Instagram can be a tough cookie to decode sometimes.
I hear ya friend!
You're probably posting consistently, using the right hashtags but for some reason not only are your instagram followers not budging, but you actually end up losing a few.
Randomly losing followers on Instagram is actually not so random and if you think you're losing instagram followers for no reason, then let's reevaluate here.
As a matter of fact, I myself gain a handful of new followers every single day. But I'm also losing a handful too. And you know what, that's totally fine by me.
Because the followers you lose were never really interested in you, your product or your service, so it's actually super beneficial to you if you end up losing them as followers since they weren't going to convert into customers or clients anyway.
Here's the thing, the Instagram Algorithm favours accounts with high engagement levels. That means when they detect that your followers are engaged by interacting with you through likes, comments and DMs your engagement levels increase.
When Instagram realizes that you have high engagement levels, it pushes your account further to non-followers and cause a spike in your overall exposure.
But if you have a bunch of followers lingering around for no reason, this decreases your instagram engagement, which therefore means that Instagram will keep you in that secret alley.
And we both know, that's not where you want to be... right?
Now let's dig into the actual reasons behind why your instagram followers are decreasing...
1) THE FOLLOW/UNFOLLOW GAME
There are thousands of people out there playing the follow/unfollow game.
So what's that all about?
Well, basically people will follow you in hopes of you following them back so that they then eventually unfollow you.
It's their attempt of "getting your attention" even though they had absolutely no intention of actually following you or your work.
It's very sneaky! And kinda egocentric too, since all they're interested in is beefing up their follower count rather than developing and cultivating genuine relationships.
It's kinda like a guy who says he'll call you, does it once and disappears forever.
Such a douchebag!
Instagram is actually cracking down on people who do this, by either limiting their capability of following people or even shutting down their account completely.
Instagram is adopting more and more of an intolerant policy to those who try to "shortcut" their way to followers either by the follow/unfollow routine or even Instagrammers who use bots to automatically engage with other accounts.
Unfortunately, the follow/unfollow method is an unavoidable one because we're all extremely inclined to have people find us on Instagram, follow us to spark our curiosity in order to follow back and then POOF they're gone.
SO WHAT'S THE FIX?
You're probably unaware, but you might unwillingly be making yourself too accessible to the people who play the follow/unfollow game by using extremely generic hashtags.
So if you're using insanely popular hashtags like #Photography or #Henna, these accounts specifically target wildly in demand hashtags, and that's how they feast on you and many others to "follow" so they can eventually "unfollow" them once they get a follow back.
The fix here is to tighten your instagram hashtag strategy game and be much more specific with your hashtags.
2) YOU'RE OVER-SELLING OR BEING TOO PROMOTIONAL
I mean, that's why you're on Instagram after all - to promote your products and services, right?
However, a far too common mistake we all make is treating Instagram like our own personal billboard advertising space.
Unfortunately, constantly pitching or selling to your audience is the fastest way to get them to hit that unfollow button.
Really think about it. Wouldn't you do the same?
If you're following an account and all they ever do is talk about how awesome their product is, or push one promotion after the other, wouldn't you be so eager to unfollow?
If you're constantly selling or being too self-promotional, it's no different than your narcissistic friend who always tries to one-up your stories.
You can still drive a few promotions on Instagram here and there. But if that's what all your posts are centred around, then maybe it's time to adopt a new strategy.
SO WHAT'S THE FIX?
Instagram should be treated like a social media app - meaning you need it to be social and invite people to engage and interact with you.
Here's something you probably didn't know about Instagram... it outperforms Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and any other social media platform in terms of engagement.
Meaning, brand and business owners treat Instagram as a two way communication frontier.
That's something that can never be achieved through ads or a website!
So instead of pitching or self-promoting over and over, instead you should adopt an 80/20 approach.
Meaning you're providing value to your followers 80% of the time which in turn earns you thee right to self-promote for the remaining 20%.
And if you don't know what I mean by providing value, then you're going to want to check this post out where I talk about how I managed to more than double my Instagram growth using this exact some policy.
3) YOUR POSTING SCHEDULE IS WACKY!
You must have heard this like a million times before, and because this is important, I'm going to make it a million and one.
When your posting schedule is off, people will lose interest in your account and unfollow you.
So if you've completely ghosted and haven't posted in a while, or you're suddenly posting 3 - 4 images all in one day, this lack of consistency is bound to get you an unfollow.
Let's adopt this in real life, shall we?
I'm still puppy training my friend's cute little pug on a "bathroom schedule". So whenever he's over, we know that we'll feed him once at 1 pm and then again at 6 pm.
This consistency helps develop that routine.
But what happens if we change around the schedule of a meal? We get a nice and unexpected poopy stain on our carpet.
The general idea is when you post according to a consistent schedule, you're slowly creating a relationship with your followers because they already expect to hear from you on a given day at a given hour.
SO WHAT'S THE FIX?
You definitely need to be super consistent with what you post and when you post it.
Creating an Instagram calendar will not help you stay organized but will even tighten your relationship with followers since you're giving them a subtle promise that you're going to show up.
Be like that friend who's always on time! The friend you know you can rely on.
I personally organize all my Instagram posts using this mega handy app called Plann.
To download the iOS version, click here.
To download the Android version, click here.
4) YOU POST TOO MUCH OF THE SAME CONTENT
There's a fine line between consistency and repeating similar content over and over again.
People nowadays have a super short attention span AND they get bored easily.
So if you're posting similar images repeatedly throughout your feed, it can get an unfollow because it's not stimulating or engaging enough to your follower.
If you take a look at what my past content used to look like, you'll find that all the images are rather similar and kinda stagnant too!
Bottom line is, people get bored from seeing similar images repeatedly - that's something you definitely want to stay away from.
SO WHAT'S THE FIX?
The answer is rather simple... Mix up your content.
So whether you're an artist, designer or small business owner, you need to be a little intentional with your feed rather than just posting any random image for the sake of feeling obligated to post.
You should really be posting images that extend beyond what your work, product or service is.
So you can ultimately mix up your content by posting things like:
Behind the scenes
Images of YOU!
Lifestyle shots of your product or service in use
5) INSTAGRAM IS DELETING GHOST + FAKE ACCOUNTS
Instagram does us a major service when they crack down on ghost and fake accounts.
But when they do...
These fake accounts get deleted from the Instagram platform all together which lowers our follower count.
Plain and simple!
This is actually majorly beneficial...
Because the less ghost followers you have, the more likely you'll generate actual engagement from your current followers, the higher the engagement rate levels, the more Instagram will push out your content to people.
SO WHAT'S THE FIX?
Stop worrying about the number of followers you're losing, and worry more about how to keep your current followers engaged.
Because, I'll let you in on a little secret...
The more engaged your followers are, the faster it is to convert them to customers and clients!
Nobody likes to lose Instagram followers... but unfortunately, it's part of the greater scheme of things.
And I've adopted this philosophy...
Rather than crying over lost followers, celebrate the ones who are sticking around - because those peeps are your REAL TRIBE!
Your success is not and should not be measured by how many instagram followers you have, rather it should be quantified by how many genuine relationships you were able to create through the app.