Instagram hashtags can be a great way to grow your businesses profile.

However, using the wrong hashtags on your Instagram posts can end up being more damaging than beneficial!

If you have noticed that your page engagement hasn’t been growing as it should, you may be using banned hashtags.

Continue reading to find out more…

Why are hashtags so important?

Hashtags are a great way to connect your Instagram posts to a certain topic, conversation or theme.

This means that customers looking for a certain product or service can search for it via a hashtag and discover your page.

Using hashtags makes your content more discoverable because it allows users who aren’t already following your account to see your posts.

Studies show that posts with at least one hashtag receive on average 12.6% more engagement than a post without any.

So, let’s get hashtagging!

The maximum amount of hashtags you can use on Instagram is 30 and we suggest using all of them to maximise audience engagement.

We recommend only using hashtags that are relevant to your brand as well as keeping an eye out for trending hashtags that you can link back to your page as this will optimise engagement.

What is a banned hashtag?

Instagram can sometimes be overrun by bots and spammers.

To try to combat this, they have been implementing more and more methods to try and identify these accounts.

Banned hashtags are hashtags that have been reported by users because the posts under them go against Instagram’s guidelines.

This often happens because accounts have posted some inappropriate content under that particular hashtag.

These hashtags change constantly, so keeping up to date with which are banned is important!

And they are not always hashtags that you would automatically assume to be rude or inappropriate…

What happens if I use a banned hashtag?

Hashtags can be temporarily or permanently banned.

If you use one of these on your posts, you are likely to see a large decrease in engagement.

You even risk being temporarily shadow banned.

In serious cases where banned hashtags are used on multiple occasions Instagram may even remove your account!

What is shadow banning?

Shadow banning is when Instagram blocks an account without the account managers knowledge.

This usually means that their posts and comments are no longer visible to other users.

As you can imagine, this would be very unproductive when it comes to growing your small business’ Instagram profile.

I think I’ve been shadow banned… what do I do?

Unfortunately, there is no guaranteed way to remove the shadow ban yourself.

However here are the top recommended ways:

  1. Stop posting for at least 3 days
  2. Delete all hashtags from recent posts that may be banned
  3. Put your hashtags in your caption instead of in the comments
  4. Reduce your hashtags to 20-25 instead of using the full 30
  5. Contact Instagram! You can do this by reporting a problem through the app or emailing them at support@instagram.com

How do I know if a hashtag is banned?

Unfortunately, these hashtags change constantly, and Instagram does not publish this information.

So, keeping up to date with which are banned is important!

To find out if a hashtag you want to use is banned, type it into the Instagram search bar and click on the hashtag.

If you see a message that says “recent posts from #whatever hashtag you searched are currently hidden because the community has reported some content that may not meet Instagram’s community guidelines” then that hashtag is banned and should not be used under your post!

This might seem a long-winded process, but it is definitely worth it!

Especially, if your Instagram account drives a lot of traffic to your business.

So… what hashtags are banned currently?

Asides from the obvious X-Rated ones, here is a list of the current banned hashtags (LAST UPDATED JANUARY 2021):

Remember to double check these yourself as they may have changed since the time of writing!

A

#abdl

#addmysc

#adulting

#alone

#always

#armparty

#asiangirl

#ass

#assday

#assworship

B

#beautyblogger (#beautybloggers plural works)

#besties

#bikinibody

#boho

#brain

C

#costumes

#curvygirls

D

#date

#dating

#desk

#direct

#dm

E

#edm

#eggplant

#elevator

G

#girlsonly

#gloves

H

#hardworkpaysoff (#hardworkpaysoff💪 works)

#hawks

#hotweather

#humpday

#hustler

I

#ice

#instasport

#iphonegraphy

#italiano

K

#kansas (#kansascity works)

#kickoff

#killingit

#kissing

L

#loseweight

#lulu

M

#master

#mileycyrus

#milf

#mirrorphoto

#models

#mustfollow

N

#nasty

#newyearsday

#nudity

O

#overnight

P

#parties

#petite

#pornfood

#prettygirl

#pushups

R

#rate

#ravens

S

#saltwater

#samelove

#selfharm

#single

#singlelife

#skateboarding

#skype

#snap

#snapchat (#snapchat👻 works)

#snowstorm

#sopretty

#stranger

#streetphoto

#sunbathing

#swole

#shower

T

#tag4like

#tagsforlikes

#tanlines

#todayimwearing

#teens

#teen

#thought

U

#undies

V

#valentinesday

W

#workflow

Y

#Youngmodel

It can feel overwhelming looking at this long, ever-changing list… but being proactive when it comes to hashtags will help your Instagram account to grow!

Make sure to do your research before posting with Instagram hashtags and to go back through your older posts occasionally to check you haven’t included any in them either as new ones may have been added.

We recommend you do this once a month.

There are sites like: IQ Hashtags where you can paste all the hashtags you want to use and it will alert you of any which are banned.

Alternatively, sites such as Kicksta and Markitors regularly update their posts to include recently banned hashtags!

Yasmin Stephenson

Yasmin Stephenson

Marketing Intern

CB Digital Nottingham Marketing Agency