There are certain aspects of social media for SEO that differ greatly from social media for content marketing – and one approach does not necessarily meet the demands of the other. Many businesses create content to comply with both strategies. Regardless of your approach to and purpose of using social media for business, you need to understand and avoid the risks of shadowbanning.
Have you been shadowbanned?
- You notice a sudden significant drop in engagement
- The functionality of the social platform has suddenly changed – just for you
- Your username or hashtag no longer appears in search
What is Shadow Banning?
Shadowbanning has been in place since social media was born in 2006. It occurs when a social media user’s account is disconnected, blacklisted, or blocked by the platform in such a way that the user remains unaware that it has happened. If this occurs, your content will only appear on the feeds of your active followers (and sometimes not even there), reducing your visibility on the social platform – yet you will be none-the-wiser.
Several social platforms have implemented shadowbanning, including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok, LinkedIn, and Reddit, among others.
Why might a profile be shadowbanned?
- Use of banned or broken hashtags
- Use of bots that violate the terms and conditions of the platform
- The account has been reported for violations
- Activity surges suggest fraudulent activity
- Post limit abuses
- Posting low-quality content
- Spreading misinformation
For example, Instagram has an allotment and limit on hourly and daily action – and few people are aware of this. It incorporates factors including the number of accounts you follow or unfollow and the number of post likes and comments you make. Exceeding these limits may incur a shadowban.
Why is Shadowbanning a Problem?
There are four main types of shadowban:
- A decrease in follower engagement
- Blocking of likes, replies, or other features
- A hashtag or username being hidden from search suggestions
- A temporary ban which later reverts to normal visibility
The consequences of being shadowbanned can be dire:
- Followers are lost
- Engagement plummets
- Posts disappear from hashtag searches
- Search engine ranks fall or disappear
As mentioned above, shadowbanning results in a loss of followers, diminished engagement, and reduced visibility on your chosen social platform. This can have an enormously detrimental impact on a business in terms of online visibility, marketing activities, and its SEO campaign.
Twitter looks at whether or not you may be using its platform in “bad faith” to determine whether it will enforce a shadowban. The factors it looks at include:
- How recently your account was created
- If you have confirmed your email address
- If you have uploaded a profile picture/image
- Who you follow
- Who and what you retweet
- How often you are followed, retweeted, muted or blocked – and by whom
To avoid a Twitter shadowban:
- Upload a profile picture and confirm your genuine email address
- Do not spam
- Don’t over-promote and post too much content
- Do not engage in online arguments
- Do not post confrontational content or comments
- Do not troll other users/accounts
The Instagram algorithm may also hide your posts. Prevent this from happening:
- Do not use banned hashtags
- Do not spam similar (or too many) hashtags on your posts
- Do not post inappropriate content
- Do not harass other users
- Do not buy followers
- Don’t follow and unfollow a lot of accounts frequently
- Avoid services and bots from non-official Instagram partners
If you contravene Facebook’s community standards, you may be blacklisted on the platform. The main way to avoid this is to never share links to information that is misleading or fake, or from clickbait websites.
Whichever social media platform/s you use for business, from Facebook to Instagram to TikTok, comply at all times with their terms and conditions and follow their best practices. For every social platform:
- Always be polite and respectful, and professional when using social media for business
- Comply with its terms of service
- Never spam
- Never troll
- Do not post inappropriate or confrontational content or commentary
- Don’t use prohibited hashtags
- Don’t use irrelevant hashtags
- Don’t post too many hashtags
- Don’t post copy-pasted content too much
- Don’t behave like a bot
- Don’t buy likes, comments, or followers
For high-quality social media management for SEO, SEOcycle can help! Our approach is simple yet effective and our SEO-based social content complements your existing social media content marketing strategy.