August 30, 2017

Unfortunately, all too often, something gets said in a popular publication and it gains viral steam across the blogosphere. Many times this information is not quite accurate, or even completely off base. Sometimes, it's just because it's new information and we don't know for sure what's really going on, so someone makes a hypothesis and then it sticks, long after it's proven wrong.

When it comes to social media, and Instagram too, these theories spread like wild fire and everyone believes them to be the absolute truth. So today I'm here to personally debunk four very common Instagram myths that have circulated recently.

I have personally tested each of these. I have coordinated with people around the world to test these theories. I have researched for any proof of them to be true. And in each case, my findings below show these theories to be false.

Now, a disclaimer, these things could always evolve. What is "not true" today could become a legitimate effect in the future. Instagram is always evolving and things are always changing. As always, I share the latest news and updates in my exclusive Instagram community, on my Instagram account, or in my Facebook group. You are welcome to follow along or join any of these resources to stay up to date on changes as they happen in real time.

Myth #1: Posting Daily Boosts Your Engagement

With recent changes to the Instagram algorithm, a lot of people are noticing drops in engagement (likes and comments) and they are readily jumping to any theory that will boost their engagement.

I have consistently preached the value of posting LESS frequently on Instagram (3-5 times per week) so when I heard that a recent study showed posting every day actually boosted engagement, I had to see for myself.

To be fair, I'd be happy to be proven wrong and see a new tactic show improved engagement. But I was unable to prove this theory true.

In those instances we studied, we saw no significant impact to engagement when posting daily.

I still hold true to my theory that posting less frequently, but sharing better content, is the best strategy right now.

Myth #2: Watching Stories Impacts the Regular Feed Algorithm

Ever since introducing the algorithm to Instagram, marketers have started looking for ways to ensure their content appears higher in the feed of their audience. The latest theory suggests that if a user watches your Instagram Stories frequently, your regular Instagram posts will appear higher in the feed.

Again, I had this tested out by multiple people and it was mostly proven false.

For me, watching Stories made absolutely no impact on those same accounts and where they appeared in my feed. Another user I had test this did see a slight bump in one account, but they also hadn't posted a regular Instagram post in a relatively long period of time, so their first post again (even though regularly sharing Stories), was likely to appear high in the feed regardless of the impact of the Stories views.

However, I can say that interaction with Stories will impact which Stories appear first in that list of users. As I started watching 3 accounts' Stories regularly, they are now still frequently the first ones in my list of Stories. So, yes there is an impact to viewing Stories, but not on the regular feed.

Myth #3: Banned Hashtags Ruin All Hashtags

It was proposed somewhere, somehow that if you use one banned hashtag in your list of hashtags, then all of your hashtags are rendered useless. This myth gained steam more than most and has been repeated more times than I could possibly account.

But, it is a myth.

Using a banned hashtag is a wasted hashtag because it does nothing for you in search, but it won't negatively impact you in any other way. So you can calm down and go about your regular hashtag usage.

Myth #4: You're Being Shadow Banned

I've talked about this now a bunch of times so I won't regurgitate it all here.

You can read this blog post or watch this video for full details on what shadow banning is and what is really going on.

But, I can tell you that what you think about shadow banning is most likely all a myth.


If I can stress anything, it's to do your research and listen to trusted sources in the industry. When changes happen in social media, a lot of voices are quick to jump in with opinions - many of which are often completely not validated. Honestly, this is why I don't often post about changes immediately (I waited months to fully explain shadow banning publicly because I was busy testing and researching before making public statements). Please don't rush to conclusions, even when the big name publications throw out theories (like Forbes or Inc. who I have no issue with except that this area is not their forte and they rush to publish information). Instead, listen to the leaders in the actual social media space and ask questions.

Did you find this helpful? Please share:
    1. Thanks Roxanne! I’m so glad you found this one helpful. I have a ton of blog posts here to help you understand Instagram and I also offer a few services that might help you. I’m happy to help – I know it can be overwhelming.

  1. I definitely agree with #2! In fact I did my own little test and found that I got MORE engagement when I went from 7 posts a week to 3-4. I don’t know where “they” are getting their info from that states more posting = engagement. Maybe their IG accts target peeps who are not in my niche. But I’ll stick to better quality, less quantity…for now

    1. I absolutely LOVE that you have seen the same results and are being strategic with this approach to less content. Keep it up girl!

  2. I’ll take it one step further and say on one account we dropped to one very high quality, market segment targeted post a week and found that engagement increased, and for a longer period – posts are still landing likes a week after they were made. This was on an account we posted to every day. We going to move it to two posts a week but think for the type of self generated content we are posting, that will be plenty.

    1. Yes!! I am so happy to hear you’ve seen these results. And, yes, you are right, when you post less content, it appears in more feeds over more days which expands the duration period of engagement. Keep up the good work!

  3. Hi Jenn,
    Amazing content. I read a lot of your posts this weekend and i would like to ask if you think that using some kind of plataform to schedule posts on instagram could affect my engagement or decreased it?

    1. Hi Bia! At this time, there is no evidence to indicate that using a scheduling tool has any negative impact on Instagram reach or engagement. If using one of these tools makes your life easier – go for it!

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