Disabled By Instagram: When Social Platforms Shut You Down For No Reason
After going through every route available, pleading with Instagram to return my account to me, or send me a full download of ALL of my captions and photos, I received an email on Wednesday, June 26th. Instagram informed me that my account had been reactivated and they apologized for the inconvenience.
Before I was willing to get my hopes up, I ran over to Instagram and logged in from my desktop. Sure enough, my account was back!
I’m grateful to have my Insta home back, but am still taking the same cautious stance to post and publish only what is important without feeling necessarily responsible to post every single day.
Personally, I feel that the last two emails I sent Instagram were what tipped the scale. In both of those emails I threatened to get my business attorney involved, accusing Instagram of holding my intellectual property hostage and loss of income. Gratefully, I didn’t have to spend the dollars on legal fees. Here’s the email…
For what it’s worth, this whole situation has certainly caused me to pause and reevaluate every effort I put in on social sites I don’t actually own. Life is too short to live on social media, and with that I have re-prioritized face-to-face time with friends, family, associates, team members, and clients.
But, you’ll still see me being social HERE!
I can’t believe it. My profile has been disabled by Instagram! The same profile I have worked on, built up and invested time, energy, and money on since 2012!
On Friday night, May 3rd, 2019, I went to post my photo for the day and saw that I had been logged out. Then I saw the notice that my account had been disabled.
My heart stopped. Seriously!
Then my adrenaline kicked in and I was spinning. WHAT???? Why would they think I violated their terms??
I don’t curse in my captions, post pictures of nudity, guns, violence, or dark or negative crap. I don’t talk politics or religion at all. In fact, every post is authentically me – positive, encouraging, and honest. I am all about uplifting solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, and small businesses.
So, what gives, Instagram?
You were my favorite!! How could you displace me from my cozy online home – and without warning?
Well, I have gone through the steps to email them and have been doing so daily – but no word back just yet. I’ve learned that it could take up to 6 months to get my account back, if at all. Ugh.
Truthfully, accounts are being disabled all over the place right now, and often for no reason, or for the wrong reasons. Whether Instagram realizes they’ve closed an account for the wrong reason, or whether I ever get my account back, this is just the fact. I can’t do a thing to change it. It’s gone.
What can I say? I feel robbed, displaced, and homeless.
I’m disheartened. I’m embarrassed. I’m jaded and disenchanted with social media and I just don’t know I have the energy to build it back up again.
Well, certainly not at this very moment. After all, I am in need of some SERIOUS self-care right now and I’m following that call… all the way to Mexico! 😉
In the meantime, here is what I’ve taken away from this experience and the lessons I’m encouraging you to read over and consider, too…
1. REQUEST A DOWNLOAD OF YOUR STUFF
Did you know that Facebook and Instagram both offer a full download of your posts, content, info, etc if you request it? It’s true!
Get your downloads at:
- Instagram Download Request: https://www.instagram.com/download/request/
- Facebook Download Request: https://www.facebook.com/settings?tab=your_facebook_information + click “Download Your Information”
Thank goodness I had the forethought in January to request a full download of all of my photos from my Instagram – and I got it. ALL PHOTOS since the beginning of my account were sent to me on January 16th and carefully saved in my business records. Boy, am I glad for that and it seems like a miracle at this point!
Do yourself a favor and add this request process to your annual, semi-annual, or even quarterly plan. And then, go out RIGHT NOW and request a download of your content!
There are other options to “backing up” your content, like using IFTTT, Zapier, or other automation tools to save your captions and images to a folder in Dropbox, iCloud or elsewhere, so consider looking into those solutions, too.
2. START A BACKUP ACCOUNT
A friend of mine who is also in the content/social media marketing business suggested having a ‘backup account’. I had never really thought of this until she said it and I wish I had thought of it a year ago. (Brilliant!)
This time, I had to learn it the hard way, but I now have a new account at www.Instagram.com/propelbusinessworks, as well as a ‘backup account’ I’m posting the same photos and captions to. With this strategy I can now publish on one account and share the photo and caption to a second account as a backup in case anything happens to one or the other.
For now, follow me at @propelbusinessworks (6/28/19 UPDATE: we’re back at @propelbizworks) and stay tuned for updates there. (Thank you for all your support!)
3. KNOW THE RULES AND FOLLOW THEM
>> Instagram Community Guidelines: https://help.instagram.com/477434105621119?helpref=faq_content
4. DIVERSIFY YOUR EXPOSURE
It’s always been important to understand that your social media strategy needs to span across multiple platforms, especially when we realize that any given platform could go down, be closed, or change at any given time.
Remember mid-March 2019 when Facebook was down for 18 hours? What would you have done if they never came back up? Where would your audience be then?
Building an email list and implementing an email marketing strategy for your business is one way to guarantee that your audience doesn’t vanish if a social platform goes missing.
Not only that, but having profiles on multiple platforms (Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin, etc) can help you retain your content and followers, even if it’s a different target audience or conversational focus.
Lastly… (and I mean this)…
5. NEVER GIVE UP
Never, ever give up on what you are doing – even if you lose an account. I realize I previously stated that I don’t know if I have the energy to rebuild, but this is a lesson I will only need to learn once.
I will rebuild, albeit a little slower (maybe) and more deliberately, but also more strategically – sharing posts through to another profile so I have a backup, and always providing valuable content through my e-newsletters.
We are currently in the wild, wild west of social media and there is no question things change daily. After having my account for 7 years, building it to 11k followers and posting over 3k images with encouraging and thoughtful captions, I’m realizing any platform I’m on is not guaranteed to be there tomorrow.
So, be sure you’re backing up, saving your intellectual property (images and words), and collecting fans into an email marketing list so you never lose your audience in a crazy, Friday night moment.
Cheers to the adventure and courage it takes to keep charging ahead, no matter what today brings.
That is what entrepreneurship is all about.
Am I right?
Chief Everything Officer
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This totally boggles my mind, Jamie! Upsets me, because of your integrity.
However, I’m learning from you in this and will move forward with more insight.
Thank you for allowing us to walk with this with you.
And, Thank you for all of your great blog posts!!
Great information, Jamie! Thanks so much