Banned Instagram Hashtags You Shouldn’t Be Using & How To Avoid Getting Shadowbanned

Hashtags are one of the most important parts of any business’s Instagram marketing strategy. They allow you to communicate with your followers and join discussions. And most crucially, with the help of Instagram marketing companies in Kuwait, they allow your business to be discovered on Instagram. So imagine if you end up using hashtags that don’t promote discoverability and instead cause your account to be shadowbanned. It can potentially derail your entire marketing strategy. If you’ve been dedicatedly working on your Instagram account by using relevant hashtags and other organic Instagram strategies, and still haven’t been witnessing much growth or engagement on your posts, reels, and stories, you may be accidentally using banned hashtags. Whether you choose your hashtags manually or you use a hashtag generator, you will want to avoid banned hashtags to maximize your views and increase user engagement.

What are banned hashtags?

Banned hashtags are hashtags that have been reported by Instagram users because the posts that used them contain inappropriate content and are in violation of Instagram’s Community Guidelines. Once these hashtags are banned, any posts on Instagram regardless of their content that use these hashtags, will be hidden. If you’re one of these innocent posters, this will definitely hinder your organic reach and come in the way of business growth.

Note that Instagram never really publishes an official publically available list of banned hashtags. And these hashtags are constantly changing with new ones being added to and removed from the banned list every year, depending on community reports and Instagram’s internal investigations.

Why are some hashtags banned?

When we think of the word banned, we probably visualize posts that contain hate speech, terrorism or other extreme inappropriate content. However, on Instagram, banned hashtags are part of a much wider category which includes:

  • Content that have been posted by users who do not have the right to post them
  • Sharing explicit content that includes nudity
  • Contacting people repeatedly for commercial purposes
  • Participating in crime and illegal activities through the platform
  • Advertising services that don’t meet community guidelines
  • Disrespecting or degrading other Instagram users through content that includes hate speech or threats
  • Posting graphic videos or images without any warning about the sensitivity of content
  • Using a bot to post spam-filled content
  • An account that has been frequently reported by users
  • Engaging in suspicious behavior like following and unfollowing people too quickly

Innocent posters also face backlash due to Instagram’s policy. For example, if a hashtag is used too frequently in a short duration of time, like #happythanksgiving, Instagram presumes it as spam content and bans it. Instagram might also ban what seem like totally normal hashtags in order to track down fake accounts and give its users a better experience. For instance, although #beautyblogger is banned, you can use #beautybloggers with an added “s” and you will not be shadowbanned.

How do I know which hashtags are banned?

As we mentioned, the list of banned hashtags are constantly changing, so it’s important to stay updated on the list in order to prevent getting shadowbanned. One way to stay up-to-date on this information is to do a simple google search and find articles that list all the banned hashtags. If you want a more fool-proof approach, you can directly find out through Instagram. To do this, type in your hashtag in the search bar of the explore page. Once the hashtag appears, click on it and if you see a message displayed that says “Recent posts for “#xyz” are hidden because some posts may not follow Instagram’s Community Guidelines”, the hashtag has been banned. You can also use hashtag generators that provide a banned hashtag checker tool (like Iqhashtags) that scans your profile and gets rid of restricted hashtags from your posts. Alternatively, you can recruit Instagram promoting companies in Kuwait to create lists of hashtags for your content that are repeatedly checked for their validity.

What happens if I use a banned hashtag?

If you use too many banned hashtags too frequently, even if it’s by accident, Instagram may flag or shadowban your account. If Instagram chooses to shadowban your account, none of your posts, images, or videos will be shown to Instagram users. The only way people can see your post is if they visit your profile, or if they happen to search for the banned hashtag and scroll through the results. Most of the time, you will have no clue that you are shadowbanned since Instagram will not notify you. The only indication that you have been shadowbanned is when you notice a steep drop in engagement, impacting your follower growth and business revenue.

What do I do if I’m shadowbanned on Instagram?

To know with more certainty whether you’ve been shadowbanned, post on Instagram with an infrequently used hashtag and have someone else look up that hashtag using a different Instagram account. If your post doesn’t come up, you might have been shadowbanned.

The solution to this would be to stop any behavior that might have led to the shadowban, including using banned hashtags, and wait for a couple of days before posting again. Ideally, Instagram should reinstate your account and your engagement should return. Waiting it out also brings down the chances of your account being identified as a bot, which usually happens in cases of excessive posting, liking, and commenting.

You should also remove any previously used banned hashtags. Deleting irrelevant hashtags and keeping the total number of hashtags used at a minimal level will also keep your posts from being tagged as spam by Instagram. Finally, if you’re using your personal Instagram account to conduct and advertise your business, you are naturally more vulnerable to a shadowban. So if your account consists of a lot of promotional material, it’s best to hire Kuwait social media marketing companies to convert it into a dedicated business account.

With so many bots, spammers, and fake accounts out there, Instagram has put strict regulations in place along with platform updates and algorithm changes. Unfortunately, a lot of these newer changes directed towards duplicate content creators and unauthorized app users can inadvertently target innocent posters. Simply put, banned hashtags are always changing and Instagram never provides direct information about them. So it can be tricky to navigate this whole new world of hashtags and constantly be on the lookout for banned ones. However, using accurate hashtags that increase engagement and growth is an essential element of any Instagram marketing strategy and the extra caution is well worth the effort.

At Design Master, one of the long-standing social media marketing companies in Kuwait, we use a multi-faceted approach that combines multiple digital channels in order to market best to prospective customers. We have a professional team that undertakes this entire cluster of marketing efforts so that you can cultivate an optimal online presence.

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