10 Instagram Algorithm & Posting Myths Debunked

Correcting misinformation is my middle name.

I could spend HOURS debunking all the Instagram myths out there. Seriously, there’s just so much false information floating around.

A lot of self-proclaimed Instagram “gurus” love to throw IG “tips” around without facts to back it up because that’s what gets them the most views.

10 Instagram Algorithm & Posting Myths Debunked

Let’s debunk this misinformation once and for all!

Here are the top 10 Instagram myths:

  1. You could be shadowbanned and not even know it.
    False. While Instagram does have a shadowban feature, it’s not what most people expect. You will only get shadowbanned if you post something that violates Instagram’s guidelines and Instagram sends you a notification telling you that you’ve violated their terms of service. Instagram now has an “Account Status” feature inside your settings where you can check if you are banned!
  2. Using all 30 hashtags on your post will actually get you lower reach.
    Half true. It’s actually not about the number of hashtags, but instead the relevancy of the hashtags. For example, if you post a photo of your dog but use irrelevant hashtags like #fun or #life, your post won’t have as strong of a reach as if you’d used 30 relevant hashtags like #puppyraiser or #frenchbulldog. Ultimately, here at FTI, we don’t believe that hashtags are key to growth, so whatever you do – don’t waste too much time stressing over it!
  3. If I mention “TikTok” I’ll get banned.
    False. There is no evidence supporting this claim. BUT make sure to remove the TikTok watermark before you post them as Reels!
  4. If I say “giveaway” I’ll get banned.
    False. BUT!!! Spammy loop giveaways that get you thousands of followers in a short amount of time aren’t good for your account health and can cause it to suffer long term. Organic giveaways, like you partnering with a brand to give back to your followers, should have no problems. I have done multiple organic giveaways to celebrate reaching 200k, 300k, and give back to my followers during the holiday season. I saw the highest engagement I’ve ever had after doing these giveaways.
  5. If you edit your caption / delete then repost, the post won’t do well.
    False. I’ve edited captions before, and I’ve also deleted Reels and reposted them (audio issues- who can relate?), and neither of these actions affected the post’s reach and engagement.
  6. Putting a cover on reels will decrease its engagement.
    False. Almost all of my viral Reels have separate cover pages – some even have completely irrelevant / random cover pages, and it still went viral!
  7. Uploading your own audio in Reels will get your account punished.
    False. Instagram creators actually addressed this in a post about how to get discovered on the Reels tab: they WANT you to use your own audio if it’ll make your video better! If you can use audio from the Instagram library then great! If not, just make sure your original audio is copyright-free!
  8. Personal accounts get boosted by Instagram over business or creator accounts.
    False. There are actually reasons why business / creator accounts have lower reach than personal accounts, but they have nothing to do with Instagram penalizing you. It’s harder for people to relate to a business vs. a person they know, which lowers engagement. Also, engagement naturally decreases as your follower count grows. So a personal account with 100 followers will have a much higher engagement rate than a creator account with 100K followers.
  9. The audience active time insight times are actually in PST and you have to convert them to your local time zone.
    False. While traveling, I’ve seen these numbers change along with the time zone I’m in.
  10. Carousel posts don’t do as well as single feed posts.
    False. While they don’t show up as much in hashtags, they’re a far more engaging content format and will be more likely to retain the audience’s attention, which is what Instagram wants. Plus, Instagram pushes carousel posts multiple times in people’s feed: first with the cover page, and second with a slide within the carousel.

As you can see, there’s a lot of hearsay out there. My advice is to listen to people who have walked the walk and not just people who talk the talk.

Succeeding as an influencer online isn’t just about hacking the algorithm. It’s about building a STRONG foundation for your brand and developing an engaged audience.

You can’t *hack* your way to a successful influencer business.

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