Instagram Hashtags Not Working? Here Are Some Common Fixes

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Karen Lin

Instagram 101 | Sep 28, 2023

Want More Real Instagram Followers?

Using popular hashtags on Instagram is a simple and effective strategy for increasing your post’s visibility and attracting new followers. According to research, using a single hashtag boosts the interaction rate of an Instagram post by 12.6%. However, many Instagram influencers feel their efforts to expand their followers using hashtags could be more fruitful. This post will investigate factors that might lead to Instagram hashtags not working. 

The reason behind your hashtags not working can be due to a variety of reasons. You could be using irrelevant hashtags or too many or in the wrong locations. It’s also conceivable that your postings have been shadow-banned because of improper hashtag usage. We’re providing helpful hints to use hashtags better.

A large hashtag symbol made from cardboard inside a shipping container. 

Introduction to Instagram Hashtags

Before we delve into solutions for this issue, first, let’s define a hashtag.

Hashtags have been constant and unaltered in Instagram since its inception. The # sign denotes a hashtag, with characters of letters and numbers and no spaces. This feature organized millions of posts under one hashtag. Using the hashtag #fashion with a post would suggest it is about fashion-related topics.

Hashtags allow Instagram users to narrow their search results. When a user searches for a hashtag like “fitnessfreak” in the search bar, all posts with that hashtag will appear. You can sort comments by recency or popularity.

Exploring hashtags on Instagram can lead to new content and interaction. Any public post with the hashtag you’re interested in will appear when you click on or search for it. It’s like looking into a virtual shop window where like-minded people display their passions and expertise.

There are two parts of a hashtag page: Top and Recent. The ‘Top’ tab features the most-read articles, drawing millions of readers. These remarkable posts have generated a lot of discussion and interest from Instagram’s active user base.

For the “Recent” tab, you can see the most recent updates. It’s a great way to keep up with your favorite artists and find new ones to follow.

Instagram algorithm is also considered an important element in ranking Instagram posts. This artificial intelligence considers user interactions with a post, including the number of likes, comments, shares, and general engagement. Important factors in determining rank include post timeliness and relevancy to relevant hashtags.

Man showing no sign with the index finger.

Why Are My Instagram Hashtags Not Working on Instagram?

Now, let’s examine why your Instagram hashtags aren’t working and some common user errors. We will also look at hashtag strategies to reach a broader audience.

  •  Irrelevant Hashtags: Instagram hashtags allow you to organize your posts according to the category. You won’t reach your target audience as a fitness coach if you use fashion-related hashtags. If your fan base stays the same, it could harm your ability to establish authority online.

Conversely, Instagram uses contextual relevance indicators to group posts that share a hashtag. They take these measures to lessen the number of spam accounts that make many posts using numerous hashtags. Instagram may shadowban your posts if they don’t match AI-extracted data.

  • Repetitive Hashtags: Instagram monitors hashtags as an additional defense against spam and automated accounts. Unfortunately, many people reuse the same hashtag regardless of the post context. This triggers the algorithm to suppress your posts. Repeating the same hashtags reduces the effectiveness of your posts. Use a mix of relevant hashtags, including your favorites.
  • Banned Hashtags: One of the common hashtag mistakes is the use of banned hashtags. It can be because the hashtag is offensive, linked to inappropriate content, or goes against community guidelines. Instagram can disable a hashtag if it detects its involvement in organized spam operations.
  • Using Too Many Hashtags: Avoid using too many hashtags if you want to keep your content organized. Although broad hashtags were formerly widely used, the sheer number of connected postings makes your content difficult to find. If you use Instagram hashtags, it’s best to be as exact as possible.
  • Wrong Number of Hashtags: Each Instagram post could include 30 hashtags. Previously, Instagram influencers utilized more hashtags, but now, five to ten is optimal. You can avoid becoming redundant and unnecessary by limiting the number of hashtags you use.

Image of a turquoise bus with the painted phrase “#Never Stress” next to palm trees.

How To Solve Instagram Hashtag Search Not Working

It’s aggravating when Instagram hashtag search is not working. Here are some tried-and-true methods for fixing the issue at hand.

  • Post Regularly: Commit to posting valuable content at least three times per week. Consistency encourages audience engagement, especially in Instagram comments. Furthermore, it signals to Instagram’s algorithm that you’re dedicated to enhancing your profile and contributing to the platform.
  • Use Broader Hashtags: Use a broader range of hashtags to reach a larger audience and optimize your social media platforms. When posting to your feed, use a variety of hashtags and mix and match them. 
  • Avoid Posting About Sensitive Topics: If you want to keep your Instagram account from getting shadowbanned, avoid publishing anything violent or offensive. Avoid using suspicious software, refrain from posting in bulk, and double-check your hashtags for errors before using them.
  • Utilize Niche Hashtags: To fix your hashtag strategy, consider using more niche hashtags. Using a less popular hashtag can give your post more visibility among those interested. However, balancing too little and too much exposure is essential. Make gradual improvements to your organic reach to multiply your impressions.
  • Stay Updated: If you want to remain ahead of the competition, keep up with the news. Follow Instagram’s official announcements and upgrades so you can adapt to any upcoming algorithm changes. You can gain an edge if you learn to adjust quickly.

Furthermore, interact with and ask for input from your target demographic. Establishing a strong connection with your audience can boost your content appearing in their feeds, even if algorithms change.

  • Hide Them With “Read More Button”: One strategy for incorporating hashtags without looking spammy is to write your caption first. Add a few lines to hide the hashtags with the Read More button. Alternatively, leave the caption as-is and add any further hashtags in the comments.

Image of Instagram insights viewed on an Android smartphone.

4 Tips for Optimizing Your Hashtags 

If your company wants to expand, you need an Instagram hashtag strategy. It doesn’t simply get you in front of more people but also gets you in front of the appropriate people. Follow these guidelines to maximize the effectiveness of your hashtags:

  1. Check Your Instagram Hashtag Data and Trends: Go to the specific post and click the Insights button. This will give you a general notion of the success or failure of your hashtags in past postings.
  2. Incorporate Branding Hashtags: Once you’ve settled on a hashtag, the first step is to include it in your profile’s bio. If they want to check the legitimacy of your brand, they can tap on the hashtag from your profile.

You can also use them in conjunction with your giveaways and promotions. Encourage your fans to utilize your hashtags while creating content. Doing so raises your brand’s profile and gains you more real Instagram followers on the hashtag. As a result, your branded hashtag will be more easily discoverable in online searches.

  1. Ensure A Clear Caption: Include searchable hashtags in the post’s first comment after publishing your photo and description. You can avoid having your caption appear like spam by doing this. As an alternative, use captions consisting of a single word. Alternatively, leave a blank line between your caption and hashtags for a more polished effect.
  2. Conduct Thorough Keyword Research: Put hashtags to use in your social media updates, comments, reels, stories, etc. Use Instagram’s search feature to find competitive hashtags and create a list of hashtags every few days. This way, you can learn which hashtag is more popular and boost your posts’ exposure.

Update Your Hashtag Strategy, Then Improve Engagement With Path Social 

Instagram is becoming more saturated with users, all of whom are competing for attention and visibility. Using hashtags correctly is crucial to growing your audience and achieving the best results. Otherwise, you can be hurting your financial situation rather than improving it. Using our tips to avoid your Instagram hashtags not working, you’ll want to focus on building engagement with your followers. That’s where Path Social can help. 

Path Social may serve as a fulcrum for many social media objectives, whether you want more participation, followers, or exposure. With our expert team and advanced technology, your Instagram game can reach a new stratosphere, bringing you long-term success. Ready to take the next step? Start growing and gaining Instagram followers today!