Amy-Louise MacGregor | Social Media Expert
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Instagram Shadowban what is it

Instagram Shadowban

What is Instagram Shadowban & How to Prevent it from Happening to You

The so-called Instagram shadow ban has become a popular topic among Instagrammers and social media marketers in forums and groups online. But these days, it still remains a rumor considering that Instagram has not released an official statement about it.

Just as the name suggests, users don’t get notification of any kind when they get shadow banned on Instagram. In essence, you won’t be aware of the ban until you wonder why your engagement has dropped or until you assess your posts carefully.

But what exactly is shadow ban? It’s when your Instagram photos and videos have limited exposure because not everyone can see them on the feeds of the hashtags you used on your posts. Specifically, only those who follow your account will be able to see those posts.

Why should you care about Instagram shadowban for your business? While your followers can still stay updated on your activities, a shadow ban restricts the possibility of gaining new followers who may stumble on your account while they’re exploring the hashtags they’re interested in. In short, your business wouldn’t expand despite your dedication on constantly publishing relevant updates on Instagram.

How to determine if you’re shadowbanned? A general indication of a shadowban is when you notice a lower engagement on your posts compared to the past. Getting likes and comments only from your current followers may also be another red flag. To test, you simply need to have one to three separate accounts that do not follow your official account or you can ask 1-3 people who hasn’t followed you. Post a photo with some not-so-competitive hashtags on your Instagram. Then use your non-follower account (or ask those who haven’t followed you yet) to check the hashtags’ feeds to see if your post is there. If it’s nowhere to be found, then you probably have been shadowbanned. But that’s not always the case especially on the following situations:

  • Your account and/or Instagram posts historically have low engagement,
  • You used a highly competitive hashtag that drowns your images with hundreds of new posts in just 1 minute, or
  • There’s currently a hashtag glitch like what was announced on Instagram for Business’s March 1 Facebook post.

Whether you’re a business owner, entrepreneur or professional who benefits from Instagram marketing, it’s important to shadowban-proof your account as early as now to avoid any problems later on. The prevention tips are actually simple!

  1. Obey Instagram’s Terms of Service especially on refraining from using bots and automated services.

Avoid any software or plugins that automates the posting of images for you, the liking and commenting on other people’s posts as well as the following (and unfollowing) of other accounts to simulate engagement (Read IG’s TOS). They may make your social media marketing tasks quicker and more convenient to accomplish, but you also run a high risk of getting shadowbanned. In addition, it’s important to observe IG’s community guidelines as well.

  1. Constantly assess the hashtags you’re using.

While you can use as many as 30 hashtags on a post, you need to consider checking each one of them. With millions of users worldwide, some inappropriate Instagram images (e.g. spam, nudity, discrimination) may have seemingly innocent hashtags and Instagram actively removes these hashtags completely or limits their usage. When you use these “abused” or “broken” hashtags, they can have an effect your other tags and can adversely affect your visibility altogether.

  1. Observe Instagram’s daily limits on likes, comments and follows/unfollows.

Going beyond the limits often happens when you’re using automated services and robots, but it can also happen when you’re posting manually. The limits may differ from one account to another, but it’s more or less 60 follows/unfollows, 60 comments and 150 likes per hour.

Avoiding the Instagram shadow ban essentially boils down to following the social media platform’s rules and guidelines. If you’re still shadowbanned despite all your efforts, report it to Instagram as soon as possible to have the situation assessed. The ban may just be a glitch in part of Instagram’s algorithm and you should be fine.

Reach out now, click here for a free consult/discovery session, and subscribe to my Create Social Media Chaos email list where together we will create social media chaos for your competition.