Do you run a cannabis-related Instagram account and have recently found out that your account has been disabled? If so, you’re not alone. Many cannabusinesses have found that navigating the murky waters of IG has proven difficult for their brands, and have had to jump through numerous hoops in order to have their accounts reinstated.
The main reason for this is that Instagram has strict anti-pot selling rules. Their community guidelines state that “Instagram doesn’t allow people or organizations to use the platform to advertise or sell marijuana, regardless of the seller’s state or country. Our policy prohibits any marijuana seller, including dispensaries, from promoting their business by providing contact information like phone numbers, email addresses, street addresses, or by using the “contact us” tab in Instagram Business Accounts.”
So if you’re a cannabusiness attempting to sell your wares on IG, there’s a good chance that eventually, you may have your account flagged and disabled. If that happens, however, there are some steps you can take to get your account back.
IG’s Seven-Strike Rule
Unlike IG’s parent company, Facebook, which implements a five-strike system, Instagram’s system consists of seven strikes, according to DankCity.
After your first strike, you’ll usually simply receive a warning, though be warned, that IG reserves the right to delete or disable your account whenever it chooses, even after only a single strike.
At strike two, IG will take away all of your branded content and your ability to post further branded content.
When you receive four strikes, IG will instantly shadowban your page. What this means is that all of your content will be blocked, other users won’t be able to see it, and you’ll have no idea it’s happening. Unless a user follows you, they won’t be able to see anything you post, and any hashtags you use won’t show up when someone’s searching those hashtags.
Get five strikes and Instagram will take away your ability to use Instagram Live.
And finally, at strike seven, your account will be disabled.
One of the biggest problems with the strike rule is that anything, really, can cause a strike against you. If something you’ve posted offends someone, they can report your account. Enough reports and you get a strike.
Cannabis companies, especially, are often targets of trolls who go out of their way to get accounts banned just for the fun of it, and scammers, who will duplicate your account, often by simply adding an underscore to your username.
[Related Reading: Time to Tear the Mask Off of Cannabis Scams]
If a scam account is reported or flagged, or even if they post something that offends someone, your account can potentially become associated with them, and you’ll be taken down in the crossfire, too. So be wary of these things at all times.
So what can you do if your account gets disabled? Read on to find out.
Steps To Recover A Disabled IG Account
Before trying to recover your Instagram account, it’s important to ensure that it’s been disabled, not deleted. If an account has been disabled, there’s hope for getting it back. However, a deleted account is likely gone forever.
If your IG account is, in fact, disabled, and you’re ready to jump through some hoops to get it back, let’s get into it.
If it’s a business account that you’re trying to recover, there’s a quick, four-step process to try and retrieve it.
- Check out the Instagram Help Center and find the Business Deactivated Account option.
- Check “Yes” when prompted, “Is this account used to represent a business, product, or service.
- Fill out the form and upload a copy of one of the following:
- Your local business license
- Tax filing
- An invoice
- A Certificate of Formation
- Articles of Incorporation
- Utility bill
- Proof of domain name registration
- Order fulfillment documentation
- Click send.
DEGOM Marketing adds that it’s important to have, “a government ID with the appropriate individual that is in the documents provided,” and to “make sure to have an email in the documentation as well, in order for them to put that email as an admin.”
If it’s a personal account you’re trying to salvage, you’ll go through the same steps (clicking “No,” when it asks if you’re trying to retrieve a business account), but the form will be much shorter. You’ll provide your full name, your IG username, your email address, and your country. IG will then likely send you an email with a verification code and ask that you upload a selfie, holding a piece of paper with the verification code written on it, along with your full name and Instagram handle.
Avoiding Having Your IG Account Disabled
Depending on the number of violations you’ve received, Instagram may or may not recover your account for you. If they do, it’s good practice to try and stay within their company guidelines, no matter how insane they may sound to us.
Ways to do this are to avoid things that will cause them to flag you again.
First thing’s first, if your account has been disabled more than once, there’s a good chance that your IP address has been flagged by Instagram. If this is the case, it’s probably best to just create a new account using a different laptop, phone, or tablet that you’ve never used before to access your flagged accounts.
It’s also a good idea to be wary of what hashtags you use. Things like “canna” or “THC” get flagged easily, so try to avoid them or any of IG’s banned hashtags. Also, avoid things like prices, sales promos, or anything promoting the purchase of a cannabis product.
And finally, be aware that Instagram monitors direct messages, so trying to be sneaky and sell products through DMs will get you flagged as well. Instead, put a link to your website or online shop in your bio and direct people to “Link in bio” in your posts.
While we wait for Instagram to step into 2022 and stop shadowbanning and disabling the accounts of cannabis-related businesses, it’s important to do what you can to circumvent their community guidelines while still doing what you can to get your product out there onto one of the most popular social media platforms today. If you’re sneaky and careful, it is possible.
And, in the end, if you do find yourself with a disabled account, hopefully, the tips we’ve given you here can help you to recover it.