There has been much talk as of late about the Instagram shadowban. Many Instagrammers are reporting a dip in engagement. They believe that shadowbanning is to blame for the drop in engagement. I’ve seen Instagrammers go as far as starting a brand new Instagram account out of fear of a possible Instagram shadowban. How do you know if your account has in fact been shadowbanned?
What the heck does Instagram shadowban mean?
Instagram takes their rules very seriously. Engaging in spammy behavior can result in your account receiving the dreaded Instagram shadowban. What happens when you’re shadowbanned? You can still post and add hashtags to your captions. Your followers can see your posts, however, they will be invisible to the rest of the world. Your posts will no longer appear in the feeds of any hashtags that you use in the captions. Thus eliminating the possibility of being discovered by new audiences.
How to tell if your account has been a victim of the Instagram shadowban
There’s a very easy way to tell if your account has been shadowbanned by Instagram. First, find a friend who is not following your account on Instagram. Second, create a new Instagram post and include a few low-density hashtags, the fewer posts that share that hashtag the easier it will be for your friend to find your post. Finally, have your friend go to Instagram and see if they can find your post by searching one of your selected hashtags in Instagrams discover tab. If your friend (that isn’t following you) can see your posts, this means your account has not been shadowbanned. Contrarily, if they can’t see your post, this means your account has indeed fallen victim to the Instagram shadowban.
If you have in fact been shadowbanned, implement the steps below immediately:
1. Revoke access to anything using the Instagram API.
Comment bots, auto-liking bots, auto-follow bots, or any other bots that have access to your account’s API need to be disconnected immediately. To do this, login to your Instagram account on a desktop computer, and click on “edit profile.” You should see an area for “authorized applications.” Disconnect any and all applications there, since you don’t know which ones are causing problems and which ones are not. You can always re-connect the once you’re sure your account is safe again.
2. Remove broken or abused hashtags from your posts.
Go back into your posts and remove any hashtags that are on the list of banned Instagram hashtags or that you’ve used too often. From here on out, never used a banned hashtag again. Learn how to conduct a safety check on hashtags before adding them to your Instagram hashtag strategy.
3. Downgrade to a personal account.
An Instagram Business account gives you access to extra features, such as Analytics, that aren’t available to individual users. However, since these features seem to be resulting in additional risk of being shadowbanned, holding onto a business account just isn’t worth the risk if you’re trying to get un-shadowbanned. It’s better just to keep your account as a personal account, even while using it to promote your business.
4. Stop all posting, liking, and commenting for 48 hours.
Instagram has daily limits imposed on how much you can like, comment and post, as well as following and unfollowing accounts. If you’ve been shadowbanned (or gotten a notification that you’ve hit your hourly limits) stop all Instagram activity for 48 hours and log out. This will give it time to reset. At the end of 48 hours, log back in and follow Instagram’s rules.
How do you avoid getting Instagram shadowbanned?
Using banned hashtags: Check out this list of Instagram banned hashtags to familiarize yourself with hashtags that may flag your account. Additionally, periodically perform safety checks on all your hashtags to make sure they are not being banned by Instagram
Using the same hashtags: If you use the same hashtags too many times in a row, Instagram isn’t a fan.
Using software that goes against Instagram’s terms: such as commenting bots or auto-liking bots. These clearly violate Instagram’s terms and will increase your chances of being shadowbanned.
Following/Unfollowing too fast: Instagram sets limits on how many accounts you can follow and unfollow per day. If you are continually being blocked from following or unfollowing for reaching these limits, chances will rise that you will be shadowbanned.
If your account hasn’t been banned but you’re still not seeing strong engagement on your hashtags, check out my recent blog post, The New Hashtag Rules: How to Get Your Brand Noticed on Instagram.
Want to learn more tactics to get your brand noticed on Instagram?
I’m breaking down the step-by-step strategies I employed to make Instagram the most powerful marketing tool for my business in my Instagram Makeover course.