ONE DAY YOU’RE MINDING YOUR OWN BUSINESS, PREPARING YOUR NEXT POST IN AFTERNOON CARPOOL, THE NEXT YOUR ENGAGEMENT COMPLETELY PLUMMETS TO THE GROUND INSTANTLY. AS SOON AS I PICKED UP ON THE LACK OF ENGAGEMENT, I KNEW SOMETHING WAS OFF. IF YOU’RE ON INSTAGRAM AS A HOME ENTHUSIAST, DESIGNER, DIY’ER, ARTIST THEN YOU ALREADY KNOW HOW MUCH TIME AND EFFORT IT TAKES TO NOT ONLY BUILD AN AUDIENCE, BUT BUILD ENGAGEMENT. WE CARE MORE ABOUT ENGAGEMENT ON OUR INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT THAN WE DO FOLLOWER COUNT. MAKING AND CREATING SUBSTANTIAL RELATIONSHIPS WITH LIKE MINDED INDIVIDUALS IS WHAT THIS PLATFORM IS ALL ABOUT. CONNECTING EACH OTHER SIMPLY FROM OUR SQUARES.
Instagram can be a beautiful, beautiful thing. It can also cause you internal turmoil and burn you out hardcore, and FAST. I specifically noticed, recognized, and felt that burn out this past weekend after publicly announcing that our Instagram account had been shadow banned. After coming to terms with what was happening, I also quickly noticed how taboo is seemed to openly use Instagram and shadow banning in the same sentence. I personally think it’s complete bullshit that Instagram can ultimately freeze your account, making your online presence completely non-existent. This not only burdens your content, but it puts limitations on your audience reach because your photos will NOT show up on the hashtags you use on your posts. Basically completely halting any and all growth possibilities.
We have done extensive research on Instagram and them shadow banning accounts, and today I wanted to share a few things that could have POTENTIALLY ( Keep in mind we have YET to hear from Instagram, even after contacting more than a handful of times to resolve this mess. We’ve had ZERO answers) set this off. Our goal for this post is to give you the tools you might need to avoid having a shadow banned account in the future. Some people firmly believe shadow banning isn’t a ‘thing’, our account is proof that it IS. Let me start with a few statistics and how those drastically changed after our account was shadow banned.
We we’re averaging around 200-300 likes on our Instagram posts prior to the shadow banning. Our #thisminimalhousequotes always receive more traction with the highest quote bringing in 1600+ likes. On average our Instagram stories we’re reaching 2k views per story prior to the shadow banning. As soon as Instagram shadow banned our account, our post likes couldn’t even make it past 30. Yes friends, you read that number right, T-H-I-R-T-Y. Our Instagram story views dropped to 15. AGAIN, yes you indeed read that number right, F-I-F-T-E-E-N views. Insane, right? If you’ve noticed a dramatic disturbance in your likes/stories then there is a possibility your account could be shadow banned as well.
The hardest statistic was the discovery of our account. You can find this, if you’re a business profile, under your insights-activity-discovery. A week prior to our account being shadow banned we were reaching roughly 56k accounts within a certain time frame. We are currently reaching 17k. That is a HUGE loss as far as growth possibilities go. Would it be amazing to have organic growth? Absolutely. And that definitely takes place when the kindness of the community steps into action by sharing other accounts they love. However, sometimes that can only take you so far. Hashtags are such a huge part of this online platform.
Now that I’ve started this conversation, I want to now jump into things that can flag your account to be shadow banned by Instagram, and then share what we were specifically doing before this happened to us.
ACTIONS THAT CAN CAUSE YOUR ACCOUNT TO BE SHADOW BANNED INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING:
If you use an automated system in regards to ‘buying’ both fake followers and likes. This is a quick, and sometimes pricey, way around organic, authentic growth. However, buying ‘bots’ is frowned upon by Instagram and this will definitely put a target on your back.
If you’ve used broken hashtags. Hashtags can be overrun by bots, causing Instagram to shut down the hashtag altogether. If you happen to use a broken hashtag Instagram will view this as participation in the in appropriate content and will basically not only void your other hashtags, but will also ban your account.
If you use hashtags over and over again without switching them up. Sometimes every other post is good, but it’s best to rotate them out completely and not reuse.
If people have reported your account multiple times. This obviously will send a red flag to Instagram, telling them that this reported account is posting inappropriate content.
If you’ve exceeded your daily ‘allowance’ of likes and comments. Did you know that you’re ‘allowed’ a certain amount of likes and comments on Instagram per day? Yea, us either.
If you’re involved in engagement/comment pods. Instagram isn’t a fan of these pods as they mirror the first action with buying bots. It’s a way around the ‘system’ and is ‘cheating’. Instagram will pick up on these occurrences over time, and will shadow ban your account.
SO WHAT WERE WE DOING ON THE ACTION LIST ABOVE, AND WHAT WERE WE NOT DOING?
We have never bought any followers on our This Minimal House Instagram account. Have we thought about it before? Sure. Who hasn’t. We all want a following on this platform, but we could never subconsciously ‘buy’ followers. It isn’t right, and ultimately would never benefit us anyways.
We haven’t done extensive research on our hashtags we we’re using, however I will say they were all home improvement/home decor/interior design and diy related. After we did shadow banning research it was highly recommended that we go back and delete hashtags on all of our recent posts. I went back almost 15 posts and deleted all the hashtags. It was also mentioned that is it more efficient and preferred by Instagram when you post your hashtags in your caption vs. your comment section.
I would like to hope our account has never been reported, because we’ve never done anything to offend anyone. We simply post our home and the DIY progress that goes on behind the scenes. If you are reading this and for some reason have reported our account before, you’re a dick.
We’ve never ‘exceeded’ our ‘daily’ allowance, and we couldn’t even if we tried. We hands down try to interact with all of the accounts we’re close with, as well as branching out to ‘new to us’ accounts via the popular page, but there are only so many hours in the day with four children and a busy life outside of our feed.
AND NOW THE ENGAGEMENT/COMMENT PODS.
THIS is one thing we WERE apart of. We were in four different engagement groups/comment pods. If you don’t know what those are let me explain really fast. Essentially engagement groups/pods are a group of users on Instagram that start a DM group (similar to a group text on an iphone), and will like/comment on everyone in that groups post. The whole point of this is to “boost” your engagement. The quicker the comments and responses on your post, the quicker Instagram will ‘boost’ your post to the popular page, giving your account more views.
Once our account became shadow banned, the first thing I did was leave every engagement group/pod we were apart of. It was the one thing I could completely separate our account from to see if the shadow ban would/could be lifted sooner. Have I noticed a difference from this action yet, sort of. BUT, we’re still very much ‘invisible’ on our hashtags, so while the shadow ban is still in effect, we ARE happy to report that we’re still showing up on peoples feeds!
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
I’d be lying if I said we didn’t contemplate deactivating our entire account and abandoning Instagram altogether. When you put your heart into building a community and engagement, it’s a huge emotional burden when you no longer have the opportunity to do that. Our hands are tied right now. We have reached out to Instagram multiple times, and have yet to hear anything from them. As of right now, I find the ‘report a problem’ button to be a pretty pointless feature. I feel as though Instagram is large and capable enough to handle these kinds of situations. I mean after all, Instagram exists because OUR ACCOUNTS use the platform. Without us, they’re nothing.
We are going to patiently, or not so patiently wait this shadow ban out, and we are looking forward to sharing an update from Instagram with everyone sooner than later. I hope this post has essentially helped give you some insight into Instagram shadow banning, and ways you can avoid it. I don’t think using engagement/comment pod was enough to flag our account, but who knows at this point? I’ll keep you guys posted, and as always THANK you for those who have reached out, offered kind words, encouraged us to keep moving forward, and have stuck with us on our DIY journey. You guys are magical, and have no clue how much of an impact you make on our lives! Have a wonderful week, friends!!