Are your Instagram hashtags not working? Here’s why

You might be trying to grow your account and thinking that the results are not showing as they should. This could be because your Instagram hashtags are not working.

Rest assured, we’re here to help you get past that barrier and start growing fast again.

Whenever you use hashtags, that content is shown with other posts of the same niche, this makes it easier to get your content out there to users who don’t follow your page yet but have similar tastes to your audience.

One of the most common strategies to get more reach is the use of hashtags to target those users and get exposure for your brand.

However, users have reported that their Instagram hashtags are not working as they don’t see the expected results, and there are many reasons why this can happen. You might be misplacing them or using the wrong hashtags, but we’ll make sure that this doesn’t happen again!

Here are some of the reasons this could be happening and how to work around them.

You’re using irrelevant hashtags

In the past, the use of hashtags that were popular even out of your niche was a good strategy as this would expand the reach and make it easier to be placed on the Explore page.

However, in the current state of the Instagram algorithm, this could even harm your account and have it flagged by Instagram.

Hashtags matching your content are a requirement, their detection tool does a good job at finding posts that are not accurate and will get you in trouble.

Stick to your niche and use hashtags are not the top #3 in popularity, those have high competition, and you will get better results using less popular hashtags, with a higher chance of being featured in the glorious Explore page.

Your Instagram hashtags are not working, but do you check insights?

There are tons of insight tools out there that will provide you with accurate information on your hashtags, this way you will have a better understanding of why they are working or not.

We recommend a couple of tools:

  • Hootsuite (30-day free trial, $19/month)
  • Iconosquare (14-day free trial, no credit card required. $59/month)

Use the data acquired from those services to see which topics related to your niche are trending right now and create content accordingly.

You will also be able to work on your hashtags with the insights provided for each one of them. Use it in your previous posts to see what to improve.

You are using the same hashtags, all the time

You have a set of preferred hashtags, we all do. But If you’re using them on every post your reach will be limited.

Instagram’s detection tool is limiting spam, and this is one of those cases.

The platform will see this as spam for the users who are following those hashtags, even if your content is great!

Having a few different sets of hashtags is useful for this reason, and you can always switch things up a little in every post.

Display Purposes is one of the best tools for this. You can add a few hashtags you would use normally, and it will provide similar ones for you. Just be sure to filter them as not all hashtags may be suitable for you.


You should have around 30-40 hashtags to rotate in your content. Creating a spreadsheet or using a planning tool such as Planoly will save you a lot of time.

This strategy will not only diversify the reach of your profile but will also change your approach to this topic over time.

If you start adapting now, you will be a pro in no time!

Check out our article on Instagram growth strategies to develop even further.

Hashtags not working could mean you’re using too many

Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags, but you just because you can, doesn’t mean you should use all of them.

There is no right number or a perfect recipe for growth, but we suggest that you use 5-10 hashtags on your posts.

Some people say that using all hashtags will get you better reach, but this time is over.

Test your hashtag game, post consistently and change things up. Use different numbers of hashtags and see which ones perform best.

When you find out the optimal number, work around that.

Don’t forget to do this one every few months, as changes in the algorithm may change how Instagram works without you realizing.

Post consistently, post often

We can’t stress this enough, so you will see this mentioned in a couple of articles.

If you spend a week posting once a day and suddenly you start posting twice a week, Instagram will notice.

Let’s say you need a break, or you’re out for a holiday. You should plan ahead and have some content ready to be posted during that period.

As mentioned before, you can use tools such as Planoly and have all that content scheduled and set up with hashtags and captions, so you won’t have to lift a finger while you have that well-deserved rest we all need from time to time.

Check out more on this and other tips on our article about organic Instagram growth.

Don’t be afraid to experiment

Managing social media in general, and in our case Instagram, comes down to trial and error.

If you are not sure if something will work, do it anyway. Test your ideas, go wild and I assure you that you will eventually get good results.

Even when you find something that works for you, don’t settle for that and keep on experimenting, this will take you a long way.

Follow your gut and the points mentioned in this article, you’ll see how it makes a difference to explore all possibilities that come to mind.

This will ensure that you stand out in that sea of content out there with your unique work and you will start showing up in the fabled Explore page.

Final thoughts

Even if you are creating awesome content there is always room for improvement, be that on the content itself or how you manage your page.

We hope that our articles continue to help you in that journey and promise to continue working hard to provide great information on Instagram optimization.

Remember to check out Nitreo if you want to grow you following organically and safely.


Red is the content creator for this blog, working directly with the Nitreo team, he aims to help clients and Instagram users to optimize their content and metrics. He is also a photographer obsessed with urban photography and portraits, so you can expect a few posts about Instagram photography from time to time as well.

Red has worked as a Portuguese translator and interpreter for over 7 years, he also felt really weird writing this bio in the third person.

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