Instagram can be an amazing tool for small cannabis businesses to interact with their customer base. Hashtags are commonly used to build out an audience and reach; they’re a way for users to find you but also interact with you. You may use hashtags that correlate with your business name for people looking you up, wanting to follow that tag, or use your tag with you. You may also include local hashtags to reach your local audience and popular hashtags to reach beyond your local sphere.
But have you noticed your posting schedule remaining consistent but follower count and engagement drastically falling? Your instagram account may have been shadowbanned due to your hashtags. ‘Shadowbanning’ is the act of blocking a user’s content on social media sites, in such a way that the user doesn’t know it’s happening. If your account is shadowbanned on Instagram, your content won’t appear on users’ feeds unless they already follow you.
There are over 100,000 banned hashtags on instagram. While some of these are banned forever, many are banned temporarily (so they might appear or disappear). It’s very important to keep in mind that:
- Using banned Instagram hashtags could shadowban, block or penalize your account
- Using one banned hashtag could cause all your other hashtags to not work anymore
So how do you figure out if your account has been shadowbanned? The simplest but still time-exhaustive way is accessing an Instagram account that does not follow the account in question. Next search one of the hashtags that you’ve used recently that isn’t a popular tag, like #710, and check the recent posts. Check a couple other tags, but if your posts are not in view on the Search, it’s likely your account has been shadowbanned for some reason.
How do you remove the shadowban? Well, you’re going to love this. You have to cross-reference every hashtag you’ve used with the Search to see if that tag has been banned. Even one tag being temporary banned can shadowban your account. Keep track of all of the hashtags you use to speed up this process. If Instagram has banned a tag, it’s in your business’ best interest to edit your post and remove that tag. If the hashtag is temporarily banned then you can always bring the tag back.
Even our account got hit with a shadowban last week. Posts from almost a year ago included a couple tags that Instagram has recently deemed as popular for posts that deviate from the Community Guidelines.
Our running list of cannabis-related hashtags that are permanently banned or temporarily banned is: