By Amanda McLernon, Owner & Social Media Strategist

You guys… this blog post needs to be written because I’ve seen way too many people absolutely LOSING THEIR SHIT about the Instagram “Shadowbans”.  First, breathe. Second, read.

You shouldn’t freak out about the Instagram “Shadowbans” because…

Engagement is down without being banned.

Yes, you read that right. If you’re getting less likes, less views, or less engagement than usual, you’re not the only one. The Instagram algorithm is kicking in something fierce, and the engagement that we used to have will not be the norm moving forward.

(Why do all good things have to end???)

(Why do all good things have to end???)

Yes, we’re all pissed about it. We have to play their game though – and that means finding other ways to boost engagement. Join a pod. Spend 10 more minutes engaging with new accounts. Go through your followers to engage and see who’s posts you’ve missed. Be SOCIAL!

You shouldn’t freak out about the IG “Shadowbans” bcuz engagement is down without being banned. Click To Tweet

Although Instagram admitted that they’re having some issues with the hashtags, the shadowban seems to be avoidable by not using certain hashtags. (See this link for a list of hashtags that are banned.)

Although some of the hashtags are inappropriate, others are very generic and would be a reasonable hashtag to use.  For example, #Adulting was one of the banned hashtags. Instagram users reported some of the content as inappropriate, and Instagram blocked the hashtag. Does it really mean that it was inappropriate? No, but like I said earlier, Insta is obviously having some issues right now. (It’s not you, it’s them. For once that sentiment is actually true.) If you’ve used banned hashtags, go back to your older posts, delete the hashtag(s) in question and avoid the banned hashtags going forward. A good way to avoid banned hashtags is bypassing largely generic hashtags that are used frequently and therefore are more likely to be reported when something NSFW is uploaded. It’s a good idea to have 4-5 different hashtag groups you rotate between anyway! Rotating hashtags increases your reach and keeps your posts more genuine.

Get Creative with Hashtag Placement

Another fix for the shadow ban is moving your hashtag group into the original caption, rather than placing the hashtags in the comment section. Personally, I still put my hashtags in the comment area (it’s just cleaner!) and have not been banned. I recommend trying the above suggestion first, and if it doesn’t work trying this next solution.

It’s Not You I Promise

I genuinely do not think the shadowban is a personal vendetta from Instagram, – why the eff would Instagram want to hide good content from their users? The whole reason hashtags even exist is for content to be found. If you’re worried you “did something wrong” you are probably like me in second grade when I was sent to the principle’s office, hyperventilating in the waiting room in fear of some horrible punishment awaiting me (I wasn’t going to survive in detention!) only to receive an award. You are not doing anything wrong. Breathe. Even if you used an automated software (aka a bot) to help you with your content I haven’t seen any research that shows the only the accounts that used bots got blocked. I tested a few bots myself, and as long as they’re programmed well enough to not be overtly spammy, shadowbans shouldn’t be a worry. However, I can’t promise that your bots won’t get you shadowbanned, but the bots we tested didn’t seem to raise any red flags.

Engage In Other Ways

Although hashtags are dope, they’re not the end all be all for someone finding you on Instagram. You should be tagging your location, joining an Instagram Pod to increase engagement, posting Stories (if you’re a larger account there’s a huge possibility that yours could be featured in the “explore” tab). Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE hashtags, but this point is just to say they’re not the only tactic you should be using. (Shameless plug – if you need more strategies to grow feel free to message us! ??)

There you have it! So, slow down, breathe, think about your strategy, breathe again (10/10 doctors recommend breathing in order to live a healthy life) and don’t freak out too much about the shadowban epidemic. Try the fixes above, and if that doesn’t work, shoot us a message so we can tinker with ideas to help you out, pro bono of course, because we are suckers for problem-solving.