Some of you may know, but maybe you don't. I got a nice little Christmas gift from Instagram recently...
If you're unfamiliar with this insidious punishment, it means they effectively suppress all of your content because they think you may have violated a rule. Sadly for my instagram rule abiding self, I was a poor innocent being punished. I think it all stemmed from a glitch on a post. I tried to correct a word and was hit with a message saying I had too many hashtags and Instagram restricts that type of behavior. Now mind you, I've been running this page for about 9 months now and I've done plenty of research about the ins and outs of posting.
Instagram limits a post to have 30 hashtags. Believe it or not, proper usage of the tags can bring you unbelievable discovery. One organic post I had was discovered by over 3,500 unique accounts. Roughly 84% were people who didn't follow me that could potentially be converted to followers (still working on that). Instagram will not allow you to post more than 30 hashtags. Found this out one day when I miscounted and had 31 hashtags and once posted my whole caption was deleted.I had 29 hashtags on this particular post, so how did I violate anything?
I chalk it up to technology. Sometimes things get buggy. It just sucked for me because my discovery went from 80%+ to literally less than 1% (they were real shady saying that to me).
SO WHAT COULD I DO?
I started by scouring the internet because duh! I knew I couldn't be the only person to have experienced this and I wasn't. Unfortunately, other victims of this blacklisting couldn't provide much help either. I tried to remove my hashtags (I created them and none of my photos were displayed) but that didn't work. So I had to do what everyone else did... wait.
I made a post apologizing to my followers that since my posts were being suppressed, the photographers I feature weren't getting their fair exposure so I'd have to sit things out until Instagram coils help. I sent a flurry of reports ranging from angry to just plain begging. I needed my page back. So for two weeks I had to ghost my favorite social media platform and all of the people I've grown to interact with daily.
IT WAS HARD.
I had to hide my instagram app just to stay off it. I read that if you've been rightfully or wrongly caught up in a shadowban to not do anything. Don't like, comment or follow. So that's what I did. As you can imagine though, I lost followers. About 30 of them. Then this week I checked my hashtags for my content and they were back! I never heard back from instagram about the matter but hey I was happy.
Engagement was a little slow at first but my wildlifers missed me and I missed them too. I thought it would be tough getting my engagement back up but my post of a Superb Fan-throated Lizard by @anuroof was a home run and had the highest engagement of any post I've ever made.
Morals of the story: Watch your hashtags and sometimes all you need to win is patience.