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The Art of Follower Retention and Why it Matters

Elise Ngobi
July 15, 2020
Last Updated On
September 15, 2023
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Follower growth is great, but all the growth in the world doesn’t mean anything if you lose as many followers as you gain on a regular basis. Master the art of follower retention, and sustainably grow, nurture, and convert your loyal followers with these key learnings:

  • Why follower retention is important.
  • How to pinpoint when you lose followers and why.
  • How to use net follower growth peaks to inform your strategy.
  • The tools to help you keep your followers engaged.

Why Follower Retention Matters

Follower retention matters because, to the Instagram algorithm, consistent engagement is key. Maintaining a loyal follower base (while also gaining new, like-minded followers who will consistently engage with your content over time) will help to increase and stabilize your visibility within the app, whether in feed or on the Explore Page. Visibility leads to more opportunities for engagement, which fuels more visibility and the cycle continues.

Follower growth is a key metric to defining a brand’s success on social media, and is something we know senior leadership are always keen to see on the rise. But what we’re seeing now is that the savviest brands are also using follower retention metrics to get a sense of what works and what doesn't. That leads us into how to discern why you’re losing followers and what you can do about it.

How to Pinpoint Reasons for Follower Loss

First things first, there are many potential reasons brands lose followers and, with spam and bot accounts thankfully deactivated on a regular basis, follower loss isn’t always a bad thing. But day-to-day, brands losing followers want to know why — and so does senior leadership. Pinpointing what content, events or wider issues contribute to follower loss is the first step to mitigation.

Dash Hudson provides brands with the Instagram insights they need to uncover when follower loss occurs and why. Through filtering followers lost by the day, social media managers can look back to find the content that was posted on that day, check the engagement that content received and dig deeper into the visual elements that underperformed using Dash Hudson’s content segmentation tool, Content Segmentation Boards.

How to Inform Strategy with Net Follower Growth Peaks

Using a similar method to pinpointing when followers are lost, brands can get a clear view of when net follower growth peaks. Net follower growth is the amount of followers you gain minus the amount you lose in a given period of time. When you’re in a state of net follower growth, it means you’re consistently gaining more followers than you’re losing, which means you’ll continue to grow.

Gaining new followers, keeping these new followers alongside your existing base, as well as mitigating the loss of existing followers is no small feat. It takes a deep and constantly evolving understanding of your unique audience and what appeals to them.

When looking at net follower peaks, brands can delve in to each aspect of their strategy that has driven that growth. By looking at what content was posted during a time period and the engagement rate on that content, they can start to gain an insight into what content is contributing to high engagement, high visibility, and growth. Another key element of using net follower growth to inform strategy is UGC and influencer partnerships.

Looking back to find top performing UGC — community created content that the brand was either @mentioned, photo tagged in, or both — that was posted during the time period, gives brands a more holistic view of the visual conversation happening, and how that pertains to growth. Encouraging an audience to create great content and tag the brand is a surefire way to increase your organic reach and help to grow your following.

Working with influencers gives brands the opportunity to reach brand-new followers with similar tastes. Picking the right influencers to work with, whether they be macro or micro influencers is the first step. Once your partnerships are up and running, Dash Hudson’s influencer and creator ROI tracking tool makes it quick and easy to see how many followers you’re gaining from your partnerships, down to the post level. This insight helps brands decide who to partner with, who to elevate from a gifting relationship to a paid partnership, and which influencers may not be the right fit.

By digging into the external factors of net follower growth peaks, you will be able to gain a better understanding of who and what types of content are producing growth.

Who Unfollowed Me on Twitter?

Many brands (and individuals) are eager to know who unfollowed them on Twitter. If you have a specific user in mind, you can simply search for their name in your follower list, or navigate to their profile and see if they still follow you. However, this can be time-consuming, and requires a significant amount of manual monitoring and work.

Unfortunately, Twitter doesn't have a built-in tool that lets you see specific users who have unfollowed you on Twitter — yet. They've also recently changed their API, which has impacted the function of some websites and apps that let you monitor your follower count. However, there are still some third-party apps and services brands can use to monitor their follower count.

Some popular options include:

  • This popular website can be accessed through your web browser with your Twitter login, and is free to use. You can also see new followers, follower history, and new followers.
  • Who Unfollowed my On Twitter App: For those who don't want to use a browser site, there are many apps that look at who followed and unfollowed you on Twitter.
  • iUnfollow: This tool is not to track new and lost followers, but to unfollow accounts that don't follow you back, and to follow accounts that do follow you back. While this can be a rigid approach for brands that might not lend itself to strategy, the option does exist for brands who are curious about it.

How To Use Dash Hudson for Follower Retention

With Dash Hudson's Social Media Analytics, brands can see their net new followers, total followers, and average followers gained each day.

While follower reporting for specific channels is an essential part of a brand's social media toolkit, brands can level up their understanding of follower retention with multi-channel follower reports. This gives brands the opportunity to compare and analyze their follower gains and losses across all social accounts at-a-glance. This is helpful to understand which content resonates with specific users on a platform, where your content marketing strategy needs to pivot, and other helpful insights.

Savvy brands need sophisticated, robust data on their followers — while it's helpful to know how many followers you gain and lose (and how that impacts reach), it's even more helpful to know exactly which content results in followers. Dash Hudson lets you see data for individual posts and how many followers you gained based on that content. From there, brands — especially those who are focused on building their social profiles or generally increasing their follower count — can identify which content they should create more of to attract new users.

What's more, sentiment analysis is another helpful feature that lets brands see whether user sentiment is overwhelmingly positive, neutral, or negative on their TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube accounts. Brands can even drill down the sentiment from their top keywords, which sorts hashtags and keywords user's most frequently use when tweet at or about your brand, and whether they are positive, neutral, or negative.


How to grow social media followers?

One of the best ways to grow your followers is to focus on optimizing your account, and tweets. The Twitter algorithm is more likely to suggest your account to other relevant accounts when you have a profile photo, location, profile description, and tweet engaging content. This includes joining relevant conversations from the Trending tab, replying to comments and RT's, and tweeting engaging content at the right time.

Who has the most social media followers?

Instagram itself has the most followers at 635 million, followed by Cristiano Ronaldo (@cristiano) has the most Twitter followers at 578 million. On Twitter, Twitter CEO Elon Musk has the most followers at 135.8 million.

How to remove followers on Twitter?

To remove Twitter followers, simply navigate to your follower section or the follower's profile you wish to remove. Click the 'more' icon with three dots on their profile or directly from your follower list, select 'Remove this follower', and click 'Remove' to confirm your selection.

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