6 THINGS THAT HURT YOUR INSTAGRAM TRUST SCORE [HOW TO IMPROVE IT]
What is an Instagram Trust Score? How can it hurt your IG account? What can you do to improve it? You’ve heard the story. You paid for some extra likes on your posts because you love the rush. You bought some followers to keep up with the big influencers who you saw getting free products from brands. You felt a momentary high and suddenly in 2019, you notice that all your engagement began to drop. What caused this? Is Instagram just trying to shovel money into their pockets by limiting everyone’s reach or was my account targeted a bit more than others?
Well, old sport (Great Gatsby was a great movie). Unfortunately, you’ve actually ruined your Instagram Trust Score. What is your Instagram Trust Score? Imagine Instagram keeping a tally card of your account. Every action you perform on their platform they see and interpret. This all adds together to create your “trust score”… Instagram’s ranking of where you fall on the continuum between trust-worthy and spam-like. Currently, IG is using AI and analytical data to try to determine who is fake or using automation and who is real and organic.
1. Fake Engagement Hurts Your Trust Score
Buying fake likes initially seemed like the right move to boost your content to be seen by more people right? I mean, these salespeople that randomly ended up in your DM’s sure made it sound that way. But in reality, the accounts producing these fake likes have ZERO engagement and like a wide variety of niches. So Instagram does not know what niche to place you in (yes, IG places you in niche categories).
Because of the new algorithm, IG shows your content based on who likes your stuff. That means IG will show your content, again to the above inactive or “ghost followers”…aka showing it to nobody. (Test this with an account you do not follow. Like their content but do not follow them. You will notice that after a while, you keep seeing their posts in your explore feed).
It’s time for the “walk of shame”. You are probably thinking “oof, everyone is talking about my Insta. How can I possibly have only 100 likes with 30k followers?” Actually, not a lot of people care (well people care but I mean notice). Instagram will start showing your content to your REAL audience again overtime when you’ve stopped letting robots hammer down on that like button.
2. Low Quality Follow/Unfollows
I am not against follow/unfollow as that is part of the strategy we use to grow some of our client accounts using Instagram Marketing Services. However, understand that if you want your content to be seen by your target audience, you are better off following people WITHIN your niche. It has to be very very specific and targeted. Engage with content, users, brands, influencers, consumers within your niche. Therefore if you aren’t continuously optimizing and narrowing down your targeting for follow/unfollows within the audience you are trying to niche down to, then you will only hurt your account further.
To fix this, simply… Stop following the entire planet? Just a thought. You may also have to purge your followers and following. However, proceed with EXTREME CAUTION as too many actions will continue to hurt your account. Be sure to set all your actions within the daily allowable IG limits. When you are ready to start your following spree again, target your follows to be niche specific. If you’re unsure how to do that, get in touch with us. We can help!
3. Lack Of Engagement/Activity On Your Part
Inactivity is going to get you nowhere. Your followers are going to be out there, engaging with other brands who are just like you except the only difference is, they’re active and you’re not. So these competitor accounts are going to be shown to the people you want seeing your content, and you’re going to be pushed to the bottom of the feed. Lower priority.
4. Spam-Like Instagram Activity
Even though you are not a robot, your following activities can be interpreted as robotic. Therefore these activities are RISKY and will ultimately lower your Trust Score. A low enough Trust Score can eventually lead to your account being banned. Here are some actions that IG perceives as “spam-like”:
- over posting
- over liking (there are hourly limits and daily limits)
- repetitive comments (using the same words)
- following too many people at a time
- unfollowing too many people at once
- following too many people in general (can be viewed as a growth strategy, IG hates strategies)
- using hashtags that don’t connect to the content of your post or the content of your photo
- repetitive hashtag use
- direct messaging lots of people that don’t follow you (seen as soliciting)
A good way to get around these spam-like activities is to research the Instagram daily and monthly limits for actions. Here is a good list of what you can safely do:
- post regularly, 1-2 times a day is our recommendation (after that there is a serious law of diminishing returns in affect!)
- comment back on your own feed with sincerity (not just emoji’s, smh)
- comment on others’ feeds with original wording
- as IG suggests, connect and follow your Facebook friends (only real people do this)
- use only relevant hashtags. Hashtags that:
- relate visually to the photo as easily determinable by a computer
- are topic related
- source objects in photos
- relate to the content of your post
5. Inactive or “Ghost Followers”
When you share a new post, Instagram is going to test it if it’s good or not. It shows your content to your first 10% followers, if most of them are bots, they won’t engage. Instagram “thinks”: Oh this is a boring/low-quality post, I won’t show it to other people, it would only spam them….”
Now all those ghost/inactive followers are causing your content to receive low engagement and forcing IG to be too embarrassed to show it to the rest of your audience.
Fixing this is difficult and time-consuming, to say the least. IG has added a “Remove Follower” feature in your followers. To safely do this, remove 15-20 ghost followers from your page every hour… If you have over 40k followers, well, good luck charlie. No, but on a more serious note, research safe services that can do this for you. Any services that are promising to do this overnight, STAY CLEAR FROM! Doing this too fast will only cause more harm to your account.
6. Low Quality Instagram Content
Well, this should go without saying. Instagram is a visual sharing platform. If you’re posting grainy, low resolution, Android Snapchat quality content (can you tell that we’re iPhone users?), then no matter how many real followers you have, you are not going to get high engagement on your posts!
Posting high quality content will definitely encourage your audience to engage. We’re not saying to invest in a 2020 $4,000 professional DSLR. But maybe it’s time to switch over to the iPhone, or at least get a newer device, yenno?
These are just a few factors that can hurt your Instagram Trust Score. Work on all these things daily and over time, you will be able to repair your IG Trust Score, just like you would your credit score! Your engagement will increase, your reach will increase, and hey, you never know, maybe you’ll get approved for that Mortgage (that’s not likely, please do not take real estate advice from us).