Instagram Shadowbanned Me!


Over the last 5 years, I have been able build so much of my portrait photography business here in Colorado off of the many different social media platforms available to us. Among all of them, Instagram has been a special place for me to add to my imagery through the stories I write for my daughter. With motherhood photography being the over arching theme of what I photograph, I have found that having this place to reminisce on my own motherhood experiences has been quite therapeutic. I have also used Instagram’s platform for me to introduce the education part of my business since I am sharing this space with so many other photographers wanting to constantly learn from others. It’s been a place for self exploration and growth in a way I felt was genuine and honest.

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I have had a slowly growing group of followers and those that have followed me were actually engaging in my posts. When I say they were engaging, I mean the use of real words were being used in the comments, not just a concoction of emojis. To be able to have real conversations with strangers about images that mean something to them is pretty remarkable. I felt as if I was making solid connections with potential clients, who were now friends. It had all been working out so wonderfully. The to sweeten the pot, I was also getting solid inquiries there. It started out maybe 1 every month, but then were multiples in a week. I was busting my ass and it was paying off. This space was allowing me to feel I have a community of people who continually support me, may they have been other photographers, potential clients or just damn loyal people.

Instagram also has been the most consistent on return of my advertising until about 1 month ago when I noticed a drop in my likes, engagement and inquiries. Now, I’m no influencer with a super large number of followers, I have no idea what going viral feels like, and I guarantee you the IG world would not notice if I were gone forever. BUT, I will say that what I have gained, I was losing quickly. Why?? Could it be….was I shadowbanned?



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Shadowbanning is defined as:  The act of blocking a user's content on social media sites, in such a way that the user doesn't know it's happening. If you're shadowbanned on Instagram, your content won't appear on anyone's feed unless they already follow you.

Instagram is shadowbanning users in order to help filter out accounts that don't comply with their terms. There are many users that take advantage of in authentic means, like autobots or hundreds of hashtags that have zero relevance to their content, in order to grow their number of followers.

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I have come to terms with being Shadowbanned from Instagram. How a small photography account such as mine was shadowbanned is foreign to me, but nevertheless I am. My best guess is that the fact that I have been autoposting ( in order to save time ) has raised a red flag and/or that the use of my few hashtags hasn't seemed relevant to my posts.

I did some research and here is my feedback on it all, plus a few actual facts from my account’s insights.  My favorite is number 5.

1. There is very little CONSISTENT information out there about how Instagram is run, what the rules are, what hashtags to use when, the real reasons why you get shadowbanned and how to fix it, if loops are good for your account or not and the list goes on and on…

2. Instagram messes with your mind. Am I really basing how good my work is off the amount of likes I am receiving? Did I really just consider pulling an image because it only got 98 likes and that number now judges how good or bad that image is?

3. On my best posts, only approx 19% of my followers are seeing my post. Since my shadowban, only approx 3% of my followers are seeing my posts. Kinda sucks either way!

4. Apparently I was getting more visibility from those that don't actually follow me and, if on the best days only 19% of my followers see my posts, what the heck is the point of using Instagram to grow my business??

5. Instagram is confusing AF!!!

So, here I am, blogging about it. Was this a small blessing in disguise? I think so. This super annoying and kinda heartbreaking loss of likes, engagements and inquiries has led me here. Where I can write more and share more! Yeah! I hope you’ll be joining me here too. As for the social media world Instagram...I may have to put you on the back burner, not put my all into you, and focus on a bigger {and hopefully} better picture!

onward and upwards though…

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