Since Instagram began, the focus on ‘followers’ has been in the spotlight, whether it’s trying to get your ‘ratio’ right, or using the metric as a social currency in the world of influencer marketing. A few years after Instagram made a splash, it seemed like it was a lot easier to grow and gain followers. However, in recent years as Instagram has made changes to the way that content is served to its users, how they deal with bot accounts and certain actions, and as people move across different platforms – there has been a general consensus that the follower metric has been decreasing. Now, losing followers on Instagram isn’t detrimental to your account (sometimes it can be a good thing), but you’ll want to figure out why you’re losing that social currency, and what you can do to reverse the trend.
Why Am I Losing Followers on Instagram? 🤔
Let’s get into the various reasons why you might feel like you are randomly losing followers on Instagram.
#1 The followers you are losing, weren’t ‘real’ followers in the first place
We’ve alluded to this, and this is often one of the most common reasons that bigger accounts lose followers – because a large portion of those followers were bots, inactive accounts, and so on. Instagram has made a marked effort to crack down on accounts like these, because they can create a false narrative around a person or brand’s follower base, giving them authority through inactive accounts. This kind of loss of followers, however, can be a good thing, because it culls out any accounts that are following you that won’t interact with your page, and allows you to get a better picture of your real engagement.
If you’ve ever engaged in behaviour that has utilized bots, you can also get rid of inactive or bot accounts yourself. Just head to your following list, click the ‘…’ button and select remove follower.
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#2 You are losing followers because your Instagram posting schedule is off
Instagram is extremely sensitive to the actions you take on a platform. If you like too many photos in quick succession or send a bulk of DMs in a short period of time, you can risk getting banned or restricted from the platform, earning you a bit of a red flag. The same goes for your posts. If you suddenly start posting too much, this might signal ‘bot behavior’ to the platform, and your account may be restricted or penalized, making it harder for you to gain followers.
Likewise, if you are posting a lot, without a huge variation in your content, your followers may fatigue and unfollow your account, because it is taking over their feed, or not offering value-adding content.
On the other hand, if you post too little, you might also lose followers as users think you are no longer engaged on the platform
or offering quality content for them to consume. If they deem their follow is not worth it, they can just as easily unfollow, if they are no longer seeing the type of content they signed up for, on your page. Just like speaking to your friends, no matter what your schedule is, it’s important to communicate and be consistent, so your followers know what to expect, and when they can get the content they love from you, instead of dropping off and losing that connection.
If you don’t have time to be consistently creating Reels or static content for your feed, try and keep your Stories consistent, and offer your followers a reason to tune in. You can also use a scheduler to keep on track with your posting cadence – read about this here!
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#3 You aren’t relating to your followers
Often, people may find a piece of content you’ve created that they like, and so give you a follow. However, if you don’t foster that relationship beyond that, it’s likely they won’t feel any kind of loyalty and can just as quickly drop off or unfollow. You need to develop a relationship with your followers if you want to retain them, and that can be in the way that you speak to them, respond to them, collaborate with them or even the type of content you post.
Social media isn’t strictly professional – people go there to relax and enjoy,
so you can speak to your followers in the same way you might speak to your friends. Make use of Instagram Stories to directly ask your followers what they want to see from you, answer their queries and let them get to know your personality, and don’t just feature ads on your platform. Here’s some inspiration for the ‘Ask Me A Question’ feature on Instagram!
This allows your followers to buy into you, and who you are, and fosters a much more loyal relationship.
#4 You aren’t adapting to new Instagram features, so you are losing followers
Instagram is always changing, and the type of content that works one day, may not work the next. It’s important to keep updated on social trends and constantly evaluate which content formats are performing best for you. For example, if you’ve chosen to keep posting still content, and ignore the fact that Reels exist, your followers are pretty likely to decrease, because you aren’t making use of a platform feature that allows you to gain the most reach. Users change their habits in how they consume content, so it’s really important that you, as a business or creator change too, in order to keep up with the evolution of social media. When you do post, you’re bound to lose a small portion of followers who may not be interested in your type of content anymore, so it’s important to make use of formats that give you more reach, as this can help you gain followers, to even out the drop-off.
You don’t need to be a video expert to adapt to Reels and use them in a way that works for you. Read our Reels guide here,
with loads of tips and ideas! Reels are a great way of reaching a wider audience of people who are interested in the specific type of content you create.
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#5 You don’t have a distinct voice or style
You’ve probably heard this in every article you read about running a successful social media account, but if your followers don’t know who you are, or what you’re about – they’re unlikely to stick around. You should have a reason to follow, or a USP when it comes to your account, otherwise, people won’t be able to tell exactly what your message or voice is, and may come up confused. This doesn’t mean you have to change who you are to fit a niche, but rather capitalize on what makes you different, and communicate this when it comes to your captions, content, CTAs and more.
#6 You’ve been ‘shadowbanned’
The ‘you know who’ of the social media world, getting shadowbanned is every social media marketer’s recurring nightmare. The reason this could cause you to lose followers is that when your account gets restricted, you won’t be able to reach as many people as you usually might. Therefore, you will have some followers dropping off when they see your posts, but no one actually newly following you, because they aren’t able to see your content.
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#7 Your audience has changed, but your account hasn’t
As we grow up, our tastes, interests, hobbies and even who we like to follow, changes. If we no longer feel like we relate to a brand account or creator, we might unfollow them, in favor of someone else. Sometimes, if you make the exact same type of content for a long period of time, people can also get fatigued, so it’s important you really pay attention to whether you are losing followers as a general trend over time, rather than all at once. If you’ve noticed it has become a long-term trend, you might want to consider refreshing your content.
Speak to your followers, and start to test new types and formats of content, to see what people positively respond to. It’s ok to ask your followers for advice, after all, they are the ones who are there to consume it, and this is your best form of market research. Constantly check in on your metrics and understand what is working and what isn’t, in order to continue to adapt and react to changes on your account.
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