This post is for those who already have a bookstagram and are looking to learn more about hashtags. If you would like to start to start a bookstagram, learn how here.
Hashtags. They make the Instagram world go round. They connect us with similar accounts and are a fantastic way to get exposure for your content. On its face, hashtags require very little effort. You type the # symbol and away you go. In reality, there is a strategy behind using hashtags effectively and correctly, so that you gain genuine engagement and don’t upset Instagram. Use too many popular hashtags (those with posts in the millions) and your post will get lost in the masses. If you use irrelevant hashtags, you risk getting spammy rather than genuine engagement.
And Instagram is notoriously sensitive with hashtags and there’s a risk that if you use the same hashtags over and over, Instagram might limit the visibility of your content because it thinks you are spam. Plus, Instagram occasionally bans hashtags that get overrun with spammy content and if you use those hashtags, you again risk Instagram limiting the exposure of your content.
To use hashtags effectively requires some research. You need to see how many posts are using certain hashtags, make sure none are banned, and discover new hashtags so you can mix up the hashtags you are using.
You are probably asking yourself: who has the time to invest researching hashtag usage, finding new hashtags, or learning what hashtags are banned?
I have done research into hashtags in use by fellow bookstagrammers, including those that are most popular, and explored how to find out if a hashtag is currently banned/blocked, and whether this includes any bookstagram hashtags.
This post will also detail some hashtag tips and best practices.
Grab my complete guide to bookstagram hashtags with 200+ hashtags here
P.S. If you want to buy a book from Amazon or The Book Depository, I would appreciate you using my affiliate links so that way, through no extra cost to you, I get a little bonus to help support this blog.
How to be strategic in your hashtag use
1. Use relevant hashtags
You want to make sure you are using hashtags that are relevant to your post and content overall. If you post a stack of yellow books, don’t hashtag your post #rainbowbooks–this is spammy behavior and you are not going to gain genuine engagement. The point of hashtags is to sort content to help people find what they are looking for, so you want to make sure that your posts are coming up in those search results.
2. Use specific or niche hashtags
Speaking of relevant hashtags, you want to use specific or niche hashtags because the more specific your hashtag, the more targeted your audience, and the more likely you are to gain engagement. While using some general bookish hashtags is fine because it is a bookstagram account, think about the types of books you are posting about. If you are posting about fantasy books, but only use general bookish hashtags then people looking for fantasy books will not find your content. Make sure you look for hashtags that are specific to your genre or niche. For example, I post a lot about romance books and use hashtags such as #romancebooks, #romancereader, or #amreadingromance.
3. Mix up your hashtags
Don’t use the same hashtags over and over. Instagram might view this as spam and limit the visibility of your content. Additionally, you want to mix up the size of your hashtags. Avoid using too many large hashtags–hashtags that have over a million posts. Your post will get lost in the masses within minutes. You want to aim for hashtags that have between 25k-250k posts although your best bet is to use to hashtags with less than 100,000 posts. Your post is more likely to get into the top 9 the smaller the hashtag is. If you are going to use the more popular hashtags, I would recommend that no more than 5 or your 30 hashtags be those with posts in the millions.
Shortcuts for adding hashtags
Let me be honest, typing out 30 hashtags each time I post is tedious especially when there are certain hashtags you tend use frequently, but finding ways to shortcut this did not appear to me until recently. Here are three different ways to shortcut adding hashtags to your posts. Remember that you want to mix up your hashtags so I recommend having a few different sets of hashtags.
1. Save them in your notes app
Type out and save your hashtags in a note taking app on your phone, and then all you need to do is copy and paste them whenever you are creating your caption.
2. Use a content planner
Content planners are great because they let you plan out for posts in advance and in some cases, will auto-publish them for you. One tool that a lot of the content planners have is hashtag lists. I recently started using Planoly, which allows me to create different hashtag lists. I have created different groups of hashtags depending on my type of post–for example I have a list of hashtags for my book review posts, a list for my romance stack photos, and a list for my romance flat lay photos.
3. Create a keyboard shortcut
I programmed a shortcut into my iPhone “bkst” and when I type this I get
#bookstagram #booksofig #romancebooks #romancereader #booknerd #bookpic
To create a similar shortcut on your iPhone, go to Settings > General > Keyboard > Text replacement. At the top right you will see a plus sign. Tap it and then you will end up on this page, where you can add your string of hashtags with a shortcut term.
There is a similar function for Android.
Hashtags for bookstagram: The most popular
Here are some of most popular bookstagram hashtags. These are the hashtags with the number of posts in the millions. You will want to use these hashtags sparingly. I would recommend using no more than 5 of these hashtags in your post.
|Hashtags||Number of Posts|
Twenty five additional hashtags for bookstagram
|Hashtags||Number of Posts|
How to know if a hashtag is banned
Banned hashtags are those that have been flagged by Instagram for spammy content. You want to avoid using banned hashtags because you risk a decrease in your engagement because Instagram may limit the visibility of your content, being flagged as spam, or even having your account blocked.
To discover whether a hashtag is banned by Instagram, go to the Explore tab (the search icon at the bottom) and then type the hashtag into the search bar. If you get the following message above the pictures, then the hashtag can be considered banned and recent posts using that hashtag will not be shown:
Recent posts from (insert #hashtag) are currently hidden because the community has reported some content that may not meet Instagram’s community guidelines
I went through and searched some of the most popular bookstagram hashtags, such as #book, #books, and #bookish, and as of April 5, 2020, it does not appear that any hashtags in use by the bookstagram community are currently banned or flagged by Instagram. This can change daily so it is important that you check yourself periodically to ensure you are not using any banned hashtags. It looks like #books has at one point been flagged, so I would recommend keeping an eye on that hashtag.