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So … here’s a slightly squirm-making story …

I’ve been growing an Instagram account around my photos of Devon …
(It’s here if you want to check it out!)

And it’s been going crazily well …

It’s been easy to get likes, followers & engagement …

I got my first 1,000 followers in a couple of months …

Some posts were getting 400+ likes!

It was all going swimmingly …

Until, suddenly, it wasn’t!

Just.like.that!!

My posts were down to 200 ish likes, or 300 on a good day …

My following was growing much more slowly …

Some days I’d hardly get any comments on my posts, no matter what hashtags I used!

Only a week or so before, I’d been telling people about how I’d grown my account by only posting once a day & it was all down to the hashtags …

And I’d believed it!

So what had gone wrong?

I was convinced that Instagram must’ve taken a dislike to my account after I inadvertently used a ‘banned’ hashtag (#Easter, in case you’re wondering!) …

I was sure I’d been ‘shadow-banned’.

So I changed passwords, stopped using similar hashtags on every post & watched my insights for a few days …

Not.a.lot.of.change …

Until …

I realised that I’d got out of the habit of scrolling my newsfeed, of randomly picking out a hashtag & checking out the top posts, of going down the occasional rabbit-hole & discovering new accounts …

Because you know what I did, every time I did that?

I engaged, I responded, I proactively commented on other people’s content …

And up until then, I’d just not been doing it for a while…

I don’t know why- I just got out of the habit- I think I told myself I was spending too much time on Insta…

But it was that time that was making all the difference!

So I jumped back in again, doing all those things, really taking joy in other people’s content & showing it …

I monitored the effects on my accounts & engagement with my content …

And guess what?

It went right back to where it had been before!

mage from phlanx.com

(Image from analysis at Phlanx.com)

No, I wasn’t shadow-banned, I was just lazy (& not wanting to admit it!)

So the moral of this story is – don’t be scared to put in the work, don’t beat yourself up if you spend time on social media that’s actually growing your visibility & don’t always think it must be tech or algorithms that are tripping you up – it might be you!

Have you ever had an experience like this? I’d love to know!