Marketing/Branding Sex Work Social Media Tips and Tricks

Breaking the Ban: Tips to Fight Back Against the “Shadowban”

Let’s start the new site off with a topic I’m sure is on a lot of your minds: Shadowbanning.

First, what is it? A “shadowban” is the politically charge term used to explain a user self-created dip in the algorithm. I’ll take it a step further, if you’re “shadowbanned,” you did it to yourself.

Now I’m not going to puff my chest and act high and mighty here. Virtually everyone has encountered lower then normal engagements at one point or another. In fact, at the time of writing this, Quinn and I have received ~15-20% less engagements than average for about 1-2 weeks. Here’s the thing, I’m not worried in the slightest. I’ll explain why.

A “Shadowban” is an offset in a mathematical algorithm because YOU have done something that the algorithm has deemed to be spam or irrelevant content, or worse, in violation of TOS.

I’ll say it directly, I don’t believe in the “shadowban,” mainly because I don’t believe in using politicized buzzwords designed to incite fear. Dissect that word with me for a minute before we go on.

Shadow – implies dark, mysterious forces, unknown to you
Ban – implies a direct barrier to your engagements.

Fuck.. That’s scary. Like even thinking about that gives me anxiety.

Here’s what’s actually happening:
You posted something that violated the TOS
You engaged is something against TOS
You are posting content which is appearing like spam

I’m not trying to be mean here, I just feel someone has to tell it how it is, instead of allowing people to buy into the fear and sensationalization of words. When we approach this as a “shadowban” there’s very little we can do to fix an overbearing shadow figure, whereas when we can recognize what the problem actually is we can fix it.

“The first step in solving a problem is recognizing there is one”

Will Mcavoy (Jeff Daniels) – The Newsroom

We can fix a negative dip in the algorithm, it would be impossible to fight a shadow enemy. So how do we do it? Well, this might sound silly, but, use social media to be social. Let me explain.

Social Media is Supposed to Be Social

Social media is an amazing tool to sell content with, but at the end of the day, social media was created to help people become social! The entire purpose of the algorithms placed on these various networks is to tailor ease of access to content users want to see based on their current activities and prevent users from seeing content they do not wish to see or would be irrelevant.

The more a user engages with another user or brand the more likely they will see future content. If people stop engaging with your content the likelihood of them seeing future posts will continue to decline.

You have to be social on social media, regardless of the platform. If you constantly use social media to sell, sell, sell, the algorithm will start lowering your posts reach. Worse it results in a phenomenon called Ad Blindness.

Ad Blindness – The Real Enemy

Ad Blindness, or banner blindness, is a phenomenon when consumers unconsciously become blind to advertisements and banner-like styles of messaging. It’s truly fascinating, but you’re doing it every day!

How many times do you just scroll through Twitter and your eyes quickly see a long post with a pic/video and a link and you just keep scroll without reading? Hell, you may have done that several times on my post before finally clicking on the link!

As much as we all wish our customer’s were more like Milhouse… they’re not and it’s not their fault! We all do it!

See users visit social media briefly and periodically throughout the day. There are definitely those who sit on it constantly, but most people have other things to do that prevents them from simply sitting there on a network. So when they go to their platform of choice, they often are looking for specific things, not constant advertising.

Be creative. If you just copy your peers you’ll never have the same success as them. You need to stand out past the ads in your buyers face; you do this with branding!

Create Engaging Content

That’s the secret. I’ll explain it of course, but if you’re “shadowbanned,” it means you’ve lost your relevancy in a sea of ads. Don’t feel bad, the average consumer is bombarded with 5,000 ads every single day and it would be ridiculous for them to be expected to take note of every single one.

You have to stand out by engaging with your peers and target audience while using social media. That’s how you get people to engage with you and reverse the dip in the algorithm, thus creating a higher chance of having your content be seen and engaged with in the future.

Create posts that ask questions, request user engagement or activity, run polls, etc. Avoid over-posting the same things (images, videos, links, etc.), people will begin to ignore your content if it’s always the same thing. Don’t be afraid to get personal and show off you “real self (brand self)” on your platform.

Some of our most engaging content is SFW posts about our day to day life like concerts, date nights, and our cats. What happens is people see it and want to take part in our brand’s lifestyle so they engage. Then the likelihood of them seeing our content posts and converting to buyers is higher!

Words of Warning

As you see, there’s no “quick fix” to the ban. It really means you have work to do! Now, if you’re being flagged for behavior or TOS violations, that’s an even bigger concern! With Facebook, Instagram, etc. nudity doesn’t fly (except in specific situations like breastfeeding and art) so you have to keep things relatively clean. You still run many risks as these platforms have also proven to be against Sex Workers using these networks.

Twitter still allows adult content though, but we have to play by the rules. Here’s several common ways how NSFW accounts violate Twitter TOS.

  • Don’t have tweets marked as sensitive
  • Have imagery intended to cause sexual arousal in an avatar or header image (Not just nudity or pornography people).
  • Posting non-consensual nudity (sleeping, voyeur, etc.)
  • Violating the violent sex acts rules
  • Subtweeting and engaging in targeted harassment

Do any of the above and you risk losing your account temporarily or being permanently banned from Twitter. That’s not even a “shadow” ban, that’s just a direct ban.

Echochambers – Screaming Into the Abyss

“When you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.

Friedrich Nietzsche

Social media is designed to connect people based on similar interests. It’s also proportional to the size and quality of your audience. If you have the same group of people constantly sharing the same content the algorithm will only take you so far.

RT (Post-Sharing) Groups and Engagement Groups are amazing tools and many of us use them, but in time they loose their effectiveness. What happens is you create an echochamber.

Coming from the audio industry, an echochamber is a small enclosed space which allows sounds to reverberate. Apply that metaphor to social media. Eventually, without receiving external interactions you’ll be screaming into the abyss.

Slaying the Monster

I love that Nietzche quote, but it’s more powerful in full context. Here it is:

“Whoever fights with monsters should see to it that he does not become a monster in the process. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.”

Friedrich Nietzsche – “Beyond Good and Evil

Every day you wake up full of power and ready to thrive, but while fighting these disruptions and annoyances we often become our own worst enemies. That is what the shadowbanning is, creators unknowingly creating a monster.

You can slay it. I promise. Audit your account immediately. Get in line with the TOS as soon as possible. Be social with your accounts; crack jokes, be personal, Share and Comment on others content, etc.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. So, honestly ask yourself if your social media approach is making you feel insane. If the answer is yes, then you have to make changes to break through the barriers to your market penetration!

If you came here for a quick fix, I’m sorry, there isn’t one. Social media marketing takes time, consistency, and constant creativity. Don’t get discouraged! You can fix a “shadowban” and you can have social media success!

Have a lucrative day!
– Evan | @Porn0Bot

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