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Hashtags Not Working in Instagram – What to Do

Posted by Arch on October 21, 2019
Hashtags Not Working in Instagram

Instagram’s hashtags may sometimes stop working and your reach might drop drastically. Dysfunctional hashtags will stop raking in the views, likes, and comments. Most of the times, it is through the user’s own mistake and bad hashtag practices. However, sometimes a bug or technical difficulties on Instagram’s end are to blame.

If you’re experiencing hashtag problems, rest assured that you’re not alone and that millions of Insta users are in the same pickle as you. Let’s look into the most common hashtag problems and how to solve them.

Why Have the Hashtags Stopped Working?

There are many reasons hashtags might stop working. Here’s a list of the most common reasons and tips on how to solve or work around them.

Instagram

Too Competitive and Popular Hashtags

If you’re serious about boosting your visibility on Instagram, chances are that you’ve done your homework and found the most popular hashtags for your niche. As good as it might be to fill your posts with the most competitive hashtags, it is a double-edged sword.

While your posts will reach top spots in recent feeds for the included hashtags, they’ll quickly be replaced by a ton of other posts with similar hashtags.

It’s very hard to stand out among hundreds of thousands or millions of similar posts. Therefore, adjusting your hashtag strategy a bit might actually give you a better chance of reaching more people. Pick hashtags that are not among the hottest ones but are still relevant in your niche.

Repetitive Use of Hashtags

One of the cardinal sins of the hashtag use on Instagram is incessant repetition. If you’ve published a post that was wildly popular and decided to apply the same set of hashtags on a string of subsequent posts, Instagram will punish you.

You might lose traffic and exposure. Also, Instagram might shadowban you for spamming other users. A string of posts with identical hashtags is a signal that you’re trying to cheat the system and boost your figures artificially rather than by continuously providing valuable content.

To avoid being marked as spam and getting the shadowban hammer, you should make a list of at least 40 to 50 (the more, the better) relevant hashtags that you’ll rotate between the posts. That way, you’ll not only stay below Instagram’s cheat radars but also diversify the reach of your posts.

Hashtags not working

Irrelevant or Too General Hashtags

This is a sin that many Instagram users are guilty of. With 30 available hashtag slots per post, it is easy to get carried away and include hashtags that have nothing to do with the post. Also, using too general hashtags might land you a spot in the irrelevant hashtags circle of Instagram’s hell.

Since users don’t like seeing content unrelated to hashtags they’re following, Instagram has made sure to penalize profiles that use irrelevant or inappropriate hashtags in their posts.

To avoid this problem, search your niche thoroughly to see what works and apply it to your profile. Also, make sure to update your relevant hashtags list from time to time, as some might become obsolete over time, especially if they’re connected to particular events related to your niche.

Too Many or Too Few Hashtags

Instagram limits the number of hashtags to 30 per post. There are no official guidelines on the optimal number, though various experts and sources will claim different number strategies as best. Some might say that including only 5-10 per post is the way to go, while some might swear on the bible that using all 30 available hashtag slots in each post is the right thing to do.

The truth is that no one can give you the definitive answer to this question. If you suspect that you’re using a wrong number of hashtags, start experimenting with the numbers and see what works for you and your profile.

Stay on your toes, though, because Instagram changes its algorithm periodically. This means that a strategy that worked wonders last year might completely ruin your reach this year.

Banned Hashtags

Among many reasons why hashtags might not work, the use of banned hashtags is in the top ten. As of this writing, Instagram has banned more than 114,000 hashtags.

You might expect to find explicit, violent, and discriminatory hashtags in the ban can, and you’d be right. But as unlikely as it may seem, Instagram has also banned a number of completely innocent and unassuming hashtags. For example, #happythanksgiving, #kansas, #desk, and #books are all on Instagram’s ban list.

The 2019 additions to the list include, among others, #mileycyrus, #parties, #prettygirl, #likeforlike, #pushups, #sopretty, #kissing, #humpday, #curvy, #beyonce, #americangirl, #stud, #valentinesday, #woman, and others.

The Hashtag

Your Profile Was Flagged as Spam or Shadowbanned

Finally, if you’ve broken the rules too many times in the past, Instagram might have marked your profile as Spam. Alternatively, you might have been shadowbanned as a repeated offender. In both cases, you’ll be allowed to keep posting, but your reach will be limited to the users that already follow your profile and your posts won’t be shown to new users.

Instagram’s strict anti-spam policy is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it is great for purging intentional spammers and users that are clearly trying to misuse or abuse the platform. On the other hand, the shadowban hammer might also smite many unintentional spammers and inexperienced users.

To avoid getting the spam badge and being shadowbanned, you should thoroughly read Instagram’s Terms of Use and Community Guidelines. You should also invest some time in upping your hashtag game and potentially improving the content you’re posting.

See Your Account Grow Again

If your profile has suffered from poor hashtag strategies in the past, and there are very few accounts that haven’t, your best bet is to review your posts and see where you made mistakes. Set some time apart to learn what works and what doesn’t, and your profile will be on the fast track to recovery in no time.

Have you had problems with hashtags in the past and how did they affect your profile’s performance? What is the best hashtag strategy you know and use? Tell us all about it in the comments below.

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