Has your engagement and growth on Instagram declined over the past few months? Just like thousands of other brands and influencers, you might have fallen victim to the hashtag restriction that’s automatically filtering posts, having a strong effect on users with small followings.

The shadow ban, as the internet calls it, has left some influencers and brands at a practical standstill with their engagement and growth. And as if to add salt to the cyber wound, over six million Instagram users were also hacked just recently.

Instagram hasn’t officially acknowledged the shadow ban as a real thing. Without guidelines and notifications, users everywhere are left without a clue as to if or when the shadow ban will befall them.

What You Need To Know About The Shadow Ban

Just this year, there have been been rumors going around that Instagram is filtering some hashtags and preventing them from being seen, without apparent rhyme or reason.

The internet calls this kind of phenomenon, where people are banned in some way without being told, a shadow ban. And this restriction has left thousands of brands and influencers with a significant decline in engagement and growth.

It’s believed that Instagram is underhandedly filtering out posts that use specific hashtags from being seen by most of the community.

When a user uploads a photo and adds a seemingly-innocent hashtag in their caption, everything would seem normal on their end. A shadow-banned user can still find their posts in the gallery by running a search on the discover tab using any of the hashtags in their caption, and their followers can see it too.

But after that, things begin to look weird.

When any other random user searches for that hashtag, the post won’t show up. The post gets automatically filtered from their hashtag searches, which robs brands of the ability to be discovered and grow.

While the user who publishes the post and their followers can see it in the gallery, people who don’t follow that person can’t see it.

To this day, Instagram hasn’t officially acknowledged shadow banning. Back in February of this year, Instagram issued a vague statement that addressed the concerns expressed by some users regarding their missing posts. The statement did not directly address shadow banning and instead reminded users to adhere to guidelines and policies to avoid running into any problems within the platform.

Image credit: Female Creatives Association

How Does the Shadow Ban Affect You?

In case it wasn’t obvious enough, Instagram’s shadow ban can kill your engagement and growth potential faster than you can take a selfie.

Instagram is home to over 700 million active monthly users, making it a diverse online community with unlimited marketing potential — in theory. The current restriction is preventing brands and influencers from connecting with the community Instagram has successfully built, instead only showing their posts to people who already follow them.

As if standing out on a highly saturated platform like Instagram isn’t hard enough, you also have to worry about using the wrong hashtag and being at risk of shadow banning. This would seem to make it pretty hard to get your posts in front of new eyes and grow your audience.

It seems Instagramers can’t catch a break these days.

Below you can see a post of a photographer who’s been victimized by the shadow ban on Instagram. If you look at it closely, you’ll see that there’s nothing offensive about the post nor its caption — but it got banned anyway.

Image credit: PetaPixel

When someone other than the user runs a search on any of the hashtags, it’s obvious that the post has been filtered out of the results and won’t show up in the gallery.

If a shadow ban can befall a cute, innocent proposal photo, it can happen to you, too.

Have I Been Affected By The Shadow Ban?

If you’re noticing a significant drop in your engagement the past few months, you’ve most likely been affected by the shadow ban.

The only way to know for sure is by conducting a hashtag test. For this, you need your brand account and another one that’s never had an interaction with your profile.

Using your account, post a photo and add one or more of your underused hashtags in the caption. Publish it and run a search in the Discover tab using the hashtag you used.

You should be able to see the post under the Most Recent tab.

Now, take the other Instagram account and search for the same hashtag. If you can find your post using the other account, you haven’t been banned. At least for that hashtag, for now.

But if you can’t find your post in the Most Recent tab, you’ve most likely been shadow banned.

Image credit: LGBTQ Nation

Why Did I Get Banned?

Instagram hasn’t officially acknowledged the shadow ban, which isn’t helping users avoid it.

Based on Instagram’s last statement regarding the matter, influencers and brands deduced that adhering to the policies and guidelines is the safest way to avoid the restriction. But this doesn’t help anyone who thought they were already doing all the right things.

There are a few particular moves that could get you shadowbanned on Instagram and we’ve enumerated a few of them below.

Using a Banned or Broken Hashtag

Instagram has banned some hashtags to prevent users from uploading and sharing what they deem to be offensive or explicit content, though this list has changed over time. Some of these are understandable, related to porn and racism, but others are a bit weird. #Armparty and #desk were banned, really?

Using any of the currently banned hashtags in your caption might increase your chances of getting shadowbanned in general, and will definitely make those particular posts impossible to find.

Some hashtags that are/have been banned. Image credit: The Data Pack

Mass Following or Unfollowing Spree

Instagram limits the amount of engagement and actions you can take per hour to prevent people from spamming other users. Following, unfollowing, and engaging with people rapidly on a massive scale may lead Instagram HQ to think you’re a spambot wreaking havoc on their platform. This could get you shadow banned or your account temporarily restricted.

Someone Reported You

There’s no telling who you’ll piss off on the internet so it’s best to be careful with your interactions. If someone reports you, HQ may pose restrictions on your account for violating community guidelines.

You Used a Hashtag Way Too Much

Using the same set of hashtags on all of your posts can make you appear spammy and may force Instagram to pose restrictions on your account, which may include shadow banning your posts.

When using hashtags, try to switch things up with every post so you can cover more ground, it’ll be a lot better for your engagement anyway.

Grow Your Following

The shadow ban definitely seems to be real, whether Instagram admits it or not, and it’s affecting thousands of users as we speak. It may be some kind of error in the hashtag search algorithm, a problem Instagram has mentioned, but the effects on the user are the same as a ban.

While there’s no way to beat this restrictive monster from deterring your growth with absolute certainty, there are few things you can do to circumvent its adverse effects on your engagement.

One way to beat the shadow ban is by growing your following so more people can see your posts, creating a better chance to have them shared around. This way, a significant number of users can still see your posts even if you fall prey to the shadow ban.

Easier said than done, right? Well, not exactly.

Attracting more followers becomes so much easier if you have impressive social proof online. One way to boost your credibility on Instagram without overly exhausting all of your marketing resources is by purchasing a few thousand Instagram Followers and Likes from a reputable provider.

A high-quality Instagram follower.

This increased attention to your account will draw in more users naturally, because they’ll want to see why you’re so popular. Once you attract more organic followers, you can focus on your engagement. The better your engagement is with your followers, the more visible your posts will be overall.

When purchasing Followers, only buy from a reputable provider. The top providers featured on our list are fully tested and reviewed, and guaranteed to give you the most value for your money without putting your name or credibility on the line.

Focus & Regroup

Shadow banning and other surprise algorithm changes have made Instagram marketing even more challenging than it already was.

If you’ve been affected by the shadow ban, the best thing to do right now is to regroup and rethink your strategy. Focus on building a significant relationship with your followers so your posts will be more visible to them and more likely to be shared.

While you’re improving your engagement, you should also work on your credibility by buying an impressive number of Followers from a reputable provider. Make sure not to buy hundreds of thousands at once, so they come in at a somewhat gradual pace.

By buying an impressive number of followers, you’re making yourself seem more credible and relevant in the eyes of organic users.

The shadow ban may make Instagram marketing even more challenging but you can overcome it. You just need to understand the new landscape to conquer Instagram once again.

Social media networks are vital tools for companies looking to promote their businesses online. Most of these platforms are free to use and their paid advertising features can expand the reach of businesses. But just because you have access to all of these networks, should you be on every single one?

How does a business choose and devote their time and resources to those social media outlets that will be mostly beneficial to them? If you do your homework you can save hours, cash, and eliminate unnecessary tasks by focusing on the platforms that will give you the best direct ROI.

We’ve profiled a few of the biggest social media platforms to help you see which will be best for your business. Which one is right for you?

Twitter

Twitter is meant for short updates, to which you can add images, videos, links, and polls. It’s easy to interact with other users all around the world. The platform has 328 million monthly active users worldwide and supports over 40 languages, which means it’s a great way to market your business because of its wide reach.

You can also use it as an effective channel for customer service. Your customers can use Twitter to share their concerns and praises for your brand, and you can reply right back for everyone to see.

If you want to announce something that you want to spread quickly, then this is the way to go. Others can easily retweet and share your content. Your target audience should range between 18-49 years old, because those are the ages we usually see on this platform. Experts, however, are predicting the eventual decline of Twitter, so if you’re using this platform alone don’t forget to innovate on your strategies.

Tips and tricks for Twitter

  1. Focus on social customer service: Make it easier for your customers to contact you. Some brands even have a separate Twitter handle specifically for customer service.
  2. Use videos and GIFS to promote your products: If you are releasing a new product, catch the attention of your customers with creative videos and GIFS.
  3. Increase engagement with Twitter Chat: You can host a weekly chat or do a collaborative chat with an influencer. Or invite experts to respond to as many questions from your followers as they can.
  4. Buy Followers to boost your social proof: Did you know that you can quickly improve your rep on Twitter by purchasing Followers and other social signals? Just be sure to go with a reputable provider who can offer high-quality Followers.

One of the best brands on Twitter to learn from is DiGiorno Pizza. They are also known to be one of the funniest brands to follow. Even back during 2013, when NBC showed the Sound of Music LIVE, DiGiorno Pizza tweeted a Sound of Music-related tweet that caught tons of attention. It was hilarious but it was also a great example of how you can talk about your product without hard selling it.

Instagram

Instagram is the most visual social media platform, based entirely on photo and video posts. With over 600 million users, it’s no doubt that Instagram has great reach.

It also has unique filters and video editing options which cater mostly to the artistic niche. If your brand is focused on beautiful images and videos this can be your main brand building tool.

However, with their latest algorithm change, you can no longer view content in chronological order. This gives less control to companies as they don’t know how the consumers will be exposed to their content. Feelings about this change have been mixed, but overall it doesn’t seem to be the end of the world.

Instagram is becoming one of the most popular social media tools with the younger folks, with a primary user base of people 18-29 years old. You can communicate with them effectively by writing good captions explaining your image, and taking advantage of the multi-photo and Instagram Stories features.

Tips and tricks for Instagram

  1. Always relate your posts to your brand: If your business has nothing to do with a topic, don’t post about it. It will ruin your branding and will confuse your followers. Make sure your photos are relevant to your company.
  2. Reply to your followers: When your followers take the time to comment, make it a point to reply back. Interacting with them shows that you care about them and you listen to them. This is a great way to create loyal fans.
  3. Run contests and giveaways: Contests allow your customers to market your brand by encouraging them share stuff about you on their personal social media accounts.

One of the best brands to follow and learn from on Instagram is Califia Farms. Most of their posts feature their containers creatively displayed either as the main subject of the photo or as an accessory. Overall, their whole Instagram account exudes the healthy lifestyle persona of their brand, matching it perfectly.

Image credit: Califia Farms on Instagram

Pinterest

If your business is mostly focused on females, Pinterest might be your best choice. Astoundingly, it has managed to capture 45% of all women online, so if you want to sell to women you should probably have a presence here.

Just like Instagram, this social media network is mostly visual. If your business is in home decor, art, fashion, DIY, beauty, photography, exercise, or food, you can benefit well from this platform.

It allows users to save and display content they like by “pinning” it on their digital bulletin boards. They can then organize it by category. For example, a foodie can create a food board dedicated to pinning recipes.

Pinterest has a buy button which aids businesses, letting customers make purchases with a click of a button. They also have a feature called Rich Pins, where brands can add special information like product details, recipe information, and location details.

Compared to Twitter and Instagram, however, Pinterest is more of a niche network so it may not work for every business. That’s not to say that if your business doesn’t fall into the categories mentioned above you’ll automatically fail on Pinterest, but it is an especially good marketing tool for those niches and similar ones.

Tips and tricks for Pinterest

  1. Add a Pinterest Board widget to your business website: When visitors come to your website, they’ll know you are active on Pinterest and it may lead them to your Pinterest Boards.
  2. Add the “Pin It” button to your website: This will allow Pinterest users, followers and non-followers alike, to pin your content to their digital bulletin boards directly from your website. This makes it easier to share your site content.
  3. Create gift guides: You can turn pinboards into custom-themed gift guides. You can include your own products as well as other brands, so it doesn’t look like a big sell out.

The Container Store, for example, is serious about their Pinterest account. They create custom content for the many boards they curate, and organize them efficiently into different categories. Their boards are wonderful examples of how to use Pinterest effectively, and you can learn a lot from them.

Image credit: Pinterest

Choose Just One or Choose All

Staying ahead in the social media game can be difficult but it will reap big rewards for your business. Figuring out where your company fits and investing in the right two to three platforms will yield the best results compared to trying to capitalize on every single platform.

It’s important to take some time and carefully choose the social platform that works best for your business so you don’t waste time and effort. Save more time and maximize your reach by using the appropriate social media tools along with their respective platforms. And remember that you can buy Followers for your accounts to improve your social proof, boosting your reputation and credibility online.

If you want to create a successful social media strategy for your business, you should take a close look at how each of the platforms work, the kind of markets they reach, and how your business can plan to use it.

Image credit: Giphy

Instagram Stories are one of the biggest things that have hit the social media scene in a while. How big? Well, just within its first two months alone, Instagram Stories are already averaging over 100 million daily users.

100 MILLION USERS.

We’ll just let that sink in.

This tells us that Instagram Stories may soon become one of the most lucrative platforms for social media advertising. Knowing how to create a unique Instagram Story for your business today will help you become more visible and recognizable to potentially over 100 million active users – daily.

If this sounds like a prime marketing opportunity you can’t afford to pass up on, listen up because today we will be teaching you how can use Instagram Stories to improve your campaign.

Give Followers a Raw Insider Look

Internet users are constantly being bombarded with ad after ad from almost every social media platform. Giving them a raw, inside look at your daily operations will help you position yourself as a more personable, less intrusive brand that isn’t out to make every post a marketing ploy.

Union Fare is a well-known restaurant in New York that uses Instagram Stories to give their patrons an informal glimpse of their daily business.

Image credit: Social Media Examiner

The images they use don’t look professionally edited but it doesn’t take away from their appetizing appeal. Add to that their informal way of captioning each image and you have a recipe for a more approachable, less “advertise-y” Instagram Story.

The best thing about these raw images is that they are not at all hard to recreate. Armed with your camera phone, you can snap away and share a day in the life of your brand in just a few swipes.

Make Editorials More Fun and Interactive

Instagram Stories follow a linear format that let you go on to the next image or post with a mere tap of the screen. This tapping format allows brands like you to highlight your advertorials in a fun and interactive way.

J.Crew is a brand who knows how to experiment with Instagram Stories. They use fun, bright and downright engaging images that make each story a welcome addition to anyone’s feed.

Image credit: J.Crew Instagram

Don’t be afraid to experiment with an Instagram Story – after all, they delete themselves after 24 hours.

Create Mini-Tutorials and Articles

Using Instagram Stories for your mini-tutorials and articles can help you put out valuable content for your existing and soon-to-be customers. We are seeing a lot of brands use Instagram Stories to publish visual versions of existing blog posts from their website which aim to help their followers along in their buyer’s journey.

Real Simple is a lifestyle magazine who consistently puts up engaging and informative infographics on their Instagram Stories

Image credit: Social Media Examiner

Most of the infographics and mini-tutorials they publish are digested versions of existing blogs on their website – that’s why followers who are interested in learning more are directed to their website for the complete tutorial.

Do the same by giving old blog posts a whole new look through Instagram Stories.

Showcase Testimonials from Loyal Customers

The dawn of social media may have changed the marketing game tremendously but one thing is still for certain – word-of-mouth marketing is still the best way to earn a consumer’s trust.

There’s no better place to showcase exceptional customer experiences than on your Stories. You can ask your customers to record themselves while talking about the stellar experience they had with you, or anything else you can imagine.

Because anything uploaded to your Stories is automatically deleted after 24 hours, you can upload testimonials more regularly than you would elsewhere.

Collecting amazing testimonials from customers for your Stories is a great way to strengthen your reputation and social proof on Instagram. Pairing exceptional testimonials from your customers with a few thousand high-quality bought followers from a reputable provider will definitely help you skyrocket to Instagram fame without exhausting all of your marketing energy and resources.

That’s right, you can actually buy Instagram Followers and other signals of engagement to strengthen your social proof. Check out our reviews to see how different companies stack up, and find the one that’s right for you. We put each provider to the test to make sure they provide you with nothing but exceptional services – from start to finish.

Drive Attention to Brand Announcements

Instagram Stories are strategically positioned on the top portion of the screen, which makes them really hard to miss. This makes it the perfect place to make big brand announcements.

With an average of 100 million daily active users, Instagram Stories will definitely help you reach more followers with your announcements.

Ben & Jerry’s is a popular ice cream brand who uses Instagram Stories to share their big news and announcements – like some new ice cream flavors!

Image credit: Hootsuite Blog

Come up With a Fun Listicle

We’ll say it here and we’ll say it now: listicles were made for Instagram Stories. Instagram Stories’ linear and clickable format marries so well with the bite-size nuggets of information that come with every listicle.

More and more brands are bringing listicles off their websites and into Instagram Stories. The National Geographic fills their daily Instagram Stories with mesmerizing listicles that keep their followers engaged.

Image credit: Hootsuite Blog

Using stunning images they’re able to keep everyone tuned into their stories. Recreate their success by coming up with fun, stunning and relevant listicles to your followers!

Deliver a Strong CTA

Strong CTAs are a vital component of your digital marketing campaign that drives buying behavior. Simply put, CTAs are what turn followers into paying customers.

Using Instagram Stories to deliver a powerful Call-to-Action can help you drive your audience to where you need them to be through stunning images and videos.

Image credit: Hootsuite Blog

The North Face is an outdoor company who knows how to deliver a compelling CTA through Instagram Stories. For Valentine’s Day, they crafted a simple yet evoking Call-to-Action that can make anyone want to purchase a bag best suited for their… er, relationship status.

Failing to take advantage of Instagram Stories to drive your followers to where you need them to be is a digital marketing mistake nobody can afford.

Do a Live Broadcast

Live broadcasts are a great way to connect with your audience during a pivotal moment as it unfolds – in real time. What makes Live broadcasts so powerful is the fact that Instagram sends out notifications to all your followers once you go live, making it a lot easier for them to tune in.

Image credit: Simply Measured

NBC covered the recently concluded Rio Olympics like a champ by taking advantage of the live broadcast. To take things up a notch, they used Instagram Stories to announce that they are also going live on Facebook via Ryan Seacrest’s page.

Talk about a “social-ception.”

If you want to take advantage of Instagram’s live broadcast yourself, consider hosting a Q&A session with your followers. They can send in their questions through the comments and you can answer them in real time.

Give Your Followers a Special Offer

Giving exclusive offers and deals through Instagram Stories is one way to incentivize your loyal followers. Doing so will encourage them to keep an eye out on your stories so as not to miss out on amazing deals – encourage some FOMO!

Did you happen to see J.Crew’s fun and very pink Instagram Story about their latest sunglasses? Their eye-catching Instagram Story rewarded those who tuned in by giving them first dibs on the first 50 pairs – exclusively through Instagram.

Image credit: Hootsuite Blog

People love exclusive deals. Use Instagram Stories to give your followers an offer they can’t refuse.

Stay Visible by Telling a Story – an Instagram Story

Instagram Stories make it a lot easier for brands – both big and small – to become more visible to a lot more users.

If you want to make sure you remain visible among your viewers, bump up your interaction with them by putting the comment section to good use. Hosting live Q&As and other community events are a great way to attract an immense amount of comments from followers for maximum engagement.

While you’re working on your Instagram Stories, consider purchasing high-quality Instagram Followers and other social signals from a reputable provider. This way, you are strengthening your social proof on the platform while hacking visibility through Instagram Stories.

By strengthening your social proof, you are attracting more followers – which can result in a wider audience for your daily stories. A win-win strategy, if you ask us.

Social media has become the platform of choice for businesses looking to market their products and services.

There are now 3 billion internet users, and 2 billion of them have active social media accounts. Social media platforms have become the new marketing giants, offering unique ways for businesses to reach out to their customers and providing valuable customer data.

Social media marketing for your business is no longer a choice, it’s practically essential for business success. But how do you succeed in such a competitive arena? It’s a complicated process, but you can speed it up by purchasing followers for your different social media platforms.

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When it comes to buying social media followers, there’s a right and a wrong way of doing it. Not all bought followers are the same, and the same can be said of the companies that provide them.

You don’t just buy from the first company that says “buy followers from us, we’re the best.” You wouldn’t buy the first shirt you see on the rack, would you? You would try for a fit until you find the one that fits you best.

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Change is the only constant in this life and it’s ever more evident in an industry where everything keeps evolving.

This 2017, experts are anticipating emerging technologies and user-based trends in social media, and how they are likely to play out – especially for smaller companies, who are more likely to be buffeted around by changes in the wind.

We’ve compiled three of the most important, powerful trends that could very well impact the future of your brand, along with the reasons why you need to pay attention to them.

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The new year has dawned and marketers are busy at the drawing board, designing new strategies to be more successful in 2017 than ever before.

According to a study performed by Pew Research Center, internet usage has shot up tremendously in the past decade. People are spending more and more time in front of their computers and mobile devices, and that means digital marketing is where it’s at.

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Instagram has a lot of of potential for organic engagement – people just love to like and comment on pictures.

These high engagement rates make this a great platform for businesses looking to attract a wider audience – and potential customers. If you want to kickstart your social presence by buying Instagram followers, then you should kick the tires of any service you want to use, before you commit.

The best way to do this is with free trials, which let you see how effective an Instagram follower provider can be without paying anything. Money-back guarantees are a great feature as well, and can be almost as valuable.

We’ve gathered together 7 of the best companies that offer free trials of their follower service, and 5 with the best money back guarantees. Which one is right for you?

free-stuff-1

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So you want to become Instagram famous, but you don’t have the time (or patience, tbh) to nurture that organic growth? Well, lucky you!

There are a variety of providers who can help speed up that tedious process for you. Many of the biggest names and brands actually buy followers to jump start their online presence. This is one of the oldest tricks in the book, but not a lot of people talk about it.

Social media boosting services don’t get a lot of attention, leaving potential customers in the dark. They have no other choice but to go with their gut – which normally points them to the cheapest option available.

If you’re thinking about purchasing likes for the first time, you should know that there are hundreds upon hundreds of providers out there and they ALL claim to provide high quality followers – but that’s not always the case. Just as there are many different providers out there, there are also many different types of followers being sold today.

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When you get on Instagram, either for your personal use or for your business, naturally, you want to be the greatest. To achieve greatness on Instagram, you need to buy followers and likes, pay for sponsored posts or pay influencers to promote your content. If you are on a shoe-string budget, this can be disheartening. But it need not be so. You can grow your Instagram account without paying for any services.

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