through the feed to hopefully get to your content, your post could now show up in the feeds of potential clients.


One thing you want to be aware of is that users now have the power to mark your content as something they don’t wish to see, with a new “Don’t Show for This Hashtag” option if they feel your content is irrelevant or uninteresting. This option is meant to tell the algorithm what kind of content the user wishes to see in their feed, but if too many of your posts are marked this way, it could raise a red flag that will negatively affect all of your posts.


Being intentional with hashtags that pertain to each individual post will not only attract the audience that is searching for your content, but it will keep them from looking spammy. For these reasons, it is best to avoid copying and pasting the exact same list of hashtags for every post. It is also best to avoid hashtags that have been used over a million times, because they aren’t going to help you grow a highly engaged community. What I do is make a list of hashtags that fit my niche and content and then put them into categories, so I can pick and choose from them for each post. Don’t forget to use your own brand’s hashtag as well. If you don’t use it, no one else is likely to use it. Being a creative business owner, you will want to create hashtags that apply to your specific niche within the creative world and pertain to what you have to offer. Say you are a watercolor artist and you sell your art, watercolor art supplies and tutorials on how to create watercolor art. You may want to use hashtags such as #watercolorpaint, #watercolordrawing, #watercolorgallery, #watercolorbrush. You will also want to use hashtags that describe your ideal customer, such as #watercolorist, #watercolorbeginner, #watercolorpractice and #watercolorlettering. Community hashtags connect like-minded users of a specific subject matter. They are good of connecting with others and growing your community. Look to your industry leaders to find out what hashtags they are using and follow suit.


If you still need help finding industry-specific hashtags, try a third party tool like Tailwind to find relevant hashtags. The hashtags suggestions feature looks for hashtags that relate to the heading of my post and other hashtags that I have used. Not only does Tailwind suggest relevant hashtags for me when I create a post, but I can schedule my posts through Tailwind. It is a wonderful time saving tool when posting to more than one social media platform.


In this example, I am promoting my Friday Featured Creative Lives and my caption is Roberta Condon is a very talented artist in the Portage, Wisconsin area. Her areas of expertise are pastel paintings and creating nontraditional sculptural vessels with Florida Longleaf Pine Needles. What is that you ask? Join me to find out as I meet with Roberta in her shop to get a glimpse into her life as an artist. We’ll be discussing her work and her life as an artist on my Friday Featured Creative Live at 7 pm CST July 5th on my Facebook Page. I used a combination of new hashtags that were suggested by Tailwind and hashtags that I have used before. I always make sure that I include my brand hashtags as well, such as #creativelivesunite (https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/creativelivesunite/) and #thislifegoesonllc  (https://www.instagram.com/thislifegoesonllc/). All you have to do when you begin using Tailwind, is start out with one hashtag that you would like to use and Tailwind will come up with 30 hashtags that are relevant. Then you can pick and choose the ones that you like. If you also look at the first pic above, you will see that Tailwind puts the hashtags into categories so you can find the most popular ones.


You increase your chances of being discovered, the more hashtags you use, so why not use all 30? Thirty is the maximum number of hashtags you can use and I say use them all. There are lots of strategies out there as to how many to use and in the end it’s up to you how many you want to use. You should always do experimenting of your own to find out what works best for you. The most important thing to keep in mind is to be intentional with your hashtags.


Business profiles can use their insights to track how successful their hashtags are. Click on the View Insights on any of your posts and then swipe up to see your insights. You can see how many accounts were reached that weren’t following you and you can find out how they found you. This way, you can narrow down which sets of hashtags are working for you the best.

5. You can add Hashtags to Your Instagram Stories

When people search for a hashtag on Instagram, they’ll be able to view active stories on that hashtag’s page, so if you use that hashtag, your story has the possibility of being seen there as well. If someone likes your story, they may follow your profile.

There are a couple ways to add hashtags to your stories. You can type a hashtag # in with the text tool or you can use the Hashtag sticker that Instagram provides. You can add up to ten Hashtags using the text tool.

6. You can add Hashtags to Your Instagram Bio

If you simply add a hashtag in front of any of the words in your bio, it will turn them into clickable link that leads visitors to hashtags for anything you wish to promote on Instagram. This is a great place to use your branded hashtags or announce ad campaigns that you may be running. I currently use hashtags in my bio to direct people to #CreativeLivesUnite and #RhondasDesignsConnect.

By including my branded hashtags in my bio, it makes it real easy for visitors to click on them and follow my work if they’d like. If you are a creative business owner, I invite you to simply use these hashtags to get seen by my followers as well as yours. Using hashtags is a great way to connect with customers, find content created about you by your followers and build relationships with influencers. I hope I have inspired you to use hashtags in your Instagram Marketing Strategy.