Has your Instagram engagement taken a turn for the worse in the last couple of weeks – despite all other things remaining equal (post frequency, quality of posts, etc.)?
If so, you could be affected by the new Instagram ‘Shadowban’ – a rather mysterious, not-totally-confirmed-but-probable force at work in Instagram’s secretive algorithm!
What is the Shadowban?
The ‘Shadowban’ is a term users have adopted to describe the increasingly common phenomenon of photos not appearing in the search results for the hashtags with which they have been labeled. For example, let’s say you tag your photo with #instagood and #nikon, yet when people look at those hashtags, your photo doesn’t appear.
While this might not be a big deal for the casual Instagram user, it can be a major issue for brands who are trying to reach new audiences and build a following on Instagram. Hashtag growth strategies have been a huge part of many brands’ Instagram success up to this point. Will this strategy become a thing of the past?
It’s unlikely we’ll see hashtag growth strategies disappear entirely, but Instagram does appear to be cracking down on hashtag abuse. For example, loading up your caption with the maximum number of hashtags (25) – and using the same ones over and over again – could result in throttled display in Instagram feeds and search results.
Find Out If YOU Have Been Affected by the Shadowban
Okay, so the big question is, “How do I know if I’ve been affected by the shadowban?!” This page purports to have the answer. Simply enter your username or a direct URL to the particular Instagram post you’re concerned about to see if it’s been affected by the shadowban.
Whether Are Not You’re Affected…
The Shadowban is a good reminder that we all should be following Instagram best practices. These include:
- Creating distinct, creative content. Only post your best content on Instagram. If you want to share something quick and off-the-cuff that’s not quite up to creative par, use Instagram Stories.
- Don’t over-post. Posting multiple times a day will have a negative impact on how much of your content Instagram displays to your followers. Generally, 4-6 posts a week is the target you want to aim for.
- Focus on storytelling. Instagram is not a place to display your products. It’s a place to tell stories. If those stories include your product… great! But the focus is not the product; the focus is story.
- Don’t use generic/inapplicable hashtags. Use the hashtags that matter to your brand and audience. And switch them up based on the content of the post!
- Work on building a community. Great Instagram accounts don’t just post. They interact. They like and comment on other users’ posts; they respond to comments; they’re regular, frequent users.
What’s Your Best Instagram Tip?
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