Are You Making These Common Hashtag Mistakes?


When used correctly, Hashtags are a great way to grow your reach, spark engagement and be discovered by new, interested followers. Despite being around since 2007, there is still a lot of confusion when it comes to the do’s and don’ts of hashtagging. Today we’ll be discussing some common mistakes which could seriously be hindering the growth and visibility of your account!

1. Not taking advantage of trending hashtags

To really broaden your reach, it is important you keep up to date with trending hashtags and incorporate them into your own posts. Knowing whats currently getting people talking is a great way to attract them to your content. However, be careful not to take the hashtag out of context as this can end horribly wrong and have a huge negative impact on your brand image. A notorious example is when DiGiorno pizza used the #WhyIStayed hashtag which was created to raise awareness for domestic violence, as a way to promote their pizza. As you can imagine, their followers were not impressed and it created a lot of bad press for the brand. So ensure you are being considerate and use trending hashtags as a way to engage, not offend!

2. Using hashtags that are too popular

Although its tactful to use trending hashtags, using really popular, overused hashtags such as #love or #food isn’t as beneficial as you may think. By using an extremely popular hashtag you are actually hindering the visibility of your page. The problem is is that the amount of posts using these hashtags is huge, so your post will swiftly be swamped by the latest posts. This makes it extremely unlikely your content will be visible whenever the hashtag is searched.

Another issue with using overused hashtags is that it can actually cause you to be 'shadowbanned'. Instagram automatically bans accounts they perceive to be “spammy” and continuously use the same, popular hashtags is one factor Instagram associate with spam accounts. This is the same for if you use a hashtag that has been shadowbanned,  your post won’t be visible. So, steering clear of popular hashtags is a good way to reduce the likelihood of this happening to you.  For more information, read our post on Shadowbanning.

3. Using non-relevant hashtags

Using hashtags that have nothing to do with the niche of your brand or the content you are posting about can be confusing to your followers and doesn’t do much if you are trying to gain engaged followers. Using hashtags that complement your niche will ensure you attract genuine, interested followers who will be more likely to engage with your content. They are also a great way to describe the content you are posting, so keep them relevant and appropriate to your post!

4. Using really long hashtags

Two of the main purposes of hashtagging is to reach a larger audience and to encourage the hashtag it to be re-used for promotion purposes. Using really long hashtags that consist of a number of words squeezed together won’t help in achieving either of these. Not only are they hard to read, they are likely to be misspelt if anyone does try to re use it, which defeats its point in the first place. Stick to short, catchy and memorable hashtags that relate to your brand and will spark engagement.

So, next time you are hashtagging be mindful of the audience you are trying to reach and be conscious of the dangers of shadow banning and using hashtags out of context .  Effective hashtags can massively increase your engagement and following, but when used incorrectly, have the potential to really damage a brand.

Still unsure on how to hashtag appropriately? We welcome any questions! - @lucyhitchcock_ @sassydigital