Instagram Shadowbanning & What You Can Do About it

Ever since Instagram rolled out it’s algorithm in the middle of last year we’ve heard a number of complaints from users & brands who have seen drops in their engagement. This can be extremely frustrating, especially when you’ve been putting a lot of effort into creating original content & engaging with users to grow your fan base.

Recently, the engagement debacle has gotten worse, much worse, especially with brands on Instagram. Clients have been noticing that they’re not gaining followers as quickly or are even losing followers and that their posts are no longer showing up in popular hashtags that they’ve been successful using in the past.

This anomaly has come to be known as “Instagram Shadowbanning.”

What does ‘Instagram Shadowbanning’ mean? 

Shadowbanning, also known as Stealth Banning or Comment Banning, is the act of blocking a user from an online community in a way that doesn’t let them know they’ve been banned. So this could be happening to your photos & you would have no idea you’ve been Shadowbanned!

What does Shadowbanning look like on Instagram? Instagram will now hide your posts that are connected to a hashtag from users that aren’t already following you. So if a user clicks a hashtag that you have used in association with a brand post, your photo won’t show up in the hashtag feed unless that person is already following you. So if you’ve previously been using hashtags to grow your account and gain new fans, this will definitely have an impact on your account growth and could even result in you losing followers.

“I have been experiencing less engagement, does that mean I’ve been Shadowbanned?” 

Not necessarily. Unfortunately, all of the algorithms that Instagram has been rolling out over the past year are known to negatively effect engagement on users’ posts. Just because you’ve been experiencing lower engagement rates doesn’t mean you’ve been Shadowbanned.

The easiest way to discover if your posts are being Shadowbanned is to ask a user who doesn’t follow you to click on a hashtag that you’ve used and see if your photo shows up in the feed. If your photo isn’t in the feed, you have most likely been Shadowbanned.

If they do find your photo, then you’re experiencing low engagement for a different reason. Try switching up your posting times, create new types of content or make more of an effort to engage with potential new fans (like and comment on their photos) on a daily basis.

“Why have I been Shadowbanned?” 

There are a few different reasons that your posts could have been Shadowbanned.

You use the same hashtags repeatedly. 

We’ve discovered that some accounts who use the same block of hashtags on every single one of their posts have been Shadowbanned. Because you’ve been using the same ones, you might have been flagged as a spam account. Make sure to mix up your hashtags on every single post in order to keep them fresh & avoid being banned.

You’ve been using a bot for follower growth. 

If you’ve been using an automation tool to help increase your follower base & engagement, you’re likely to have been Shadbowbanned. These tools, like (the former) Instagress and Likestagram are clearly against Instagram’s Terms of Service which prohibit use of automation services, such as bots.

You like & comment too frequently on posts. 

Instagram has limits for how many photos you can like or comment on in a given hour. If you’re being super diligent on your engagement and notice that you’ve been reaching the liking limit (you’ve reached the limit when you’re no longer allowed to like photos), it’s likely that Instagram has flagged you with bot behavior and has Shadowbanned your account.

You’re using a “broken hashtag.” 

A “broken hashtag” is a hashtag that has been flagged with inappropriate content. When a hashtag becomes extremely popular, it can become overrun with inappropriate content. Even if the hashtag itself is innocent, Instagram promotes a safe online space and will have to remove the hashtag from their community. Double check all of the hashtags that you’re using to make sure that they aren’t associated with vulgar or inappropriate content.

Your account has been reported. 

If your account has been reported to Instagram, someone thinks that you’ve been acting in an inappropriate way on the platform. If this happens, Instagram is likely to Shadowban you.

“How Can I Grow My Account if I Don’t Use Hashtags?” 

Focus on content. 

The best thing that you can do to grow your account is have great content. Focus on a great photoshoot highlighting your product or brand or brainstorm ways to produce new & unique content that users will associate with you. Take time in using other features, like Instagram Stories, to find new fans.

Engage Organically

Don’t use bots to increase your following. Make sure that you are behaving in an authentic way on the platform & doing your engagement by yourself. This is also the best way to make sure that the fans you are targeting are ones that will interact with your brand & will be interested in what you have to offer.

Play by the rules. 

Especially if you’re using Instagram as one of your main methods of marketing for your business, make sure that you know what the Terms of Service are and that you are abiding by them. Shadowbanning is bad, but it could be worse. Instagram has been known to delete accounts that repeatedly don’t abide by their terms and you definitely wouldn’t want that to happen.

At the end of the day, remember that Instagram is a community. Use the platform as it’s meant to be used, to foster a community of creative individuals and friends.

Written by our Vice President of Operations, Marissa Stahl, find her at @MarissaCStahl on Instagram and Twitter.

Share your experiences with engagement and Shadowbanning on Instagram. Tweet us  @somethingsocial or tag us on Instagram- @somethingsocial.


Related Reads

8 Ways to Use Instagram Stories to Make Your Business Stand Out

Meet Phoebe: Account Director

The Importance of Content Personalization

As technology and social media platforms continue to develop, we create more and more ways to reach consumers on a personal level. Whether it is developing a specific brand voice catered to certain types of consumers, sending targeted advertisements or emails, or even just including a consumer’s name in an email subject line, we’re armed with many personalization tools.

The first question one might ask is why? Why do we want to spend time on customization? Isn’t our time better spent creating more ads or content instead of building out different options of the same content?

Yes and no. While having enough content at any given time is crucial to maintaining an organized content schedule (see why having an organized content schedule is important here), creating content that will resonate strongly with your consumers is just as important.

We’re provided with so many tools that allow us insight into each and every one of our consumers, it would be a waste to not use those to our advantage. On Instagram alone, Insights provides you with the gender breakdown of your following, their age ranges, top locations by city and country, and what days and hours your followers are most active. Using other services, like Iconosquare, can provide you even more in-depth information, leaving you no room to be lazy with customizing your content!

If you’re sending out email campaigns, many email softwares, like MailChimp, enable you to do A/B testing.

SSLA Quick Tip: A/B testing is a type of comparative content testing that allows you to see which types of content performs better. This can really help you reduce unsubscribe rates and increase Click Through Rates.

Spend some time playing around on any analytics page for platforms you use (most have them) and you’ll see the plethora of information you have right at your fingertips. Going the extra step to make sure you’re curating your content correctly for your consumers will really add a new dimension to how people view your brand.

Written by our Digital Specialist, Nora Henick.

Have any questions on how to optimize your content? Tweet us  @somethingsocial or tag us on Instagram- @somethingsocial.


Related Reads

Instagram Shadowbanning + What You Can Do About It

Meet Phoebe: Account Director

#SomethingSignificant: Kind Campaign

Do #SomethingSignificant: Kind Campaign

At Something Social, we believe what goes around comes around. We also believe in the golden rule (and something that’s arguably more important than the previous belief), treat others the way you want to be treated. So that’s why we’re starting our new series, #SomethingSignificant. Every month, we’re going to share with you a new way to give back. Whether it’s volunteering at a local food drive, or spreading awareness about an issue close to your heart, your Something Social team is here to encourage you to do #SomethingSignificant.

This month: Kind Campaign.

A message from Kind Campaign

Kind Campaign is an internationally recognized nonprofit organization that brings awareness and healing to the negative and lasting effects of girl-against-girl bullying through their global movement, documentary film, in-school assemblies, and  educational curriculums.

In February 2009, while attending Pepperdine University, Lauren Paul and Molly Thompson joined forces. Having both been affected by female bullying throughout their youth, the young women decided to create change by giving females a platform to speak out about this universal experience. What began as an idea for a documentary about girl-against-girl bullying, ultimately became Kind Campaign, a multi-platform movement that has transformed hundreds of thousands of lives, friendships, classrooms and communities around the world.

Kind Campaign strives to let you know that if you are dealing with bullying or negativity, you are not alone.

How to get involved: 

They have tons of different ways to be involved! You can spread the word about Kind Campaign by sharing your own story, making a public apology or by taking the Kind Pledge on their website. Also acting kind in your own life and encouraging others to do the same goes a long way. If you want to go further, you can book a Kind Campaign Assembly or donate to their efforts.

After all, no act of kindness, no matter how small, is an act wasted.

Written by our Digital Specialist, Nora Henick.

Do #SomethingSignificant you think we should know about? Tweet us  @somethingsocial or tag us on Instagram- @somethingsocial.


Related Reads

The Importance of Content Personalization

Instagram Shadowbanning + What You Can Do About It

How to Handle Instagram Trolling

We’ve all seen it, whether or not we knew it had a name. Those accounts that just seem to comment on everything they can, saying nothing but nasty things. Internet, meet trolls.

So how do we stop all that nastiness and make the Internet the place we all know and love? Thanks to Instagram’s new features, personal accounts and companies can start protecting themselves against these trolls. This is Instagram’s third role out of safety measures just this quarter, a huge advance compared to many other social media platforms. The four major changes you’ll see starting to roll out are the ability to turn off comments from specific accounts, removing follows from specific accounts, support for comment liking, and blocking specific accounts from viewing Instagram Stories.

If you head over to your settings and click on comments, you can filter your comments by specific keywords or what Instagram may deem as genuinely abusive content. This is where the line can get blurry though. We encourage you to practice with caution – you don’t want to accidentally block too much and end up losing out on some of the real social media fun!

To block someone from your Instagram Stories, click on your profile, and then click the gear icon on the top right. Scroll down until you see Story Settings, which should be under Invite and Follow People. In there, you can hide your story from specific people and control who can send you message replies.

Let’s review some old features, too. You can still block people – just head over to their account, click those three dots on the top right, and hit block account. Instagram will prompt you to then confirm that you want to actually block this account. However, if someone is harassing you on Instagram, make sure you take it a step further. Not only should you block the account, you should also report it. To do so, click on those same three dots and right below block, you’ll see report. Follow the appropriate steps from there.

We hope these safety tips help you continue to keep your Instagram a fun, safe place to share with friends, family, and anyone else.

Written by our Digital Specialist, Nora Henick.

Have some experience with Insta-trolls? Tweet us  @somethingsocial or tag us on Instagram- @somethingsocial.


Related Reads

#SomethingSignificant: Kind Campaign

The Importance of Content Personalization

Best Floral Shops in LA

But for real, this Spring, enjoy yourself a floral arrangement from some of LA’s trendiest floral spots. Or spread the joy with someone else. They make for the perfect “I’m sorry I hit your car while pulling into LA’s compact car parking spots” apology or “Congrats on getting that promotion; I thought this would look nicer on your Instagram feed than a kale salad” gift. We’re being generous and letting you in on our favorite spots, whether they be online or in-store.

Rolling Greens

The one-stop shop for all things floral and home decor. With options of live or artificial plants, furniture, and antiques, it’s almost impossible to leave Rolling Greens empty-handed.

Seed Floral

If you’re looking for creative floral gifts, look no further. Between plant amps, and curated floral gift sets, you can’t go wrong with a pick from Seed Floral. P.S. Seed Floral is also the hotspot for some of our favorite SSLA gifts.

The Bouqs Company

The Bouqs Company is the spot for those with a busy calendar. With regular delivery options, holiday subscription services, bulk ordering, and more, The Bouqs Company will keep all of your bases covered.


The perfect way to do good while making a statement. Bloomerent is a service that allows you to recycle floral arrangements, protecting the environment while still allowing you to have that je ne sais quoi that flowers bring.

Spruce LA

A modern twist on the classic floral arrangement. Spruce offers floral arrangements in glass jars that add a new dimension to the standard potted flower. But fear not, if this modern twist isn’t your style, they still offer more timeless, classic bouquets and arrangements.

Twig & Twine

Open Wednesday-Saturday, Twig & Twine was founded by Heather Williams. Williams has had an affinity for anything floral from a young age, making her eye for arrangements unique and beautiful. Similar to Rolling Greens, Twig & Twine offers more than just flowers – branching out to and-picked gifts, home decor, artisanal goods and more.

Flowerboy Project 

Our Westside favorite. If you need a dose of weekend inspo or are out and about in Venice, make sure to stop by Flowerboy Project. With a coffee bar in the front & a boutique in the back, this is the perfect stop for a well-rounded Saturday. Pro-tip: order the Rose Girl latté.

The Empty Vase

A staple in Los Angeles, The Empty Vase has provided contemporary floral arrangements and installations for over 25 years. Taking it above and beyond, The Empty Vase offers services ranging from animal topiary structures (think what you would imagine having the Queen of England lining her lawn), flower clubs, and weekly delivery services.

Birch and Bone

If it’s good enough for the Kardashians, it’s good enough for us. Originally selling outside of The Ace Hotel and now selling through Postmates, Amelia Posada has created a floral empire of perfectly curated bouquets and arrangements.

Written by our Digital Specialist, Nora Henick.

Where do you snatch up your favorite blooms? Tweet us  @somethingsocial or tag us on Instagram- @somethingsocial.


Related Reads

How to Handle Instagram Trolling

#SomethingSignificant: Kind Campaign