The Real Reason Your Instagram Is Flopping… (Mine Too!)

Apart from being a makeup obsessed blogger, I’m also an avid social media ‘nerd’. I love it. I love learning about the new trends, creating content, the algorithms behind platforms. Social Media will be my career and if you’re a blogger you have to have a pretty substantial knowledge of it these days in order to get anywhere. It isn’t as easy as it used to be.

That being said *unpopular opinion alert* I’ve been seeing a LOT of bloggers/social media people giving the wrong information. It’s a bit like Chinese Whispers sometimes isn’t it? So I’m using this post to clear some things up because I can’t really keep it to myself anymore.

There’s No Such Thing As A Shadowban

Alright. I said it. People are going on about this thing called a shadowban where they believe their hashtags aren’t working and therefore their posts aren’t being seen by as many people which results in a loss of engagement. This isn’t true. Instagram is currently going through a huge purge of Hashtags due to the amount of content on there that is against their guidelines. Think nudity etc.They’re ‘pausing’ the hashtag and then going through it and deleting posts/accounts. You’ve not been shadowbanned. It’s just a term invented by people that just want to sell you their marketing material and scare you into believing Instagram is dead etc. If you’re using more niche hashtags rather than broad ones, you should be okay. Switching it up helps too.

The Real Reason Your Engagement Is Low

There are two parts to this. One is obviously the algorithm change and the lack of chronological order. Instagram prioritises your Facebook friends over your Insta-Friends. I’m more likely to see a friend who I interact with on Facebook a lot more than a blogger with 20k+ followers who I love. They’re trying to predict who we want to see and prioritise relationships over people we don’t know. This is really irritating, especially for us bloggers who make a large income from Instagram and that is now severely jeopardised.

The second reason? It’s not as complicated. Bots. They’re gone now, aren’t they? Massplanner is gone, Instagress is gone. There’s probably more out there, I’m sure there’s some left in the Black Hat world… That means all of those using bots (I bet it’s more than people care to admit) aren’t able to use them anymore. All of the auto likes, auto comments, auto follows. GONE. Engagement is dead because bots are dead. Think about it. You can get it to look natural, flowing like you would if you were scrolling down the feed yourself. Anyway yeah, this is why. Unfortunate. There’s nothing Instagram can do about it because they want rid of the bots, and they changed the algorithm because they want to promote natural engagement but unfortunately for us *influencers*, we’re the ones taking the hit.

Instagram is changing. They’re trying to beat the bots and promote healthy, natural engagement. I imagine within a while it will all sort itself out. It’s sad that it’s hard to grow and it does feel like lack of engagement = lack of people that give a shit about our photos. I get really sad when I put out a photo I’m really proud of and no one sees it. I have 19.3k followers as I’m writing this post and roughly 1,000 people see my photo out of that amount. I don’t understand.

Why You’re Being Unfollowed

This isn’t personal. The reason you’re being unfollowed is simply that people either aren’t seeing your content enough (therefore what’s the point?) or we’re seeing too much of it and want to make room for others. Let’s be real, unless you have a large cult following and people search for you often, it’s really difficult to retain followers and keep them active. I love bloggers, I love their content and I love how hard they work but it’s impossible to follow everyone. These days, we just have to pick our absolute favourites otherwise we’re never going to see the content of the people we want to see.

For example, if I’m seeing content from someone and their content isn’t what I aspire to be or my favourite accounts, I’ll probably, unfortunately, unfollow as I’d rather see content I LOVE and that inspires me. It’s truly nothing personal, just the nature of Instagram now.  This is why it’s important now to make sure your content stands out and is making people want to stay. I’m not offended if people unfollow me or change their mind because I do it too. Unfollowing doesn’t have to be a negative thing.

Alright, so that’s the end of this one. I’m unsure about posting it because it might be taken the wrong way. The whole aim of Instagram is to have fun with it and post content you love. As Sara Tasker said, each photo you post should be your best. Or something like that. I can’t remember, check out her Podcast though. So inspiring and I’ve learned a lot from her.

You can follow my Instagram @_katiemeehan here!

If you’re a beauty blogger in the UK, I’m going to be using the hashtags #bbloggeruk and #beautybloggeruk, so if we all start using them again we can help each other out and make sure we’re all engaging in the best possible way.

P.s, I don’t work for Instagram so I’m really not claiming all of this is 100% true, it is just my observation!



  1. July 6, 2017 / 5:37 pm

    I don’t really take on any paid work for ‘just’ Instagram but I do offer it as part of a package. I think it’s all about stories now – much more engagement and room for growth there (with tagging location ect….).

    I honestly have stopped caring about Insta now though, I post my favourite pics, interact with my favourite accts and that’s it. I try not to overthink it.

  2. July 6, 2017 / 7:04 pm

    This was such an interesting read Katie!

    I LOVE Instagram so much, I’m literally obsessed – I’m never going to be a pro with pretty flatlays or your usual blogger style photographs but I love using it to microblog about the North East. I’m very slowly building my following and trying so hard to target locals as well as bloggers but it’s so damn hard!

  3. July 11, 2017 / 8:55 am

    All so true – but I think there’s another reason, and that’s people just aren’t engaging, but are expecting engagement. I think you should be posting 20 comments and liking 50 photos to get even 10 of either in return.
    Everyone thinks they’re entitled to engagement now I think, and it’s just not true 😩 great post Katie!

    Lindsay |

  4. October 12, 2017 / 10:22 pm

    My Instagram account is not large but can rise and fall by 7 to 8 per cent each week. I wish I knew how to achieve lasting growth and increase engagement.

  5. Tania
    November 3, 2017 / 9:31 pm

    I’m so glad Instagram have/ are doing something about bots. While I’ve definitely still seen some bot-like comments recently, it’s a lot fewer than previously. Interesting about shadowbanning not being a real thing on Instagram. I’m glad they’re going through and deleting spam content on hashtags. I’ve seen far too much of it recently when scrolling through hashtags to find new accounts. Unfortunately, it’s definitely a real thing on Twitter, they even reference it on their support pages. Getting it lifted is a nightmare, so I’m glad Instagram aren’t doing it too. Xx

    Tania | When Tania Talks

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