I’m having an issue I am trying to conquer. That issue is banned Instagram hashtags.
I’ve been having a right ball ache with it lately. I’ll upload an image and after three hours it will only have three likes. Which is bad. Even for me. The worst Instagrammer ever.
It’s as if nobody sees my photos on their home page or in search. I know there is something wrong because I do have a few people that follow me that like everything I post. Instagram is clearly hiding my images from my followers. It’s driving me NUTS. I just want attention, dammit. Give me the instant gratification I crave.
Sooooo I decided to look into banned hashtags a bit more and see what I can do about it to improve the situation. What I found was a little worrying. Sad face.
Using banned hashtags don’t just mean that your post is at risk of being banned, but it could lead to your full account being shadowbanned. VERY SAD FACE.
From what I understand, Instagram has neither denied or confirmed this. But it appears to be true from the number of articles out there talking about it.
If your engagement has suddenly dropped, this indicates a shadowban.
Why are hashtags banned?
You’ll probably expect some hashtags related to porn or those that are offensive to be banned, but that’s not always the case. Some hashtags are banned because they attract spam.
Have you ever posted on Instagram and instantly had 4 comments asking you to DM them to become a brand ambassador? That’s spam. Not only that but if you scroll through a hashtag and see lots of unrelated content – again, spam.
There is one fitness clothing brand that creates lots of different accounts with a link to their main account in their bio. On these accounts, they post clothing using loads of popular hashtags that aren’t relevant. Spam.
So – Instagram bans some hashtags to prevent spam. Generally, those that are really popular because there’s potential for them to have a higher reach if lots of people are searching for them.
How do I know if a hashtag is banned?
If you want to know if you are using a banned hashtag, the best thing to do is search it within Instagram. For example, #bootygains is a banned hashtag. Search it and see what happens. You’ll notice it doesn’t appear in search – the closest on that matches has a peach emoji on the end. You can also click on hashtags within your post and if you get the following message, then it indicates the hashtag is banned.
Hashtags are not always banned permently so you can always check again in a few days to see if it has been unbanned.
The best thing to do is to check your hashtags before you post and monitor your analytics for a drop.
I’ll be posting a couple of followup posts on how to prevent being shadowbanned and what to do if your account has been shadowbanned.
Damn Instagram, another reason I hate you.