Low Engagement, Shadow Bans and what I did to fix it | Tessie Wallace

Hello ladies,

I’m always so appreciative of all the information you share with me, especially recently in the wake of the shadow ban controversy that swept Instagram.  Based on your feedback, I wrote The Great Shadow Ban Conspiracy where I laid out my theory that the shadow ban was most likely a dramatic interpretation of a hashtag glitch – which is quite common, unfortunately, with Instagram.

Tessie Wallace of @tessiesdw messaged me about her experience and I found it so interesting and thought it would be helpful to any of you out there that are still having issues with low engagement and shadow banning.  I asked her to write up a guest post, and she obliged.

Thank you, Tessie!


instagram shadow ban

Hi everyone!  This is Tessie from @tessiesdw to help those of you affected by the recent changes to IG that have caused shadowbans, low and slow engagement/reach, and unusually low new followers.

To start- I first noticed a change in my engagement on march 28, when I posted a photo of my son in his undies being carried out of the ocean by my husband (I have since deleted this post as I’ve heard rumors that IG is cracking down on pedophile sites and they don’t want to show a lot of skin.  I never post underwear photos and I was uncomfortable with this so I recently removed it).

Anyway, my posts are always at the same times that work for my audience and I didn’t change that. I usually range in the 185-400 likes and prior to that March 28 date, I had been getting 200-300 likes pretty steadily.  But this photo tanked and all photos after it tanked. I noticed it took several minutes for likes to even come and I was barely clearing 100 likes in a day.

instagram engagement
I used to easily clear 100 likes in 60 minutes so something seemed odd- or my photos just really sucked!   It just seemed like after 45-50 minutes, my posts would have zero or very little engagement.  This is when the shadowban hysteria was going on.  I switched tags, kept it to 29-30 and hoped things would go back to normal. They didn’t.

One time I accidentally posted the same hub twice and my photo was shadowbanned for 12 hours.  It came back up the next day after I fixed the hashtags.  I also read a long time ago that IG wants to do away with 3rd party apps that access IG accounts.  I was using Planoly and Snug to arrange my grid (not to post), and I was using InsTrack to catch new followers that I might missed while sleeping (I do not follow/unfollow- gross!)

(I also have heard from many of you that duplicating a hashtag will cause ALL of your hashtags not to show up in search ~ Amanda)

Anyway, I read another great online article that suggested that shadowbanned accounts unlink all 3rd party apps from their IG account.  So I did it.  I removed permission from all other apps that had access to my account.  Here’s how you do it: Login to IG from your computer only, click the little body icon in the upper right, click edit profile next to your username, click authorized applications on the left of the screen and remove ALL 3rd party apps.

shadow banned on instagram

I did this and posted two crappy photos at times I usually avoid because engagement is historically bad on those nights for me, and voila!  People I haven’t heard from in weeks suddenly like my photo, new followers are suddenly finding me again!   I’m not sure if this is the answer for everyone, but it seems to be helping my engagement and reach so far. Fingers crossed it helps anyone else out there with this issue!

Oh- and last thing.  I accidentally posted the same tag on my most recent photo as well, which we have to be sooo careful of!

I removed it and it’s already picking up some engagement, which was low from the double tag.

instagram shadow ban


All images on this page are copyright: Tessie Wallace

Tessie Wallace is a mom, wife, artist-blacksmith (how cool?) and a documentary-style photographer in Charleston, West Virginia.  She is also an Offset and Cavan stock image contributor.  You can follow Tessie’s work on Facebook and Instagram.  You can also check out her family’s metalworks business on Instagram at @WallaceMetalWorks and their website: Custom Hand-forged Wrought Iron in Charleson, WV.

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