The Top 6 Myths About Hashtags on Instagram

Every time there’s an Instagram evolution, there are a million new articles published with every Tom, Joe, and Harry’s take on what you MUST do next. It can be stressful, it can lead to unnecessary panic, and some of it is just straight-up misinformation. To set the record straight, I’m busting the top 6 myths about hashtags on Instagram.

The Top 6 Myths about Hashtags on Instagram - - How to Use Hashtags – Hashtagging – Small business – Entrepreneurship – Social Media Marketing – Instagram Tips - Instagram for Business

Between shadowban panic and algorithm updates, you might be a little weary when it comes to hashtags and I get it! Mixed information is the worst, but I really don’t want you to miss out on the huge benefits that an effective hashtag strategy can have on your account growth.

The top 6 myths about hashtags on Instagram:

1. THE MYTH: If you use all 30 available hashtags, Instagram will punish your post.

  • THE TRUTH: False! If Instagram didn’t want you to use all 30 hashtags, they wouldn’t let you use 30… they’d cut you off quicker than a bachelorette party bartender.

  • The more hashtags you use, the more exposure you’ll get.

    • I recommend using all 30 to get the most bang for your buck.


2. THE MYTH: Branded Hashtags are owned by you and should be policed accordingly.

  • THE TRUTH: Nope! Instagram is essentially the Wild West – everything is fair game.

  • In fact, if you look at IG’s community guidelines, you’ll see that Instagram actually has ownership to everything posted on Instagram – images, videos, hashtags… the whole shebang.


3. THE MYTH: When it comes to hashtags, the bigger the better.

  • THE TRUTH: Not exactly. The more generic Hashtags you use, the more likely it is you’ll start growing your following with non-target audience Instagrammers and spambots. **Reminder: your target audience should be those most likely to purchase and/or benefit from your offering.

  • Moreover, hashtags with over a million posts move through “most recent posts” at a more rapid rate than those with 10,000 posts. The longer you’re in the most recent, the more play you’ll get.

  • To grow your following with your target audience, choose more specific hashtags (think #michiganblogger rather than #blogger).

4. THE MYTH: Your hashtags need to be placed in your caption, comments don’t work anymore.

  • THE TRUTH: This one is straight-up untrue. They work in both places the exact same way.

  • Just don’t wait too long to post in the comments if that’s where you’re putting them. Have your hashtag list prior to your post so you can drop it in the comments immediately after posting.

    • Note: make sure you’re commenting with hashtags from the same account that created the post.

Free 5 day Instagram Growth Challenge

Go from overwhelmed and unheard to on fire and engaged.

Spam sucks – we'd never send it to you. Powered by ConvertKit

5. THE MYTH: It takes forever to come up with custom hashtags for each post.

  • THE TRUTH: It certainly can, but it doesn’t have to.

  • You can cut down immensely on your hashtag research time with apps like Tag-o-matic.

  • Another great way to research is by going to similar Instagram account’s posts and checking out the tags on their relevant posts for inspiration.

6. THE MYTH: Hashtags don’t work anymore.

  • THE TRUTH: Um, what? They actually work better than ever.

  • There are more places to put hashtag, like both in feed posts AND stories.

    • With the ability to follow hashtags, hashtag visibility is higher than ever.

The Bottom Line:

Be careful with what you read – if anything makes you feel panicked or like the Insta-world is ending, don’t trust it. As someone who makes their living doing this, I can honestly tell you… there’s NEVER a reason to let your cortisol rear its ugly head related to social media. 

Let me be your social media freakout filter and join my private FB community, where I keep track of and break down social media news so you don’t have to.

What hashtag questions do you have? Drop ‘em in the comments and let’s start a convo!

Chris Emmer

Graphic Designer / Branding and Social Media Strategist / Yoga + Meditation Guide / Your New BFF.

West Michigan based, small business + wellness obsessed.