Did you know that you can have a "dead" IG account that severely limits your ability to grow?! 😲
It happened to me... 😭
It's best to avoid getting on Instagram's bad side all together but if you do find yourself with some reach issues then it's worth analyzing your account further.
The nice thing is that it's easy to stay in the good graces of Instagram but if you slip up then it could spell trouble that you may not be able to come back from.
There are three important things to discuss when it comes to a "dead" Instagram account.
- How to identify if your Instagram account is "dead" or not?
- What are the ways that you can get on IG's bad side?
- What do you do if it's already too late and your account is "dead"?
Even if you don't think your account's reach is being limited, it's good to know the things that Instagram frowns upon and do the opposite. 🤓
So let's dive into it! 👇
How to identify if your Instagram account is "dead" or not?
Unfortunately, knowing if you have a "dead" account or not isn't something that you can easily find out.
Certainly, Instagram won't tell you. 😖
Here are some strategies you can use to identify if your account is dead.
Reach is way below the number of Followers
If you're posting content on Instagram, then it should show up on the feed of everyone that follows you.
The thing is, what position in the feed does your content show up for your followers? 🤔
If Instagram thinks your content isn't very good then when someone logs in and scrolls through their IG followers on their feed, they will be shown other posts first instead of your content.
Sure, if that person scrolls on their feed until they have gone through every recent post for the rest of their Followers then the content will show up.
This is a tell-tale sign that your account could be dead if it's not even being shown to your own followers. 💀
Content on the Explore page isn't in your niche
When you browse the Explore page on Instagram, you can tell what IG thinks interests you pretty clearly.
You could see a lot of cute puppies or a ton of content on business growth. Maybe even a mixture of both... 😁
Instagram wants you to stay on their app for as long as possible so they will show you content they think you're interested in based on your activity.
If you like, comment, and follow a bunch of accounts about puppies then that's what IG will show you. 🐕
I messed up one of my business accounts by only liking photos that my wife posted of our baby. Soon enough, I was constantly served content and suggestions for other Moms. 😂
What does your Explore page look like? Is it content that is related to your target audience or is it something completely different based on your actions?
Your engagement has completely tanked
If you're making consistent posts that you feel are of quality and none of them have any engagement then something could be off.
You have to think about this in relation to the number of Followers that saw your content though. 🤔
If your content is being seen by a majority of your Followers (75% or more) but you don't have an engagement rate of over 5% then be cautious.
That means if you have 1,000 Followers, you can't even get 50 of them to like or comment on your post... Your Followers are supposed to be your biggest supporters!
You can check this metric on your posts using the Instagram app by checking your insights on a specific post.
Start to rethink the type of content that you're publishing or even the type of audience you have created. Otherwise, your account may be "dead" already.
Losing Followers faster than gaining them
If your Follower count is dropping rapidly then you probably already know something is wrong.
This could be due to a bunch of different factors though. 🤨
Sometimes Instagram will do a clean-up of bots and old accounts on the platform and it wipes out a bunch of Followers that you had.
Other times, you can post content that is in a different niche or isn't interesting to a previous audience you have built.
I have even seen it where people have made controversial posts and lose a huge portion of the audience. 😳
Just because this is happening doesn't mean your account is "dead" but it's a sign that it could be.
If your audience consists of fake accounts or people who aren't really interested in your content then it's a recipe for disaster.
Your content isn't viewed by anyone but your Followers
If you have an Instagram Business Account and are consistently creating content then your audience should be expanding.
No one should be happy with the current number of Followers they have! 🤗
So that means if you're putting out post after post that only get in front of your Followers then you aren't getting the reach that is required to grow.
Fortunately, this metric is actually easy to track since Instagram lets us know on each post.
I think so highly of this metric that I wrote an in-depth article on why it's the most important thing to track for Instagram growth.
By tracking the percentage of Instagram accounts that viewed your post but don’t follow you, you’re able to know how much of your post is being exposed to people outside your current followers.
I like to think about it as how many people did you get in front of that don’t already know about you. 🤓
When you’re growing your audience, it’s important to constantly have exposure beyond your IG follower circle. When that's not happening then your account could be "dead".
What are the ways that you can get on Instagram's bad side?
Even though it can seem scary, it's easy to stay in line with what Instagram wants from a business account.
Everything is under your control but it's still easy to make mistakes. 😅
Here are some things to avoid when it comes to using your Instagram account.
Being misclassified by your actions
This one is pretty easy to forget about and over time can have a pretty negative effect on your Instagram account. 👀
If your IG account is interacting with people that aren't in your target audience then the algorithm will think your content is for a different group of people.
For example, if you have a new eCommerce store then don't go follow a bunch of accounts on business growth and comment on posts regarding sales funnels. You should be engaging with people who would be interesting in purchasing from you, your target audience.
Use a personal account to casually browse Instagram as a consumer while your business account can be used for, well business. 😁
Having a low number of Followers after posting a lot of content
Sometimes it's hard to admit it but we all put out bad content. Some more than others. 🥺
It's okay though. It's not always in your control.
Even if you spend time capturing the perfect photo, writing the ideal caption, and using the best hashtags possible, you can see your hard work go to waste when your post doesn’t get much exposure for whatever reason.
If this happens for all of your posts then maybe you should rethink what you're doing. 🤔
How could you blame Instagram for not showing your account to more people if you put out a lot of content but no one follows or engages? They just assume it's not very good.
Starting with an old, unused account
There is one thing that you hear people say all the time when it comes to success on Instagram...
Instagram obviously likes when you use their platform regularly and rewards you for doing so. I'm not just talking about browsing on the app either. They want you to use all the features from posting to engaging with the community.
Maybe you haven't posted in over a year, or post in sporadic periods every few months. Perhaps you never interact with anyone and only just use your IG account to browse.
Whatever the reason, inactivity is terrible in the eyes of Instagram. 👀
Stay away from creating an account before you're ready to use it and also remember to actually use your business account to interact with people.
Using tools that make you look like a robot
There are so many tools out there when it comes to growing your Instagram account.
There are some really great apps for scheduling your content, managing your hashtags, and analyzing your audience. 📈
At the same time, there are other tools and services that perform shady practices using your account. 📉
Follow/Unfollow strategies, spamming DMs, making generic comments, and liking tons of posts too quickly are just to name a few things that could get your account flagged.
When this happens, sometimes IG will actually lock out your account until you supply your password again. Other times, it will just flag your account in the background for being suspicious.
This is pretty easy to avoid, just don't give any service your Instagram password. 💡
Posting banned content or hashtags
It's pretty simple to not post any content that violates the Instagram terms of service.
No explicit content, radical political views, or hate speech. 👎
Easy enough right?
Banned hashtags are a different story. 😳
Instagram prevents this malicious content from spreading by locking down any hashtag page with a lot of flagged content or by just banning certain hashtags altogether.
It can get complicated with determined which hashtags are banned but there are ways you can tell and avoid them.
Using banned hashtags can drastically affect your posts’ ability to get in front of more viewers. It can even prevent all other hashtags from working on your account.
Changing your niche or target audience
If you're working on growing your account and you decide that you want to take your business in a different direction then you may actually confuse Instagram.
Every account gets classified by the Instagram algorithm in order to understand what their content is about. This tells it which content to show when someone browses the app based on their interests.
Let me give an example to help explain. 👇
If you have a brand that is focused on fitness for men but then you decide that you want to transition into women's fashion. If IG has already classified you in the men's fitness niche then it's going to be hard to retrain it based on your new direction.
This is a drastic example but it explains the concept. 🤓
If your target audience changes and the Instagram algorithm has already classified your account under a different niche then you could be in trouble.
Buying or finding fake Followers
This used to be something that a lot of people did to quickly boost their social presence because the number of followers you had really mattered to people's perception.
As the social media landscape matured, people became less concerned with how many followers you have but rather the value of your content.
Instagram has also put in protections against this since they understand who follows and engages with everyone's content on their platform.
If a vast majority of your Followers, never like a post, browse in the app, or even log in then it knows that your IG followers are artificially inflated.
The short story is don't buy IG Followers in 2021. It's not only money wasted but it can actually have a negative impact in the long run.
What do you do if it's already too late and your account is "dead"?
If you have been doing some of the Instagram "no-no's" listed above then it could already be too late. 😭
Here are some tips on what to do based on your account.
If you have a small following and a small amount of content
This could be the time to start fresh if you feel like your Instagram account is dead.
You don't have a lot of Followers that you will be losing and you can replicate your most successful existing content on the new account you create.
If you have a decent following that's your target audience
Don't be tempted to start new! Instead, try whatever you can to recover your account.
This can be done by engaging with your target audience, cleaning up your Followers, interacting with the community, and using all of the IG features on a regular basis.
If you start to see your numbers rise, even a little, then you're on track. Don't give up early either. Patience and consistency are key to bringing a "dead" account back to life.
If you tried everything to recover your account and had no success
What if you have posted high-value content, used all the popular IG features like Reels and Stories, and engaged with your audience consistently for weeks but you still don't see any growth.
Then it could be time to call it quits and start from the beginning.
At this point, what do you have to lose? It definitely doesn't seem like your account has a chance if you're going through such lengths and still aren't seeing results.
It's important to understand the warning signs and make the proper adjustments to continue to grow on Instagram.
Your IG account may be "dead" if you're not getting anywhere no matter what you do. ☠️
But starting fresh can be a wonderful feeling. 🤗
My Instagram journey is about to restart because my own account was dead. 😱
It was my fault though...
I created the Instagram account nearly 3 years ago, have been testing tools on it, pivoted to different niches, deleted everything multiple times, haven't been acting like a normal user, and even have gotten it banned. 🤬
Here's to new beginnings and be sure to follow my new account, @curate.your.hashtags, for a lot more strategies and insights. 👈