The 10 most overused Instagram hashtags of 2017 — and what you should post instead

The numbers are in and when it comes to hashtag use on Instagram, we are all basic af.

Instagram has revealed the 10 most popular — a.k.a. overused — hashtags of 2017. And if you don’t want your Instagram account to seem thirsty, you should probably ban them from your posts.

Hashtags exist to attract new followers to your content, but the incredible common ones listed below are probably not helping anyone. Hashtags are supposed to sort photos so that people who are searching for certain keywords will see your post. But it’s not very likely that users are searching the hashtags on this list.

Not to mention, Instagram has allegedly been “shadow-banning” users who spam their posts with too many vague, pointless hashtags. We say “allegedly” because the Instagram algorithm works in mysterious ways and no one’s sure exactly how to hack it. But the point is, some hashtags could hurt you more than they’ll help you. And the über-popular ones on this list are probably pointless, if not detrimental, in the grand scheme of things.

READ ALSO: Instagram may be “shadow-banning” some users

So aspiring influencers, take note: vague and super-common hashtags like the ones listed below are not going to get you anywhere. Instead, use hashtags that are more specific. This will make your hashtags less spammy and more helpful, and people will come across your content because it’s actually something they were looking for.

On that note, here’s a list of the most popular hashtags of the year, along with suggestions for way better hashtags.

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1. #love

There are many kinds of love in the world. But unless there are some true sad sacks searching Instagram’s hashtags, most people aren’t craving a vague, general visual representation of it when stalking Instagram.

They’re also probably not looking for selfies, of which there is an inexplicably large amount on the #love search page.

If you’re tempted to hashtag your photo #love, be more specific. Ask yourself what kind of love is visible in this photo. Is it the love between you and your sibling? Your significant other? Your best friend? Yourself?

Okay, let’s say it’s a picture of you and your boyfriend. The next step is to think about who would actually want to see this photo. The answer is no one. Okay, maybe your mom. So delete it and send it to her instead.

Next, post a photo with your dog. Hashtag the dog’s breed plus the word love. #yorkielove will get you likes from your friends and fellow yorkie enthusiasts, while a boring old pic of you and your boyfriend captioned #love will get you nothing but courtesy likes from your friends because they don’t want you to look like a loser. There you go!

READ ALSO: 12 excuses your married friend will use to re-post her wedding photos this year

2. #fashion

I don’t like to generalize, but I’m pretty sure that if you’re hashtagging #fashion under your photo, you might not have a bright future in fashion. Fashion cannot and should not be hashtagged. I promise you none of the people you look up to in the industry got there by typing #fashion into an Instagram caption.

“Okay,” you might be thinking. “I’m a fashion blogger who’s trying to get noticed and I insist on doing it through hashtags. How should I hashtag my photos?”

My answer is that you’re asking the wrong question. You should instead be asking how you can get better at styling and photography so that people actually care about your clothes without you having to rely on questionable Instagram hacks.

And, okay, if you must hashtag your pics, try the brand names you’re wearing, as well as the aesthetic of the photo — #mermaidgrunge, #crustpunk, #sloaneranger, whatever. People love to search specific brands and aesthetics for outfit inspiration on Instagram. Meet their needs by making your hashtags useful, and you’ll get some new followers in no time.

READ ALSO: How Instagram’s new algorithm might make you look like a stalker

3. #photooftheday and 10. #picoftheday

Photo of the day? According to whom?! Unless you are Annie Leibovitz herself, no one is clamoring to learn what your pick for #photooftheday is.

I guess people use this hashtag when they think the photo they’ve posted is good. Well, we all think the stuff we’re posting on Instagram is good, that’s why we post it. But more importantly, do you really think people are searching for the hashtag #photooftheday to find out what strangers’ favorite photos of that day are? No.

Instead of #photooftheday, try descriptive hashtags that explain what’s actually in your photo. And if you’re trying to hit the photo snob audience, use hashtags that describe the equipment you’ve used, the lighting, the colors, or the photo’s aesthetic and style.

You could also hashtag the name of a famous photographer whose work you’re channeling. This might piss off diehard fans of that photog, but it might also earn you a few new followers who are fans of that person’s aesthetic.

As far as the difference between #photooftheday and #picoftheday: if you’re trying to look like a professional-level photographer, never use the word pic. It simply isn’t done.

4. #photography

Beautiful sunset at Lake Bled in Slovenia!🇸🇮 📷 @cbezerraphotos #TravelingTheWorld

A post shared by Traveling the World (@travelingtheworld) on

This is even more puzzling than #photooftheday. Instagram has been primarily an app for photography since its inception. Hashtagging your photo #photography is incredibly redundant.

Instead of #photography, take the advice above and hashtag the specific photography buzzwords that actually describe how you got the photo. This will get your post onto the radar of other photographers, and if they like what they see, they might follow you.

5. #art

Categorizing your photo as #art is not as bad as #fashion, but it will still make you look like an art amateur. Instead of #art, hashtag your post with the artist, title and/or genre of the piece.

You might also include some descriptors that would help people who are searching for specific types of art, with tags like #sadart, #modernart, #cubism, #femmeartists, you get it. Anyone who’s looking for a specific aesthetic or artwork will find this super helpful, and they’ll be sure to engage with your post.

6. #beautiful

#girl #polishgirl #instagirl #brunette #longhair #darkhair #nice #beauty #beautiful #beautifulgirl #eyes #broweyes #goodtime

A post shared by Paulina Chrostowska ® (@kluseczka99) on

A quick scan of the #beautiful hashtag on Instagram shows that it’s mostly scenery and selfies.

If you’re posting #beautiful under your selfie, that is hilarious and I love you. You should definitely eff the haters and keep on doing it. While you’re at it, why not include some details explaining what exactly you find so beautiful about your own damn face? #beautifuleyes, #soulfullips, #perfectnose, #eyebrowsonfleek, #symmetricalfeatures, #incredibleskin and #geneticallyflawless are all great options.

If you’re posting #beautiful under a photo of scenery, you can definitely get rid of it because it’s redundant af — unless it’s like a photo of an industrial wasteland in the depths of Jersey, in which case that’s ironic and you can keep it.

For those of you earnestly posting photos of pretty scenery, though, just take out the #beautiful and use a location tag instead. The only people who want to see that post are the ones scoping out the Instagram-ability of that particular place, so you’re doing them a huge favor.

Alternately, you could just delete the photo, because pictures of scenery and sunsets are pretty freaking boring.

7. #travel

#girl #polishgirl #instagirl #brunette #longhair #darkhair #nice #beauty #beautiful #beautifulgirl #eyes #broweyes #goodtime

A post shared by Paulina Chrostowska ® (@kluseczka99) on

This is another hashtag that is way too vague to be helpful to the person posting it or the general Instagram public.

Instead of hashtagging your photo #travel, slap a location tag on that puppy and also state the location’s name in hashtags. Then, people who are looking for pics of that locale will find it.

Also take a long, hard look at why you’re posting the pic, and include a few self-deprecatingly honest hashtags just to keep yourself from being completely insufferable. #wewouldnthavevacationswithoutlaborunions and #areyoujealousofme are great options.

8. #happy

Sure, go ahead, use this hashtag. Just know that happy people don’t need the #happy hashtag, and all your followers are now worried about you.

I mean, just look at the photo above, which was hashtagged #happy. Yikes!

9. #nature

This hashtag is incredibly vague, just like #travel and #photography.

And yet! This is the only hashtag on this list that I firmly believe is providing a service to Instagram users everywhere.

I have a feeling lots of city dwellers might actually be searching for #nature on Insta. I can picture them furiously typing it into Instagram’s search bar while they sit on the john midway through the day at their soul-sucking desk job, waiting for everyone else to leave the three-stall bathroom shared by six different companies, so they can go number-two in peace because the plumbing in their five-person-one-toilet apartment is broken, and the landlord none of them has actually met will literally never answer their texts to fix it.

Those people need the #nature hashtag. Feel free to populate it for them.

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