You have probably heard about Instagram shadow banning by now, and being up to date and knowledgable on the subject is more prominent than ever going into the new year.
Now is the time to create new campaigns, run new market strategies, and make social media your #1 priority. However, what is the point of all these efforts if they end up being hidden from viewers and potential customers? Following Instagram’s regulations and community policies are extremely important because of the widespread growth of businesses using the platform in their direct marketing efforts.
The increase of the site’s popularity has brought with it a huge presence of fake and spam accounts. This is causing the site to be drowned out almost completely by ads and bots. In turn, Instagram has put a large effort into place to remove these spam accounts, which largely includes banning certain hashtags and even shadow banning certain accounts.
Shadow banning has to do with limiting the reach of particular users who are violating a “healthy public discussion” regulation or are actively being reported as spam. What happens is the user’s public activity, such as posts and comments, are still seen by that user, but hidden completely to others. They remain completely unaware that they have been silenced and the idea was that this type of ban would prevent them from retaliating against the site’s moderators.
Test to see if your shadowbanned, courtesy of HubSpot:
- “First, post an image with a hashtag that isn’t often used. (If you post an image with a hashtag that has millions of posts associated with it, it will be hard to see if your content is hidden from a shadowban, or simply from competition).
- Once you’ve posted something with a certain hashtag, ask five Instagram users who don’t follow you to search that hashtag. If none of them see your post under the hashtag, it’s likely you’ve been shadowbanned.
- However, if one or two of the accounts can see your post, you might simply be dealing with a drop in engagement.”
How you may have gotten shadow banned & how to avoid it in the future:
- The use and/or overuse of banned hashtags. You may not even know the hashtags that you are using for your posts are banned, and therefore your content is hidden from the public. Check out our list of commonly banned hashtags going into 2019.
- The use of bots or any kind of automated “Instagram growth” tool. This includes any website or app that you pay for followers, likes, click, or any kind of engagement. Also, exceeding your daily or hourly limit for following, unfollowing, liking, commenting, or posting can get you shadowbanned. The site will assume you are using an automated bot. Our advice? Do it the honest way! Boost posts and create engaging Instagram ads to get your content in front of your targeted audience.
- The limit for the number of total people you can follow is 7,500. This is confirmed by Instagram here as another way to reduce the spam accounts from following and unfollowing.
- The limit for the number of likes you can give per hour is 350.
- Have no more than 30 hashtags a post, and make sure they are not banned. (We cannot stress this enough!)
- Tag up to 20 users per post, and 10 per story if necessary, and even that is a little high… unless you have a massive group picture at your company Christmas party!
- Having an account that is often reported will most definitely lead to a shadowban. Make sure you are complying with Instagram’s guidelines and posting creative, original content!
It is important to note that Instagram does not openly admit to shadow banning. Neither does Twitter. However, they released a statement back in February that addressed the beginning of the hashtag banning issue and some reasons why certain accounts and posts could be seeing a drop in engagement. The company commented, “When developing content, we recommend focusing on your business objective or goal rather than hashtags. Having a growth strategy that targets the right audience is essential to success on Instagram. Good content on Instagram is simply good creative.”
Great advice, Instagram! We would recommend the same to any of our clients. Do you need help with an Instagram strategy that complies with every restriction and algorithm change and has a creative edge and will help you avoid an Instagram Shadow Ban? Reach out to the Instagram gurus at Dapper Goat.