Solving Problems with Instagram Social Media Engagement

We’ve seen recently that some of our social media marketing clients have seen a deterioration in Instagram engagement to the point where activity has almost disappeared.

Have you been affected by the Instagram Shadowban?

We started doing some research to see what’s been causing this decline.

Here’s what we discovered. Instagram is heavily implementing this algorithm called a Shadowban. It’s actually not a new thing since it’s been around since 2006, but it just recently became mainstream for Instagram.

A Shadowban hides Instagram posts from users who don’t follow those accounts.

More specifically, if we used hashtags on our clients’ posts, only the client and their current followers will see the post when they search for the hashtags. You can see that this basically defeats the whole purpose of using strategic hashtags to grow community and engagement.

This is really bad news for growing your Instagram following.

Shadowban exists in principle to deter users from a specific kind of behavior that we would describe as spammy, inappropriate, or even abusive.

The problem is that a lot of “non-spammy” behaviors have also been lumped-in, such as using the same hashtags over and over again (we use a lot of hashtags with our clients photos and a lot of them are the same).

There are also a few other things that can get you Shadowbanned but one of the main ones is: Don’t use software that violates Instagram’s terms of service (which means that if you use a third-party app to schedule your posts, it must abide by Instagram’s terms and send a push notification to your phone when it’s time to post).

We have found that there is a software application called Grum which does not do this.

Since Instagram recently updated its algorithm, it’s tougher on bots that auto-like, auto-comment, grow your followers, and software that automatically posts on Instagram.

Internally we’ve started doing things for our clients to lift the Shawdowban. For now, here are the main recommendations:

  1. Don’t use banned, broken or the same hashtags month after month on your posts
  2. Don’t use software that violates Instagram’s terms of service
  3. Avoid big surges in your Instagram activity
  4. Avoid being reported by other users

Consider looking at the BufferApp as another tool which might comply with the Instagram terms of service and help you avoid the Shadowban.

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