There are swirling rumours around the internet about an Instagram Shadowban, directly affecting the reach of your Instagram account.
The phrase has been thrown around a lot, but many haven’t understood exactly what it is – and if they’ve actually been affected by the Instagram Shadowban or if they’re just struggling with really low engagement.
Here’s a breakdown of everything we know about the Instagram Shadowban....
What Is Shadow Banning?
Your account has become invisible and this impedes your ability to reach new people with hashtags. Which means, your images no longer appear in the hashtags that you've used. Your followers can see them but others won't.
Two Theories Why Instagram Is Shadow Banning:
1. Instagram's way of filtering out account that aren't complying with it's terms.
2. Instagram is protecting it's advertising channels.
They want to force you to purchase advertisement, especially for the moguls out there receiving income via Instagram (from sponsorships, etc.) but Instagram is losing out on that profit.
How Do I Know If This Is Happening To Me?!
If you feel that you may have been Shadow Banned here is a test:
Step 1: Post a Photo using your #hashtags
Step 2: Log Out
Step 3: Go to you account + view it while logged out.
Step 4: Click on a #hashtag you just used to see if your picture appears! (Tip: Use a medium popularity hashtag - 20,000 posts or less is a good range.)
If your photo appears, you haven't been Shadow Banned - if it doesn't.... well you might want to keep reading ;)
Why Am I Shadow Banned?!
1. You Could Be Using Broken Or Abused Hashtags
Identify banned/deleted hashtag and eliminate them. One bad hashtag can ruin the entire 30 hashtag group! If there are no top posts when you check a hashtag, that hashtag has been banned. Constantly, change up your hashtags so it doesn't appear that your account has been automated.
2. You Have A Business Account
Shadow Banning is affecting business accounts more often than personal. You could switch over to a personal Instagram account and always link your website in you bio!
3. Reported Activity
Your account is being reported because it's spammy, infringing copyright, etc. This hopefully isn't your case but make sure you are being careful!
4. Block those Bots
Instagram doesn't like any use of third party growth building software - such as bots that artificially grow your following or other growth service. Really anything that completely automizes your Instagram and turns your account into a robot! This doesn't include services like Planoly or Later - since you still have to upload each post once you receive the push notification.
How to Avoid The Shadow Ban?
1. Stop Using Bots + Automation
Your business will go further with less amount of followers who are actively engaged, who are leaving comments and liking your posts. Not all Instagram followers are the same, we just don't want 10,000 followers for the sake of 10,000 followers. What we want is a group of highly engaged followers because that will rank your index highest in the Facebook/Instagram algorithm, which will help your posts be seen organically. We don't need lots of followers, we just need engaged followers. Just show up, do the work, engage with your audience, and create great content. You don't need to be popular, just practical.
2. Delete Broken Or Abused Hashtags
Like stated above, go through each hashtag that you use and check to see if 1. Instagram alerts you this hashtag has been blocked or banned. or 2. There are no "Top Posts" that appear. (That also means that #hashtag is broken and banned.)
3. If you've been Shadow Banned.... Lay Low
Let your account rest for 48 - 72 hours. This will reset your account and then you can come back and get your content in front of eyes that matter!
Ladies, Instagram can be confusing but it doesn't have to be!!
Keep showing up, working hard, putting in the effort, creating irresistible content, and staying positive + patient. The rest will come!