Ban. Oh the word just makes my stomach crunch. You know what I’m talking about… the Instagram shadow ban, the hidden accounts, the drops in engagement, whatever you want to call it. It’s real.
It may seem funny to even worry about this to some. And I get it. In the grand scheme of life, it really doesn’t matter. But as someone who has poured time, energy, love, vulnerability, and work into Instagram, it does affect me. Whether you are in this space for a job or for fun… having your creativity blocked is a downer. My goal is not to “win” with the most followers and likes. My goal is to share my story and share my business and not being seen definitely stunts that.
So here’s a look at what was happening to me and what is happening with others.
I stumbled upon my “ban” when I posted a photo and realized I couldn’t see myself under hashtags, not even my own. So I had people who weren’t following me look for me… and nothing. As I thought back I realized that I hadn’t gained any new followers from my own photos for a while… like months. It’s only when I was reposted or published on a blog that I would gain.
Others are noticing a drop in engagement and profile views.
So I did my research and here are ALL of the suggestions on what you can do and why this could be happening to you. Ultimately Instagram hasn’t figured out how to decipher a REAL genuine person and account from a robot. Or they just feel you are missusing your account. Also this is what I found NOW… who knows what will change. I’ll do my best to keep up with it for you guys though.
(First check to see if you are actually being hidden by doing what I did.)
• Using too many hashtags. Instagram allows us to use 30 hashtags… but many believe that using too many (all 30) can stunt your visibility. So I would shoot for less.
• Using the same hashtag 2 posts in a row. This can make you look like a bot, like copying and pasting the same hashtags into every post looks like your less genuine.
•Commenting too fast, even commenting back on your own posts. Blah this one bugs me because I DO like to comment back to all of my followers and Instagram puts a limit. They say don’t do more than 60 comments in an hour.
•Using an unauthorized app. I had read this over the last month a few times and I thought nothing of it. I wasn’t using any apps attached to Instagram. Or so I thought. So this is any and all apps that for some reason Insta just doesn’t authorize. Example, using an app that follows and unfollows, or likes for you. I was using an app called “Cleaner”. It was just a simple app that showed who I was following and who was following me back. But I stumbled upon this Unauthorized apps And I realized it was an unauthorized app. Inside this you can see instructions on how to check if you are using one or not.
•Business accounts hurt you. Again this is just all the information I found from different people. Who knows what is hurting someone may not hurt another. But always good to look at everything. I personally like to know all the information so I can make a wise decision accordingly. I do have to agree with this one though, at least for now. Instagram seems to be pushing paid posts. So if you’re not using your business account for such business and they aren’t getting a cut, than they are most likely going to stunt you. I definitely notice better engagement when I’m a personal account. I also dislike business accounts because I really don’t like seeing all the numbers. It becsomes too much of an obsession and kinda steals the fun out of it all for me. I know people need business for business. I would just suggest you utilize it all if so.
•Are you using banned hashtags? There is a large list of hashtags that are banned because of misuse. You can see them here Banned hashtags and follow instructions… but I went through and checked all of my hashtags back 6 months. And since they weren’t helping me, I deleted all of them. I read that could help too, so I figured why not.
So what do you do if this is happening to you?
•First make sure you are following all of those things I just listed.
•Take a break. Like a real one. Shut the whole account down like a reset for 2-3 days. No commenting or liking or looking. It does feel so good to just shut it all off.
•Shout out Instagram on your stories. Let them know “Hey instagram I’m being hidden”… do NOT say banned or shadowbanned. Supposedly they don’t like that.
•Report a problem. You know the Instagram anger shake or whatever they call it. Shake your phone or go to settings and report a problem. I did every day. Again saying the same thing as above and steering clear of the SB word.
•If you switch from a business account back to a personal account, you MUST unlink your account from Facebook. Since they are connected. So go into Facebook and unlink your Facebook from Instagram.
I’ve read it can take people up to 2 weeks to see a change. So don’t be discouraged if things don’t happen right away. I’d continue to engage and share. And a HUGE note (I’m doing a lot of bold words, sorry I’ll stop😆) But use your stories! Not only do they connect people to you, but they also connect you to others! Did you know there is a story explore page?! I didn’t either, hashtag your stories! Also if you’re out and you feel comfortable tagging where you are at. You will enhance your chances of getting seen by new people.
Lets put a bow on this mother. Let’s just all agree this is all nonsense. Why does it need to be so complicated and need to be so much work?! It for sure CAN take the fun of it. But let’s not let it. Now you know all the things that it could be. But let’s focus on sharing ourselves and our story. Using our creativy and gifts and using Instagram the way I know it started out being and hopefully intends to be. Try not to let it consume you or stress you because in the end it’s just numbers. And Instagram may not be around forever so it’s always good to not put all your eggs in one basket.
I do think Instagram is shifting and so are the people using you. People want more authenticity, more of the real life, and more of the people. Not just the pretty spaces. So I encourage you to share and be you! There is only one of you and that’s the best product out there.