It feels great to launch an Instagram account, start posting, and watch the follower count go up—“they like me, they really like me!” People value your content enough to want to follow you so more of what you’re posting will show up in their Instagram feeds.
What doesn’t feel good? When you see that number sliding back down. On a social media analytics report somewhere, you see a negative number, in red, in the section on “follower growth.” Bummer.
So, just why might you be losing Instagram followers? Knowledge is power. If you know why people are leaving, you can take steps to taking away those reasons that make them want to leave.
Here are a few reasons people unfollow others on Instagram:
Overly promotional content strategy
If every post you publish looks like a desperate sales ad, you might lose followers. You can offer promotions and deals on Instagram, but if the same content is repeated and insistent, your broken record becomes your empty follower list.
Solution: First, tone it down.
Focus on the beauty, performance, and excitement of your product. Offer text-based images about promotions interspersed with photos of your products or photos that give followers a ‘backstage pass’ to your business process. If you offer a service, show yourself or your staff performing that service or smiling from behind the front desk.
You and your product should be front and center, with promotions appropriately sprinkled here and there in your stream of posts. Hiral Rana shares this advice on improving your Instagram content: “brands can subtly grow followers on Instagram by keeping their posts interesting and entertaining with lifestyle messages rather than excessive sales or discount coupon offers.”
Posting too frequently
You might lose followers if your posts come in such rapid succession that people are inundated with your content and have a hard time seeing other types of content in their feed.
Solution: Scale back.
While there’s no one-size-fits-all frequency for all businesses—despite what those ‘social media gurus’ out there are telling you—there is the best frequency for you and your business, and you can find it through experimentation. Post less frequently (like a few times per week) and moving upward in frequency by steps to see what it does for your engagement and follows. Instagram users are more forgiving of accounts that don’t post frequently enough and less forgiving of accounts that post too often.
A content drought
Although you can go through eras of lower frequency, stopping altogether will certainly hurt you. If you haven’t engaged with users or published a post in a long time, at some point your followers will think they are following an abandoned account. This may lead to some unfollows.
Solution: Keep it going.
If you know you will experience a busy period in your business where social media might get less attention, plan ahead by scheduling posts (you can do this with Agorapulse!) so you don’t have to create content during a busy season. For those whose busy seasons are unpredictable, keep some evergreen content ready.