SOCIAL MEDIA

Lets discuss the instagram shadow ban

Jessica Viscarde

If you found me via instagram – woohoo – because lately my precious account, in which I have worked incredibly hard and gradually to build a fabulous creative community has been shadow banned. What on earth is a shadow ban you ask? It’s basically where your instagram account – for whatever reason – is no longer discoverable via the hashtags you use – which is crippling if you are wanting to attract new people and followers to your account.

This instagram shadow ban has hit me hard, as my account blends business and pleasure and works so well for attracting new clients and a community – the inability to be discovered and continue to grow my community is hard to accept.

If you have been hit with the dreaded shadow ban, or want to learn a little bit more – i’ve discussed my thoughts and what has happened below.

So I have had an instagram business profile for several months now, and have been enjoying the fact I could monitor engagement and reach and basically see how my images and content was performing. Its great to know what my community likes to see and helps guide the direction I take my content and work.

Around Easter – Early April I noticed my likes on pictures had dramatically dropped, as well as the decline in new users commenting or following along my account. Now, I’ve always maintained – it’s not about the numbers, more so the quality of those who join your community and that is still rightly so, however the discrepancy and dramatic drop off rang alarm bells for me.

So, I did some research, started to ask around instagram and there I was first alerted to the term “shadow ban” from a friend on instagram. I jumped on google and found it was no longer just a conspiracy, but rather it was affecting many accounts of all sizes, some with 100’s of thousands of followers.

WHAT I’VE LEARNT ABOUT THE SHADOW BAN

The shadow ban, in my belief, may be an attempt by instagram to stamp out spammers – you know those ANNOYING accounts leaving one worded spammy type comments that don’t relate to your post? Like “Nice one”, “Great Post!”, “Wow!”

Unfortunately legitimate accounts, like mine have been caught up in the commotion.

On the record, I’ve never purchased followers, used bots or third party follower boosting apps (I don’t even know how to do that), I don’t partake in those annoying competition follow me type competitions on instagram or leave one worded spammy comments and likes in an attempt to get noticed. I have worked hard, steadily and gradually since the very beginning of instagram (pre-facebook) to attract an engaged and like minded community of now 25,000 people. It’s very disheartening for my account to be affected by this ban, so let’s discuss what I’ve found in my research.

 

  • Don’t use third party apps linked to instagram and for heavens sake don’t buy followers or use bots or anything spammy! (Quite frankly, if you do, you should be banned!)
  • Don’t use banned or broken hashtags – obvious ones are offensive, but check your tags to see if they are OK. You wont be able to scroll through the tag if it’s broken, and may have an alert issued via instagram at the bottom. I have a feeling this is where my account may have been affected, during Easter – I used #Easter – seems innocent enough right? Well, unfortunately this hashtag was put on the banned list because people were posting offensive content.
  • Some people have noticed the issues when they have changed their account to a business one, some suggest reverting back to your personal account.
  • Try going through your content and delete any of the hashtags you’ve put in the first comment. Many people put their tags here because they look relatively ugly in your feed. A way to get around this is use lines of icons to create some white breathing space. Only put your hashtags in the memo area of your image.

“Unfortunately the shadow ban has affected legitimate and honest accounts like mine, in an attempt to stamp our spammers.” 

SO WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT?

Unfortunately, I haven’t found a miracle cure yet – my account is still shadow banned, now going on almost one month since I noticed something was strange. I’ve tried staying off instagram – conducting no activity in the hope it would reset, I’ve switched to personal, then back to business account, I’ve deleted copious amounts of hashtags, even contacted instagram daily – but we all know they never get back to you – all to no avail. @jess_eclecticcreative is still shadow banned!

Frustratingly, I’m sitting this one out, hoping that a miracle happens, or this so called “hashtag glitch” is repaired.

I would love to know if you have been affected by this, or if you have any tips or tricks to settling your account? Unfortunately doing the right thing gets you banned still – keep your fingers crossed for me!

Jessica Viscarde

Creative Director, Eclectic Creative

Jess is a qualified Interior designer and currently resides in Melbourne Australia with her boyfriend and black rescue cat, Peggy. Texan born, Jess who grew up in South East Asia and has Italian, Irish and Danish heritage – she believes this culturally diverse upbringing has helped shaped her love for all things eclectic and formed her natural flair and talent for combining styles, colour and pattern. In her spare time, Jess loves gardening and travel, and basically anything to do with cats!

Connect with Jess Instagram: @jess_eclecticcreative

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