Digital Marketing, Social Media

Are You Losing Potential Customers to the Instagram Shadowban?

Are you using Instagram in your social media marketing arsenal? Instagram can be a valuable tool to market your business, if you use it correctly. Instagram has recently started policing those who violate their terms of service. This policing is known as shadowbanning, and can bring reach and engagement to a screeching halt.

What is Shadowbanning?

Shadowbanning makes your Instagram profile and posts practically invisible to anyone who isn’t already following you, so the use of hashtags essentially becomes obsolete. If you post something with a specific hashtag, when users search that hashtag, only your followers will see the image. This makes reaching new people almost impossible! Shadowbanning exists to target accounts that are committing spam behavior, but it seems that on occasion shadowbanning has also been affecting innocent and non-spam accounts. Instagram claims that this is a glitch, but some users are suspicious that Instagram is doing this intentionally, to force users to pay for advertising.

How do you know if your account has been shadowbanned?

The first clue is severely decreased engagement and reach. Have your follows, likes and comments decreased significantly? This doesn’t always mean you’ve been shadowbanned, but this is usually the first sign.

There are two ways to know for sure if you’ve been shadowbanned:

  • Have someone unfollow you and have them search a hashtag you’ve used. If they don’t see your image, you’ve been shadowbanned.
  • Go to this shadowban tester, type in your username and find out if you’ve been cursed until the end of time! Just kidding! Later in this post, I’ll tell you how to reverse the shadowban.

Why Have I Been Shadowbanned?

Since Instagram hasn’t been very transparent about this issue, it’s hard to say what the real cause is, but these ideas will lead you in the right direction:

  • Buying followers or using programs and bots that like, comment, follow, and post for you. It’s an ineffective way of growing an engaging following and is also against Instagram’s terms of service. Instagram catches onto this quickly and from some research, is guaranteed to get you shadowbanned.
  • This goes along with the first point. Instagram has a daily limit for likes, comments, and follows. If you are mimicking bot behavior (i.e. liking hundreds of posts all at once), the sudden surge in activity will make Instagram suspicious of your account. This can most definitely cause a shadowban.
  • Using the same set of hashtags for extended periods of time has been suspected to cause shadowbanning. It potentially alerts Instagram of spam behavior. Whether or not this is the case, it’s always smart to change up your hashtags once in a while. After a while, some hashtags are so overused that your posts are drowning in a sea of thousands of other posts, so rotate through your hashtags regularly.

How can I remove a shadowban on my account?

  • Begin by following the points above. Avoid bots and programs that run your account for you! Delete all of these programs from your Instagram account. Avoid mass liking, commenting, following, and unfollowing. Also, be sure to switch up your hashtags regularly.
  • Once you’ve stopped all spammy behavior, wait a few days. It’s been suggested that it takes 48 hours for your account to “reset”.
  • If there is still no improvement, report the problem to Instagram.

For more Instagram marketing tips, visit my previous post, Marketing Your Business Through Instagram.

By Brenna Hoffman, Digital Media Specialist at ANS

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