There’s nothing more discouraging than losing followers on Instagram.
You worked so hard to get them in the first place, after all. You want to do everything in your power to keep them.
Knowing 100% of the reasons why you’re losing followers on Instagram would require you to understand the brain of every person who unfollows you. We’ll never quite know that.
Having said that, here are 16 of the most common reasons you are losing followers on Instagram in 2018:
You’re posting too far outside of your theme: a large reason why people follow you is because you provide content that appeals to their interests. Shoe lovers follow shoe pages. Dog lovers follower dog pages. When someone follows you because you post a particular kind of content and begin posting outside of that content, because you’re no longer appealing to their interest, you’re bound to lose some followers.
You’re not posting enough: 95 million posts are uploaded to Instagram every day. At that rate, if you want to stay relevant in the eyes of your followers, you can’t rely on an inconsistent posting schedule. Studies show that posting at least five times a week is a good place to start.
You’re selling too much: people don’t want to feel like they’re following a billboard. Non-stop ads and asking people to buy something, especially if the product isn’t related to the theme of your channel, is a sure way to quickly lose a lot of followers.
You’re promoting too much: it’s great that you’ve grown your account large enough to attract advertisers, but bombarding your followers with weekly sponsored posts showcasing weight loss teas and body scrubs gets old fast. A couple easy ways to make your sponsored post more digestible for your followers:
- advertise relevant products that would interest your followers
- disperse your sponsored post proportionally throughout your non-sponsored posts (if you’re posting every day, for example, post one sponsored post every week)
Instagram purged its users: with an estimated 8% of Instagram accounts being fake, Instagram makes effort to limit the number of these fake accounts with occasional purges. One of the more notable purges was in 2014, with celebrities like Justin Bieber losing 3.5 million followers, Kim Kardashian losing 1.5 million, and Akon losing almost 60% of his Instagram followers. If you lose a large number followers overnight with no apparent explanation, it’s likely that Instagram purged your account.
Your followers are using the follow/unfollow technique: a common method of gaining followers on Instagram is the follow/unfollow method. It involves you following someone’s channel with the hope that that person follows you back. If you notice consistent bumps in follower count only to fall back down a few days later, this could just be people unfollowing you on account of you not following them back.
You’re posting low resolution content: anyone with a smartphone essentially has access to professional-grade photography equipment. Posting low resolution content in today’s world could be taken as an act of laziness in the eyes of your followers.
You’re posting low quality content: does your content bring unique value to your followers? Are you entertaining or educating them? If you’re posting the same thing that every other person in your niche is posting, there’s nothing stopping someone from unfollowing you and following someone more interesting.
You’re captions are boring/non-existent: captions are your opportunity to add to your post what can’t be understood just by looking at it. If you’re a business, captions are particularly important; they give you the opportunity to add a human element to an otherwise purely business entity. If you’re a travel photographer, captions give you the opportunity to describe what it was like (sounds, smells, etc.) to be in the exact moment when you captured a photo. Captions can act as the missing link between the viewer and the post.
You’re not engaging with your followers: if people are engaging with your content, whether that be through Liking, commenting, or DMing, the least you can do is return the favour. This can be as simple as sending your new followers an automated DM welcoming them to your channel or responding to all of your comments. An easy to engage with your followers is to use a tool like TagScout which allows you to write, manage and respond to Instagram DMs (as well as comments) from your desktop.
Your followers had a change in interest: people change. They might like one thing at one point in their life and absolutely hate something the next (going through my Soundcloud playlist comes to mind). Other than keep up-to-date with what your followers have to say and adjusting your content accordingly (if you’re willing to change, of course), if you are losing followers on Instagram because of this, there’s not much else you can do.
Your followers are making room for those who matter: ever notice how you never see any new posts from your best friends or family? That’s likely because you follow too many people and everyone is fighting with Instagram’s algorithm for a spot on your feed. Similar to how Instagram occasionally purges fake account, people purge their own accounts to make room for posts from people that matter most – friends, family, favourite artists, etc. As awesome as your account might be, sometimes your account just doesn’t make the cut.
You’re duplicating content: your followers remember things, especially when you’re a smaller channel. If you’re consistently posting content that you’ve already posted in the past, you’re followers are going to pick up on that. Unless it serves a specific purpose (temporary posts promoting a contest, for example), avoid posting the same content over and over.
You’re not paying attention to analytics: what posts typically result in the most amount of Likes, comments, and general engagement from your followers? What posts result in the least amount? Paying attention to Instagram analytics, whether that be through Instagram’s built-in analytics report or with the help of tools like Iconosquare, can help you understand the kind of content that best resonates with your followers. The more you know what followers want, the better you can cater to their wants and needs. The better you can cater to their wants and needs, the less likely they are to unfollow you.
You bought your followers: there are plenty of reasons why buying Instagram followers is a bad idea, but one reason is how susceptible they are to being deactivated by Instagram. Whether it be through selective deactivation or huge purges like the one in 2014, Instagram is going to identify and remove those followers, leaving a gaping hole in your follower count in the process.
Your competition is doing something better: if you are a brand or business, you may be losing followers because a competitor is providing a better experience. Perform a quick competitor analysis and see what tactics, tools, and general strategies are bringing your competitors success to 1) incorporate what you find into your own strategy and 2) see where you might be able to beat them.
If you’re losing followers on Instagram left and right, there’s a good chance it’s because of one of the reasons above.
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