How To Easily Avoid Getting Shadowbanned On Instagram
Are you worried about the possibility of getting your Instagram account permanently banned?
Do you lay awake at night worrying about the rumors of Instagram shadowbanning people, thinking that you might already be a victim?
Not to worry! You’re not the only person who’s concerned.
In fact, for the past 2 years, multiple Instagram users have reported that their engagement rates have gone WAY down. Here’s an excerpt from Iconosquare that summarizes the issue:
Many Instagrammers are still reporting that their accounts seem to have been shadowbanned, despite Instagram’s recent claim that shadowbanning isn’t actually a thing. Their follower count has dropped, they’re not receiving as many likes on their photos as they used to, and their posts don’t seem to be showing up under the hashtags they’ve used. So what’s happening, if not the dreaded Instagram shadowban?
Instagram released an official statement in February 2018 regarding this phenomenon, and while they didn’t use the word “shadowban”, it was pretty clear to users what the real deal was.
Shadowbanning is NOT a conspiracy theory. Every day, real users are complaining that their content is not as visibly accessible or searchable as it used to be.
I’m going to explain exactly what’s going on and how you can avoid being caught up in the shadowbanning loop, but it’s important that we clear the air with a few key details:
Instagram: Their Platform, Their Rules
We can get into a lengthy conversation about freedom of speech and expression, but ultimately you are using a privately-owned platform to promote your content.
As such, you are responsible for keeping up to date with Instagram’s Terms of Service and the rules contained within it.
If you read the very first three lines of the “General Conditions,” you’ll learn that Instagram is fully within their rights to shut down your account. That means you would be unable to restore your account, and lose the following you worked so hard to build:
- We reserve the right to modify or terminate the Instagram service for any reason, without notice at any time.
- We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason at any time.
No matter how heated you may feel in the moment, ALWAYS play by the rules.
Instagram is giving you the opportunity to access their hundreds of millions of active monthly users. You ultimately depend on the social media platform to promote and market your products and services to a hungry audience. Respect it!
What Exactly Does “Shadowbanning” On Instagram Mean?
In simple terms, an account is shadowbanned when their content is not visible to users who are not already following them. This also applies when your followers search for hashtags that you are using in your content.
(i.e. people who don’t follow you won’t see your content when they search for said hashtags)
Now, why would Instagram do this? To put it simply, it’s their best attempt at identifying, restricting, and possibly removing accounts that do not comply with their Terms of Service.
Instagram wants to ensure that people who are spamming non-stop, abusing other users or engaging in inappropriate behavior don’t have their bad practices spread far and wide.
Their main aim in doing so is to create a space where everybody plays by the same rules. Users will post content that is visually appealing to their niche and encourages people to engage with them.
While this seems like a plan with good intentions, two awful things have happened to otherwise rule-abiding accounts:
1) Your engagement takes a MASSIVE hit.
Since your account is virtually invisible to non-followers (which is essentially how you’re able to build a following in the first place), you’ll find yourself getting far less likes and comments on your content.
The numbers are not exact, but some users have reported their engagement has been slashed by HALF!
This may not be such a huge deal to larger accounts, but newer users who are just getting started will find it much more difficult to grow. Your ability to target and reach out to would-be followers has been significantly stunted.
2) You may have to re-do your entire hashtag strategy.
If you’re using hashtags the right way to build up your Instagram account (NOT putting 30 hashtags in every single post, ahem!), you may be surprised to find that your hashtags are banned by Instagram.
Search up a hashtag to see if this is the case. When only the “Top Posts” section is visible, this means that Instagram has banned it (you’ll usually see a message explaining why this is the case).
You’ll want to immediately stop using that hashtag, as your post may no longer appear for it.
Audit all of your hashtags and see how many of them are still active. If you’re lucky, you may only have to change a few of them!
How Do I Know If I’ve Been “Shadowbanned” On Instagram?
Let’s make one thing very clear: A decrease in engagement levels does not necessarily mean that Instagram has shadowbanned your account.
Anybody who’s been using Instagram for the past 2-3 years will tell you that several changes to its algorithm has taken place.
These changes affect the type of content that your users are seeing on their feed. Therefore, you may simply be unaware of the new yet unspoken rules about how to get to the top of your followers’ feed when they are scrolling through Instagram.
Alternatively, it may be the case that you’re simply not applying the best practices for growing your account on Instagram consistently. This includes things like having a strong bio catered towards your niche, regularly engaging with people who like and comment on your photos, and so on.
If you’re in a rush and really need to know ASAP if you’ve been shadowbanned, I strongly recommend you use the Instagram Shadowban Test developed by Triberr.
It will check your last 10 posts to verify that any hashtags you used have not been banned and inform you which hashtags are limiting your reach on Instagram.
Now…here are three major pieces of advice I can give you to virtually guarantee that you will never be shadowbanned – or just straight up banned – on Instagram.
Shadowban Prevention Tactic #1: Whatever You Do, DO NOT Buy Followers
It’s fun to talk about how your Instagram profile has a lot of followers and you are on fast track to becoming an influencer. Who doesn’t want to sit on the beach and sip margaritas while monetizing their Instagram account with a huge following?
Whether you’re just getting started on Instagram or you have a large following, it’s nice to look for ways to speed up your growth and make things easier.
I’m just as guilty as you are for wanting speed, but buying followers are a mere shortcut that can leave you paying the price in the form of a banned account.
Here’s the thing: The majority of these followers are FAKE and are against Instagram’s Terms of Service.
Yes, believe it or not, buying followers will place you on a major red flag to Instagram and its algorithm.
It’s tempting to hand over your money to someone who sells bulks of followers in a matter of hours, but don’t do it. Straight up, just don’t take the risk.
Even if there were no consequences to doing so, these fake followers are dead weight and will never put any money into your pocket. Let alone, I promise that you’re just going to come off as a bot account that isn’t worth the risk.
Buying followers will get you shadowbanned or even banned on Instagram. It just comes across as desperate and needy to your followers and non-followers.
For that reason, it is in your best interest to be ethical in your Instagram growth and grow and engage with real people.
(NOTE: This also applies towards buying likes and comments. When Instagram finds out that you have been engaging in buying bulk (fake) followers, likes or comments, they will remove those immediately and you are at a high risk for the ban hammer).
Shadowban Prevention Tactic #2: CONSISTENT Engagement
You’ll be shocked to hear that posting too much doesn’t necessarily set you up for an automatic shadowban on Instagram.
In fact, what really gets you targeted is when you are inconsistently posting on Instagram.
(Yes, I’m looking at you, the fellow who doesn’t post anything for a week and then suddenly puts up 10 pictures in a single day)
Instagram’s algorithms may be constantly changing, and it’s true that you’ll have to adapt from time to time.
However, ever since Facebook acquired Instagram, the end goal of the algorithms is pretty straightforward:
Instagram is far more likely to feature your content on your followers’ feed if they are regularly engaging with your content.
In other words, the algorithm is optimized to provide the user with more of the content they enjoy and less of the content which bores them.
Have you ever wondered why an account with six-figure followings only have like counts on their post that barely crack a few thousand, if at all? That’s why.
Fortunately, there are a few accounts that have successfully beat Instagram’s algorithm and continue to flourish. Here are some of the things they have in common:
1) They are CONSISTENTLY posting
From personal experience, 3 times a day tends to be the sweet spot (sometimes more on rare occasions). You should always aim to have a bare minimum of a single post per day.
This reminds your audience of the type of content you publish and why they are following you. It also sets up their expectations, as they know that they can open up their feed and see interesting content from you.
2) They are consistently posting HIGH-QUALITY CONTENT
Posting every single day does not give you the excuse to be lazy. You need to post content that is unique to you, fits your niche, and feels relatable to your audience.
The photos you choose and the captions you write will make the difference between a user being excited, and a user leaving your page for somebody more interesting.
3) They are consistently posting high-quality content that GETS ENGAGED WITH
If you are serious about beating Instagram’s algorithm, your content needs to be able to drive comments. Likewise, you need to engage with others by responding to their engagement, while liking and commenting on some of their photos too.
Engagement drives engagement. If people see you actively engaging with other people, that makes them want to get in on the action (and follow your page).
Outside of that, there’s a great way to capitalize on your posts and captions to get people sending tons of comments your way:
- You can post an inspirational quote that asks people to share a certain type of experience they’ve had
- You can post a picture with a question in the background that asks a user to answer it in the form of a comment.
Take a good look at what successful pages in your niche are doing and emulate (NOT COPY) their actions!
Shadowban Prevention Tactic #3: Filing A Report To See If Everything’s A-OK
When all else fails, sometimes it’s simply a good idea to report your situation to Instagram and ask them what’s going on!
There are many reported cases when people submit a report to Instagram and receive a response which indicates that everything is all right.
Of course, all of this assumes that you are being a good human being who is genuinely interacting with your audience, providing tons of value and behaving as a professional.
Otherwise, users can report your bad behavior and Instagram will just shadowban you without notice.
There are two ways to directly contact Instagram and get the support you need:
1) Visit Instagram’s Help Center directly and report your problem
I can’t say for certain how long it will take for Instagram’s customer support to get back to you, but many people have told me that they are fairly quick to respond if you do a good job of describing the issue.
They may even advise you on ways to ensure the incident doesn’t happen again. One popular suggestion is to avoid all activity on Instagram altogether for 2-3 days in a row to remove a shadowban from your account.
2) Report the shadowban directly in the mobile app
All you have to do is click the gear icon on the top right corner of your profile in the Instagram app, select the “Report A Problem” option and click “Something Isn’t Working.”
Again, describe the problem in a brief yet detailed manner.
Now You’ll Never Have To Worry About The Threat Of A Shadowban Again!
I’ve personally been very lucky to have avoided any kind of shadowban, but other hard-working individuals did not have the same good fortune as I did.
The most important thing to remember when you get shadowbanned is this: STAY CALM!
Seriously, everything is going to be just fine. You are not the first person to recover from a shadowban and you likely won’t be the last.
The second most thing to remember is that you must be proactive in getting your shadowban removed.
Every day that you spend waiting to get it resolved means that you are missing out on a lot of potential engagement – AND new followers!
As with everything else in life, shadowbans can quickly be removed if you deal with them promptly and professionally.