If you’ve noticed your engagement decreasing all of a sudden and your followers are dropping like flies, I’m sorry to report, maybe you have become a victim of the dreaded social media shadow ban.
The shadow ban is now taking place across the big social media platforms including LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
And if it’s happened to you, you will know. You will see it and feel it in the content you are putting out there…basically because it will be like crickets.
So have you been shadow banned? Or do you feel like you might be a victim? Let me explain what it is, who it happens to and why.
It’s a massive phenomenon at the moment … and many people I know and are talking to have been hit by the shadow ban on one platform or another.
Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about it:Shadow banning (also called stealth banning, ghost banning or comment ghosting) is the act of blocking a user or their content from an online community such that the user does not realise that they have been banned.
Now we all know how important social media is to our businesses in this day and age. So a shadow ban could be detrimental to your profile and online presence, not to mention the connection, engagement and possible sales we might miss out on because of one.
The bad thing with shadow banning is that you might not even know it has happened to you – and you could even believe you’ve been a good social media poster, abiding by all the rules and simply trying to grow your following.
That’s why it’s called “shadow banning” because it done in secret.
This could be completely true, however, you might accidentally be doing some things that warrant the social media platforms’ shadow ban.
Ok, so let’s talk about what a shadow ban is exactly.
What is a shadow ban on social media?
Shadow banning is a mannerin which social media platform stop spam from happening, which is perfectly fine.
It’s used to stop spammers, keep feeds clean and their customers happy.
The different platform will have different ideals and elements of what’s included as part of a shadow ban but generally it’s a softer approach to giving you a warning that you’re not playing by their rules, rather than just banning you completely.
Facebook has been open with their bans in that past if you have been spammy by messaging too many people or liking too many accounts too quickly.
Sadly, you probably won’t know you’ve been shadow banned, especially if you don’t know what it is and are only researching it for the first time now.
You will keep going about your business and posting and it’s not until you notice your reach has gone down, your likes, comments and shares are also down and you’re not getting new followers that you’ll think “what the heck is going on here?!”.
Mostly you will find the shadow ban is temporary and not for very long, but some social media sites like Reddit will ban you for good.
Basically in a nutshell, you will become invisible to new prospects and followers, especially in the hashtag feeds. You will still be seen by your current followers, which is why you will still get some engagement.
Who does it happen to?
Anyone! It can happen to you if you are being naughty or nice on social media, meaning if you are playing by the rules if can happen to legit accounts and if you are abusing the platform if can happening to you as well.
It’s important to note here that it’s not a deliberate attempt by the social media platform to stop your posts from being seen and found, it’s not personal. It is a project they are all working on to make sure they provide the best experience for their users and people looking at your content.
So please don’t take it personally. It can be an easy mistake and that’s why it’s important for me to share this information with you.
Are you wondering if it’s happened to you?
Check your engagement levels, if they are down and you haven’t been getting as many likes, comments, shares and new followers, there’s a good chance it’s happened.
So there’s a very easy test you can do to find out if you have been “shadow banned”. Ask a few people who don’t follow you to see if they can find your account and if they can see your post in the hashtag feed.
What you might have done to get shadow banned. Here are some simple answers.
- You might has been going a bit crazy with liking and commenting. The social media platforms will warn you if you are going too fast or are doing something that feels like a bot to them.
- You have had done a mass unfollowing or following. You know the phrase follow unfollow?
- Your account may been reported to the social media platform in question because it was too spammy and not genuine.
- You may have used a bot to help you get followers quickly or you may have bought followers.
- You could have used a hashtag that’s been banned.
There are plenty of things you might have done without realising that it was a bad move and now you are shadow banned.
How to make sure it doesn’t happen to you
If you are being sensible and doing all the right things, a shadow ban won’t affect you and it doesn’t have to mean the end of your profile and presence. If you have been shadow banned, now you know what not to do!
The number one rule is to always share good content … responsibly.
Another area most people don’t look at is the terms and conditions of the social media platforms. It would be a good idea to run your eye over these to see what you are “allowed” to do. Let’s take a look at the things you can do on social media to avoid being shadow banned.
First and foremost, play by the rules.
- Share amazing content – rule number one. Always share amazing content! Have a plan in place so you always know what your next steps are and what content you need to produce.
- Don’t always use the same hashtags – many people don’t know this but you need to mix up your hashtags. You can use the same hashtags if you have specifics ones, but don’t cut and paste the same ones into every posts, use different ones so people and the social media platforms know you are legit.
- Don’t use banned hashtags – how do you know what banned hashtags are? Thing quite vulgar and inappropriate … I’m pretty sure you won’t be using these anyway, but a quick google search will help you understand what they are.
- Don’t buy followers – no explanation needed.
- Only share valuable content – be real and share the information your people want to hear from you. The content that helps them and they find useful is what you need to remember when it comes to sharing only valuable words and messages.
- Avoid being spammy – some automation apps and bots can do this even if you don’t mean to. So be careful if you are using these.
If you do get shadow banned there are few things you can do.
- If you notice your engagement has decreased on your posts and stories, you can get in touch with the social platform to let them know and ask if you have done something wrong. Remember this happens to people who have been being sensible and haven’t considered that they have done anything wrong.
- Stop using hashtags for a few days. Typically a shadow ban will last a few days to a week – maybe longer. Fingers crossed.
- Take a break from posting … You could turn off your account for a few days to a week to give it a rest.
- Do a test on your hashtags and remove the banned hashtags from your group of hashtags, content and even old posts.
If you are unsure of the shadow ban and don’t want it to happen to you, please reach out. If you particularly want to know if it’s happened on LinkedIn, I have a live training where I will be going over this and the changes to LinkedIn in more detail on Nov 27th, 2018, from 7pm AEST. Here’s your link to join us.<link on words><<CLICK HERE TO REGISTER NOW>>
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