Two Faced Honey

Empowering today's woman to live a fulfilled life through building connections, beauty education, fashion, and commentary.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

The Gram's ShadowBan: A Cautionary Tale

How to Step from under the Instagram ShadowBan 

Are you a Victim of the Instagram ShadowBan?

The Instagram ShadowBan, the "Ban," like the comic book character, has "The power to cloud the
minds of men."So, if you've reached this post it’s likely you’ve felt the sting of Instagram's ShadowBan and/or heard the continuous chatter around Instagram about it. I heard about the ban some months ago, but I didn't think anything about this term until it actually meant something to me, which was, lost followers, comments and likes. The Ban looks for Community Guidelines, violations, Policy and Terms of Service violations and "spammy" behavior that sends your posts to the feed of your followers only, this translates to limits to your account's growth. Now if you're a Social Entrepreneur like me, this impacts your bottom line. Like anything I've heard on social media, I just took it with a grain of salt, but the Instagram Shadowban has been around for sometime and affecting thousands of Instagram accounts, including my own. In an effort to "step into the light," and lift the Ban from my own account, I found a few things that will help you determine whether your posts are being banned, and some actions that can help you avoid or remove it.   

Is this happening to your post?

If you are trying to grow your Instagram account, the Ban will drop your post, no further than your follower's feed, so your hashtags are ineffective to help you reach a larger audience. As soon as I started seeing a decline in my followers, likes, and comments, I immediately started seeking answers as to why this was happening, (I'm just proactive like that). My first thought was this was a result of my recently linking my Facebook Business account to my Instagram. Facebook Business account owners must pay to promote their post in order to reach a larger client pool. So, when the Gram was sending offers for me to pay to promote a post, I igored them! My first thought was, this is about the money, and they want mine. Nah, I will pass. Now, from my research, that may be the bottom line that Instagram will never put in writing, but there are more things that need to be avoided in order to avoid having your posts slammed with a ban!

First things first: Are you violating the Gram's Terms of Service?

You need to know the Ban may be a direct result of your own actions. Listen, I know that's harsh, but it's true. The first thing I found out, was that I was violating Instagram's  Terms of Service. I have so many social media sites; Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, Polyvore, Twitter, Zcast, Youtube, and a few others, so using a scheduler for my post sounded like a good idea. Having to post one post to more than one site at a time is really time consuming, so you can imagine that having an app that can post to my multiple sites at one time was a tool that I felt that I needed,  well guess what, that was my first "No, no!' My violation fell in the same category as using apps that are meant to gain followers, comments, and likes. Say, bye, bye to any type of automated services, if you're trying to avoid being banned. No Bots, mean no bots at all. One violation down, on to the next.

A violation of daily and hourly engagement limits 

Okay, who knew that you were limited to your daily and hourly engagement on Instagram? Damn, strike two! Engagement is the number one tool that I use to grow my account! So you can imagine, how I felt finding out that my posts are being banned when my active followers engage my post and really respond with a high volume of likes and comments. What I  have found out is, that depending on how long you have had your account, you shouldn’t exceed 150 likes, 60 comments and 60 follows/unfollows per hour on your follower's page. I have had follow trains that were meant to gain me new followers, that could net me that in several and put me over both the daily and hourly limits. Like I said, I work for myself, so I have nothing but time on my hands to respond and engage new followers. Lesson Number #2 Learned: The new logithrims on Instagram can possibly see this as "bot-like" activity. I don't recommend it. 

ICYMI: (In Case You Missed It!): Hashtags, can be Mashtags!

Who isn't guilty of this one! Okay, let me speak for Moi, Guilty as charged! Hindsight can be 20/20. I should have known that Youtubers don't always get receipts. Following some YT advise on how to get 30 additional hashtags to get a higher reach on my posts. Oh! the Abuse! I also learned that a hashtag that I use often, #beautyblogger (Source: Instagram's Blog) can become overwhelmed with tasteless posts filled with nudity, spam or racially inappropriate material. OMG! What's a beauty blogger to do! I appreciate Instagram taking notice and quick action, to remove offending hashtags or limit it’s usage,  this also has the potential to prevent the remainder of your tags not being ranked at all. The lesson learned here is, don't abused hashtags, and be weary of adding potential banned hashtags to your posts in order to avoid the potential of a ban. 

The InfoWarrior

Spam, infringement, and posting improper content, etc)., all reported and brought to Instagram thanks to your friendly invisible "InfoWarrior" whether the information is factual or not. Being Blocked from accounts fall into this category also. I can see the potential abuse in this! So tread lightly when you are threatening to block someone else's  page because others can return the favor. Instagram may fully disable your page or they may just throw you in "The County ShadowBan Jail." I can honestly say, I have never had my page disabled, but quite a bit of my faithful followers have, this however, has caused a large decline in my follower base. 

Measures to Try to Lift the Ban

What am I doing to lift the Ban from my Page? Like Instagram has expressed, start with good content, which I have always tried to do. Listen,  Instagram's Blog is an excellent source of information on policies and guidelines, announcements, and post regarding account issues. You can also contact ➠Instagram, if you feel that you have been banned unfairly. But, first how do you find out if your post are being banned? You can links to this Instagram articles under your account setting, under options. Not sure if your posts are being banned, here's a site that I found that will allow to find if your account has been SHADOWED! Click Right here➠Are you Worried About the ShadowBan?

Most importantly, do not use Automated Services whatsoever. If you're using such apps on your Instagram account you will have to revoke the permissions, and clear them from your account.  How is this done?, just go to "Edit Profile" and revoke the permission to all services that violate Instagram's Terms of Service and Community Policy.

Next, make sure your engagement with your followers meets the  Guidelines for Follower Engagement. No Hashtag Abuse, period! Your hashtags mustn't exceed the maximum, nor can you use abused and/or banned hashtags on your post. Hey, these are self-explanatory,; don't Spam other's feed, infringe on copyrights, and don't post inappropriate content, enough said!

Just unplug! It has been suggested that if you LOGOUT of your account for 48 hours and log back in, after that time frame, your posts should be clear of the ban, that is conditional upon you not violating any other guidelines. Who doesn't need to unplug from the Matrix from time to time. Well, here is your chance to reconnect with loved ones, friends, and enjoy what life has to hold, instead of worrying about lost followers, likes, and comments. Finally, to deal with the first thing I mentioned, which is the issue of what to do about "The Book."

Now, the hardest for me is Facebook. My linking my Facebook to my Instagram was the first time that I noticed my posts were receiving less engagement, but it has also been an excellent tools to give me insight on post engagement. Having insight into the gender & age of my followers and the engagement rate of my posts and stories is a tool that I am not willing to let go of  just yet! So I will be following my own advice and logging out. See you in the Next 48, stepping out of the Shadow and into the Light.

If you have found this information of some value, please subscribe, like, share. Have you shared a similar experience and how did you handle the Ban? I would love to hear your comments.

The Honey