Having  a consistent and strategic hashtag strategy is critical to success on Instagram. But what if your Hashtags are not working?

First of all, let’s clarify what “Instagram hashtags not working” actually means. A good indication would be posting and then heading over to the Explore page for that hashtag and seeing if your post is visible. If it’s not, there are actually quite a few reasons why your hashtags aren’t getting you more visibility.

  • You are using a hashtag that isn’t relevant
  • You are using a hashtag beyond your “Hashtag Status”
  • You are using a banned hashtag

Hashtag isn’t Relevant

If you are using a hashtag in attempt to “game” the algorithm and hijack a hashtag with higher post volume that has zero relevance to your photo or caption, it simply won’t work. The algorithm is smarter than you think and not only will your post get much lower reach than usual, your engagement with suffer because followers may feel “duped.” If there’s a hashtag you want to rank for on the search page, do it the right way! Create content that is relevant and has an enticing caption to hook new followers and boost engagement.

It’s Beyond Your “Hashtag Status”

This is a phrase I coined for my Lead Generation on Instagram course to help students understand the do’s and don’ts of leveraging hashtags to grow your account. For your post to show on the Explore page for your selected hashtag, your account needs to have the same “status” level as that particular hashtag. In my course, I teach an entire lesson about how to determine what level your account is at and then what hashtags to use. We can’t go into all that here, but long story short – if you only have 400 followers and minimal engagement, chances of you showing up on a search for a hashtag with 5 million+ post volume is pretty slim. That hashtag might just be out of your league…for now. 🙂

Using a Banned Hashtag

This can be a little surprising for people. I’m sure a few of us potty-mouthed adults can think of hashtags that might be banned, but there are quite a few that will totally surprise you. For example, #ValentinesDay is a banned hashtag. The hashtag doesn’t necessarily need to be profane or inappropriate. It can be any hashtag that Instagram feels is being used inappropriately and generating a lot of spam on the platform. Once it gets on Instagram’s blacklist, it’s a big no-no.

Banned Hashtags on Instagram

So, what happens if you use a banned hashtag? No, you won’t turn into a frog. However, your post will be hidden in the feed which means you will get very low reach and engagement. Also, it basically voids out all the other hashtags you have used. You won’t show on those either. When you’re using Instagram for lead generation, this is a big deal. You NEED every post to perform at a high level. Using a banned hashtag will sabotage all that effort. Also, if you use the hashtag regularly Instagram *may* flag you as a spammer and severely limit the amount of people who see your posts (the dreaded “Shadowban”) or temporarily disable your account all together. My best advice? Know which hashtags to avoid and save yourself the headache.

I’ve put together a list of some of the top banned hashtags that might surprise you. For example, even #TGIF is banned?!


2019 List of Banned Instagram Hashtags

A

#adulting

#alone

#always

#americangirl

#armparty

#asia

#attractive

B

#babe

#bbc

#beautyblogger

#beautydirectory

#besties

#beyonce

#bikinibody

#boho

#books

#brain

C

#costumes

#cpr

#curvy

#curvygirls

D

#date

#dating

#desk

#direct

#dm

#dogsofinstagram

E

#easter

#edm

#eggplant

#elevator

F

#fishnets

#fitnessgirls

#followforfollow

G

#girlsonly

#gloves

#goddess

H

#happythanksgiving

#hardworkpaysoff

#hawks

#hotweather

#humpday

#hustler

I

#ig

#ilovemyinstagram

#instababy

#instamood

#instasport

#iphoneography

#italiano

K

#kansas

#kickoff

#killingit

#kissing

L

#l4l

#lean

#leaves

#like

#likeback

#likeforlike

#livinforalivin

#iloseweight

#lulu

M

#master

#mileycyrus

#milf

#mirrorphoto

#models

#mustfollow

N

#newyears

#newyearsday

O

#overnight

P

#parties

#popular

#prettygirl

#publicrelations

#puppydogmondays

#pushups

R

#rate

#ravens

S

#samelove

#selfharm

#single

#singlelife

#skateboarding

#snap

#snapchat

#snowstorm

#sopretty

#stranger

#streetphoto

#stud

#sunbathing

#swole

T

#tag4like

#tagsforlikes

#tanlines

#teen(s)

#tgif

#todayimwearing

#treasurethesemoments

U

#undies

V

#valentinesday

W

#woman

#womancrushwednesday

#women

#workflow

#wtf

**bookmark and check back often, I will update as more are banned

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