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Hashtag Headaches

Have you noticed your posts aren't showing up under the hashtags you've used on Instagram? What gives? How can you reach your would-be audience with hashtags now that you aren't reaching anyone new out there? Don't worry, there is a fix...it just takes a little effort and time. Read on to find the remedy.


While we always recommend using hashtags in your posts, did you know that some hashtags could actually be harming you? Recently there has been an up-tick in banned hastags - meaning Instagram the company has blocked them from being viewed. This happens when a hashtag is being abused in any way - from over posting to illegal activity. The hashtag itself may not have anything to do with anything illegal - for instance #ravens is currently banned. Ravens! Of course this could have something to do with team bullying relating to the Baltimore Ravens, but if you are an artist who paints ravens and use that hashtag - guess what? No one new is seeing what you post. If you use it too often (or the same set of hashtags all the time in every post you make) IG will begin to suppress all your posts. You will notice this in your Insights - your post views will begin to trend downward.


If you've already noticed this happening and are suddenly worried because you have an innocent, simple hashtag like #ravens in many of your posts - don't panic. First though, you will want to delete any hashtags in the captions or comments that are banned. Now you may be thinking to yourself - how am I supposed to know what hashtags are banned? Instagram never officially releases a list of them, but a quick Google search will keep you up to date. This article by Task Ant is extremely thorough about the currently banned hashtags you should be avoiding. Write down any that you think you may have used and take some time to look at your old Instagram posts, clicking into the captions and comments to delete any of the banned hashtags.


Once you've done this, it's time to find a brand new set of hashtags - and a variety of them. I want to caution anyone who copies and pastes blocks of #hashtags that this could be viewed as "spammy" by Instagram and suppressed in the algorithm. MIX IT UP - and often! View your hashtags as another (slightly weirder) caption. You are trying to attract people who like what you like. If you paint a beautiful fruit like a banana and hashtag it #banana - it might fall into the view of a few people who appreciate it. However if you use #bananalovers #bananaart #kitchenart #bananacrew you'll reach an entirely different group of people. You also are more likely to be viewed by more people in the categories with the lower number of hashtags. For example - #banana currently has 15.9 million posts, it can be kind of hard to stand out in a crowd like that. However #bananalovers has 36.9 thousand posts as of this moment - making it a much higher probability that you will be spotted by a real banana lover (who hopefully wants to purchase your delicious art!)


Look at the pieces you plan on posting or are working on in a new lens. What things might people be searching for that would like your art? What things are they into? Keep in mind that it may not be necessarily what is pictured in your painting or work of art.