Ever since Instagram has been around, there have been rumours and myths doing their rounds as well. In this blog post, I want to clear up the top 3 myths that I keep hearing on Instagram and you'll find out whether they are true or not.
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1) "Instagram doesn't show my content to anyone" aka the shadowban:
If today is the first time you hear the word "shadowban", let me quickly explain what we mean.
Shadowban = Instagram (and Facebook as well for that matter) artificially keep your reach and views down so that the only way to generate reach and get more eyes onto your business is by buying paid ads on these platforms.
People who believe that the shadowban exists believe that their content is not shown to their followers or new people on purpose.
I totally understand why you would believe that. If you have a rather small account and you aren't posting consistently, then you simply won't have crazy reach. That's just how it is. In addition to that, you might not completely understand how the algorithms work or how Instagram as a platform works, and if that is paired with the fact that you rely on Instagram to market your business, then this can quite quickly become very frustrating for you. That in turn means that you will look for someone else to blame this on.
Let's talk about the facts:
Instagram has explained many times that the shadowban in this form doesn't exist.
If you think about it, it also doesn't really make sense, right? They live from the organic content that people post on their platform, so why should they (apart from the obvious monetary reasons) encourage people THAT much to only focus on ads? That would lead to an Instagram that is just filled with ads and basically no or only very limited organic content. Would you buy a magazine that only consists of ads? I certainly wouldn't.
The only time when Instagram actually limits your reach is when you violate their community guidelines. If you post content about violence, racism, nudity, or something along those lines, yes, then they will limit your reach.
Checking your account status:
There is a convenient way to check if you have violated any community guidelines: Open your Instagram app & go to your profile. Click on the 3 lines at the top right corner, go to settings and then account. There you will find a part called "Account Status". If you don't have any violations against the community guidelines listed in that part of the Instagram app, then you're good to go.
And if that's the case and your reach is low then it might be time to have a look at your strategy or ask a professional for help to get your reach back up or establish some in the first place (Hi there! :D).
The final verdict: The shadowban in this form doesn't exist.
2) "Instagram only shows your content to exactly 7% of your followers":
This rumor has been around since 2019. Instagram has explained many times that the reason why not all of your followers see every piece of content is a different one:
"What shows up first in your feed is determined by what posts and accounts you engage with the most as well as other contributing factors such as the timeliness of posts, how often you use Instagram, how many people you follow etc."
So if your followers don't see all of your posts it simply means that your content is competing with A LOT of other content.
Despite that, Instagram & Facebook are still great ways to market your services because they are free to use.
The final verdict: Nope. Instagram doesn't deliberately show your content to exactly 7% of your followers. There are other reasons behind your low reach.
2 tips on how to get your posts seen by more people:
1) Engage with your followers:
This sends a signal to the algorithm that you want to see their content and that they should see yours. After all, the algorithm favours relationships.
2) Don't post too often aka multiple times a day:
In the last few months, I have heard this advice pop up SO OFTEN. Fact is: you don't need to post multiple times a day to see good growth on Instagram. It's simply not true.
Quality always trumps quantity! In addition to that, Instagram mentioned a while ago that they were not going to show every single post to all of your followers because they want to keep it interesting for people. Imagine if you opened the app and only saw posts of one single person. You would probably be bored and leave.
To sum up the algorithm/app-related myths, here are some tips on how to avoid falling for misinformation:
1) Follow credible sources:
These are some of the accounts that I like to follow that I know use credible sources (because sometimes, they ARE the source):
@instagramforbusiness: Instagram for Business
@instagram: The official Instagram account
@creators: The official IG account for IG creators
@mosseri: Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram
2) Don't follow accounts that post click-baity posts about news:
Some self-proclaimed "Instagram gurus" pride themselves on being the first ones to report groundbreaking news on updates & new features. While it's great that they inform their followers, it is very unlikely that they already had the time to test out a new feature and give an accurate recommendation on how to use it effectively.
3) If you have doubts about certain information, ask the person who posted about it about their sources:
This should clear up pretty quickly if the original poster used credible sources or has just made recommendations based on their opinion.
4) Dare to think a step further:
Sometimes, new information is made very easy to believe but you should always use your common sense and dare to think about information in a critical way. Can this information be true? Have they tested this? Where does this information come from? What kind of study was used to measure this outcome? etc.
3) "I can only start marketing on social media when my business is established":
This last myth is quite widespread among entrepreneurs and I think it requires a little bit of a mindset shift. You might think you can only invest in social media marketing once your business is already established, you have multiple clients, and you have a steady 5K income.
But that's not true. The whole point of marketing is to generate more leads, increase your brand awareness, and help you sell more of your products/services!
Obviously, if you are just starting out, you might not be able to invest in a full-time Social Media Manager which is totally fine, but what you can do is learn how to do social media marketing more effectively yourself. This is something that I work on with my students in our coaching sessions.
In the end, the faster and better your social media pages grow, the more likely you are to get more clients! So instead of being stuck having a small account and not a lot of consistent clients, invest in your social media presence early and you'll find new clients with ease. Or maybe you'll even have to turn some of them away because you are fully booked - the dream!
The final verdict: Nope, you don't have to wait to be an established business to start marketing on social media. Actually, the sooner you start the better!
I would love to be the one to help you with this! If you are interested in finding out more about my services, click here.