What is Shadow Banning?

Shadow banning which is also known as stealth banning, is a common practice in which websites or forums ban a user from the site but won’t alert the user about the same. Recently a lot of Instagram users have been complaining about the dramatic decrease in the engagements, likes and followers on their accounts. In simple terms, Instagram shadow ban is when your hashtags become ‘un-discoverable’ which means that you’ll only shows up in hashtag feeds of your current followers while your non-followers won’t be able to see your images. It automatically reduces the reach of your account and makes it much harder to reach the new audience.

What Causes Shadow Banning?

    • Using Bots or Automated Services:
      Do not use bots, buy followers or automated services which posts and comments as you.
    • Using the Same Hashtags for Months:
      Some profiles which has been shadow banned are the ones which were continuously using the same hashtags for extended periods of time. This gives an impression to Instagram that you might be acting as a spammer.
    • Sudden Surge of Activity:
      If you suddenly go on a follow or un-follow spree, or like and unlike posts on a whim, you will be on the receiving end.
    • Broken Hashtags:
      Using the broken hashtags can also hamper the performance and reach of your account. If you click on some hashtag and there is no ‘top posts’ section, and you won’t be able to scroll passed the first page of images – you’ll find it has been limited.
      If you remove this broken hashtag from your set of hashtags, you might see an instant lift to your account, if it’s causing this.

If you have been shadow banned, worry not, here are 4 ways to get your mojo back on Instagram:

    • Keep It Real:
      Say big no to using misleading content or the misguiding hashtags in order to attract users. Keep it real. Keep it uncomplicated.
    • Avoid Automated Apps or Bots:
      Stop using automated or third-party apps or paid followers. Instead spend time in engaging with your real followers and reply to their genuine greetings, queries or complements.
    • Stop Using Banned Hashtags:
      Research your hashtags thoroughly. If you come across a hashtag which has irrelevant content, no top post or which violet the community guidelines or promote nudity or violence, remove that hashtag from your set.
    • Keep Switching Your Hashtags:
      Despite of not using banned hashtags, you might still face the wrath of Instagram shadow banning because using repetitive hashtags can get you flagged as spammer. There are endless options of hashtags for every area of your interest, research, browse or scroll but never use the same set again and again. It’s always a good idea to mix them up, in every couple of days and keep experimenting and refreshing it. By using variety of relevant hashtags, you can easily increase your chances of being discovered by newer and larger audience. Instagram has various guidelines and if you stick to them, you will be creating a great community for yourself and for your product without being shadow banned.

Also published on Medium.

Author Swati Sharma

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