Why You're Losing Instagram Followers and How to Fix It

Hélène Heath
December 9, 2015
Last Updated On
October 21, 2022
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We all want to be loved. And in this day and age, a big part of that means being defined by your numbers (#sorrynotsorry). Well, maybe that doesn't apply to everyone. While you can't help the fact that some people will, gulp, tap that unfollow button on Instagram, let's examine some ways that will help to stop someone from unfollowing you on Instagram.

Small online-only brand Everlane is gaining more followers than they are losing. Certainly because they apply the five points listed below.

Why Do I Keep Losing Followers on Instagram?

We're aware that one of your top social marketing priorities is Instagram. And it's up to you to make sure that your brand's account is maximizing the dollars the company pumps into it. So why do you keep noticing that your numbers aren't going up, but rather seems Instagram followers keep dropping? Why do people unfollow on Instagram and how can you stop someone from unfollowing you?

Fret not, friend. We got you.

Being rejected stings. It's never a fun thing to be made aware that some people don't like you. But you have to remember that it's simply impossible to please everyone, so don't beat yourself up about it.

That said, you can certainly do all that's in your power to not ignite in them the desire to Insta-break up with you. Here, we highlight 5 useful tips that will ensure that you retain your followers, or at the very least make them think long and hard before they hit that dreaded ig unfollow button.

How Can I Track My Followers?

Tracking follower growth and loss is a really important aspect of building a successful social strategy. While there any many standalone applications that can track follower loss, the best option is using a social media marketing tool like Dash Hudson. By using a social marketing software, you not only have the opportunity to check follower variance, but you can also gain actionable insights and analytics that will help inform you of what’s working and what is not.

J Brand knows how to keep their followers thanks to compelling denim-filled images that speak directly to their audience, thankyouverymuch. Source: @jbrandjeans Instagram

How To Stop Losing Instagram Followers:

While it’s possible the reason you’re losing followers is completely out of your control, there are still some proactive things you can do to ensure your audience stays interested and you don't end up losing Instagram followers.

1. Be Consistent

Perhaps one of the most important points because so many accounts fail to post on the reg, which leaves followers confused and uninterested. Make it a point to post at least once a day, up to three times a day. No one wants to follow a passive account - they're onboard your train because they like what you do, so give it to them. Just don't start spamming, that's not cute.

If you're having content-acquisition issues, which might explain your periods of inactivity, we have your solution. And while you're putting out killer content, always - emphasis on ALWAYS - ensure that each photo you push out lives up to your quality standards and overall aesthetic. Poor quality can drive your followers to say "It's not me, it's you".

2. Know Your Audience

If your numbers are trending down, it might be because you're not talking to who you think you're talking to. Is your audience really who you've imagined it to be or could it perhaps be a little different from that idea you've conjured?

If you're noticing declining numbers, it might be because your real audience is not connecting with what you're putting out for your dream audience, which could be the result of a disconnected image problem or in-house turmoil. Solve that problem internally and adjust on Instagram accordingly.

The folks over at @infatuation know exactly how to keep their followers coming back with consistent, mouth-watering posts. Source: @infatuation Instagram

3. Be Relevant

This goes hand in hand with point #2. Once you narrow in on who is listening to you, you can really begin to blast out the right images that will tug at your audience's heartstrings. I remember clearly an example that was given by Leandra Medine (aka Man Repeller) during an interview some time ago: she would never start posting about botany, because her website is about style and fashion. It's self-explanatory, really.

It's your duty to be relevant to your brand story and to resonate with your followers. That's why they follow you, and in turn, that's why you have an Instagram account. This also goes for HOW you make your message come across: your voice and tone define your brand on social media. Find it and make it count. The more you reach those followers with relevant images and compelling captions, the less likely they are to leave you in the dust.

Urban Outfitters has mastered the art of Instagram by knowing precisely who their audience is and continuously spoon-feeding it with what they want to see while remaining on-brand. This photo came in at 147K likes. No biggie. Source: @urbanoutfitters Instagram

4. Engage With Your Followers

Instagram is a marketer's dream: one on one access to fans and customers, talk about a silver platter! What could be better?! It's an incredible missed opportunity to not engage with your followers, especially the ones who post about you. If it worked for Sophia Amoruso, it can work for you.

Acknowledging your followers may feel like a very small thing, or worse, a menial task, but it shouldn't be. It means the world to them, therefore it should mean the world to you. Showing them some love with a regram and a shoutout is the holy grail of follower appreciation, but little things like answering their comments and liking the photos they tag you in can go a very long way. No one feels good about unfollowing an account that expresses a form of gratitude and recognition.

Glossier is likely the queen of follower engagement. They often regram their user-generated content, even the smaller accounts.

5. Maximize the Functions

It's time to discuss the more tangible stuff, actual concrete actions you can take, like tagging pictures, hashtags, comment mentions, etc. If you're averse to hashtags, better start rethinking things because they can drive some decent traffic to your gallery. Are you featuring another account? Don't hesitate to tag it for maximal reach. This won't prevent people from unfollowing you, unlike the above tips, but it will give you more exposure and heighten your chances of being followed by new people.

At the end of the day, if you are being followed, then you are also inevitably being unfollowed (one of those chicken or egg things), and you can't beat yourself up about it. If you do your best, implement best practices and actually react to both positive and negative activity, you'll already be a step ahead.


Is it normal to lose followers on Instagram?

The short answer: yes. The long answer: it depends. If you’re seeing a natural ebb and flow of follower loss and growth, that is completely normal. Especially if you’re the type of brand that runs contests, or promos that require users to follow to participate. The problem arises if you’re losing abnormally large amounts of followers for seemingly no reason. That shows it may be time to reassess your strategy. 

Why do I lose followers every time I post?

It is possible this is happening because your audience no longer aligns with the content you post. This could mean either your target audience is shifting, or your brand’s niche is changing. To combat this, ensure you have a finger on the pulse of what your niche pertains to or how your audience is feeling about your posts using sentiment analysis

Why am I losing more followers than gaining?

Much like losing followers every time you post, it could just be that your audience isn’t resonating with your content anymore. If you feel like your content is still relevant and something that your audience should be interested in, here are some other reasons you could be losing more followers than gaining: lack of consistency or no posting regularity, you’re being too promotional on your feed, your posts or bio is misleading or you’re not using hashtags.

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