From Reels to new Creator programs to revamping their monetization strategy, Instagram has been doing it all. We know! We’re reeling from all the new updates too…
In addition to all these Instagram updates, there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work going on. We might not catch it if we weren’t looking closely. Because of the revamping and “cleanup” of the platform, there’s added scrutiny on cannabis Instagram accounts and cannabis-related terms.
In the most recent update to Instagram’s help center terms, the platform doesn’t allow you to advertise the sale of cannabis. This can mean that the algorithm sometimes targets cannabis keywords as well.
What is Shadowbanning?
So, what is shadowbanning? As a cannabis brand or user, how can you as avoid it? How do you get your Instagram account back if it gets taken down?
An Instagram shadowban is when your content is blocked on the platform, sometimes even without your knowledge. The ban can hide both your content and your account from hashtags. Your account can even get taken down from any activity relating to cannabis.
Shadowbanning can completely derail your engagement. It’ll block most of your target audience from seeing your content, meaning you can lose potential followers and customers!
The worst part of all of this? You won’t receive a warning that you’re being shadowbanned. Your cannabis content just gets hidden, and you might not even be doing something wrong to cause this.
4 Ways to Avoid Getting Shadowbanned or Disabled on Instagram for Cannabis
Long story short: you don’t want your cannabis account to get shadowbanned and you don’t want to get disabled. Here are some general Instagram guidelines you can follow to avoid either from happening:
1. Do not engage in any spam activity.
“Spam activity” can have a wide range of definitions. Here are some things we recommend avoiding:
- Mass following or mass unfollowing
- Unauthorized third-party apps that connect to your accounts, such as those that automatically send out comments, likes, or DMs
- Paying for followers or engagement bots
Instead, try your best to have a consistent and regular schedule for posting and engaging. This way, your activity will be seen as more natural. It can be verified as human activity, rather than third-party bot activity, which Instagram doesn’t condone.
2. Follow all of the app’s guidelines.
Instagram’s Community Guidelines are meant to keep the platform a safe space for all its users. This includes adhering to federal law when it comes to cannabis. Instagram says:
“Follow the law…buying or selling illegal or prescription drugs (even if legal in your region) are also not allowed…Remember to always follow the law when offering to sell or buy other regulated goods…”
For cannabis accounts, this means you have to get creative when talking about your deals and promotions for selling cannabis. We recommend avoiding selling language altogether, even in your post graphics. Instagram’s AI can scan for letters and words on static posts, making it a lot harder to find workarounds when posting about your product.
Sure, recreational cannabis may be allowed on the state level where you’re located. But Instagram won’t allow it, and your account will face consequences.
3. Stay updated on what cannabis hashtags are being shadowbanned.
Trying to find Instagram hashtags that are banned? Check out this step-by-step process.
Hashtags are consistently banned on Instagram to avoid users from seeing offensive content. This can include popular hashtags with frequent use like #humpday or #snapchat. But it definitely includes many cannabis-related hashtags.
Unfortunately, there’s no database of banned hashtags or one particular way you can locate all. We suggest looking up the individual hashtags you intend to use before adding them to your post.
When you search for cannabis hashtag that’s banned, you’ll see a notification pop-up that states the hashtag is hidden. Alternatively, you might see the message “No results found.”
4. Don’t pay for followers!
Instagram’s algorithm has changed over time. And in a post-COVID world, one thing is very clear: quality over quantity.
The app now wants to see quality engagement from your audience. Previously, paying for followers on Instagram was well worth it, and accounts with many followers found great success. But today, it’s all about meaningful engagement and community building.
Now, paying for followers causes Instagram to flag your account, shadowban it, or disable it altogether as it can detect the fake activity. As a result, doing so can be detrimental to your cannabis account and your brand. Moreover, fake followers won’t provide your business with real customers. Quality engagement and organic following are the safest and most beneficial options for your social media accounts.
Think the obvious workaround is to pay for engagement bots? Instagram will still detect third-party activity on your account. Additionally, real life customers and users can spot your use of bots. They might avoid your account altogether.
Don’t forget, social media is about being social. You want to interact with and impress your real life customers, so bots aren’t the way to go. Focus on encouraging quality comments with meaningful content interaction.
5 Steps to Take When Your Cannabis Instagram Account Gets Disabled
So, now you know all the rules and regulations. What can you actually do if your account gets taken down, you ask? Here are some key things to do to get your cannabis account back if it gets disabled.
1. When you first get the disabled message, hit the learn more pop-up. Go through the steps the Instagram prompts you to fill out.
2. If your post got taken down by Instagram, check out this page on how you can appeal this. Due to COVID, Instagram’s reviewing individual content has slowed down, but they’ve still outlined steps you can take to try and get your account back.
3. Use this “My Instagram Account Was Deactivated” appeal to get your case submitted for review. You can submit it multiple times, but we recommend waiting at least 24 hours between each submission!
4. Did Instagram remove your content due to your cannabis branding copyrights? Head over to this Instagram Copyright Appeal.
5. Did Instagram say your cannabis account was disabled because of your age? Go to this age verification form!