Your hashtags don’t work? Are You experiencing lower engagement than usual? This could mean that your account has been shadowbanned.
In this article I will explain exactly what you need to do to check and fix an Instagram Shadowban.
Let me start by saying that I have worked to grown my account organically and did not do anything knowingly that would have caused an Instagram shadowban on my account. If your account has been shadowbanned, keep reading!
So, What is Shadowban?
Simply put, shadowban is when Instagram suppresses your posts.
This means that your images won’t show up in hashtag feeds of anyone who DOESN’T follow you, obviously reducing the reach of your account and making it much harder to reach a new audience. Basically, your hashtags do not work!
So, here is what I noticed had been happening on my account over the past week:
Those things, combined, told me that something was definitely not working properly on my Instagram page -- so what did I do? Well, like any smart-thinking business woman and social media expert, I went into action, analyzed my page and did some deeper research.
In the rest of this article I will be sharing how to know if your account has been shadowbanned. I will also be sharing what I have done and will be doing to fix my page. This way you can avoid any mistakes on your account and fix your account if you are shadowbanned!
HOW TO KNOW IF OUR ACCOUNT HAS BEEN SHADOWBANNED:
them to unfollow for the testing phase.
Step by Step:
1) Make a new post, using a hashtag that is not very popular. #Instamacs when posting to test your account.
2) Log into Instagram using another account -- Instagram allows you up to 5 accounts. Or, ask someone to help you.
NOTE: The helping account must not be following you -- if someone is helping you, just ask them to unfollow you for the testing phase.
3) Search for the hashtag you used when uploading your image. The hashtag should have a count of public posts on the top of the page.
If your post is there when you search for the hashtag from a different account that doesn’t follow your main one, then you’re fine. If it’s not, that means you’re shadowbanned.
So, now that you have checked to see if your Instagram account is working okay, keep reading for what to do if your account has been shadowbanned.
HOW TO REMOVE SHADOWBANNING FROM YOUR INSTAGRAM PAGE:
If you are a member of my free women in business Facebook group, I shared some of the steps that I have taken already during my Live Broadcast "Aaaahh.... Instagram!!!" to remove / reverse an Instagram shadowban.
Check out these 8 things you can do:
1) Ease off from posting for a couple of days
I know, if you use Instagram to grow your business this is a bit frustrating, but, go cold turkey for 48 hours. Lay low and hope the ban gets lifted. From what I have researched, some people have stopped using Instagram for over 3 days (or more). Their ban was lifted after that. It almost seems like a “reset button” for your account.
2) Delete all hashtags from your recent posts
Instagram stated that there seems to be a “hashtag glitch”. It could be true, but I'm making sure to remove all hashtags from my recent posts and start fresh.
During my research I discovered that some hashtags being blocked or banned by Instagram are done rightly so because they are simply inappropriate, and others are innocent but have been spammed with inappropriate photos. They have subsequently been blocked by Instagram (temporarily or indefinitely). Here is a list of banned hashtags.
So, my tip here is to remove hashtags from your recent posts. This fix worked well for a lot of people and it seems to be the fastest way to remove the Instagram shadowban.
People have also reported that not using the same hashtags over and over again helps. It signals to Instagram you are an active user and not a bot.
3) Put your hashtags in the caption (not in the comments)
This is a new update, because the comments section is where I have been putting my hashtags and so have other social media experts! This way you are not "hashtag stuffing" your post. Now, the reverse seems to apply (for now) on Instagram.
Again, based on my research, this trick of removing the hashtags from your comments seems to have worked for a lot of people. If you test it, let everyone know in the comments if it made a difference for you.
People reported that when they put their hashtags in the comments, their post was shadowbanned after 1 – 2 hours.
Now, putting hashtags in the caption can make it bulky so to keep your caption clean, use 5 (or more) full stops, bullet points or any other means to separate your caption from your hashtags. For example:
Tips to remove an Instagram Shadowban 👍🏼
#socialmediaexpert #Macswomen #Blogpost #Instagramexpert #Instamacs #Businesswoman
4) Don’t use too many hashtags
I’ve always said it: each hashtag is an opportunity to get in front of the eyeballs of the right people. I consider hashtags as free advertising and as ways to join in on social media conversations. So I am a firm believer in using all 30 hashtags Instagram allows us to use in one post.
However some people have reported that the ban was lifted after following this pattern:
Let me know in the comments below, if this worked for you.
5) Contact Instagram
This is one of the steps I took last night. I have invested a lot of time and energy into building up my Instagram account and I want them to know that I am a real businesswoman with real value to share with my audience!
So, I reached out to them.
Here is how to contact Instagram (4 ways):
1. Open the Instagram app and shake your phone: This will activate
the “Instagram Rage Shake” (a big thank you to Kat Gaskin for
the tip). Warning: not all phones have this feature.
2. “Report a Problem” to Instagram through the app: This is the simplest and most recommended way to contact Instagram. A few people have been very lucky and unbanned after they reported the issue (… after contacting Instagram every day until it was fixed):
- Go in the Instagram Settings
- Select “Report a Problem”
- Select “Something isn’t working”.
3. Go on Facebook and search for Instagram (App page) and select “Send a Message”.
4. Send an email at email@example.com.
And tell them:
“I am not being shown in the hashtags I’ve used for my post”.
Do not say you have been “shadowbanned”.
Some people (not a whole lot) got a response fairly quickly from Instagram. I am still waiting for a response and will post an update inside of my Facebook group when I hear back from them.
The main point here is to do anything in your power to remove the shadowban.
6. Do not switch to a business profile
Now, this is another recommendation for business women who are using Instagram for business that has taken a whole new turn! So, now this has become a big topic in itself. There are many diverging views on this topic among the Instagram community. Okay, so here is what's up...
When you switch to a business profile you signal to Instagram that you are a business. Businesses are the bread and butter of Instagram (and its parent company, Facebook). Remember when Facebook made pages’ organic search nonexistent in 2007?
It is only natural that Instagram will want you to pay to get more engagement (likes, views, clicks). I talked about this on my live-stream this morning. Why would you get all the perks of a business account (Instagram analytics & all) for free? Think about it.
In fact, I've discovered that many people have experienced a loss of engagement after switching to a business profile. Of course it doesn’t apply to everyone. It is still possible to rock your business page but it might take more time to gain traction.
7. Switch back to a personal profile, and…
Make sure you also unlink your Instagram profile from your Facebook page. The two go hand-in-hand. Trying this fix might not help, but it is a logical step to take since Facebook pages = source of advertising revenue of Facebook (and Instagram).
I will be switching back to a personal profile for a couple of weeks. So stay tuned for my followup post on what I notice after a couple of weeks.
8. Delete your 3rd party apps
To be sure that there is nothing standing in the way of my account reaching it's full visibility and that all my apps are following Instagram's Terms and conditions, I removed all 3rd party apps, yes, even Planoly for now, until my account is completely fixed!
Tap on Settings Icon
In closing, Instagram Shadowbanning can happen to anyone and there is only one true test you can do. And you need to do it yourself, manually.
The steps I shared above are the ones that I have found to be working at the moment.
If you have been unbanned, leave a comment below and let everybody know what worked for you. How long did it take to remove the shadowban?
I will keep you updated when I find out more information inside of my Facebook group.