Staying Out of the Shadows on Instagram

With the release of Instagram’s new Terms of Service, you may be worried about how to keep your account safe and secure. Instagram is an amazing tool for promo, but as a platform they fall on the more prudish side of content rules. That means you have to be extra-vigilant.

When you lose an account that you’ve worked hard to build it can be extremely frustrating, especially when you are trying to make your living with an adult brand. Because of the multitude of rules and regulations regarding content, it can be easy to cross a line you didn’t mean to.

But not to fear! We’ve come up with a complete guide on how to help you keep your accounts as ban-proof as possible. While these tips are designed to help you keep your account protected, using good judgement and common sense can be just as useful in ensuring accounts are in good standing.

Rules for Safe-For-Work Content

Because Instagram can be extremely strict in terms of acceptable content, having your account flagged or reported may result in deletion or a shadowban (more on that later!). While nudity is forbidden except in certain situations (such as breastfeeding), you do have a bit more freedom for content. Let’s look at what can’t be shown:

  • No full nudity
  • No depictions of sexual intercourse
  • No visible genitals
  • No up-close fully nude buttocks
  • No visible nipples

The rules for content are very clear, so as long as you stay on the right side of the line, you shouldn’t experience any problems with your account.

However, when you’re building a brand-new account, you want to pay close attention to how you’re expanding your reach. Instagram has some lesser-known rules regarding activity that you may not be aware of. Unfortunately, if you break one of these rules you run the risk of having your account banned.

You always want to err on the side of caution. Instagram can pick up on certain types of language, so be mindful of profanity, and replace it with symbols or emojis to be safe. It’s always best to be PG in your captions and comments!

Rules for Social Media Interactions

In order to build and expand your account you need to follow and interact with other accounts, right? Well, yes, but the way you do it is extremely important. The Instagram algorithm is there specifically to pick up on unusual activity and the measures you take to help your account grow might end up doing the opposite and get your account restricted or shadowbanned.

For example, did you know there are rules about how many accounts you can follow over a certain amount of time, or how many posts you can like without triggering the system? Here it is by the numbers:

For established accounts:

  • max number of likes per hour: 60
  • max number of comments per hour: 60
  • max number of follows per hour: 60
  • max number of messages per hour: 60

For new accounts:

  • max number of likes per hour: 30
  • max number of comments per hour: 30
  • max number of follows/unfollows per hour: 30

Engaging too frequently is a great way to end up with a temporary ban. To Instagram, too many likes or interactions with posts can be seen as potential spamming and lead to a block on your account.

It’s important to keep a close eye on how and when you’re engaging as you build your account, because your best intentions could end up harming your account instead of helping it. That’s the bad news. The good news is that these temporary blocks don’t last forever (but it could be anywhere from two hours to two weeks).

If you do get blocked, there’s only one thing you can do: wait it out. It’s definitely annoying, but it’s also the only way to get your account back on track. But, if you find yourself being banned too frequently it may lead to your account being disabled, and that’s a whole different story.

Disabled or suspended accounts can happen for a variety of reasons. If your account is reported multiple times, if you break the content rules or if you are blocked frequently you may find yourself facing a more permanent punishment, and you’ll have to take certain steps to bring your account back to life…which, unfortunately, isn’t always possible.

Instagram does offer you the option of appealing the suspension, so it’s important to carefully follow the instructions you are given in order to regain your account.

The Trouble With Shadowbanning

The dreaded shadowban is another monster you have to fight when you’re promoting an adult brand on Instagram. What is shadowbanning? That’s when everything seems fine, your account is still active, you’ve received no warning, but in actuality you are blocked from showing up in other people’s feeds.

You may notice that you are seeing a big drop in account engagement, fewer likes and comments, and a lack of new followers … all because no one is seeing your content. A shadowban basically means you’ve been blocked, but you just don’t know it.

Just like blocks or bans, there are many ways to get your account shadowbanned. Here are some of the easiest ways to find yourself in the dark.

  • Using bots or other “quick growth” tools
  • Using broken or banned hashtags
  • Having your account reported
  • Posting or engaging too quickly

Fortunately, unlike a regular ban or suspension, there are ways to remedy a shadowban … as long as you are able to correct the mistake that put you in the shadows in the first place. If you suspect that you’ve been shadowbanned, it may take some time to discover the problem.

The first thing you may want to try is taking an Insta-vacation for a few days to give your account some time to clear. Doing so tells Instagram that you are not over-engaging or pinging any of their algorithms. If you employed the use of bots to grow your account, it’s important to remove them.

Another way to do your due diligence is by researching current banned or broken hashtags and removing any that appear in your posts. As a final step, take the time to review your account for any content that could potentially be reported. That doesn’t mean you have to go crazy and self-censor, but if there is a particular post that could be perceived as problematic, removing it can help lift the shadowban.

Social media is both a blessing and a curse, and when your livelihood is on the line it’s important to adhere to the rules and regulations as carefully as possible to avoid potential bans, blocks and deleted accounts.

Staying Out of the Shadows on Instagram by Brooke Powell originally appeared in XBIZ

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