Thursday, May 15, 2014

How to Use Hashtags!

Market your Creativity by Miriam Schulman, @schulmanArt

how to use hashtags on twitter and instagram
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If you are confused the way I once was about hashtags, this primer will give you the answers you need to get better results on your social media accounts like twitter and instagram. I use hashtags to get new followers for my art business on instagram and twitter and you can too.

What is a hashtag? 

Any word that starts with a # symbol on instagram, facebook, pinterest or twitter becomes a clickable link to a search for all posts that includes that hash-tagged word. If you go to Instagram on an iphone you can put your finger on a word that starts with a #hashtag and see what happens. People do search on Instagram for things this way. If you are on a desktop you use your mouse to click on the word with the hashtag and it will bring up all posts that use the hashtag.

Do you set up your instagram account to post on facebook, or do it manually?

I have my fan page and twitter account connected to my Instagram account - when I share on Instagram I pick which accounts I want to share on. Usually both- but sometimes I skip Facebook if it is a picture I used in my blog and I know it already is being shared on Facebook.

art journal page by SChulmanArt
Tagged this one with #hellosoulhellomantras
to connect with classmates

How do you link your facebook fan page to instagram?

Instagram actually requires you to link your facebook page to  an instagram account if you are using hashtags and want them to work properly. ( so if they aren't, that might be why) Click on the gear on the right corner of your instagram account, scroll down to "share settings" and you can enter your facebook fanpage and your twitter account into the rights spots. You can also connect Tumblr and flickr accounts if you have those.

How do you share an instagram post in both places?

When you share a post with followers you add a caption and then you can click on the accounts you want the picture posted to... I found I am getting better interaction on both twitter and facebook since I have been sharing pictures from instagram! (a bonus!) 

mixed media collage art | allow change | by SchulmanArt
Tagged this post with #quote and #spring and got
likes from quote junkies.
Collect this mixed media collage art from etsy!

How many hashtags do you use?

When I share the post on Instagram I only include a few hashtags in the caption because I know seeing too many hashtags on a status update may annoy fans who are seeing the post on  Facebook. If I was being strategic I would choose hashtags that I want to use on Twitter since the first 140 characters you include in the caption will be used as a status update on twitter. The twitter update also includes a link to your instagram picture. I also will go back and add a second comment on my Instagram post with more hashtags.

On twitter, one or two hashtags is enough... on instagram I may use a few in the caption and then add more in a comment. Yes, adding hashtags in comments also work!

Do I need hashtags on facebook?

The short answer is "no." For some reason hashtags aren't effective on Facebook. You can still click on it and get the search results just like the other social media accounts but end users don't tend to search for anything on Facebook that way. So if I am posting something to facebook only I will not use hashtags at all. If I have posted a picture to facebook via my instagram account,  then the status associated with the picture will have hashtags. If I have time, I can go back and edit the caption of the picture to remove the hashtags and ideally add a link to something I am selling online.

how to use hashtags on twitter

Why do you need hashtags on twitter?

On Twitter sometimes people search for particular hashtags. That's why they are useful there. When you log into your twitter account they will show a list of trending hashtags. Right now a trending hashtag is #911MemorialMuseum so anyone who wants to add the discussion will use that in their comments. I found that I got more retweets on my inspirational quotes when I added the hashtag #quote or #artquote. When I used the hashtag #wedding on my recent wedding art tutorial , the tweet which also linked to my blog post got retweeted by wedding themed bloggers and others looking for content about weddings. This is a way to let people know what your topic is. Think of a hashtag in your tweet like a tag you might use on etsy or your website.

Are Hashtags necessary on pinterest?

Just like Facebook, hashtags are not necessary on Pinterest for getting your pins found. Some people like to use hashtags there, but they are only useful if you are tweeting your Pinterest post. For example, when you search on Pinterest for #peacock you will also get results for pins that include the word "peacock" without the hashtag.


Is it good to use popular hashtags?

Although you want to include popular hashtags, you will quickly get buried in the stream of millions of other users also using the same popular hashtag. The best hashtags are specialized hashtags within your market niche. For example, #wedding is great but #mexicanwedding is better. You will not get buried as fast and you will zero in on your market segment. Same with #art...better to go with something more specific like #artjournal. Although there less than 100,000 posts with this hashtag you connect with users faster who are looking for #artjournal...See what tags other people use to get ideas... perhaps #journalpage Of course, you can comment on the feeds of people using similar hashtags and they might follow you when they check out your sites.

What is a specialized tag?

Recently, I took an online ecourse with mixed media superstar Kelly Rae Roberts. I have to admit that I took the course not just to learn how she creates art but also how she managed the course and I am so glad I did. One of the genius marketing techniques she used was to create the hashtag #hellosoulhellomantras. You will see lots of ecourse givers create hashtags like this and let me explain how they work. First of all, everyone posting a piece of art or photo related to the ecourse uses the hashtag. This advertises her course because all posts that Roberts made advertising her course are also tagged with this hashtag. Anyone following users on instagram or twitter who use this hashtag can learn that the person posting took her ecourse. ( free advertising!)

This specialized hashtag promotes her ecourse but also allowed me to quickly connect to artists, both amateur and professional who were taking her course and many of them started following me. Of course, you have to use the hashtag appropriately-- I wouldn't use this hashtag on my cat picture.. but #instacat or #catart...well that works great.

Another way this helps, is she created a widget on the ecouse that "listens" to the hashtag and posts all the tweets and instagram posts that include that hashtag. This is hashtags working at their best.
Here are examples of widgets that "listen" for a hashtag: (this one posts the 9 most recent posts using the hashtag #artjournal)


Another example of a business using hashtags

I also like the way House Beautiful uses the hashtag #weeklycolorfix to organize their instagram posts on color. Since I also blog about color I use their hashtag on instagram to get their traffic to my feeds! (pretty sneaky, right?)

Another tip: Make up your own tag

Cat artist Heidi Shaulis post pictures of her cat as well as her cat art. In addition to the hashtags #cat #tuxie and #tuxedocat she uses the hashtag #charlieshaulis. Brilliant! {you can follow @HeidiShaulis}

Question: So did I answer all your questions that you always wondered but were afraid to ask? If not, let me know here in the comments!

PS Follow my instagram account to see what I do! (or twitter)
PSS You might also like my blog posts:
5 Artists to Follow on Instagram and 6 Reasons Why I Follow You on Instagram! 
not to mention Top Myths about How to Use Pinterest
PSSS If you like to read about creativity and marketing your creative business, these are all topics I blog about... follow this blog: by Email / RSS / BlogLovin / NetworkedBlogs