What’s the only thing worse than an Instagram account that fails to attract followers? How about losing followers on Instagram you spent so much time gaining in the first place? Whichever way you look at it, losing followers on Instagram is the ultimate doomsday scenario.
One day, things are totally fine, and people seem genuinely interested in your output. The next, your Instagram growth campaign takes an unwelcome turn in the opposite direction. When things like this happen, it’s hard not to panic. Rather than being pragmatic about the whole thing, you assume it’s game over.
And in doing so, you do yourself (and your follower count) no favors. If you’re losing Instagram followers, it’s happening for a reason. Your job is to work out what that reason is and do something about it.
The quicker you figure out how to stop losing followers, the faster you can get things back on track. In this blog post, we’ll be taking a look at some of the main reasons why you may be seeing a fall in your follower count.
Is Losing Followers on Instagram Normal?
Yes – losing a few followers here, and it is perfectly normal. People will unfollow accounts from time to time for a long list of reasons, so holding onto every follower you have long-term isn’t an option. It could simply be that some of your followers are closing their Instagram accounts and so naturally aren’t following you anymore.
But when you begin hemorrhaging followers in much higher numbers, something clearly isn’t right. Be it an ongoing decline in followers or a sudden fall in the numbers, and the answer is no – this is far from normal.
Again, the importance of taking action as early as possible cannot be overstated. The quicker you nip the problem in the bud, the less likely it is to cause you a major headache.
Why Are You Losing Followers on Instagram?
There are various reasons why you may be losing followers on Instagram – mostly concerning the quality of your content. Irrespective of the type of content you publish, it needs to be highly engaging to keep people on board.
But there are other issues that can lead to falling follower counts that go beyond Instagram post quality. If any of the following apply, you could be looking at the reason people are hitting the ‘unfollow’ button in dangerously high numbers:
1. Over Promotional Content Strategy
First up, promotional content is rarely attractive. It’s not the kind of thing that’s going to boost your engagement rate or help build your trust and credibility on Instagram. The occasional promotional post is fine, but the rest of your output needs to be wholly non-promotional.
Keep things natural, authentic, and honest at all times. For every promotional post, you publish, serve up at least a dozen or so high-quality non-promotional posts. Don’t give them the impression you’re on Instagram purely for sales or marketing purposes. Even if this is the case, you need to portray the exact opposite.
2. Posting Too Often
Is there such a thing as posting too often on Instagram? Sure there is, and it’s a mistake a lot of people are making right now. Post consistently, but don’t bombard your followers with more information than they can possibly digest.
The truth is, the optimum number of Instagram posts per day varies significantly from one publisher and audience to the next. It’s up to you to figure out where the sweet spot lies, but don’t automatically make the assumption that more is always better. Oftentimes, less can indeed be more – quality matters far more than quantity.
3. Posting Outside of Your Theme/Niche
This can be a huge turn-off for the vast majority of Instagram users. When you follow someone on Instagram, you do so for a reason. They post content of relevance to your interests, and you can relate to them in some way. Hence, when they suddenly start posting content of no interest to you, it’s natural to lose interest in them.
One of the best ways to send followers in the opposite direction is to start diversifying from your main niche. The occasional abstract post is fine, but stray too far from what they’re interested in, and they’ll unfollow you. Stick as closely as you can to your main theme and only post content you know your target audience will be interested in.
4. Buying Fake Followers
Two issues here – the first of which is the automatic removal of fake followers. If you buy fake followers from spam accounts, they will be removed by Instagram. Not only will you be wasting your money, but you run the risk of being shadowbanned. You could even have your account deactivated, having breached Instagram’s terms and conditions.
Secondly, an account populated by thousands of spam followers is highly unattractive. Your organic followers will spot your fake followers from a mile away and instantly lose all respect for you.
At which point, they’ll unfollow you and never look back. Two reasons why buying fake followers from bot accounts is never a good idea. Buying 100% authentic followers, by contrast, can be an effective way to grow your account fast.
5. Not Posting Enough Content
As touched upon earlier, posting too often can work against you. At the opposite end of the scale, not posting often enough can be just as harmful. The longer the gaps between your posts, the higher the likelihood of your followers losing interest in you or perhaps, thinking you have abandoned your account entirely and so taking their business elsewhere.
The solution, in this instance, is fairly straightforward – post quality content on a regular basis. Irrespective of how busy you are, you need to take the time to publish something decent a few times a week.
If not, you’ll quickly lose ground to your competitors, who publish more often. Keep things consistent, and ensure your followers know when to tune in for something fresh and new.
6. Publishing Content Without a Purpose
Hundreds of millions of people access Instagram each week – all with a specific purpose in mind. Some want to be educated, some seek inspiration, and others are simply out for entertainment. Now ask yourself – what specific purpose does your content serve? Does it offer something of genuine value, or does it just ‘exist’?
Content that serves no purpose whatsoever is a recipe for a falling follower count. There’s simply too much congestion on Instagram for pointless posts to gain any real traction. The solution, in this case, is simple – question the value and purpose of everything you post before you even think about posting it.
7. Irrelevant Hashtags
It’s a similar story with hashtags, which serve a clear and specific purpose. The specific hashtags that accompany posts on Instagram tell the platform’s algorithm what they are about. They also tell Instagram who to recommend your posts to and which category they fall within. Hashtags can be great for ensuring your posts appear in front of the right people.
However, the use of irrelevant or misleading hashtags can be a deal-breaker. People on Instagram don’t like to be misled into wasting time on the content of no interest to them. Avoid using hashtags that are not relevant to your content, or it could cost you big.
8. Not Being Active Enough
Posting quality content alone is not enough to run a successful campaign on Instagram. Your output needs to be flawless, but you also need to take the time to interact and engage with your followers. If not, you can’t expect to maintain their loyalty and interest long-term. If you’re not making an effort to engage with them, they’ll find someone else who will.
Embracing the ‘social’ aspect of social media is essential. This is often what makes the difference between amassing an audience of thousands of followers and struggling to keep even a dozen onboard. If you’re confident in the quality of your content yet you’re still losing followers, try interacting and engaging with them more often.
9. It’s an Instagram Glitch
In some instances – albeit a rarity – the issue could be on Instagram’s side. All social media platforms are almost completely automated, controlled by complex algorithms and bots. Hence, it’s perfectly possible that your plummeting follower count could be the result of a glitch on their end.
If your follower count falls to zero overnight, it’s most likely an Instagram glitch. Likewise, if the vast majority of your followers suddenly disappear for no apparent reason, it could be a technical issue. Feel free to reach out to Instagram to support the team directly if you think you may have been hit by a bug.
10. Publishing Offensive Content
Last up, publishing offensive content is a good way to get yourself banned from Instagram permanently. Breaching the platform’s terms and conditions with offensive content will usually result in indefinite account suspension.
You could find yourself locked out of your account entirely or face the prospect of your entire audience of followers being removed. Sadly, there’s very little you can do to come back from these kinds of penalties.
Irrespective of whether you knowingly breached Instagram’s community guidelines, it could be the end of your account. In which case, the only thing you can do is start again from scratch and (hopefully) learn from your mistakes.
Determining why you are losing followers really shouldn’t be too difficult. In almost all instances, it’s an issue related to one of three things:
- The quality or consistency of your output not posting relevant content often enough
- Failing to interact and engage with your followers
Making every effort to increase Instagram followers and build the biggest possible audience is essential. But at the same time, so too is doing whatever it takes to keep these followers on board.
Again, the importance of acting early cannot be overstated. The quicker you identify and address the issue, the easier it becomes to get your Instagram campaign back on track.