Welcome back to my blog.
Today I’m going to be explaining what the Instagram ‘shadow ban’ is. As an Instagram user, I am sure that most of us will have come across this term before, even if we do not know what it means. In this blog you will be able to read about everything there is to know about the shadow ban as of 2020, how to avoid being shadow banned and how to get rid of your shadow ban! I personally think I have been shadowbanned before, even though Instagram claims that there is no such thing as a shadowban.
WHAT IS THE INSTAGRAM SHADOW BAN?
In its simplest meaning, the Instagram shadow ban is when a user is blocked from posting photos that will be successfully shown on hashtags. Their posts will be seen by their followers, but can not be seen by everyone in the Instagram community. For most business accounts or bloggers, hashtags are vital to their growth and they may rely on over 2000 of their views of posts from hashtags. Due to the new algorithm, it has become even more important to use hashtags smartly in order to grow, as now a smaller % of your followers will see your posts on their home page.
HOW TO KNOW IF YOU HAVE BEEN SHADOW BANNED?
I’ve been there before, and I am sure some of you have as well too. I’ve posted a picture and a few days later when I look at the picture, I will see that I only got 12 views through hashtags. It is upsetting and for someone who will usually on average always get at least 2000 views through hashtags, I was genuinely concerned. Doing my own research, I realised that I could have potentially been shadow banned by Instagram. As a shadow ban means your posts are not shared on hashtags. Despite this, there was always the uncertainty that maybe my post just had not done very well, how would I know I had been shadow banned by Instagram?
Unfortunately, it is very hard to tell if you have been shadow banned. Instagram will never notify you of a shadow ban, unlike if you receive an ‘action ban’ when you cannot like and comment. Therefore, it is important that you can work out if you have been shadow banned yourself.
1) Check your insights (if you are a business account)
Checking your insights to see if your post has been viewed through hashtags is the main way to see if you have been shadow banned. It should be very obvious, as you will be able to see a trend through your insights on several posts that your account has been shadow banned as there will be hardly any views through hashtags. You will also probably notice that your engagement will have dropped, as you will be receiving less likes and comments on posts and possibly less views through your ‘home’ from your own followers as Instagram will limit how many of your followers (and what % of your followers) will see your posts. You may also notice that you have been losing many more of your Instagram followers, which is another sign of a shadow ban. If you are a private Instagram account, you can also tell if you have been shadowbanned. You will be able to see that your engagement on posts has dropped and you may be losing followers.
2) Get someone that does not follow you to click on one of the hashtags in your post and see if the post is featured.
Find an account that doesn’t follow you or get a friend or family member to log onto their Instagram account and click on a hashtag that you have used on one of your posts. If your post does not come up on the hashtag, then this is almost indicative that you have been shadow banned. Make sure they check with almost every hashtag you used, as sometimes you may not have been completely shadow banned and your post may still show up on some hashtags, getting you some exposure to growth. For me, these are the two best ways to find out if you have been shadow banned!
WHAT CAUSES A SHADOW BAN?
Normally, Instagram will only target ‘bots’ or ‘spam’ accounts when it comes to shadow banning as these accounts are the ones which abuse Instagram’s guidelines. However, now in 2020, with the new Instagram algorithm, it is so much easier for innocent Instagram users to become shadow banned too.
There are many reasons why you may have been shadow banned:
You could have been using an app to buy followers for Instagram, an app to unfollow Instagram users, you may have followed too many people in a certain amount of time and the most common reason is because you used too many hashtags or used a ‘broken’ hashtag (taken down because of spam or abuse of guidelines.)
Have you been doing any of those things? If you have, you could well have been shadow banned. Make sure if you post a picture, within the first 24 hours of it being posted, you do not do anything ‘illegal’ like some of those options in the list above as it could lead to a shadow ban. With hashtags, take care to always use less than 30 hashtags (as 30 is the limit) but below 20 is usually safer in order to prevent being shadow banned – 9 hashtags is supposedly the best number in order to gain views from hashtags you use. Also make sure the hashtags you use are relevant to your post! Do not use #makeup if your post is of a sunset! Instagram is cracking down on shadow banning more users to make Instagram a safer app to use, and something as irrelevant and insignificant as that one hashtag, could lead to a shadow ban.
Still not sure why you have been shadow banned? Although Instagram not always shadow bans the right accounts, usually they are never wrong so check out their terms and conditions on their website to see if you have abused one of their guidelines if you are still unsure of why you have been shadow banned, there is the chance that you are not shadow banned but instead are just facing a low point in engagement which could just be the normal result of changes to Instagram’s algorithm (click here to read my blog on the Instagram algorithm.)
HOW TO GET RID OF A SHADOW BAN:
1) Send a message to Instagram’s support line. This could be through email or by going to the settings of your account and simply reporting a problem to them. Although they will not respond, you should know if the shadow ban has been lifted as your posts will begin to be seen by other users through hashtags again.
2) Identify what you did wrong that caused the shadow ban and then stop doing it. E.g if you used too many hashtags, then make sure that you delete the hashtags from your previous posts and in the future, use less. Also check to see if any of the hashtag links you use are broken, as this can sometimes lead to a shadow ban.
3) Be patient – wait for it to go. Usually, shadow bans last for 14 days, but some people experience shadow bans that are a couple of days long and others can experience shadow bans that last for up to several months. Try to minimise how much time you spend on Instagram – spend less than an hour a day as this should aid the ban being lifted. Do not worry about the fact that your follower numbers will be falling – as it will only lengthen the ban if you continue posting while you are experiencing a shadow ban. This means that you should stop posting for at least two weeks until you are sure the ban has been lifted.
HOW TO AVOID A SHADOW BAN:
To avoid a shadow ban, make sure you do not do anything that prohibits Instagram’s guidelines. A few which are commonly associated with causing shadow bans include: buying followers, using unfollowing apps for Instagram and using too many hashtags. These are only a few of the many things that you should not do if you hope to avoid a shadow ban – make sure to check out Instagram’s terms and conditions to familiarise yourself with what they restrict on Instagram and to check if you are abusing any of their guidelines.
Most importantly, enjoy using Instagram and connecting with so many people within the community!
I hope you found this blog useful 🙂
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