Can you imagine spending as much time as you do growing an authentic audience, creating beautiful content, building relationships… only to have your account shut down? That sounds like an ugly nightmare! There are always going to be internet trolls out there, looking to make someone’s life miserable, but there ARE some things you can do to reduce your risk.
Set Up 2-Factor Account Authentication
This is number one for a reason. If you haven’t done it already, do it now! Like, stop reading this and take care of it before you go any further. It is super simple to do, and can save you a huge headache. To turn it on:
- Open your Instagram app
- Go to your profile, and click the gear in the upper right
- Scroll down to “2 factor authentication” and follow the prompts
Two factor authentication requires a six digit code every time you want to log in to the app, including when you connect an app to your Instagram. You log in with your regular password, but then Instagram texts you a code to input as well. Some creepy spammer wouldn’t get the code, since it’s texted to YOUR phone, so it adds an extra level of protection.
Mind Your Apps
Be careful of the apps that you use that connect to your Instagram account. Many are reputable, but some are not. Any app that claims to get you new followers is an automatic no-no. Any kind of automated, repetitive activity on Instagram is against their terms of service. I’ve heard rumors of people having their accounts locked after using apps that show who has unfollowed you. I would avoid those as well. In the end, who cares who has unfollowed you? They unfollowed you. On to the other thousands or millions of people you can serve!In the end, who cares who unfollowed you? They unfollowed you! There are 1,000s more you can serve. Click To Tweet
Don’t Act Like a Robot
In addition to not using apps that perform repetitive, automated tasks… don’t act like a robot yourself. Be mindful when you are doing certain actions over and over again inside the app. Sometimes it can be completely innocent!
In the most memorable case, my friend with a large account had not been able to get on Instagram for a few days. When she logged in she had HUNDREDS of comments. Being the incredible Instagrammer that she is, she set to work answering every single comment. Every one! But it was a lot of “thanks” and emoji smiley faces. Instagram felt that it was spammy and locked her from being able to comment for several days. YIKES!
Respect the Content of Others
For the most part, Instagram is a very generous community where there is a lot of sharing of content. Most people don’t mind at all if you repost their photo, as long as you tag them in the photo, and mention their handle in your caption. However… asking first is ALWAYS the best thing to do. If you don’t ask first and someone doesn’t like that you posted their content, hopefully they’ll just politely ask you to take it down, and you can oblige immediately. But they could get really angry. Best practice is to ask, and you won’t have to worry about being reported for using copyrighted content.
Watch Your Hashtags
This one is less about protecting your account from getting shut down, and more about protecting and managing your reputation online. Not all hashtags mean what you think. As you are researching hashtags and grouping them to use on your posts, be sure to click in to each of their feeds (yes, every single one) to make sure that it is pulling up results that you would expect to see. When you post your hashtags, if you get a bunch of spammy comments, try to figure out which hashtag is causing that, and eliminate it from your list.
We are never 100% secure online, but there are a few simple steps and best practices that can go a long way towards protecting our businesses!
For more tips like this, to protect your business Instagram and grow it with highly targeted fans, register for my free Instagram marketing workshop.
What are your tips for protecting your Instagram account? Do you have any horror stories we can learn from? Tell us below!
Molly Marshall teaches small business owners and online entrepreneurs how to systematically and simply grow a profitable online presence through social media. Get your FREE 2018 Instagram Strategy Guide now!