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Don’t Go to Jail!

1024 576 Zack Jackson

Ahhh jail.  I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid I was always afraid I’d end up “in jail.”  I didn’t have any plans to commit big heists or anything, but I think TV had it ingrained in my head that you could simply end up “in jail” for a crime you didn’t even commit.  I mean, have you SEEN “Shawshank Redemption?”  That’s some pretty bad jail right there!

And guess what everybody?  Jail is back and better than ever!

OK … you’re not going to be shivved in the yard by a rival gang, but “digital jail” is something you could easily end up in (or already have).  “Digital jail” is when our social media robot overlords decide your content has somehow violated one of their 6,523,222 unspoken regulations and you are summarily sentenced with little to no chance to argue your case.  Huzzah!

If I tried to list ALL the ways to avoid digital jail, the finished product would be the size of one of those giant old books on “Game of Thrones,” but here’s some of the most popular ones …

  • DON’T: Run contests asking for likes, shares, and tags

We’ve all done this one (and probably gotten away with it), but Meta is very clear that this one is against the rules.  Additionally it just kinda looks sleazy and desperate.  What you CAN do instead is run a giveaway and ask people to contribute with relevant comments.  Example:  An outdoor store could offer a $25 gift card and ask, “What’s your favorite winter outdoor activity?”  That’s totally fine, and in many cases will actually help boost page engagement as more people comment on the post.

  • DON’T: Use banned hashtags

Explicit and defamatory hashtags are obvious, but what you may not know is Instagram has an unpublished list of “shadowbanned” hashtags.  These are seemingly normal tags that have been hijacked by spam accounts, so IG starts hiding posts that use it.  Example: #adulting is currently shadowbanned (who knew?) and will get your post crushed by the algorithm. Use Google to find more.

  • DON’T: Share other people’s stuff without permission

In some ways this is silly where a person enters YOUR business, takes a picture of YOUR stuff, and tags you in the post and yet it’s still totally against the rules to repost without permission. Even though 99% of people don’t care, take the extra minute to shoot them a DM and ask if it’s OK to repost.  All it takes is that 1% to decide to complain and you’re in trouble. 

OK friends … that’s all we have time for today.  Good luck staying out of jail!


Zack Jackson

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