Fact or Fiction: Instagram Edition

Are Instagram myths staggering your content strategy?

From shadowbanning to algorithms that penalize your Stories views, misinformation about Instagram could be hindering the way you approach social strategy. 

Many of these untrue stories bounce around the corners of the web and cause confusion. Then there are others that prove true and should be considered before planning your content.

Today we’re playing a little game of fact or fiction: Instagram edition. We want to help debunk a few common IG myths that shouldn’t stifle your approach to content strategy. Further, we hope to shed some light on a few facts that could help your strategic planning and allow you to reach your full potential on IG. Let’s dive in:

#1: Instagram Shadowbans Business Profiles

This is 100% fiction. As far back as we can remember, there has always been chatter surrounding Instagram shadowbanning personal and business accounts. It’s untrue on both accounts.

Shadowbanning, as told by Instagram and other experts, does not and has never existed. The rumor is that IG would “shadowban” accounts for using the same hashtags over and over again or liking too many posts as a tactic to get more engagement.

Using the same hashtags over and over again isn’t the best strategy. You want the right users to find your content, and there’s a better chance of that if you put more thought into your hashtag strategy.

#2: Swiping Through Instagram Stories Has a Negative Impact

Although there is no definitive proof, this is largely fiction. There’s a common thought that when you swipe through someone’s Stories, Instagram will populate that feed far less than those you’ve watched all the way through. Given everything we know about Instagram’s algorithm, this is true. 

However, swiping through someone’s Stories doesn’t necessarily harm that particular account. Instagram algorithms typically work to promote healthy, creative content. They may feel some of that content is right for you, and some of it not. Instagram prioritizes content using an extensive algorithm based on your prior history. 

#3: Engaging With Someone’s Content Brings You More of It

This is a fact. Instagram, again, makes its best effort to show you what you like and different variations of it. So, if you’re engaging heavily with one particular feed, Instagram will reward that engagement by prioritizing their content in your feed. 

When you like, comment, reshare, or even DM certain accounts, Instagram takes that into consideration when organizing your feed order. The explore page is based on past/present engagement. Instagram recently revealed details regarding what goes into selecting posts and stories for the Explore page, read more about the algorithm here.

Earlier this year, when Instagram spoke about its new algorithms, the company reinforced this ideology. “The order of photos and videos in your feed will be based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting, and the timeliness of the post.”

#4: You’ll Get More and Faster Engagement if You Place Hashtags in Your Caption and Not Your Comments 

This is fiction. We’ve spoken with Instagram directly and can confirm there is no truth to this rumor. 

You absolutely do not receive more or less engagement if your hashtags are in the caption as opposed to the comments. Essentially, the nature of your hashtag strategy matters as it relates to the strategy itself, not the placement in the caption/comments. 

#5: Instagram is Hiding Your Posts

This is fiction. Somehow, someway, a rumor began to spread earlier this year that Instagram was only sharing your posts with 7% of your followers. The rumor was part of a new update to the company’s algorithm. 

This is not true. However, the rumor grew so rapid that Instagram took to Twitter to dispel the myth before it spread any further. 

“We have not made any recent changes to feed ranking, and we never hide posts from people you’re following – if you keep scrolling, you will see them all. Again, your feed is personalized to you and evolves over time, based on how you use Instagram.” – Instagram

#6: Instagram Punishes the Use of Third-Party Post-Schedulers

We can’t state more emphatically that this is fiction. PLANOLY, a post-scheduler among countless other things, is an official Instagram partner. So, to think that Instagram would punish users who utilize third-party post-schedulers to optimize their social media output is absolutely incorrect. 

Instagram supports the ease and convenience of thoughtful social media planning. Moreover, if pre-scheduling posts help you become more active on Instagram, they’re all in for that increased engagement. Working with an official Instagram partner like PLANOLY is not a hindrance to the growth of your profile. In fact, it can only help you reach your full potential.

#7: Shorter Captions Typically Get More Engagement

Fact. Although longer comments are certainly more common, on average, shorter captions get more engagement on Instagram. 

According to Quintly, captions with less than 60 characters see more engagement. It has also been proven that accounts with extremely large followings tend to fare well with longer captions. Certainly, this lends to credibility, as many will assume that this person is more credible in what they’re saying given a large number of people follow their page. 

#8: Posts See Higher Engagement on Weekends

This is a fact. In the same Quintly report – in which they analyzed over 40,000 IG accounts – their research shows that weekend updates perform far better than those on the weekdays. 

This is information that has been shared as a standard strategy, and it’s indeed true. Weekends on Instagram are typically less cluttered, which means there’s not nearly as much competition for your post. Also, most people have more free time on the weekends and can spend more of it on Instagram. This ups the odds your posts will perform better. 

#9: Upgrading to a Business Profile Will Hurt Your Engagement

Wrong. Upgrading to a business Instagram will not hurt or penalize your engagement. This myth began largely with the notion that Instagram business accounts would have less reach than personal accounts (because of a myth about Facebook business accounts lacking the same reach as Facebook personal accounts). Instagram has dispelled this myth on multiple occasions. 

If an Instagram business profile is right for you, it will not reduce your potential reach. In fact, it’ll strengthen it. You’ll have access to analytics, advertising, story links, and call to action options. Here are a few more benefits of upgrading to a business profile

#10: Automation Will Help Grow Your Reach 

This is fiction. As a matter of fact, it may as well be sci-fi, it’s so fiction. Instagram frowns on automated programs used to auto-like, comment, and follow/unfollow accounts. It’s wildly unauthentic and takes away from the organic connections that Instagram was created to foster. 

Do the work yourself. Grow your page by engaging with other users personally, comment on other accounts with something thoughtful, and generally use Instagram to create a community you yourself would like to be part of. Say no to automation and yes to DIY. 

#11: Instagram Will Adopt Facebook Pay

This is a fact. Instagram head honcho, Adam Mosseri, announced this in an IG Stories Q&A session earlier this month. Mosseri said that this integration is happening with the hope that it will make it easier for users to manage payment credentials across multiple platforms. 

The very nature of social media is change. So debunking Instagram myths and speaking light to social media truths will be an ongoing occurrence. It’s essential to seek out useful information and think through things before acting or becoming inactive.

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