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Instagram says hashtags have no effect on reach — so how do you beat the algorithm?

If hashtags don’t improve reach, what can people do to increase their followers?

Instagram social media logo and blurred background
Image: KnowTechie

On March 18, 2022, Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri announced that hashtags do not impact the reach of posts. This revelation shattered a long-held belief among the platform’s millions of users.

In light of Mosseri’s announcement, the Instagram community is balancing a mix of frustration, troubleshooting, and even relief. 

Hashtags have no impact on reach

Mosseri reportedly replied to a user’s question about hashtags, commenting, “I wouldn’t try and think of hashtags as a way to try and get more distribution.”

He noted that hashtags essentially only help to index posts but don’t increase the number of people who see one. Hashtagging just ensures a post shows up on a hashtag page, not necessarily any relevant or specific user’s feed. 

READ MORE: NFTs arrive on Instagram

This news completely changes social media strategizing. For a long time, people assumed that hashtags help get posts to relevant audiences. However, unless a user is following a specific hashtag, this is apparently not the case. 

How will this change Instagram?

Instagram take a break feature
Image: KnowTechie

Mosseri’s announcement has sparked debate and discussion around the Instagram community, with some users even saying the platform is getting worse.

Most reactions to this news tend to fall into one of two camps. Some users are frustrated to hear that hashtags are apparently useless for growth on Instagram. If hashtags don’t improve reach, what can people do to increase their followers?

READ MORE: Instagram’s chronological feed is back – here’s how to set it up

On the other hand, many users are relieved about Mosseri’s announcement. A major issue on Instagram is hashtag spamming. People will bloat their posts with hashtags in an attempt to get more views, often using unrelated ones to feed off what’s trending. 

This leads to hashtag pages that are crowded with hundreds of irrelevant posts. If Instagram isn’t using hashtags to push posts to people, users don’t have to worry about spammers forcing irrelevant posts onto their feeds.

In fact, Mosseri’s announcement could even lead to decreased spamming on Instagram. 

How does this improve reach on Instagram?

Instagram reels on iphone
Image: KnowTechie

The biggest impact hashtags will have on Instagram now will be significant changes in how people run their social media strategies.

Experts have responded to Mosseri’s announcement by reiterating the importance of engagement for improving reach on Instagram.

Content quality remains king. If users comment, like, share and spend time on a post, Instagram will flag it as high quality and show it to more people. 

READ MORE: How to bulk delete Instagram posts, comments, and interactions

It is important to note that Instagram is no longer just about still images. The platform is implementing new types of content, like Reels, to capture people’s interest.

New content types are a less crowded space, so trying out reels, stories and even live streams can be a great way for users to grow their Instagram platforms. 

Mosseri’s hashtag revelation simply means there’s no quick and easy way to blow up on Instagram. Hashtag spamming won’t get users to the top. High-quality, thoughtful and relevant content will be rewarded first and foremost. 

Moving forward on Instagram

Instagram logo on blurred background
Image: KnowTechie

Hopefully, the news about hashtags will clear up some persistent problems on Instagram and lead to a better user experience for everyone.

People should stick to a few relevant hashtags and make content quality their top priority. Content creators’ goals are to make photos and videos that people enjoy watching.

Mosseri simply confirmed that on Instagram, creativity is still the key to success.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Staff writer at ReHack Magazine with a passion for cybersecurity, AI, and all things tech. Offline, you'll find me cruising the neighborhood on my motorcycle or bingeing the latest true crime documentary.

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