Being shadowbanned by Instagram is no fun. Take it from me, I suffered months of shadowbanning. All of your effort and time that is put into creating a great feed becomes obsolete when you are shadowbanned. So as the Dutch saying goes: Voorkomen is beter dan genezen, which means preventing is better than healing. So how to prevent an Instagram shadowban?
Stop the bots and automation.
Instagram has an extensive user guideline on acceptable behaviour. Bots and Automation are NOT on that list. I get it: Engaging on Instagram daily takes a LOT of time. And I agree Instagress was God sent. However, Instagress was shut down for a reason. Namely, not complying with the regulations set by the Gram. So looking for alternatives to a banned bot might not be the best idea.
Alternative: schedule 10 to 15 min every 2 hours to like and genuinely engage with people on Instagram. In a 12- hour span you will have spent a total of 1 to 1,5 hours genuinely liking and engaging with people. It adds up!
Use less hashtags.
The Instagram limit for hashtags is 30. From experience, I can say that using 30 hashtags In every post is going to get you in some trouble. Namely, you’re going to fall into repetition which is not a good thing (see next step) and Instagram somehow doesn’t like users living on the edge. So take a step back from the limit and use max 15 to 20 hashtags. In the case of hashtags less is more.
Put hashtags in the caption.
For a long while there was an Instagram ‘hack’ circulating. Putting your hashtags in the first comment made your post cleaner and it was so much nicer when sharing the post to other social media. Word on the street has it that posting your hashtags in the first comment is now flagged as spammy behaviour. However, this is speculation, since Instagram is VERY tight lipped about their shadowbanning practices.
Switch up your hashtags.
Now when it comes to hashtags there is another very important step to pleasing the Instagram algorithm: Don’t use the same hashtag too often! This point is definitely where I dropped the ball. I was using the same hashtag combination for months on end. Can you blame me though, these hashtags brought me huge engagement, of course, I wasn’t going to part ways with them.
Alternative: Make at least 7 (Hashtag groups with completely different!!! Tag to alternate betweens. Interested in how to create effective hashtag groups? Let me know down in the comments and I will create a post on that.
Don’t tag the same pages in every post.
I think this is a point that is not often mentioned but nonetheless is important. It’s natural to want to tag as many curating pages as possible to increase your chances of being featured. However, tagging the same pages day in day out, looks spammy, and you may get reported by pages for spammy behaviour. So stay on the safe side and switch up the pages you tag. In general stay a minimum of 30% under the Instagram limits for safety.
Tag less than 10 pages per post.
In the same way, tagging many pages per post will also look spammy. The Instagram limit for tagging people on a photo seems to be around 20. So to stay on the safe side, don’t exceed 10 – 12 tags on a photo.
Don’t follow and unfollow too quickly!
Personally, I think this is quite a douchy move. But, if you must use this strategy be careful of the limits set by Instagram as not to look like a bot. Instagram HATES bots. Any behaviour that makes you seem like a bot even a little, will get you shadowbanned.
Alternative: Go on short liking and commenting sprees. To find the users that are most likely to follow you, like and comment on the profiles of people that follow your competitors. Your competitors have the same target audience and these people are more likely to follow you than random IG’ers on the #ootd or #l4l pages.
New hashtag algorithm
Now to finish off, it seems that this is a new algorithm targeting hashtags. This algorithm seems to target business accounts or accounts that look like business accounts. HUH?!?! Yeah, I thought the same thing. To understand this you need to understand that Facebook OWNS Instagram. So, if you have a Facebook page for your business or blog and it’s connected to your Instagram, you will be treated like a business account even if you’re not. Interested in the nitty gritty of this new algorithm? take a look at the blogpost on Piercesocial.com that explains all. For now, focus on these 7 steps to help you in avoiding a shadowban.
If you’ve been affected by the infamous shadowban, I wrote a whole blogpost dedicated to what a shadowban is and how to lift it. Head on over to get your engagement back!
How does the new algorithm and shadowban affect you? Share your experience down below.