Could It Be That You Are Using Hashtags The Wrong Way?

It is one thing to have a good content on your instagram page, but it is an entirely differebt ball game to come up with the most effective strategies that can bring your content to  the audience you desire. It's no news that using hashtags is one of the ways we can strategize an already “good content” to reach our target audience. Hashtags help to place your post in the News Feed of people who are not following you, but who follow or use the hashtags you employed in your post. But the problem is that many people use hashtags wrongly. Alot of people use only generic hashtags, while this may get you more view & likes for your post, the question is “are such likes and views coming from the group of people relevant to your business?”🤔 .


In case you are wondering, generic hashtags are general hashtags such as #shoes #bags #entreprenuer #skincare #kiddiee #fashion. All of these are generally used all over the world by various people, it is such hashtags that brings you plenty likes from people in other continents and countries but are they your target audience?Will they buy? This misuse of tags may be the reason you are not getting your desired conversion of engagement to sales.


The alternative is to use SPECIFIC hashtags. Specific tags focus on a specific location and specific set of people, e.g #naijashoe #naijafashion #lagoskiddies #naijakiddieswear #naijapreneur #naijafemaleboss #naijawomenfashion #naijawriter #ghanabraids #ghanafood #ghanaweddings #lagosmum #abujamen #phbusiness, if you are targeting people abroad you can use #nigeriansindiaspora #nigeriansinlondon #kenyansinUK etc. You can see that these tags are location and audience specific. This sort of hashtags bring you customers who are more likely going to not only enagage with your content but also buy from you
Tip:Use 80% of specific tag and 20% of generic tags. This way, you balance both  getting your desired audience & increased engagement from the tag. 


One thing about this specific tags is that you need to first answer the question: Who would need what I have to offer(Topic for another day). When you  answer this question, you can then specifically target them using hashtags.


One of the reasons it is important to get your use of hashtags correct is the fact that using hashtags wrongly can cause your account to  be shadow-banned on instagram. According to Later media, a shadow ban is the act of blocking a user from an online comnunity in such a way that they do not realize they have been banned. When instagram shadowbans you, it hides your posts from the public (users who do not follow you), this invariably renders the strategy of using hashtags to increase the visibility of your content and grow new followership on instagram, ineffective.
. Where does hashtag come in?Using the exact same set of hashtags always, portrays your account as a spam & robotic, hence IG will most likely shadow ban your account to keep other users safe. So try to shuffle the set of hashtags you use. Don't use the same tags, everyday. (Check our instagram page for more on shadow-ban:@pen.impact)


Alot of users also do not strategize their use of hashtags based on engagement. Using hashashtags that people rarely engage with, is not profitable but do not also use tags used by millions of people, your post would be lost in the millions of posts, and your aim would be defeated.  The recommendation is to go for tags with about 10k-100k engagement.  Personally, 70% of my tags come from the range of 10k - 100k while 30% are relevant tags of 3k-10k and 200k-500k. Just in case you are confused, the figures represent the number of times a tag has been used by people. If more people use the hashtag, it means more people probably search for it. Therefore using such hashtags will also place your post in their feed when they search for or follow the tag. 


Another mistake instagram users do is to focus on number instead of relevance. I talked about relevant tags above, but here is more  you need to know: Instagram allows you to use only 30 hashtags per post but it is not really necessary to use 30 hashtags per post. It makes your post clumsy (and also too desperate), so it is often advisable to focus on using a few relevant tag. However let me also be sincere with you; there is absolutely no harm in using 30 hastags (as long as they are all relevant)if you want, the only thing it affects is your post aesthetics. I say this because when Pen-Impact instagram page (@pen.impact)was reactivated in September 2018, we used as much as hashtags as we  could in each post. We didn't mind how it would look or be perceived because at that time we had just about 65 followers and we needed to go as visible as possible. However this should not be a sustained practice. At the moment, we use 11-15 hashtags or less per post except in cases where it is extremely necessary.


Also a lot of instagram users still put hashtags in their post caption sections, this feature makes your post look amateur!Do not use hashtags in caption section except a few of your brand tags. Put the rest of your hashtags in the comment section. If you are the kind that shies away from using tags in caption so as not to seem like you are desperate for visibility (let's not pretend, alot of people actually belong to this category)then use trending tags, while it would just look as though you are following the trend, you are also stylishly increasing visibility, because people tend to search more for trending tags, so you too can use it to shine. Example of such tags include #thisisNigeria #stew #kupechallenge etc. However note that since these tags are not specifically aimed to reach your brand audience, it may increase engagement, but hardly convert to sales (in the case of a business page).


Lastly not creating a brand hashtag is one thing most instagram users, especially business owners, err at. Do you know that most (80%) of IG tags began as a brand tag (according to Sprout Social). Create yours and  use it often, let it stand out as part of your branding. The more you use it, the more others are likely to start using it,  and this increases the visibility of your page. Ensure  you use brand tags that no other brand is already using and that it bears your brand ambience, such that it directly points to your brand. For us our brand hashtag is #impactgang & #penimpact. Guess what?Recently, some other users have begun to use our  pen-impact hashtag in their own posts!
Create yours now. 

Believe me when I say that the information shared here did not exhaust what you need to know about using hashtags to grow your brand, business and influence on instagram. As properly trained and skilled social media content managers, we know that good content requires good strategies to score its goals, therefore we are currently working on an e-book of tested and trusted knowledge about using hashtag to drive visibility on Instagram. The e-book sells at 1000 Naira only (4.00 USD).
If you are interested in getting a copy,   send an interest mail to or call/chat us up via 07019904999

Do not forget to follow our instagram page:@pen.impact.

Have a nice day😍