Changes to Instagram Getting the Best of You? Shadowban, just like the algorithm, is nothing to obsess over, but if you’ve been tracking your engagement levels pretty closely, surely you’ve seen a bit of a change. Just like anything else that stands in your way, you’ll need a set of strategies that will navigate you around these stormy seas to get your Instagram account stabilized and organically growing once again.
First off, let’s be clear about why Shadowban exists and the behavior it is meant to cultivate. On a positive note, one of its goals is to eliminate bots from growing your account. As a business person, this is excellent news for you, because this takes this harmful option off the table so you don’t go ruining your analytics and bring people to your Instagram who will never become a customer of yours. It also levels the playing field for you with those competitors out there who have solely used this method to grow their following.
But it isn’t all sunshine and roses, unfortunately.
Shadowban has also forced additional steps to be made that you and I have to take to ensure your posts don’t get shadowbanned, making it harder for even your most ardent followers from seeing your posts. Why is this happening? It’s all about the dolla bills, y’all. It’s a simple “pay for play” equation for Instagram. They’re in business to make money, just like any other corporation with a board and shareholders to which they need to answer. The harder it is to get your posts seen by doing the activities in which you are normally accustomed, the more likely you are to promote your posts and possibly even posts ads on Instagram.
Here are 4 things you can do immediately to play nice with Shadowban:
1. Drop the Bot
Companies like Instagress have vanished without a trace. Think that’s an accident? Not so much. Instagram has been making a play at taking these companies out one by one and Instagress is only the beginning. If you’re using a bot to automate any of your outbound engagement activites, beware. Look into hiring a college student or family member to like and comment on your target audience’s Instagram accounts instead just to keep you free and clear.
2. Get a Hashtag Library
Shadowban doesn’t like you using the same hashtags for every single post. If you do this, you’re playing with fire. Depending on the activity that’s happening in your photo, use hashtags that are specific to that activity rather than having them all be specific to your business. Rotate your hashtags regularly to keep Shadowban on its toes. You’ll want to invest in a multi-topic hashtag library that has blocks of hashtags you can simply copy and paste. Our company, Lunch Money Creative, has put one together of over 750 highly-vetted hashtags in over 30 different subject areas that will keep you relevant in your audience’s feeds. Sign up to get your free "mini" hashtag library consisting of 150 hashtags in 10 different subject areas.
3. Consider Turning Your Business IG Back to a Personal IG
Nobody told you this when Instagram first created the business Instagram option and gave you those lovely stats, but if you now have a business account, you have a bright, shiny target on your back to get shadowbanned. They know businesses have more money to invest in promoted and advertised posts, so make sure your hashtag “game” is on point and to rotate those hashtags on every post if you have a business account.
4. Engage With Other Accounts Regularly
Instagram, in general, loves when you interact with other accounts. It’s a way to show them that there’s actually a human being on the other end of the account and that you are positively contributing to the platform. They want to encourage this behavior and cultivate as much of it as possible, so by engaging regularly, you will naturally become less of a target of Shadowban and have most, if not all, of your posts seen by your audience.
Written by Ryan Carmody
RYAN CARMODY / GROWTH STRATEGY + CO-FOUNDER Ryan is a resourceful brand strategist that has advised hundreds of companies in a multitude of industries. He brings his vast array of skill sets and experience to Instagram, where he’s able to bridge his passion for storytelling and help businesses share their unique value propositions visually.