Instagram Hashtags Not Working? We Can Help

If you think your Instagram hashtags are not working, we can help. There are many reasons why your hashtags might not be working. We’ll go through some of the main possibilities and offer solutions to this frustrating problem!

Before we get started, be sure to check out Upleap: the best place to find an Instagram account manager who will work with you to achieve all your Instagram goals. They can work directly with you to find the best hashtags for your photos and make sure they are getting you the best reach possible.

Hashtags are one of the most important things on Instagram. They will help you reach new accounts and gain new followers. Studies have shown that using one hashtag can increase your reach by over 12%. You can use up to 30 hashtags per photo so be sure to utilize relevant hashtags to your photos.

However, many people have been complaining over recent years that their hashtags aren’t working. They aren’t getting any reach from hashtags or they can’t see their photos in the hashtag page that they’ve chosen.

Let’s talk about why this might be.

You’ve Been Shadowbanned

There is still some dialogue about whether or not shadowbanning is a myth. Some sources say it is real while others say it’s all false! For the case of trying out reasons your hashtags might not be working, let’s assume it’s real and make some necessary changes.

Shadowbanning was apparently implemented by Instagram when the hashtags were being misused. Shadowbanning limited spam so that the photos that showed up under a certain hashtag were from legitimate Instagram users.

However, shadowbanning has caused major issues for people that weren’t ever misusing their hashtag function. People that have always followed the community guidelines were now losing a huge percentage of their reach on Instagram. To avoid this, be sure to

  • Use hashtags that are relevant to your image. When you type in a word that’s relevant to your photo, Instagram will suggest dozens of hashtags to try! Definitely utilize some of these.
  • Use hashtags that are popular but not too popular. Try and get a mix of hashtags that have a few thousand results and a few hundred thousand results. Then choose a few with over a million results. A good mix is the key to getting a good reach from hashtags!
  • Use different hashtags each time you post. Using the same hashtags every time sends a message to Instagram that you are spamming that hashtag.

If nothing seems to work, take a break from Instagram or from using hashtags to see if this helps.

Use Relevant Hashtags To Stop Instagram Hashtags From Not Working

As mentioned, it’s important to use relevant hashtags.

For example, look at this Instagram photo.

bedroom with cozy bed, lots of comforting cushions, blankets, and a shelf with draping plants, a mirror and two posters.

Of course, it would be silly to use fitness hashtags such as #getfit #eathealthy or pet hashtags such as #puppiesofinstagram or #dogsarecute on this photo. The hashtags would not be working on this photo if you used them. Users searching those hashtags would not be impressed by a cozy home decor photo appearing.

As seen in the photo, the user used hashtags relevant to the photo such as #bedroomgoals and #plantvibes.

When choosing your hashtag, look at the photo as a whole and choose a few hashtags. For example, with this photo, you could first search for hashtags about bedrooms. Once you’ve found five for that, move onto smaller details of the room. You could search for hashtags on blankets, cushions, plants, DIY, home decor and natural lighting. Finally, before you use up your 30 hashtags, try and find a few that capture the feeling of the photo such as #hyggehome and #homesweet.

If your hashtags are not working, there’s a good chance you’re not using the right hashtags!

Don’t Use Banned Instagram Hashtags

You probably didn’t know the list of banned hashtags was so long. But it is. With over 100,000 banned Instagram hashtags, it’s definitely hard to keep track.

However, it’s important you get creative with your hashtags because using banned Instagram hashtags can cause all your hashtags to stop working.

A lot of hashtags were banned because people were spamming them while others were banned because they were obviously inappropriate.

Search for hashtags that are popular and will drive high reach but not so popular that they won’t work.

Banned hashtags include:

  • #adulting
  • #besties
  • #books
  • #curvygirls
  • #easter
  • #hustler
  • #kissing
  • #mirrorphoto
  • #popular
  • #singlelife
  • #treasurethesemoments
  • #wtf
  • #youngmodel

Have a search for banned hashtags to make sure you’re not using any!

Instagram Hashtags Not Working? Switch Them Up

If you notice your reach is dropping, try out different hashtags. There are hundreds upon hundreds of hashtags that would work for your photos so try and find a different group of hashtags to use.

Personally, I have six different groups of hashtags that I switch between when posting on Instagram. Sometimes I notice some working better than others, but I always switch them up to avoid being shadowbanned.

Plus, switching up your hashtags will help you reach new people. If the same people follow the 30 hashtags you always use, you won’t reach very many new people. Use new hashtags to reach new followers.

You might even find hashtags that work way better for you.

Is Your Account Private?

If your Instagram account is private, then hashtags will not work for you. Your photos will not show up under the hashtag. That wouldn’t be very private, would it?

Having a private Instagram account is great for certain people but if you want to grow on Instagram, it’s definitely not the way forward.

Change your account back to public if you want to gain more exposure on Instagram!

Hashtags Not Working? Don’t Overload

If you overload your caption with hashtags it can be very messy. Writing a #caption like #this is #superdifficult to read and will #definitely throw users off.

Be sure to either include your hashtags far below your Instagram caption or even better, in an Instagram comment below your photo!

You can, of course, include a couple of hashtags in your main caption. In fact, some studies show this helps! But don’t overload your caption with hashtags.

Trial And Error

If your Instagram hashtags are not working, experiment. As well as trying new hashtags, make sure you try more specific hashtags. On another note, you could try switching up how many hashtags you use. Some experts say that 11 hashtags is the prime number, while others swear by the 30 number.

Try 5, 11, 15, and 30 to see what works for you! You might find that 19 works for you. Others might find that 28 works! You never know until you try.

When All Else Fails

You might think hashtags aren’t working for you, but really, it’s something else. Definitely try all these tips for getting your hashtags to work again, but be open to the fact that something else about your account might not be quite right.

For example, maybe your content quality has decreased. Take an Instagram break to find your creative groove again! After all, posting high-quality content is the most important thing when it comes to getting good reach and engagement on Instagram. You have to be unique. Make sure your photos stand out amongst others. Don’t copy people. Don’t post low-quality images, and always make sure you’re being authentic.

You could also try some other tips such as geo-tagging your location to reach locals. Definitely always include a call to action in your posts, whether that’s to follow your account, answering a question or visiting your website.

Now that you understand why your Instagram hashtags are not working, you know how to solve it. Be sure to experiment, find new hashtags, follow some hashtags and switch up your hashtags every few weeks to stay on Instagram’s good side!

By Beth McCallum

I'm Beth, a Scottish writer and bookworm. I'm currently agent hunting for my debut novel while running a candle business from my home. I obsess over dogs, Hamilton, chai lattes and recently, Harry Potter. I know, I'm decades late.

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