Shadowban. The very word any Instagrammer wanting to build their following fears.
What is a shadowban?
Shadowban as a term has been around for years, but it’s only the last year or so that you’ve probably heard of it. Twitter does it sometimes where users can end up in “Twitter jail” for tweeting too much, but you’ve probably heard it used more regarding Instagram. In the context of Instagram, a shadowban will hide your posts from users who don’t follow you when they search for hashtags, etc, that you may have included on your post.
Why is that bad?
Many Instagram users use hashtags to find others with similar interests, and find new accounts to follow. If you’re not showing up on those hashtag searches, then you’re not going to get noticed by new followers.
How can I tell?
There’s a tool found here – shadowban.azurewebsites.net – which will look at your profile or a specific post and tell you whether the post appears on the searches for the hashtags used. It’s not perfect, but it is interesting to see, and could potentially help you to find hashtags that would work for your content.
What can I do?
Using different hashtags seems to help – it’s tempting to just keep a list of all the hashtags that you might want to use in a note on your phone and then copy and paste them all, but it may be worth mixing them up and potentially using less on each post. Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags on a post, but you may find using 15 different hashtags each time more valuable than using the same 30 on every post.
Also, try to avoid using hashtags that have become too popular…seems a bit counterintuitive, but Instagram has in the past restricted certain hashtags – if people are using a hashtag to post inappropriate things, then the whole hashtag disappears.
Have you experienced a shadowban? How have you worked around it?
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