Suspect that you’ve been Shadowbanned on Instagram? Here’s what you can do if you suspect that your account has been shadowbanned!
First and foremost, for the purposes of this blog post – let’s define what a shadowban is when it comes to your Instagram content!
The term ‘shadowban’ has been so widely used on Instagram that the definition has warped over time.
A shadowban is when you publish content on Instagram using hashtags, but your content is hidden from anyone searching under those specific hashtags.
Here’s what it looks like. You create a post using #wearethecreativeeconomy but a scroll under the most recent posts section of that hashtag does not product your post.
Leaving your content highly invisible.
If you suspect that you have been shadowbanned don’t start clicking around in the hashtags directly from your posts.
Searching your hashtags this way can actually produce a false result.
Meaning, if you click #wearethecreativeeconomy from the caption or comments section of your post, suddenly your post appears in top posts under that hashtag.
But that result is only being delivered to you <gasp>
The best way to confirm that you’ve been shadowbanned is to ask a friend (or better yet, two friends) to type in one of the hashtags used in your content and have them scroll under most recent posts searching for your content.
And if you have a really awesome friend, ask them for a screenshot, I think the kids are calling this ‘receipts’.
Ok so maybe the outcome of your friend’s search didn’t produce your content and now you are wondering what in the black hole in the name of Instagram happened to your content.
Chances are that you are facing down a shadowban.
The biggest reasons for Instagram hiding or shadowbanning content come down to ‘spammy’ practices.
Spammy practices can include bots and automation that go against Instagram’s terms of service.
Or, a spammy practice can simply be that you used the same set of hashtags on repeat for the last 5 posts you created this week and Instagram went “nope”
Hopefully, your content hasn’t yet fallen victim to an Instagram shadowban but the idea of it terrifies you…
Speaking as someone who has actually experienced a shadowban, its definitely a bit disarming, especially as a social marketer.
If you are wondering what in the fresh hell a social marketer did in order to be on the receiving end of a shadowban, welp, I’ll tell you!
At the time that I launched my account, it was my second business.
I used the account of my first business in order to leverage the following on my new business (this one)
Launching my new business with a fun free Instagram challenge gave my account posts more engagement that I had followers.
Pair those two factors up with the use of the same sets of hashtags for posts on both accounts, multiple days in a row #overwhelmedwithrunningtwobusinesses……
Instagram caught on to my ways and boom – SHADOWBAN! Right in the middle of my launch. Virtual nightmare, amiright?!
I abused those hashtags and Instagram caught on and marked my account as spammy. I googled my way into a panic attack wondering what I could do have my Instagram Shadownban lifted [spoiler: not much] and here we are 2 years later with a successful Instagram marketing business that hasn’t fallen to the same fate again.
Now let’s get back to your content.
How can your content avoid falling victim to a shadowban on Instagram?
Pretty easy actually
Hashtags are one of the most unique factors of Instagram.
Strategically using hashtags is what allows our content to be found, connects us to others, and lands us those dreamy ideal clients.
But don’t abuse the system, using the same hashtags over and over again with result in a shadowban.
One of the ways to avoid this is to get those hashtags out of your planning apps and breaking the habit of dumping them into your posts without looking at whatcha got going on.
Those apps that ‘bring in new followers’ and ‘do the work’ for you. Don’t believe the hype.
Like those third-party apps that are set up to follow/unfollow accounts on your behalf or watch Instagram stories on your behalf.
They are also highly suspect in violating Instagram’s terms of service and will do nothing to move the needle in your business.
While it may be super tempting to get on the latest growth hack bandwagon, just plain old don’t do it
Feeling burned out from posting in your feed? You might feel uninspired or maybe you even ditched your feed for a month or two because you just couldn’t deal with it anymore.
I’m also guessing you were posting way too often. Like posting every single day too often. Or posting multiple times within the hour too often.
You can successfully market your business on Instagram with anywhere from 1-4 post per week. Yes, really.
Posting multiple times a day, or even multiple times within the hour is a fast track for getting your content on the receiving end of a big old shadowban!
Ok, so maybe you did everything right, but for some unknown reason, you still found yourself on the receiving end of a shadowban, what’s next?
Once you have undoubtedly determined that you’ve been shadowbanned, you can report it to Instagram.
But there is very little you can do to have it lifted immediately. Andddd…. Instagram themselves vehemently denies that such a thing even exists in their app <face palm>
Click into settings > help > report a problem > something isn’t working > and type in the description of your problem like ‘my content is not being shown under hashtags’
If you find yourself on the receiving end of a shadowban I also encourage you to audit your brand’s personal hashtag library.
It takes a total of around 2 weeks to have a shadowban lifted.
In the meantime, you can reduce your total number of posts in your feed throughout the week.
Go through those hashtags yourself and audit each and every single one before they touch your content again.
Delete any apps that you might be using that require your Instagram login info.
Stay more active in Stories, in IGTV, or in Reels.
And take a deep breath because your shadowbanned content on Instagram will be visible again in no time!