How Instagram Is Banning Users Without Them Knowing
Today, Instagram is one of the biggest social media platforms in the world. There are celebrities, local businesses, vloggers, and average joes spending hours on Instagram every day. Many enjoy just casually swiping through pictures of their friend’s “baes”, bagels, or boring quotes; but there are many who will do anything in their power to become “Insta-Famous”.
Basically, this means they have thousands of followers and get a lot of engagement on their pictures. Some people rack up high numbers of likes and followers organically, because they put out great content; but others are just trying to use the system to put up a facade. This can be done in a few different ways, and Instagram has caught on. They are starting to change their algorithms, tighten up security, and now even “shadow-ban” some Instagram Users.
The original way to build followers fast was to buy them. You could pay a website, and they would use a process that built up your following. This has mostly been stopped by Instagram, so fame-seeking users had to find out a new way. A popular, organic way to gain likes and build followers has been to use hashtags in the caption or comment section. This has been proven to extend the reach of your post, resulting in more likes, comments, and followers.
A great example of this is a freelance photographer trying to get their name out there, but doesn’t have the budget for an elaborate paid advertising campaign. They post an image with popular hashtags like: #photography, #artistfound, #photooftheday, #freelancephotographer, or any of the thousands of hashtags out there. This causes someone interested in photography, or perhaps someone looking for a freelance photographer for a wedding, to find this artist and follow them.
It seems as if people have been taking this practice a bit too far, as Instagram has started to “Shadow-Ban” users. This happens to users who are including hashtags that aren’t relevant, using too many hashtags, or using broken or ‘banned’ hashtags. A shadow-ban means that you still see your image, but others will not. Which could mean you’re banned right now, and don’t even know it. Basically, your hashtags become un-discoverable. You will only show up in feeds of your current followers, and not people searching for you or the hashtags you used; therefore, it makes it extremely difficult to gain new followers or likes from people that don’t already follow you. As this is extremely new, we don’t know too much about becoming un-banned yet, but we do have a few suggestions on how to avoid it:
- Don’t pay for followers or use automated bots
- Use hashtags that are relevant to your page or business
- Don’t cause a surge of activity by going on a liking or following spree
- Don’t use banned hashtags, here are a few:
If you have seen a significant drop in likes on your posts, we suggest seeing if you have already been banned by using this website.
Instagram has clearly outlined what they want their platform to be. They believe “good content on Instagram is simply good creative.” They want it to be an even and fair playing field for everyone. They recently released a statement on the matter.
“When developing content, we recommend focusing on your business objective or goal rather than hashtags. Having a growth strategy that targets the right audience is essential to success on Instagram.
Good content on Instagram is simply good creative. And it follows the same three creative principles you’d apply to any marketing channel:
- Have a distinct visual presence: Include your logo, an iconic brand element, a brand color or even a product you’re known for to make your content distinct and easily recognizable for the community.
- Be a story-teller: Tell a story that supports your business goal. Whether you want to raise awareness or increase sales of a specific product, make sure the imagery and copy latter up to your main goal.
- Put thought into your creative. Be well crafted to stand out. This doesn’t mean you need to build additional content for Instagram. It just means you need to put as much love and care into the content to inspire as you do in your business.”
So, follow the rules set by Instagram. Create good content that people enjoy and you will have success. As famous YouTuber, filmmaker, and vlogger Casey Neistat says “Don’t create because you have to. Create, because you love to”.
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