The hashtag rulebook for Instagram.

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Last time we spoke about hashtags , we covered the basics around what a hashtag is and how to hashtag with purpose. If you need a quick catch up before we hit the rulebook, you can find the first hashtag blog here.

The first rule of hashtags is that there really is only one solid rule and one good-to-know important bit of information. For everything else about hashtags there are only recommendations, observations from tried and tested methods and style preferences from the insta-creative-gods; but fundamentally there are no rules for using hashtags to get more algorithm attention.

The rule of #hashtags

The hashtag limit is 30 per post, you can use less but you cannot use more than 30. Trust me, it is actually pretty difficult to use 30. Particularly, when you try and avoid the spam ones.

Current recommendation is to use 8-12 at any one time.

Good-to-know information on #hashtags

Banned hashtags are for real and you need to know about them as using them could result in your account being shadow-banned or even blocked. Shadow-banned isn’t really written down anywhere in the Instagram code as a thing, but banned hashtags are so I recommend erring on the side of caution with this one.

Whilst shadow-banned isn’t life-threatening it is super annoying, time consuming to get out of and a loss of business-time. Which is money, which is bad news in business.

Moral of the story, know your banned hashtags.

How to find out which hashtags are (currently) banned

  • A google search
  • Social media manager influencers and strategists usually post about banned hashtags on a regular basis
  • A bit of research into the hashtags you want to use via the “search” function on instagram

Small, medium and large hashtags

  • Small hashtags are usually those associated to your business name and USP – they help with brand-building and people searching for your business on social media
  • Medium hashtags pertain to your location, industry and type of business – they help place your business in a location and industry, important for search functions too; although the hashtags-usage-numbers will be starting to get high and competition to be seen will start to get tough
  • Large hashtags are very (very) broad subjects – using large hashtags does help with reach, but also brings about a lot of spam and vanity-followers (the type of follower that makes your number count seem high, but is ultimately totally useless to your business objectives and bottom line).

A good hashtag strategy for your instagram for business account needs to have a mixture from each category.

Still confused? Just ask. Totally just ask! The power of the hashtag in your social media strategy is immense and you take some time to research the best ones to use your business. #BirdandEmmy

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