Why Instagram Shadow Banning matters

In August this year, a company called Media Kixs conducted an experiment.

They created an Instagram account (calibeachgirl310) that was based purely on stock – i.e. public domain - photos.

They then purchased fake followers – at an approximate cost of $8 per 1000 followers.

These are bots – i.e. entirely fake.  And within a short period of time, the account had close to 50,000 of these “followers”.  

They then purchased likes and comments for these posts (the cost was around 12 cents per comment, and between $4-9 per 1,000 like).
Then they went for the kill.
They registered themselves with various agency websites that meet up “influencers” with “brands”, and they secured a number of lucrative endorsement (aka shoutouts) contracts.

These bots will never purchase a thing, and yet the profile owners received an endorsement fee.

It’s clear that fake followers have become a problem for the industry.

The large social media platforms know this and are fighting back.

Their success depends on it.

Getting caught wilfully adding fake accounts and then charging for shoutouts is fraud and can carry criminal consequences.

But even at a less severe level, doing this carries a real risk of account suspension, or at the very least something called Shadow Banning.

I’ve previously written about shadow banning in my Instagram Kindle eBook.

This was in the context of using hashtags to spam in order to increase a post’s visibility.

According to Wikipedia, Shadowbanning is

“To ban a discussion board user without their knowledge, allowing them to continue reading and commenting, but rendering their comments invisible to other users”.

Instagram uses shadow banning to counteract overzealous and spammy hashtags, and now the use of fake followers.

Clearly, it is the death knell for any hope of ever increasing reach organically and making money through an Instagram or Twitter account.

It’s tempting…but wrong.


The 3 best ways to grow your social media accounts – and make money in the process

1.  Branded hashtags

Branded hashtags can either be your company name, a product or just a campaign.

For example, Coca Cola’s #ShareACoke campaign (above picture) was wildly successful, as people started sharing the hashtag online.

When I was running a contest to win a hoodie on my anime gift store I used a branded hashtag which contestants had to share in order to enter the draw.

This has a viral effect – if the name is catchy and inspirational it tends to get shared, and can help boost your company’s brand.

2.  Instagram stories

I’ve covered this topic in past newsletters – Instagram (and to a lesser extent Facebook and Snapchat) stories are the best way to receive an immediate visibility boost.

Stories appear at the very top of the page – and can be either images or videos.

They are easy to set up directly from the phone, and can be a lot of fun.

The best way to run stories is to simply mention the bio link – and drive traffic to it. 

Example below - 
3.  Send free products to influencers

Done right, this can be a real game changer.

One of the best examples is a brand of watches called Daniel Wellington.

“Daniel Wellington’s owner, the Swede Filip Tysander, invested just $1500 for kick-starting the company 2009; in 2015 he has sold one million watches worldwide for a profit of $220M. The brand relies exclusively on influencer marketing, and has not changed this strategy even after Instagram opened the possibility to invest in paid advertisement”

See one of his posts below -

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Hopefully, this has inspired you to take a serious look at Instagram marketing.

Want to know more? 

Hit reply, and let me know.

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