There’s more to an Instagram post garnering attention than merely instant gratification. Instagram is a vital social media marketing tool in the digital age and hashtags are a driving force. However, a growing number of users are being impacted by what has been dubbed a “shadowban,” which is a hashtag restriction that causes a dramatic drop in Instagram engagement with no explanation for the user.
What Exactly is a Shadowban?
The shadowban hides your posts from users who don’t follow you, negatively impacting your Instagram engagement. This means, your posts will not show up on the Explore page or when the hashtags used are searched. This past year, Instagram has adjusted and implemented new algorithms to ward off spam and abuse and is most likely the cause of the ban.
But shadowbans are not new to the internet. Twitter recently implemented a “time out” feature that temporarily blocks users and tweets that are deemed abusive from those who do not follow them; however, users were made aware that they may be subject to the restriction should they violate the terms of services.
Have You Been Shadowbanned?
Instagram’s shadowban is mysterious as there have been no explanations from the people behind it. In a post that has since been removed, Instagram for Business simply stated that they are aware “users have experienced issues with [the] hashtag search that caused posts to not be surfaced,” and that Instagram is “continuously working on improvements to [the] system with the resources available.”
So, how do you know if you’ve been affected? If your post reaches and engagements (likes and comments) have decreased dramatically with no obvious reason, chances are you’ve been shadowbanned. It’s important to note that this is not an attack on your entire account but rather specific posts. There is no official test that will let you know – don’t fall for the external tests that claim they can tell you if a post has been banned or not. Instead, find users who don’t follow you search your hashtags and see if they can find your post. Or, you can simply assume that you’ve been hit after taking a look at your numbers.
How Can You “Fix” Your Account?
As of now, fixing your Instagram engagements requires a bit of guess and check. In Instagram’s deleted post, they stated three creative principles that can recover your marketing strategy. Your posts should:
Have a “distinct visual presence.” This means using a consistent style so that your community can easily recognize your posts.
Tell a story that aids in achieving your business goals.
Be creative. Attention should be paid to each individual post to ensure that it is unique and follows your business standards,
Users who have been affected have found some of their own tricks:
Report a problem with Instagram so that they are aware of your issue in particular.
Choose your software carefully. Bots that claim to grow your following and scheduling posts can be seen as “spam behavior” and get you blacklisted.
Take a hiatus. Do not post for anywhere from two days to a week so you can restart on a clean slate.
Put hashtags in the caption rather than the comments to help increase chances of visibility.
If all else fails for your business, you may want to consider switching from a business account to a personal. This is said to tell the app that you are not in need of higher engagements and are not a candidate for buying ads.
Want to Learn More About How You Can Increase Instagram Engagement?
Instagram engagement is pertinent to earning new leads and building a community among your customers, making the shadowban all the more intimidating. Digital Resource can assist in managing your social media to make sure you are getting the most out of your marketing efforts. Contact us today to learn how our services can benefit your business!