In the last few days, I’ve received more than a few desperate emails from casual acquaintances saying they’ve been suspended from Instagram. They evidently think I’m a world class expert due to my own suspension last Spring. Their desperation is palpable, and I know how they feel. My suspension lasted six long weeks. Instagram was convinced I was a tween masquerading as a seasoned middle-aged woman on my channel. My personal suspension was kind of random, but lately all sorts of folks are getting kicked off Instagram and Facebook for no good reason. The New York Times even wrote about it.
“Help! I’ve been suspended from Instagram!”
Here’s what I did to get my account back with the following caveat. I truly to this day have no clear idea of what worked and what didn’t:
1. MEDIA BLITZ: I wrote a blog post about my dilemma. I tweeted it out (multiple times), I shared it on LinkedIn and got influential friends to shout it from their Instagrammy mountaintops. Once I was banned, my account was virtually invisible to outsiders so tagging me did not help. Do I think this helped? Not one bit, but it made me feel like I was doing something productive. Besides, that blog post is still my most popular blog post of all times which is amazing thinking that I write such scintillating blog posts like, “Where to Eat in Chinle, AZ” and “Camper Travel Tips.”
2. STRONG-ARM FRIENDS AT META: I worked in Influencer Marketing for 10+ years, when I ran Everywhere Agency, and we made hundreds of thousands in ad buys every year at META. Still, I didn’t have a single META account rep to call. However, I have three different colleagues from my agency life who work at META, all of whom are in senior positions.
No, I will not give you the names of my friends at META, I bothered them enough.
I bothered them mightily enough when I went through my Instagram suspension. I reached out to each of them, multiple times and literally got down on my email hands and knees begging them to help. They all reported back that they had contacted the Insta engineers and “they were aware of the issue” but beyond that their hands were tied and “Sorry, Good luck!” They really tried and were super solicitous about it all, but it was clear they were limited in how they could help.
Avoid overeager spammers who ask for your Instagram Password
3. AVOID THE SCAMMER TRAP: My Media blitz resulted in one prompt reaction, namely from scammers. Only they didn’t present as scammers. I got several super friendly messages from strangers on LinkedIn telling me about a “good friend” who’s a wizard at restoring banned and suspended Instagram accounts. Another contacted me via Twitter offering to help out and assuring me they were experts at hacking Instagram After a robust DM exchange with one these supposedly helpful wizards, I noticed they were all too eager and perhaps were not native English speakers. Nobody asked for money, but they did ask for my Password. Big red flag. Upon closer inspection, my courtiers were clearly were spam accounts and thank heavens I never followed through. (Sorry/not sorry, if you’ve done this, you’re screwed!)
4. BE IN IT FOR THE LONG HAUL. I had several hopeful moments during my suspension when I’d receive direct messages from the Gods of Instagram which said things like, “It looks like your account was disabled by mistake. Your account has been reactivated and you should now be able to log in.” This happened shortly after one on of my META pals had intervened on my behalf and I still remained locked out for a good three weeks. Be prepared to both be hopeful and to get your hopes crushed.
5. GO THROUGH FACEBOOK BUSINESS MANAGER. If, you’ve ever done any advertising on Facebook, try appealing through your Facebook Business Manager Account. I foolishly did not try this until the very end of my Instagram suspension. Why’d I wait so long? Because my Facebook Business account was tied to my old Agency Facebook page and my Instagram account was a personal account. I mistakenly assumed that since these accounts bore no relationship, I’d get no help. I was wrong. I reached out through Facebook Business manager a good half dozen times and finally got help
How do you go about reaching out to Facebook Business Manager with help restoring your Instagram page? Go to this Link, and follow the prompts to “Troubleshoot a restricted account” or “Request access to a page from a business manager.” Most of the time, you go into an endless loop of responses from an automated responder. You might get a fleeting case manager who will give you an actual Job number. That fleeting case manager will also say things like, “Also, please take note that we have limited resources regarding your Instagram as we currently support Facebook Advertising related concerns only.”
After several attempts, I finally heard back from a real person named (I kid you not) Jane. I know Jane was real person because she actually said non-automated things like “Good day!” and she even got super personal, like look at this message she sent me.
My conversation with Jane felt like I was talking to the demigods of Facebook. It was 1 am and I did everything in my power to keep her on the message exchange including asking after her loved ones.
What worked?” The media blitz? My senior ranking friends at META or was it Jane? Who knows, but soon after I spoke to Jane, my Instagram account was miraculously RESTORED.
6. Here’s one last tip. This one comes from my friend Jess Santini. Jess is an agency badass, mom to an adorable little tyke and the “manager” of Yorkie dog-fluencer, Joey Buttons. Like me, she got suspended from Instagram for being underage, in her case posting on behalf of an underage dog. Granted Joey was only 5 years old at the time, but in dog years that makes him 40 right? We bonded as a solid two-person support team during our suspensions. Jess tried a different tact, recommended by some lawyerly pals. She recommends the following language.
That was the winning trick for Joey Buttons (whom you should absolutely follow because he’s simply a breath of fresh air in an ugly, ugly Meta world).
So that’s all I got. No sure bets, lots of things to try. If you’ve been locked out, suspended or age-banned from Instagram or Facebook, Feel free to share your saga or tips below.