Ok, so I’m not 100% sure I was “shadowbanned” from Instagram, but for the past 4 days or so my engagement levels have been WAY down. My posts from two weeks ago showed over 2K people had discovered me through hashtags alone, while my more recent posts show a measly TWENTY people have seen my posts via hashtags. This does not compute.
Let’s get to the basics…What is a shadowban? To put it simply, It’s when your posts are not able to be seen through hashtags, therefore not allowing new people to find you and decreasing your overall engagement levels. Instagram will do this for a few reasons: they think you’re using bots or are bot, you’re using a shadowbanned hashtag (there is a whole list of them here), or you keep using the same hashtags and posting at the same time every day making you look “spammy.” I do use the same hashtags all the time (I mean, we’re in WINE, how many hashtags can one come up with)? BUT, I can assure you, I’m not doing any shady business.
It would come as no surprise that the “wine influencer” in me would have a minor freak out. “I could lose potential partnerships,” “I’m not connecting with my audience anymore,” “I’m no longer interesting or relevant.” I started doubting my purpose and why I have my page.
Doubt is a scary thing, isn’t it? You work so hard towards something for so long, and one minor glitch can have you thinking about changing your entire path. You start feeling less than and start comparing yourself to others again. Those negative thoughts had been building up for a few days, and I knew I had to do something about it. Instead of doing hours of research on how to beat the dreaded Instagram algorithm and why this was happening to me, I decided to do what Queen Elsa would do… “LET IT GO.”
Here are 5 things you can do if you’re a wine blogger shadowbanned from Instagram:
1. Go for a run. You don’t have any comments to respond to so you may as well get moving…literally. I got my butt outside and busted out a 5K. We’re all drinking so much wine and doing these indulgent pairings, so getting our exercise in is quite essential.
2. Hang out with your “Day 1’s.” Not to say wine friends aren’t real friends, but in this world of wine blogging it’s easy to get caught up in endless tastings, winery visits and networking events. Sometimes your friends get put on the back-burner, and that’s not cool. I spent all of Sunday hanging out with my “Queens crew” and their cute babies. It felt amazing to spend time with the people who’ve had my back before blogging was ever “a thing.”
3. Drink some beers. Or anything else. Since there’s no point of posting anything, use this time to throw back a tasty brew or maybe a cider, perhaps? I went to a kick-ass brewery in Long Island City where I drank tropical-tasting hoppy beers to my heart’s content. They also had a few wines from Seneca Lake on the menu, but you wouldn’t know that because…shadowban.
4. READ. Maybe you’re studying for the WSET like me, or maybe you’re not. Either way we should ALL be reading about wine to get a deeper understanding of what we’re talking about. Make flash cards, highlight key points and start memorizing. It’s amazing what I achieved without notifications popping up on my phone every two seconds.
5. BE IN THE MOMENT! There was something so incredibly freeing about no one seeing my posts/engaging with me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m ready for the “ban” to end but it was really nice to just give my FULL attention to everything else I was doing.