Hashtags can be a bit capricious. 😒
We need them, they’re our best way to build organic engagement and reach new followers 👥; but they can be complicated.
The best ones seem to change all the time, some of them get banned with no warning, and if you don’t use them correctly Instagram could sink you into the oblivion of the algorithm 🌪.
And even when you’re using objectively popular hashtags, sometimes they seem to make no difference in your engagement levels or follower count! What gives?
Recently Adam Mosseri, the CEO of Instagram, shed a little light 🔦on exactly why that happens.
Despite what you might think, Instagram’s Explore page isn’t a comprehensive collection of every single post that used a given tag #️⃣.
Instead, hashtag discover pages are subject to their own algorithm, with the goal of preventing spam and creating the best user experience possible.
Instagram evaluates things like what’s in the photo, the kind of engagement your photos get, and whether people are interacting with your photo to determine your place in the hashtag algorithm.
This new info is changing hashtag strategies going into 2020!
Instead of finding the most popular hashtags to add to your photos, you want to find the best and most specific hashtags for your content.
The more specific your hashtags, the more likely that you’ll reach users looking for exactly what you’re offering.
That helps bump up your posts in the Explore page!
To help you kickstart your new strategy, here are some tips and trick on finding and using the best hashtags for Instagram.
You can search lists of “most popular Instagram hashtags” all day, but to really find the hashtags that are best for you, you’ll need to engage in a little hashtag research 👩💻.
First, do some related-account digging.
For example, If you’re a fashion blogger, start by going to a popular blogger’s account in the same niche.
We’re going to @esmeeweering.
Then, take a look at what hashtags they’re using.
@esmeeweering is hiding her hashtags in the comments instead of putting them at the end of her caption, a trick we’ll talk about later. 😎
When you click those hashtags, make note of what are the discover pages are like.
Are there a lot of posts, aka a lot of competition, or are they more niche, with fewer posts that are a lot like yours?
Do some hashtags seem to line up better with your aesthetic than others?
Clicking through profiles and hashtags can seem like a wild goose chase, but it will help you get a feel of what kind of photos are posted under which tags, how much competition there is on different hashtags, and introduce you to new hashtags that you haven’t heard of.
From there, you can start testing hashtags on your photos. By posting with different hashtag groupings and monitoring engagement and reach, you’ll start to get a feel for what hashtags give you the best response.
If you want even more tips and tricks about Instagram research, check out our best ways to research Instagram hashtags!
Even the best hashtags are useless if they’re not used correctly. Here are our best practices for using a hashtag on Instagram!
- DO: Use a mix of ultra-competitive, competitive, and niche hashtags for the best result.
- DO: Keep trying different hashtags. You have up to 30 hashtags to play with on every Instagram post. Even if you only post photos with 7-10 hashtags, that still gives you an opportunity to try one or two new hashtags whenever you post. This helps you reach new audiences and find the best hashtags for your account!
- DON’T: Use hashtags that don’t aren’t related to your photo. Posting a photo with popular hashtags that have nothing to do with your post will knock you down in the algorithm because users are unlikely to engage with your photos on the discover page (or maybe even report your post as spam! 😱
- DON’T: Post more than 30 hashtags. If you try to post a caption with more than 30 hashtags, the photo will post with no caption at all, and all your work typing in a caption and curating hashtags will disappear. 🤯
Tailwind has collected some of the best and most popular hashtags on Instagram right now.
They’re broken up into subcategories like industry and subject matter to target your audience.
And did we mention you can even save your hashtag list for future posts? 😏
Hashtags for Fashion
Hashtags for Travel
Hashtags for Giveaways
Maybe you’ve been wanting to use hashtags on Instagram, but you just can’t get over the way they sit at the bottom of your post, looking spammy. Ugh! 🙅🏻♀️
Good news: there are two ways to clean up your caption and hide those hashtags.
Use Line Breaks or Spacers to Hide Your Hashtags
You can use line breaks so that they’re hidden behind a “see more,” like @theazereads.
Hide Hashtags in Your First Comment
Or, you can put your hashtags in the first comment of your photo, like @michellereadsbooks.
Tailwind’s Hashtags in First Comment tool automatically posts all your hashtags in the first comment when your Instagram photo is posted, to keep everything clean and looking good. 😍
In Instagram’s seemingly endless war against spam and bot activity, they’ve started banning hashtags that show heavy signs of spam.
If you use these hashtags, your account could be dinged as spam, which will hurt your chances of getting a post at the top of that Discover page!
It’s easy to check if a hashtag is banned before posting, just click on the hashtag!
If it’s banned, a message from Instagram will appear at the top of the page saying that recent posts are hidden due to community reports.
Banned Instagram hashtags in 2020 include:
This list could be updated at any time, and we’ll post the ones we know about right here! However, make sure you’re regularly checking your favored hashtags saved in your hashtag lists for any surprise bans.
The Best Hashtag Generator for Instagram
If none of the most popular hashtags on Instagram in 2020 speak to you, try Hashtag Generator Tool to hunt down your favorites!
Our caption tool will instantly match you with the most relevant hashtags for your photo as you type, giving you maximum reach with no time spent trawling Instagram in the name of hashtag research.
You can even save your hashtag lists to re-use later!
This hashtag generator is the best app to find current and popular hashtags for Instagram and streamline your posting process!
Itching to try it out? Get a free trial of Tailwind for Instagram – no credit card required! 💳
Start a Free Trial of Tailwind for Instagram!
- Schedule photos and videos directly to your Instagram feed with Auto Post.
- Optimize every post for more engagement with SmartSchedule and Hashtag Finder.
- Automatically hide your post’s hashtags in the first comment to keep your caption clean & clutter-free.
- Make your posts more discoverable with user tagging & location tagging.
- Analyze what's working across every post and profile with smart analytics.