Breaking News: Your Hashtag Strategy Isn't Working

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In case you have not noticed, your hashtag strategy isn't working. The problem isn't a shadow ban or restricted tags. The issue is deeper than that, and the "old way" of doing things is never coming back.


Instagram admits "hashtags are broken" but they have not defined what that really means. Meanwhile power-users all over the world are wondering why their engagement dropped so precipitously:

  • Am I being shadow banned?
  • Did I unknowingly use a restricted hashtag?
  • Is it because I put my hashtags in the comments instead of the caption?
  • Did I use too many hashtags?


While Instagram has not tipped their hat as to exactly what is broken, they did give us a road map around the problem, and it comes down to the most dreaded solution: good content and good engagement.


The hard part about focusing on good content and good engagement is they can't be automated or bot (ummm... I mean, "bought"). That's right. It appears as if Instagram is signaling that users need real Followers, and Insta-celebs are going to actually have to follow back (and engage, and NOT UNFOLLOW). Automated liking services are still functioning right now, but I don't think they are helping your reach... and that's why your content is really suffering.


Say goodbye to your rotating list of hashtags, and your paid list of hashtags-that-are-sure-to-work.

It's time to focus on captions, content, and community. It's time to talk social.