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Instagram has risen to become one of the most important social platforms on the internet today. It’s a place to connect with friends, expand your sphere of influence, and advertise your business at a global level. And you can do all of this with a few taps on your smartphone.
This popularity has brought with it rumors and urban legends. Unfortunately, believing these myths can prevent you from taking full advantage of Instagram. Here are some Instagram myths that simply aren’t true. So, stop believing them, and stop spreading them as if they were factual.
1. Instagram Is Shadowbanning People
The Myth: Shadowbanning is Instagram’s practice of banning an account that it deems unsuitable. This can be implemented against any account without prior warning, in such a manner that the user does not even realize that the ban is in effect. You could lose your account privileges temporarily or permanently thanks to shadowbanning.
People who believe they have been shadowbanned complain that they are seeing a significant decrease in engagement with other Instagram users. They also believe their content does not show up on hashtag search results, leading to less people seeing their content.
The Reality: Instagram has come out and clarified that Shadowbanning is not an actual practice. You will not be banned for using too many hashtags or any other minor infraction. While some accounts may find less exposure for their content, Instagram has stated that this is a result of poor marketing and the use of the wrong hashtags by the account owner, rather than the result of a shadowban.
Note: Check out these five ways you can market your Instagram content more effectively.
2. You Own Your Brand Hashtag
The Myth: The hashtag you create for your brand on Instagram is your private property. Other members cannot use your branded hashtag without your permission. You can bring some sort of legal action against other accounts that make use of your branded hashtag.
The Reality: It may surprise you to learn that you don’t own your social media content. Which means that everything that you publish on Instagram becomes the property of the website. There is no such thing as hashtag ownership. Any user of the site can make use of the hashtags you invented which are associated with your brand. While you can technically get a trademark for a specific hashtag (eg. #Starbucks), you still can’t prevent other people from using the hashtag on social media.
3. Instagram Is Hiding Your Posts
The Myth: Instagram is hiding your posts on purpose. You post a picture or a video on your account, and then later when you scroll through your timeline, the post has disappeared. This is a deliberate move by instagram to prevent more people from seeing your posts.
The Reality: Instagram no longer shows your posts in chronological order. This means your posts will no longer show up on your timeline in the order that you published them. Instagram uses its own algorithm and your previous history of user engagement to determine which of your posts will be of most importance to your audience, and orders your content accordingly.
Note: On the other hand, Instagram now let’s you voluntarily hide your posts from certain followers without unfollowing them, with the help of the Mute option.
4. You Can Buy a Following on Instagram
The Myth: Buying likes and followers on your Instagram account is a shortcut to becoming a notable influencer on the site. The Instagram search algorithm will notice your large number of likes and followers and be tricked into thinking you are a leader in your niche. This will in turn translate to greater visibility on the site and amassing more, real followers in a short period.
The Reality: Instagram has cracked down against fake likes and followers, using third-party apps to determine fake accounts and banning them. For a long time, brands looking to use Instagram influencers for promoting their products have complained about being fooled by influencers who buy followers.
Additionally, it has been repeatedly revealed that buying followers does not help increase user engagement. Only good content does. Now that Instagram has added threaded comments, there are more meaningful conversations about posts on the site rather than just a list of unrelated comments.
So having a large number of fake followers may create an initial perception of popularity, but posting poor content that sees no actual user engagement in the form of meaningful conversation in the comments section quickly destroys that perception.
5. Business Accounts Decrease Your Popularity
The Myth: Switching over to a business account will decrease the reach of your brand. If you keep a personal account and also a business account, and keep switching accounts to post your content, it will split your audience and lower your overall visibility on the site. It is better to keep a single account from which to post all of your personal and public content.
The Reality: Instagram keeps track of all your personal and business accounts, and the value of a business account is the same as the value of a personal account. Switching to a business account will not decrease your visibility. Neither will it dilute your brand in the eyes of your followers, advertisers, or Instagram itself.
In fact, having a business account will allow you to take advantage of Instagram’s metrics analytics page that is offered to every business account. Your reach remains the same whether you are posting on a personal account or a business account.
Note: If managing multiple accounts seems like hard work, Instagram now tracks how much time you spend using the app.
6. Using Too Many Hashtags Is a Bad Thing
The Myth: Instagram punishes users for using too many hashtags. The sight of too many hashtags turns potential audiences off a post, and also makes the Instagram content filing algorithm mark your content as spam.
The Reality: In the sea of content on Instagram, hashtags are the markers that are used to search out relevant posts. So the more hashtags you use, the better (within limit). However, those hashtags must be RELEVANT, or they will dilute your content’s value with respect to Instagram’s search engine algorithm. When it comes to hashtags, quality must be the chief concern rather than quantity.
Discovering Instagram’s Full Potential
As you can see, there are plenty of myths about Instagram that too many people still believe. But hopefully this article has debunked some of them for you. Still no one is exactly sure how Instagram rates and curates its content.
The only principle guaranteed to help you succeed is to post attractive and useful content. You can also add greater credibility to your account by getting verified on Instagram.
Image Credit: Igor Tischenko/Depositphotos