Bulkly has scheduled over posts for the smartest social media marketers.
Get your 7-day free trial and automate your social media in minutes.

Experiencing a Shadow Banned Instagram: Steps to Recovery

  • Blog
  • Experiencing a Shadow Banned Instagram: Steps to Recovery

If you’re experiencing a shadow banned Instagram account, it might seem daunting. As a business owner, you want to leverage Instagram to grow your brand, drive traffic to your website, and generate more leads.

But social media can often feel like a new realm fraught with technicalities, especially regarding the mysterious Instagram shadowban. In reality, an Instagram Shadowban is far more straightforward than that.

In this comprehensive guide, I’ll demystify the concept of Instagram shadowban and offer insights to help you monitor your account to build and maintain a robust online presence.

I will equip you with seven practical tips to avoid the Instagram shadowban trap and explain how to escape it if it has already happened to you.

What is an Instagram Shadowban?

If you are shadowbanned, your Instagram posts become less discoverable. As a result of which, you see a drastic drop in engagement.

It is like having your voice muffled in a crowded room. Your posts are hidden in the cyber social shadows, making it difficult for your message to be heard.

During an Instagram shadowban, your Instagram account is not gone. It’s still available for direct access. But, it is so deprioritized that it is VERY difficult for anyone to find.

So, Why do Instagram Shadowban Accounts?

To maintain a thriving Instagram community and safeguard its users, Instagram implements shadowbans on accounts that engage in spam, inflammatory, or inappropriate behavior.

With a vast user base of over 2.35 billion, Instagram relies on sophisticated algorithms to uphold its platform’s integrity and reputation. Violating Instagram’s terms of service can trigger these algorithms, leading to a shadowban.

It’s crucial to adhere to the platform’s guidelines to avoid falling into the shadowban trap.

Let’s imagine you’re a talented freelance photographer showcasing your skills and promoting your services on the vibrant platform of Instagram. You pour your heart and soul into capturing breathtaking moments, meticulously refining them through editing and weaving captivating stories in your captions.

However, you notice a disheartening decrease in engagement, with fewer likes and comments adorning your masterpieces.

No matter how captivating and visually stunning your Instagram post may be, it’s essential to remember that even the slightest infringement of Instagram’s guidelines in your caption, format, or choice of hashtags can lead to your content being obscured.

This experience can be disheartening when you’re earnestly working towards cultivating a strong online presence. It’s crucial to stay informed and keep every aspect of your posts within Instagram’s rules. Only then will your creative efforts can shine unhindered and make a lasting impact on your audience.

Shadow Banned Instagram

A fitness influencer sharing their story of getting shadowbanned (Source)

How to Check if You Have Been Shadowbanned

The first step in addressing an Instagram shadowban is to discover whether you’re genuinely experiencing one. To find out, follow this two-step process.

Identifying the signs early on can help you take prompt action and prevent further damage to your account’s visibility and growth.

a. Run an Instagram Shadowban test.

To see if Instagram has acted against your account or if you have violated the Instagram community guidelines, simply head to:

Menu > Settings and Privacy > Help > Account status.

Here you can see any removed content not recommended by Instagram’s algorithms. This page will also guide you on what to do if you have been shadowbanned, but more on that later in this blog.

b. Analyze and Use Instagram Analytics.

Your metrics are the second place to look for signs of being shadowbanned. You may be facing an Instagram shadowban if your accounts are experiencing the following:

  • Decreased Engagement: If the engagement on your post, views on your story, etc, drop significantly, then it’s a sign of shadowban. For example, your posts on avg, receive 500 likes, which drops to 10-15 likes. (Promotional and irrelevant posts receive very small engagement; hence I am not considering them)
  • Limited reach: Here are a few ways your reach can be limited in a shadowban:
    • Your reach to your own followers decreases all of a sudden.
    • Your posts also don’t appear on the recent posts on hashtags.
    • It isn’t visible when someone types your username in the search bar.
  • Stagnant follower count: Suppose on a daily basis your account receives 50-60 followers, but it reduces to little to no followers increase. This is also a primary factor in knowing if you are shadowbanned.

shadow banned instagram - Experiencing a Shadow Banned Instagram: Steps to Recovery - 1

Engagement drop in an Instagram account due to shadowban (Source)

7 Tips to Avoid Instagram Shadowban

Now that we know what an Instagram shadowban is and how to check your account, let’s look at some actionable tips to avoid it. By implementing these tips, you can safeguard your account and maintain a strong presence on Instagram.

1. You Are Awesome, so Be Yourself and Engage Authentically

Instagram’s number one priority is building genuine connections between creators and their audiences. Ensure you are sincere when you respond to comments, initiate conversations, and foster community on your account.

Authentic engagement signals to Instagram that you are a valuable and trusted user, reducing the chances of Instagram shadowbanning your account.

Avoid any violation of Instagram’s community guidelines

Instagram’s Community Guidelines are non-negotiable and are in place to ensure a safe and positive user environment. You risk triggering a shadowban by violating these guidelines.

You will get shadowbanned or worse, for any violations of Instagram’s Community Guidelines, including:

  • Copywrited content you do not have the license to use
  • Nudity or inappropriate content
  • Spamming
  • Bots

For example, if you send unsolicited promotional messages to other users as a photographer, you risk triggering a shadowban. Flooding the Instagram platform with unwanted content is something Instagram hates.

While it’s crucial to prioritize consistency and quality over quantity, it is essential to cultivate genuine engagement and community-building with your audience to avoid the shadowban trap.

2. Research Your Hashtags

There are hashtags that you should just avoid. Using these banned hashtags could trigger a shadowban because you are not complying with Instagram’s wishes. These hashtags change constantly.

Tools that conduct thorough research often and make suggestions for you are excellent at helping you keep your hashtags and content aligned. Keep an eye on trends and stay updated on which hashtags are popular and within Instagram’s guidelines.

Avoid Misusing Instagram Hashtags

Hashtags are crucial in increasing your content’s reach on Instagram. However, misusing hashtags can lead to a shadow ban.

To avoid being shadowbanned because of your hashtags, ensure you:

  • Do proper hashtag research: Research and use only active hashtags that align with your content and target audience and avoid an Instagram shadowban on your account.
  • Avoid banned hashtags: Avoid using hashtags prohibited or restricted by Instagram.
  • Use only relevant hashtags: Your hashtags must directly relate to your content. Using irrelevant hashtags damages your business because your conversion rate will suffer if you attract the wrong audience.
  • Invest in a hashtag strategy: Develop a hashtag strategy that includes a mix of popular and niche hashtags. This allows you to reach a wider audience while targeting specific communities or interests.

Let’s say you’re a landscape photographer. Using irrelevant hashtags such as #foodporn, #fashionista, or #travelgram may seem tempting to expand your reach.

shadow banned instagram - Experiencing a Shadow Banned Instagram: Steps to Recovery - 2

Avoid using any banned hashtags (Source)

However, these hashtags are unrelated to your content and audience, increasing the chances of your posts triggering Instagram’s algorithms and potentially leading to a shadowban.

3. Diversify Your Instagram Content

Keeping your content fresh and diverse is essential. Experiment with different formats like carousels, reels, IGTV videos, stories, etc. This variety keeps your audience engaged and signals to Instagram that you provide valuable content.

Avoid Repeatedly Posting Low-Quality Content

Instagram values quality and originality. Posting low-quality or repetitive content can be seen as spam and may trigger a shadowban.

So investing time and effort into creating high-quality, diverse, and engaging content that resonates with your audience. It will demonstrate to Instagram that you’re a valuable user who contributes positively to the platform.

Low-quality content includes:

  • Poorly Edited Photos: Poorly edited images with low visual quality. Pay attention to lighting, composition, and clarity to capture images that are visually appealing for your audience. Instagram is all about high-quality images, so nail this aspect.
  • Repetitive Topics: Continuously posting about the same themes or topics without introducing variety can lead to. This is the art of social media because you must balance being recognizable and interesting to hook and hold your audience.
  • Excessive Self-Promotion: Constantly promoting your products, services, or personal agenda without providing value is spammy. While self-promotion is a legitimate part of using Instagram for business again, you must balance meaningful content and strategic promotion.

As a photographer, consistently posting blurry images that lack professionalism, only shooting one type of landscape as your subject, or relying too heavily on filters or editing can get you into trouble with Instagram and your audience.

4. Post Consistently or use the Meta Business Suite scheduler

Consistency is essential to maintaining an active and healthy Instagram presence. Knowing when to schedule Instagram posts and sticking to a posting schedule that works for you is vital.

And using the Meta Business Suite scheduler can be invaluable in smoothing out your work process. Regularly sharing quality content signals to Instagram that you’re committed, shows your audience you are active, and increases your reach to a broader audience.

shadow banned instagram - Experiencing a Shadow Banned Instagram: Steps to Recovery - 3

Prioritize using the Meta Business Suite scheduler over any third-party software (Source)

Avoid Being Inauthentic

Posting consistently on Instagram helps you avoid a shadowban by maintaining an active and engaged presence on the platform.

  • Signals Authenticity: Consistent posting shows you are a genuine user. It also shows you are invested in building a real and valuable presence on the platform. This authenticity reduces the likelihood of triggering a shadowban.
  • Enhances Account Trustworthiness: Regularly posting establishes a kind of “content credit score” of Instagram activity, which helps build trust with Instagram’s algorithms. It shows that you are committed to engaging naturally and in an organic way. This trustworthiness can protect your account from being flagged as spam or engaging in suspicious behavior, lowering the risk of a shadowban.
  • Increases Engagement Opportunities: Posting consistently naturally increases your reach and, therefore, your audience. When you always share exciting content, followers interact positively, signaling to Instagram that your content is appreciated, reducing the likelihood of a shadowban.

Take our photographer. Say you were posting consistently initially, but you need to do huge photo dumps of your work onto Instagram. Instagram’s algorithm will notice irregularity.

5. Take Breaks Between Actions

Like, follow, comment, and engage with other accounts organically. If you are engaging so often, it feels like it has taken over your day, it’s too much. Mimicking natural user behavior by taking breaks will prevent Instagram from flagging your account as spammy or bot-run.

Avoid Engaging in Spammy Behavior

Authentic engagement is highly valued by Instagram’s algorithms, and its opposite is condemned. Engaging in spammy behavior signals Instagram that you’re using aggressive methods to grow your account.

Spammy Behaviour includes:

  • Excessive liking: Excessively liking Instagram accounts irrelevant to your niche or target audience is interpreted as spammy behavior. Instagram’s algorithms are designed to detect unnatural patterns, and a sudden surge of likes will raise suspicion that you are using a mass liking strategy to gain traction.
  • Excessive following: Instagram’s algorithms also consider following many accounts within a short period spammy. Rapidly following hundreds of accounts to get their attention or gain reciprocal followers can trigger a shadowban because it is not authentic engagement.
  • Excessive commenting: Leaving excessive generic or repetitive comments pushing users to your account is also spammy. Again, authenticity is everything, and leaving the same comment on multiple posts diminishes your authenticity.

For example, suppose our photographer friend suddenly leaves the comment, “Nice pic! I love your work! Please check out my profile to see my amazing photos!” on multiple posts. In that case, Instagram will recognize this inauthentic engagement.

6. Use Automation Responsibly

Automation tools can help manage your Instagram activities, but using them responsibly is crucial. Avoid excessive use of automation, particularly when liking, following, and commenting, to balance automation and genuine manual engagement.

Balance them with manual engagement to maintain a natural and authentic presence on the platform.

Avoids Artificial Follower or Engagement Growth

In the world of social media, it can be tempting to artificially boost your follower count or engagement by purchasing followers or likes. However, indulging in these practices can severely affect your online presence.

Instead, it’s essential to prioritize organic growth strategies and focus on building a genuine and engaged audience. By embracing authenticity, you can avoid the risks associated with artificial growth and create meaningful connections with your followers.

7. Stay up to date with Instagram community guidelines

To maintain maximum visibility with your account, you must ride the waves of change with Instagram’s algorithms and policies.

Subscribing to youtube channels, newsletters, and other trusted sources, is a great way to keep your eye on potential changes. This knowledge allows you to adapt your strategies and ensure compliance with Instagram’s guidelines.

shadow banned instagram - Experiencing a Shadow Banned Instagram: Steps to Recovery - 4

We must be aware of all the possible community violations on Instagram (Source)

Recovering from Instagram Shadowban

If you’ve unfortunately fallen victim to an Instagram shadowban, I understand the frustration and anxiety it can cause. All your hard work and efforts on Instagram have not gone to waste. However, there’s no need to panic.

This section will guide you through the recovery process, helping you regain account visibility and get back on track.

To recover from an Instagram shadowban and regain account visibility, follow these step-by-step instructions:

  1. Identify the shadowban: First, figure out what action got you shadowbanned. Follow the two-step process outlined earlier in this article, and you will get direct guidance from Instagram on where you have gone wrong.
  2. Review Your Content: Audit your recent posts and captions for any violations. Then delete any content deemed against their policies. Pay close attention to hashtags used and ensure they are within the guidelines earlier in this blog.
  3. Take a breather: Take a break and reset from activities that could have triggered the Instagram shadowban. This includes excessive liking, following, or commenting and automation tools. So, how long does Instagram shadowban – five to ten days typically, but it can take up to a month if you are banned consistently.
  4. Rethink your content strategy: When it comes to your content strategy, it’s time to get creative and rethink your approach. Rewriting your content to prioritize diversity and freshness will prevent you from being shadow banned AND resonate with new audiences. Refreshing your content can mean different formats, subject matter, posting frequency, and videography styles.

Remember, Instagram shadowbans accounts protect its users. And even if it was a misunderstanding, it takes time to recover from a shadowban – so be patient.

Being banned is a learning opportunity; it can even be a much-needed mental health break if taken correctly. A gap to step away and refine your strategies, refocus your approach, and realign with the latest guidelines and updates.

Ultimately, it can be a chance to audit your presence on Instagram. To make it a stronger brand presence both for now and to futureproof your account from further Instagram shadowbans.

Like this article?

Leave a comment

Scroll to Top