I have used Instagram consistently for 10 years now, the past few years it has been my job whilst working in marketing too. Being so active day-to-day on Instagram has been amazing for my understanding, applying everything I have learnt plus my dedication to Instagram resulted in my accounts growing and progressing well organically. I have always preferred to share my hobbies with like-minded people online, I had an account dedicated to fashion content and another for gaming. Building communities with my contacts from college, university, workplaces and so on, is one of my favourite aspects of social media, it’s so easy to keep in touch and support each other.
Then this happened 9 months ago…
One morning I woke up and checked my phone, flicked onto Instagram and was instantly logged out of the app. I tried to log back in, but was denied with a message stating I was impersonating someone else… I had a code sent to my phone which matched my account and was notified that this will take 24 hours to review. I thought this was simply a glitch at this point, being just a few days after Instagram and Facebook were down globally.
24 hours passed and I then attempted logging in again and my fears were confirmed, my main Instagram account, that became my fashion account, with all my contacts and personal memories from the past 10 years, had been disabled without warning. I couldn’t access the account and when logging in there would be the dreaded message of ‘your account has been disabled for breaking our community guidelines’…
I was confused and equally upset, I knew I hadn’t broke any of Instagrams guidelines because I had always followed these closely due to being responsible for clients accounts.
I attempted to get my account reinstated, researching how this could’ve happened and how to fix it and soon realised I was not the only one, this exact situation had happened to many others all around the same time. Some users claimed to get their account back after either days or weeks, some as long as 8 months later, it appeared that as optimistic as I usually am, I realistically was not going to be able to recover my account.
I consistently tried for the next couple of months, I didn’t want to accept that my hard work could disappear so suddenly and without reason. With no progress made in this time, I decided to start over.
As with any new account, the beginning is the toughest due to both Instagram and all its users taking time to trust your account. I had several people around me tell me that I will be better off starting from scratch anyway. I just thought they were trying to make me feel better about the whole situation, but they turned out to be right.
It seemed that the combination of posting quality content frequently and all my followers being new and active, made my engagement rate soar. As a result of having such a high engagement rate, I started noticing this new account was growing far quicker than my previous one. I checked my analytics and the stats displayed 25,000 Explore Page views on most of my posts, gaining 100’s of followers per post. This was such a contrast to before, where I was averaging at 1,000 from the Explore Page. In addition, with my new account, over the past few months I have had several posts / reels that reached between 80,000 and 250,000 accounts per post.
Not only this, but the whole experience has furthered my knowledge, taught me some new precautions I should take and has reaffirmed that I know how to grow an account organically from scratch, it has also taught me more about how and why Instagram prioritises certain content.
So, now to explain why my experience is important for all bloggers, businesses and individuals on social media…
Firstly, not to scare you, but you may also wake up one day and lose your Instagram account. With this in mind, you can protect yourself as much as possible by not repeating any action in excess and post content inline with Instagrams guidelines. Although having an account disabled without warning is uncommon, your account could alternatively be flagged, restricted or action blocked, which will harm your growth and visibility. You can check your Instagram profiles health by checking settings, then click account and finally account status.
If you followed the guidelines but your account still got disabled, try not to worry. It may be worth attempting to get your account back through filling in appeal forms or through a live chat, whilst simultaneously starting to build up a new account in the case that you cannot recover the account.
Hacks and scammers on social media are also becoming increasingly common, with the main ones aiming to find out your bank details or login details in order to take your identity and scam others. Make sure you do not click any links that cannot be trusted, enable two factor authentication and regularly change both your social media and email passwords to prevent this. Another tip is to not login to any third party apps, as this can not only risk compromising your login details, but also could be flagged by Instagram.
Not all hope is lost however, with a bit of hard work you’ll likely surpass your previous account regardless, large accounts with a lot of inactive followers seem to be penalised by Instagram, so you also have an upper hand with a new account. It is a great idea to have a strong social presence on more than one platform or account so the loss isn’t as big and your audience can easily rediscover you.
I hope from speaking about my experiences on account loss, that it helps to protect others online and prepares them for if the worst should happen. With businesses increasingly relying on social media for brand awareness and advertising, it’s important to know how they can recover their online presence.