Shadowban has quickly become the boogeyman being buzzed about amongst social media influencers and entrepreneurs – we don’t know exactly what it looks like, we don’t know where it’s lurking, and we assume it’s coming for us around the next corner. While the name itself is quite dramatic, don’t let this idea trip you up or distract you from using Instagram to rock your biz. If anything, it’s weeding out spam accounts to make our user experience better. We can’t hate on that, right?
Before I go too deep, I have a confession.
Last week, the week before a major business announcement (the prerelease for my online course), I was shadowbanned.
I was not using third party apps or engaging in pods. I was, however, obsessively editing and re-editing my photo captions (I get excited, ok?) and – most importantly – getting a little lazy about my hashtags.
Guess what? I survived. It forced me to reset my thinking and do a deep dive of all the info I could find, as well as have chats with a few experts.
Now, I want to share all this goodness with you and demystify the *cue horror film music* shadowban.
What a shadowban is
Having a shadowban on your account doesn’t mean your kicked off the app, it simply means your images won’t show up in hashtag feeds of anyone who doesn’t follow you. This makes it harder to grow your following and majorly decreases your engagement.
How to know if you've been shadowbanned
Post a picture using a hashtag without a huge following and ask a friend to un-follow you and check the hashtag feed. If your post shows up, you’re all good. If not, there’s a chance you’ve been banned.
What to do if you are
First, take a deep breath. I promise, it will be okay. I recommend taking 48 hrs off the banned account – no comments, no likes, no follows, no messages, no posts, no nothin’. Cold turkey, my friend.
Once you’ve made it through your two days, be really intentional with your posts, hashtags and activity. Here are a few best practices to make sure you aren’t banned again.
How to avoid it
In short, don’t act like a bot. Specifically…
Don’t mindlessly like every photo in your feed
Don’t copy and paste the same comment on multiple photos
Don’t follow too many people at once
Don’t use third party apps that act on your behalf
Avoid editing photo captions after you’ve posted
Avoid going over 200 likes, 60 comments and 60 follows/unfollows per hour
Don’t reuse the same hashtags over and over
Don’t use banned or restricted hashtags (click here for a full list)*
A few more that I’m testing out are putting the hashtags in the caption rather than the comments and using 7-12 highly relevant hashtags rather than a list of 30. I’ll check back in and let you know if those make a difference, as well.
Have you been shadowbanned? What are your thoughts on the hysteria? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.