Ever since the hashtag was first created in 2007 it has been a vital part of almost every social media strategy. It was first used to be able to better organize content and make it more accessible to people looking for it, and it still continues to be one of the best tools to help your Instagram content get discovered.
Since hashtags are the lifeblood of your Instagram reach, knowing which ones bring you the best resuslts is super important in maximizing your content performance. Even more importantly, you have to monitor hashtag trends and find out which ones are doing great, and which ones not so much.
Maybe you’ve noticed that some hashtags haven’t really been working too well these days, and another thing you should be aware of is whether or not the hashtag you’re using is banned.
Wait, banned? Yup, you heard that right. Instagram has a long list of hashtags that are banned, which means they’ll effectively get you no reach on the platform. If you don’t know which ones are banned, you can’t avoid them, which is bad news for your hashtag strategy.
So, ready to up your hashtag game? We’ve created this article to bring you the lowdown on which hashtags are banned on Instagram with our comprehensive list. We’ll also bring you the top tips for creating a flourishing hashtag strategy to get your content under the eyes that matter.
Feeling motivated yet? Let’s get reaching!
In order to understand our list of banned hashtags, we’ve got to first take a look at why Instagram would ban certain hashtags in the first place. For Instagram, the user experience and Instagram community is the top priority.
There are a variety of ways that Instagram decides on which hashtags get banned, but one of the main ways is through user flags and reports. When a user reports content that they deem inappropriate, Instagram can take a look and see which hashtags that post was using. If Instagram makes the determination that the hashtags contributed to the spreading of inappropriate content, that will get the hashtag effectively banned.
Okay, so what does it really mean if a hashtag is banned?
If a hashtag is banned, when you search for the hashtag, you will see the number of posts that use it, but upon clicking the hashtag, a page will appear that says “posts hidden.” That means that your content will not be seen by anyone if you use hashtag.
The interesting thing is that some of the hashtags that are banned seem perfectly harmless, so there is a chance that you’re using a hashtag that is banned without you even knowing it! You’d also be surprised to see that some hashtags you may expect to be banned, aren’t.
In any case, let’s take a look at our list of banned hashtags so you can make sure not to take up valuable space in your captions using worthless hashtags. Not only that, your posts could be flagged by Instagram or marked as offensive or inappropriate.
Check out the list of banned Instagram hashtags so that you can avoid using them and focus your efforts on more fruitful hashtags that can take your content further.
*keep in mind that you may see some words or phrases that can be considered offensive; we’re not trying to tick you off, but we’ve got to give you the full and complete guide to banned hashtags. If you’re sensitive to some profanities, we apologize in advance*
So, there you have it. Our 2020 update for banned hashtags on Instagram. While this is what we’ve got for you right now, that doesn’t mean that they can’t change or be updated over time.
Let’s take a look at some of the top tips to help you deliver a top hashtag strategy.
What if I Think a Hashtag is Banned?
Unfortunately, Instagram doesn’t ever release a list of banned hashtags, so no one will ever really definitively know or have a source to check on a regular basis. Even still, that doesn’t mean you can’t do a couple things to verify whether or not the hashtag may be banned.
If you think your hashtag is banned, you can always search the hashtag on Instagram and see what comes up. If you see the “posts hidden” message, you know immediately that the hashtag is banned, and it’s best if you stop using it.
If you don’t see the message but you still think that the hashtag may be banned, take a look at the posts that appear and whether or not there are recent posts or a large number of them. If there are a lot less than what the number says, it’s likely blocked and all other posts are hidden.
Moreover, if you never see your post appear in the hashtag feed, it’s likely that it’s blocked or banned.
The final thing you should do is take a hard look at all of the content that is being posted with the hashtag in question. Is that the type of content you want to be associated with? Are those the kind of followers that you want checking out your content?
If the answer is no, it’s time to rethink your hashtag strategy.
There are many different hashtag best practices that you can follow to make sure that you have a winning hashtag strategy and not one that flops and implements banned hashtags on Instagram. If you follow our tips, you’ll be able to get away from banned hashtags and focus on ones that will get you maximum reach for your content.
Adjust the Banned Hashtag
If you look at our list, things like #alone and #beautyblogger are banned. That’s really unfortunate, as users of Instagram with the best of intentions are unable to leverage these hashtags with their content.
Instead of throwing them out altogether, you can adjust them just a bit and then they won’t be banned. For example, if you use #beautybloggers, that works. Likewise, changing it to #aloneathome will also allow you to clear the hashtag.
Changing up your banned hashtag can help you to still use them and get your content seen.
Use Niche-Specific Tags
It’s not as common for niche-specific tags to be blocked or banned. Depending on what your niche is, you can gain more reach with your content as opposed to using generic hashtags. This is also an added benefit in addition to a lower likelihood that the hashtag will be banned.
Using your own invented hashtags or using a branded hashtag can be a good way to avoid banned hashtags on Instagram. Not only that, using a branded hashtag gives you a central feed that people can search for in order to see more about your brand.
Users can also put the hashtag on their own content, which will then appear in your hashtag feed. This is a great way to build your reputation as well as grab some user-generated content to share on your feed; UGC gets more engagement than other content types on Instagram.
You can use these branded hashtags not only on your content, but also on your bio, which can help give you a clear brand image and also encourage people to check out your hashtag feed.
You should always have a set of tried-and-true hashtags that you can pull out for any content that you want to post. Of course, these shouldn’t be any random old hashtags, but a strategic choosing of ones that can bring in best content performance. You can reflect on what hashtags have worked well in the past, which takes us to our next tip.
Be Knowledgeable about Your Hashtag Performance
As with most other things on Instagram, you have to know your metrics and how things are performing. When you have your account set to a professional or creator account, you get access to Instagram insights, which is basically the platform’s built-in performance tracker to see how your content is performing and what actions are being taken in accordance with your content.
You should always track your posts, see how they fare, and note down any hashtags that you used on those top-performing posts. You can also note which ones didn’t work so well, and test again to make sure that it wasn’t just a fluke.
When you do hashtag tests, you should use pieces of content that are relatively similar so you can be sure that the hashtag is having some affect on the reach rather than the type of content that you’ve posted.
If you feel that Instagram insights isn’t optimal for your performance tracking, there are other third-party apps like Iconosquare, Union Metrics, as well as Agorapulse that can help you streamline your analytics and help to give you actionable reports that can help take your strategies even further.
A good way to avoid using banned Instagram hashtags is to stay up to date with what is popular and trending on the platform. Not only will this ensure that you get included in the hashtag feed and have your content seen, you’ll also show that you are aware of the trends and hot topics, showing your relevancy to your followers and viewers.
Hashtag challenges are also increasingly popular across a variety of social media platforms, which means that you should take advantage of not only using these hashtags, but creating content that aligns with the challenges, showing your creativity and attention to current events.
Use a Hashtag Tool
If you feel that you need some new suggestions about hashtags, want to see how certain hashtags are performing, or even want to see what competitors in your niche are using, you can use a third party hashtag tool to help you out.
There are many different tools out there that can also help you with hashtag generation and performance tracking of hashtags in general. Services range from free to paid, but they can be a great option if you’re feeling lost or need some inspiration.
We all know that hashtags are basically a “must” for our content, but why are they so important? Using hashtags not only gets you more reach, but brings a variety of other benefits to your account. Let’s take a look at a few:
- Learn more about your target audience: You can use hashtag feed to see what posts are out there under those hashtags, and what users are checking them out. This way, you can identify what type of content users in your target audience are enjoying and pick up some inspiration.
- Build Your Reputation: If you have a solid branded hashtag feed with a lot of great posts, this gives you a lot of social credibility. Not only that, if you end up on the “top” section of a hashtag feed, you’re likely to get even more reach and engagement.
- Track Your Competition: Through hashtags, you can keep an eye on your competition and see what they’re up to. You can take a look at their hashtag strategy, see what content is performing best, and even use their profiles to reach out to new followers in your target audience.
While these are just a few benefits of hashtags, of course the ost prominent is that it will get you more attention and reach for your content, as well as gain you more followers through appearing in hashtag feeds and being more discoverable. Just make sure that your profile is set to public for optimal results!