Instagram has faced some user-criticism and some have expressed confusion as to why some specific hashtag searches produce different results. Some have labeled it “Shadow-banning,” a term coined last year by a photographer who noticed some of his images weren’t showing up on searches using the same hashtag. It has a negative connotation when it is used to label how users explain decreases in reach or engagement.
Shadow-banning is not happening on Instagram; however, Instagram has imposed certain restrictions that account for why hashtag search results can differ. By understanding these restrictions, you can be sure that you are optimizing your Instagram visibility.
Restrictions imposed by Instagram
Instagram’s algorithm works to restrict certain activities by users in order to filter out spam-like contact or user misbehavior. To maximize your Instagram visibility, it’s important to understand these restrictions.
- Know how many accounts you can follow on Instagram. Instagram actually has a limit on the number of accounts you can follow. The limit is is 7,500 accounts; however, there is no limit to the number on how many people can follow you. To most people, following 7,500 accounts hardly seems a limitation; it would be quite a feat to follow this many accounts regularly.
There are limits as to how many people you can follow (and unfollow) within a certain time frame. Instagram imposes lower limits on new accounts, as well as limiting the number of accounts you can follow each hour or each day (30 follows per hour and a total of 800 follows per day). In addition, the number of followers your account has may also limit the number of people you can reach. If you exceed these limits, your account may be restricted for at least 24 hours.
- Know how many “likes” you can perform. You can only perform 350 “likes” per hour. If you exceed this limitation, your account will be flagged for spam activity. Moreover, you can’t @mention more than five people in a single comment and you can’t post the same comment over and over again. Again, your account may be restricted for at least 24 hours. Repeated violations could result in permanent suspension of your account.
- Know the limit on group direct messages. Instagram caps the number of people or groups to whom you can send a direct message at 15 and each direct message cannot exceed 500 characters.
- Know the number of hashtags permitted. Instagram restricts the number of hashtags permitted in a single post to 30. If this limit is exceeded, your post won’t upload.
- Know the number of people you can tag per post. Instagram limits the number of people you can tag in a post to 20; however you can only tag up to 10 people on an Instagram story
Some of the limitations cited above are curiously difficult to find through Instagram’s own definitions, so please take the numbers with a certain grain of salt. The main thing to remember is that there are certain limitations that you don’t want to exceed, if you want to maximize your exposure.
Have an Instagram account and don’t have time to manage it or your other social media platforms? Give us a call at Group Matrix. We can help you with any and all aspects of your social media campaign.
Group Matrix Blog – June 4, 2018 – by Sharon Bowles