5 Common Instagram Hashtag Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

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After doing several audits of Instagram accounts and discussing Instagram on our free Boost Your Engagement sessions, we’ve learned that there is still a ton of confusion out there when it comes to using the right hashtags.  Today, we’re discussing five common Instagram hashtag mistakes that could be hindering the growth and visibility of your account, and we’re exposing our secret weapon when it comes to finding the perfect Instagram hashtags, no matter your niche!

Are you clueless when it comes to using the right hashtags on Instagram?  We've got you covered!  In this post, we're discussing the five most common Instagram hashtag mistakes and how you can be sure to avoid them.  Click through to learn how to use hashtags that will attract an engaged audience to your Instagram account and our secret weapon for finding the perfect Instagram hashtags!

INSTAGRAM HASHTAG MISTAKE #1: Not using 30 hashtags

Instagram allows you to use 30 hashtags on your posts, yet we’ve seen people who want to grow their account only using ten or fewer.  While it’s common to see accounts with extremely large followings using fewer hashtags (it’s honestly because they’ve already reached their goals), if you are in the growing phase and aren’t satisfied with the size of your following or the engagement that your posts are receiving, you should continue to use 30 hashtags.  Because hashtags are the key to your visibility on Instagram, there’s no reason not to maximize your reach by including 30 hashtags on each of your posts.

INSTAGRAM HASHTAG MISTAKE #2: Using hashtags that are TOO popular

Using popular hashtags increases your chances of being discovered right?  Well, not exactly.  There are some hashtags like #love, #like, #followforfollow, #motivation, etc. that have been used entirely too many times.  These hashtags have easily been used over 100 million times.  So what makes them poor choices if we’re trying to boost the visibility of our own content?  Here’s the thing.  When you use an extremely popular hashtag, you are actually hindering your visibility.  People are using these popular hashtags so frequently that when you click on them and explore the related feed, it’s updating at the speed of light.  Want to see for yourself?  Click on #love and select an image that you’re going to focus on.  Come back in ten minutes and see how far you have to scroll down the feed in order to find it.

Instead of using hashtags that are insanely popular, Kleneice and I have found success using hashtags that are between 10K-500K lifetime posts. We’ve found this range to be popular enough to attract high-quality followers and genuine engagement on our posts.  We recommend this range to our clients as well when we select the hashtags for them to use.  Sometimes we’ll occasionally use hashtags that have been used less than 10K times if it’s super targeted, yet yielding quality results.  We never try to use hashtags that are too far above the 500K limit, however, because we have not seen measurable success.  

The main benefit of using hashtags within the 10K-500K is that your posts will be seen for a longer amount of time than if you use hashtags with millions of lifetime posts.  Also, using smaller and targeted hashtags will help your posts to land in the “Top Posts” section of the hashtags that you’re using (and again, this means that your content will be seen for much longer than if it didn’t qualify as a “top post”).  

Are hashtags stressing you out?  Get the Ultimate Instagram Hashtag Database

INSTAGRAM HASHTAG MISTAKE # 3: Using generalized, non-relevant hashtags

Another common mistake we’ve seen is people are relying on blog posts of the most popular Instagram hashtags and using hashtags that are far too generalized or have nothing to do with their niche or the content they posted.  It doesn’t make much sense to use hashtags that aren’t related to your brand if you are trying to get engaged followers.  In order to boost your engagement, one of the most important things you can do is use hashtags that actually complement your brand so that you can attract genuine followers who will interact with your content.

INSTAGRAM HASHTAG MISTAKE # 4: Using the same set of hashtags over and over again

Kleneice and I have suspected this for months now, and when people realized they were being hit with the Instagram “shadow ban” and were discussing it on Facebook, our suspicions were confirmed.  Instagram is not going to allow you to use the exact same set of hashtags over and over again on each post.  It is SO important to have a library of 40-60 hashtags that you can rotate on each post.  When you use the exact same set of hashtags on each post, you risk having your account being treated as spam, thus no longer showing up in the hashtag search results.

INSTAGRAM HASHTAG MISTAKE # 5: Trying to use hashtags that describe your image exactly

Often, we see people on Instagram struggle so much with hashtags because they are trying to make sure that they use hashtags that fit exactly what they are posting or their current mood.  But usually, that results in using really obscure hashtags that do nothing for your visibility.  Instead of trying to use hashtags that depict exactly what you are posting or how you’re feeling, use hashtags that fit your target audience and who you’re hoping to attract to your profile.

So, how can you avoid these hashtag mistakes?  Well, you can 1) spend hours doing your own hashtag research and figuring out from trial and error which hashtags are the best for your brand or 2) get The Ultimate Instagram Hashtag Database and breathe a sigh of relief because all the hard work has been done for you!  It’s totally up to you!  We even use this guide to help us when we conduct hashtag research for our clients who hire us to create an Instagram strategy, so we know from experience how effective this guide is! :)  Hashtags truly are the key to growing an engaged following on Instagram, and they are far too important to use cluelessly.  You can end all the confusion by using hashtags that will attract the people who will be the most engaged with your content, and that is totally possible by using the Ultimate Instagram Hashtag Database!

Do you plan on checking out the database?  Let us know in the comments below!