You spend hours taking the perfect picture, editing it, writing an amazing caption, finding the best hashtags and yet – no one can see it! Why? Because you’ve been shadow banned on Instagram. It’s Bulls***! Okay, I’ve calmed down now… Let’s proceed.
What is an Instagram Shadow Ban?
A shadow ban is a restriction on your Instagram account, whereby your posts won’t show on any of the hashtags used in the captions or comments. So if your latest post included the hashtag #mikewaltersisamazing… I would be flattered 😉 But also, I wouldn’t be able to find your post when browsing through that particular hashtag, nor would anyone else. The only exception would be if I was following you and it came up in my feed.
The obvious downfall of a shadow ban is that it drastically reduces your post’s reach & engagement, killing your chances of getting onto the explore page and making it much harder to grow your Instagram account in general.
Does it really exist?
Let me first inform you that Instagram themselves claimed that the ‘shadow ban’ is a myth. Here’s what they’ve had to say about it…
The thing is, if you at their exact wording – they say that they don’t hide your posts from your followers, BUT they never said anything about people that don’t follow you. I’m certain that Instagram does hide your posts from people, especially when you’ve been abusing the platform. In fact here’s a way to prove it…
How to check if you’ve been Shadow Banned
Unfortunately there’s no warning message when you get a shadow ban, instead to find out you’ll want to get access to a second Instagram account. Once you’ve done this, you need to search for some of the hashtags that you’ve recently used in your posts. It will be a lot easier if you’ve used really niche hashtags, such as #thishashtagismine. Once you’ve found a few hashtags – you’ll want to scroll through them until you find your post. If you can’t see any of your posts, then it’s likely that you’ve been shadow banned.
Why you might be Shadow Banned
Given that Instagram are denying that there is even a Shadow Ban in existence, it’s hard to say why you might get banned in the first place, but the majority of the time it’s because you’re abusing the platform and not using it for its sole-purpose, which is to socialise with others. Here are some likely reasons of why you might get shadow banned on Instagram…
This is the easiest one to avoid. Just don’t use bots. Are you using the Follow-Unfollow method? Well, you need to stop. Instagram has recently cracked down on people abusing the platform with automated software & will continue to do so if you’re using bots to run your tasks. Such automated tasks include following, liking, commenting & messaging.
There’s nothing against you scheduling posts using popular (and approved) third-party platforms such as Buffer or Hootsuite, as that still requires you to create the posts on those platforms, however the use of bots to automatically like, comment or share content without supervision is a big no-no. To be successful on social media you need to be social, the clue’s in the name. Besides, organic growth always wins.
If others are continuously reporting you for Spam or Abuse, then it’s likely that Instagram will take action. They could resort to banning your account altogether however before then they might limit your content’s reach. So stop spamming the same content, captions & hashtags.
I can’t count how many times I receive automated messages from ‘sexy babes’ that are trying to get me to purchase private memberships or ‘Instagram gurus’ who want to sell me more followers. In the end I just end up blocking every single account that sends me a message like that, and sure enough Instagram ends up blocking them. There’s no shortcut to growing your account or selling products, if you do it the organic way then you’ll have no issues.
Using broken hashtags
Broken hashtags might not be the reason that Instagram are hiding your posts, but it’s worth noting that they could make all of your other hashtags ineffective, meaning that none of your hashtags work, just because you’ve added one broken one!
More often than not you won’t encounter a broken hashtag, and in most cases you’re not looking to abuse the platform when using them, however it is worth noting that they do exist and should make every effort to avoid them if you’re serious about growing your Instagram account.
How long does a Shadow Ban last for?
It’s hard to say how long a shadow ban will last as it’s different for everyone. For some people it can last for a couple of hours and for others it could last up to a month. Not the greatest answer, i know. For the most part you’ll want to continue posting as you were but without any bots, spam or broken hashtags and continue to monitor the situation.
How to remove the Shadow Ban
There’s no given instructions for fixing the shadow ban, but I must remind you that ‘time heals all’. As mentioned above it’s best to just continue (or start) to post good, quality content that helps your followers, using healthy hashtags without bots, and let time do its thing.
After a while Instagram will recognise that you’re not looking to abuse the system, and they will remove the shadow ban from your account, making your posts visible on the hashtags that you’ve used. As already mentioned, there’s no definitive length of time that you have to do this for in order to remove the ban, however you should consider this is as your default Instagram growth strategy regardless. Keep posting quality content and let your Instagram account fix itself.
Being shadow banned on Instagram means that your content is hidden from all hashtags, and as such limits the potential reach & growth of your Instagram account. Shadow bans can be caused by the use of bots, spam & use of broken hashtags. To recover from a Shadow Ban you’ll need to just wait it out unfortunately.
So have you been Shadow Banned on Instagram? What was your experience? Let me know in the comments section below!