Have you noticed that your follower count is inexplicably dropping, your engagement is mysteriously low, or your photos are not appearing in hashtag searches? If so, allow us to shed some light on this mystery: You are, unfortunately, shadowbanned by Instagram.
Instagram shadowban has been part of our reality for a while now. For the last few years, users have reported their posts as not showing up in hashtag searches, or not appearing when another user re-grams them. Furthermore, the social media giant is adamant about keeping the shadowbanned user in the dark. Instagram has denied shadowbanning even exists, and you don’t get a notification when you’ve been shadowbanned.
Shadowbanning is very real, however, and can be damaging for a marketer on Instagram. If you are a shadowban victim or want to know more about this debilitating measure, we’ve got just the guide for you!
How can you lift a shadowban?
The term shadowbanning has been around since 2006. It has many aliases (ghost banning, stealth banning, comment ghosting, or hell banning). It refers to the practice of limiting the content created by a specific user so that it will not be seen and/or engaged by others. Instagram is known to use this feature since 2017, yet they haven’t released an official statement commenting on or confirming their shadowban use.
On Instagram, shadowbanning means that your content will not appear in anyone’s feed if they aren’t one of your followers. The Instagram shadowban aims to limit the visibility of your content by preventing your account from being discovered by new users and gaining new followers.
Sounds terrible, doesn’t it?
Don’t worry, though. There are ways to avoid the Instagram shadowban, which we’ll discuss later in this article.
What causes shadowban on Instagram?
From Instagram’s perspective, such a practice makes sense because it allows Instagram to ensure a certain quality and community standard without agitating the user.
Using automated bots for higher follow and like counts, adding hundreds of irrelevant hashtags, or sharing abusive content can result in a shadowban.
Tips to avoid the shadowban
By now, you probably realize how crippling a shadowban can be to your account’s engagement and growth. If you want to make sure that you don’t get shadowbanned by Instagram, stick to the following best practices.
Ultimately, all you need to do is make sure that you comply with the terms and conditions put forward by Instagram. If you are responsible and conscious use of the platform, you do not need to worry about the shadowban.
1. Don’t use banned or broken hashtags on your posts
If you search for a hashtag and see a message saying “Recent posts from #xyz are currently hidden…” you know it’s a banned hashtag. Using banned hashtags or broken hashtags on your post will very likely lead to a shadowban.
2. Avoid big rurges in your Instagram activity
Make sure your engagement and growth on Instagram are organic. Try not to like tens of hundreds of posts in only a few hours, don’t spam comments on other accounts, don’t squeeze out hundreds of new followers in a brief period, and strictly avoid using inorganic growth methods.
When you gain a thousand followers in 2 hours and you only had 100 followers to start with, or when you post 500 comments in a single hour, you attract the attention of Instagram algorithms — and it is almost certain that you get a shadowban. So, avoid sudden and big surges in your Instagram activity.
3. Avoid being reported by other users
How to know if you’re shadowbanned on Instagram
Getting a shadowban is, of course, very bad. And the worst part is you may not be aware you have one.
Follow these steps to determine if you have a shadowban on Instagram:
- Gather a few users that don’t follow you.
- Make a post using an uncommon hashtag (so it will be easier to find).
- Ask those users to search for that specific hashtag and look for your post.
- If they can see your post, you have not been shadowbanned.
- If they cannot see your post, you’ve likely been shadowbanned.
If you have a shadowban, don’t worry. There are many ways to lift it!
How to remove Instagram shadowban?
If you have been shadowbanned by Instagram, your engagement rates drop dramatically. You don’t gain new followers, nor are you able to reach new people. It is as terrible as it sounds! But with a few of the methods below, you can lift your shadowban.
1. Back off from posting for a couple of days
If you are shadowbanned, the best thing you can do is take a 48-hour break from Instagram. Limiting the activity of your account significantly hastens the process of lifting the ban.
During your Instagram cleanse, you can be online exploring what other people post or even commenting and liking others’ posts. Just don’t post your own content or even use Instagram messaging for a few days.
2. Don’t use too many hashtags
Limit your use of hashtags. Don’t overcrowd your posts with hundreds of hashtags as it alerts Instagram’s algorithm and implies that you are spamming. Choose a few hashtags that are relevant to your post, including branded hashtags if you have them. Instagram allows 30 per post, but try not to exceed 3-5. Also, make sure that you include hashtags in the caption on Instagram and not the comments. Doing so makes you appear less spammy to Instagram.
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3. Contact Instagram
When in doubt, the best thing you can do is to contact Instagram. Maybe they have made a mistake! Use the “Report a Problem” feature on the app and let them know that you are having trouble.
Conclusion — avoiding Instagram shadowban
Getting shadowbanned on Instagram can feel like a major crisis for most marketers. But by following the tips we’ve outlined here, you can get your account back to normal in no time — or avoid it in the first place by using ethical, approved Instagram posting methods.