Instagram is able to track and analyze each and every action that you perform through your account. It uses the quality of these actions to determine and raise or lower your account’s trust score. Whilst it can be extremely frustrating to feel like you have to continuously comply with a range of ever-changing rules or risk being blocked out of the platform, there are steps you can take to protect and even improve your trust score. By learning what actions are deemed as automated or fake, you can learn to adapt your actions and behaviors on Instagram to improve your chances of success.
What is a Trust Score And Why Does It Matter?
Essentially, the ‘trust score’ is the way Instagram tracks your account and all its activity to determine whether or not it is in fact a trustworthy account. It is sometimes referred to as your account’s health score. It is as though Instagram were keeping a record of every single action that you take on your account. Each action you take in seen and interpreted by its algorithms. Instagram then takes all this data and puts it together to create your ‘trust score’. It basically ranks your account on a continuum between spam-like activity and trustworthy activity.
No-one actually knows their trust score number or is able to access it. The danger, if your account is considered to be fake or spam-like, is that it risks getting blocked or banned. If you find that your account is getting regularly blocked or that Instagram is preventing you from taking certain actions, then there is a high probability that Instagram is interpreting your account as spam-like. Basically, it considers your account to be fake or a bot and as such, your trust score is probably very low.
You may well be wondering why Instagram would want to track each of your actions. The main reason is because it is looking to stop automated activities and reduce spam or fake accounts. To this end, they use an ever-changing algorithm to collect and analyze all the data in an attempt to identify which accounts are fake or utilizing automation, and which accounts are genuine and real.
Be Aware, Stay Informed
Perhaps you think that this doesn’t apply to you. You know that you don’t use any automation tools and that your account is genuine. Therefore, you think that your account is safe. Unfortunately, the Instagram program can mistakenly identify some genuine, human behavior as automated or false. Instagram uses an algorithm to identify bot behavior. All the program can do is interpret the actions and activity on your account. The only full-proof way to protect your account from being considered fake or even being blocked, is to be aware of how Instagram views your actions and activity. Once you know, you are able to take steps to prevent misinterpretation of your activity on the platform.
Actions That Harm Your Trust Score
The good news is that it is possible to identify some of the actions which can lower your trust score and take actions to improve it. Some of the most likely causes of a low trust score include:
- Fake followers and automated comments and likes – Instagram tests your content whenever you post anything on the platform. To begin with, it only shows your post to about 10% of your followers. The program then analyses how your followers interact with it. If the majority of your followers do not engage with your content, then the program is likely to consider them as either fake followers or bots, which will lead to a lower trust score. Instagram has also evolved sufficiently to be able to detect fake or bot likes and comments. These will also negatively impact on your trust score.
- Spam-like activity – even if you don’t use any automation tools, your account is still at risk of being identified as potentially fake or automated. Over the last six months Instagram has fought particularly hard to combat automation. Unfortunately, this has led to some genuine, human activity being flagged as spam-like. The type of activity most at risk of being misinterpreted as automated is over liking, over posting or using repetitive or irrelevant hashtags. If you follow too many people at one time, or unfollow too many people at once, you are likely to trigger spam-like activity flags. Too many repetitive comments, tagging people who aren’t in your post or even direct messaging of people who don’t follow you, can be viewed by Instagram as bot behavior and will cause your trust score to be significantly harmed.
- Participation in a comment pod – this is one of the more recent strategies which users have been trying to utilize to help grow their accounts, but which has actually backfired. It involves a group of accounts or users agreeing to regularly comment on each other’s posts reciprocally. In theory, this shouldn’t negatively affect your growth. However, it won’t benefit it either and may well prove to be a waste of your time and effort. The Instagram algorithm sees this type of activity as fake. Any type of activity which is done in a regular pattern, such as regular commenting on posts by the same group of people each time, will be regarded by Instagram’s program as fake and will lead to a poor trust score or even blocked accounts. Instead, it is a better use of your time to spread out your comments in a more natural way.
Protecting Your Instagram Trust Score
It may seem as though all of your human and genuine actions can be misconstrued by the Instagram algorithm. Luckily, there are steps you can take to prevent your account from being perceived as fake.
“The first piece of advice I would give to anyone who wants to make sure that they are not acting like a bot on Instagram, is to limit the number of times they post per day,” explains Megan Card, a social media marketer at Writinity and Researchpapersuk. “Post a maximum of two times per day. If you post more often than that, Instagram usually views it as spam. The next thing to avoid is exceeding daily action limits. So, don’t suddenly follow or unfollow too many people all at once. You may not be aware of it, but Instagram has both daily and hourly limits that depend on the number of genuine followers you have, as well as the age of your account and your ER, amongst other things. If you start exceeding or even simply reaching your limits regularly, this can get flagged. Doing it repeatedly may get your account banned altogether.”
Consider your comments carefully. If you post the same comment for multiple posts, then Instagram will detect this. This also applies to using the same emoji repeatedly. Instagram considers repetitive comments are automated. Instead, try to make human-sounding comments under posts and try to vary what you say. You want to make sure that your wording is original. Similarly, make sure that you are commenting back on your own feed genuinely and sincerely.
Tag your photos and posts accurately. Instagram views the tagging of people who aren’t in your post as spam. Rather than tagging everyone you can think of, only tag relevant people or brands. These should be brands or people who were mentioned in the post itself, so word it accurately and carefully. Only tag the people which are actually in your photo or video and make sure that you spread them out on your photo and avoid any overlapping. Direct messaging lots of people at once who don’t follow you looks very suspicious, especially if you are sending the same message to each of them. Instagram will punish that type of activity, so only DM people who you know or have genuine reason to contact.
Finally, only use relevant hashtags. Repetitive hashtags are perceived to be spam. If you use hashtags to promote your posts, try to use different types for each post you publish. The hashtags should be, above all, related to the content of your post. They should ideally relate visually to your post in some way and be topic related.
Reviving And Raising Your Instagram Trust Score
Instagram is constantly evolving and its algorithm is updated and changed on a daily basis, which can make it challenging to know how best to respond. There are some simple steps that you can take to improve the trustworthiness of your account and to revive it, if it is struggling with a low trust score.
- Post regularly, but within the limits of one to two daily posts.
- Respond with genuine comments on your feed. Make sure you like your followings and engage organically with your posts and comments.
- Follow friends from Facebook. Only humans can do that, so link your Instagram and Facebook accounts to follow your Facebook fiends on Instagram. You can also follow some people that Instagram suggests to you.
- Remove any fake followers. You simply need to go to your Followers, tap on the three dots to the right of the user and simply remove them from your list. They won’t be notified that you have removed them, so you don’t need to worry about this. It is a good idea to periodically check your followers and remove any that you think are not genuine.
- Make sure that you are engaging with your audience by replying to comments people make on your posts and by commenting on others’ stories.
- If a verified account or an account with a high trust score likes, comments or follows you, it will help to raise your trust score in turn.
The Benefits Of A High Trust Score
You might be tempted to look at larger, more successful accounts and try to copy their activity and feed style and attempt to replicate these strategies for yourself. Unfortunately, accounts that have a higher trust score are able to get away with certain activities that accounts with lower trust scores cannot, or which may lead to them being punished. For example, excessive posting or having a bit.ly link on your bio is usually considered spam. Yet some accounts with high trust scores can get away with having this without consequence. Be inspired by successful accounts, but be aware of how your own activity may be interpreted.
Instagram Is Constantly Evolving
Instagram’s main purpose is to create a platform which is authentic and which seeks to reward genuine engagement and real quality content.
“Instagram is purposefully fluid and mysterious,” says Joe Beale, an Instagram expert at Draftbeyond and Lastminutewriting. “If you are trying to find ways to outsmart the algorithm, then you are wasting your time. Instagram doesn’t want people to know the algorithm because otherwise people, and by extension bots, would be able to manipulate and outwit it. If you think you are going to be able to outsmart a program which is being constantly tweaked and tested by a group of highly-trained engineers, every day, then you are going to be disappointed. The algorithm is updated and changed every hour, which is why techniques or strategies that worked one month won’t be effective the next month. If you are trying to find ways around it or to manipulate Instagram’s rules, then chances are that this will be viewed as risky behavior and may well end up getting your account blocked.”
Instagram offers a fantastic opportunity for people to connect with one another. However, in order to succeed on Instagram, you must adhere to its rules. This can be extremely frustrating. However, if you are a genuine user, responding to comments and posts in an organic and genuine manner, then there is no reason your account should receive a poor trust score. Instead, remain alert and informed. As Instagram evolves and changes, be prepared to adapt your own behavior and activity to mirror that so that you can get the most out of your experience and of the potential offered by Instagram.
Ashley Halsey has been involved in numerous projects throughout the country. She is a professional writer at Luckyassignments.com and Gumessays.com. Ashley is a mother of two children, who enjoys traveling and reading. When not writing, she regularly attends business training courses.