Instagram Woes: Algorithms, Shadow Banning, Bad Hashtags

Sigh. I hesitated to even write a blog post about Instagram shenanigans. I firmly believe that aside from it being a social media platform; if you’re a blogger or digital influencer, Instagram should really only be a tool for marketing and not your sole bread and butter. The problem is, a lot of self proclaimed bloggers and influencers don’t subscribe to that ideology, so when Instagram decides to be wonky; the complaints come flying in.

Alexa Define:

Algorithm – in the context of Instagram, the infamous algorithm is the formula with which Instagram shows your content to your current followers, potential followers and where your content falls in the order of importance or visibility.

Shadow Banning – the act of Instagram preventing your content from being shown to your followers and potential followers without warning.

Banned Hashtags – hashtags that are banned by Instagram for improper use i.e nudity, offensive pictures that violate Instagram’s terms and conditions.

You know you’re an influencer when

The above terminology didn’t even have to be defined to you. It’s been a little over a year since I began to see these phrases tossed about by upset Instagram users. At first, I wasn’t sure I really bought into the whole shadow banned thing.

And to be honest, I’m still not sure I really do.

My honest take

The reality is, some of us get so used to a certain level of engagement that when it changes; we get upset. Someone doesn’t like my awesome pic? That’s what I always hear in my head when I see these complaints.

However, after seeing it enough times maybe there’s some credibility there.

But the truth is, if you have your own site; no matter what Instagram does or doesn’t do, nothing can stop your greatness. If your Instagram followers truly support you and what it is you do and aren’t just there for a good pic; they’ll support you on whatever platform you’re on.

In a way, I feel like the algorithm and shadow bans really show you what your content is made of. Are you’re followers aware of your absence? Are they looking for what you put out? Do they care they don’t see your stuff? Are they willing to support you off of Instagram?

Instagram is slowly but surely controlling the narrative through banning hashtags, and deciding who gets to see your posts and really if you ask me this is in an effort to get the non-celebrity folk to utilize their advertisement services. Aha! There it is. Instagram is going for the money grab.

Ultimately what does that mean for the blogger or influencer?

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I think it’s just best to go ahead business as usual. At the end of the day, Instagram is not mine, we’re all guests so to speak. While it’s nice to have a free platform to market with, the adage is: “You get what you pay for.” Instagram owes us nothing bottom line unless we pay for it.

So, work through the gajillion algorithm changes, the shadow banning, the banned hashtags and keep posting. Those who TRULY support you will find you, will share you and if they’re really dope? They’ll support you off Instagram too.

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