All About Instagram Hashtags

Hashtags are getting trickier and there are lots of rumors and questions surrounding them: Do they even work? Should I use all 30? Can I put them in the comments? Why haven’t I seen at least an increase in impressions?


We’re here to address these questions and more!


Right off the bat, we’re letting you know that YES hashtags do work! You just need to use the right ones.


Hashtag Basics


What Are Hashtags?

Simply put, hashtags are a way for Instagram to organize related content. If you add “#NewSneakers” to your post, it will be included among other photos that people posted of new shoes (at least that’s how Instagram wants it to work - of course, some people add hashtags that don’t relate back to their photo...we’ll get into this). Instagram will now show your photo to people who search the hashtag, #NewShoes.


Niche Hashtags

As with most elements of Instagram using hashtags is a science, but a simple science! Applying the “correct” hashtags can help attract your desired, niche audience. For example, if you are an Instagram book club blogger, you don’t want to use “#happy” because, while your book of the month may have been a happy read, that really won’t have anything to do with your post or your overall Instagram brand. However, you could use the hashtag “#happyreading.”


Hashtag Visibility

You don’t want to use hashtags that have too little results or too many results. Find your sweet spot! What we mean is, if you search “#love” on Instagram, you’ll notice 1,875,332,459 results. WOW. That means 1,875,332,459 posts on Instagram contain “#love.”


What are the odds of your post being seen among those 1.8 billion+ photos with the same hashtag? Probably zero.


On the other side of that, if you search “#lunchbreakbookclub,” you’ll notice there are only 10 results that come up.


The Suspected Shadowban: Don’t Use Broken Hashtags

Instagrams shadowban is an attempt to restore order and allow the platform to be effective for those who are not disobeying community terms & guidelines. Some accounts would spam their photos with non-relevant hashtags which would clog up peoples searches and feeds with content they weren’t asking for (including inappropriate content). When this is suspected among a certain hashtag, Instagram “breaks” the hashtag to be unusable.


Instagram began shadowbanning in 2019 but, of course, has never admitted to it. However, an obscene amount of users noticed their engagement declining even though they were compliant towards Instagrams guidelines. Instagram released an announcement after this: