Instagram Tips: Why People Follow & Unfollow

One thing that can be insanely frustrating when trying to grow your Instagram account is the unpredictable behaviour of followers. Some days they come, some days they go, and it can often seem to be without rhyme or reason. What’s with all the unfollowers?

It’s such a big issue that I recorded a whole podcast episode about it. Listen here to get a full in-depth analysis of why people follow to unfollow, and what you can do about it. 

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Instagram isn’t all about numbers, & it’s silly to get hung up on them. That said, the majority of us do share our pics to get a response, and it can be disheartening to see other people gaining that strange modern currency of likes & follows whilst your account stays static. Below are a few insights into what can influence it all…

The top ten reasons people unfollow your Instagram account

  1. You post inconsistently. Maybe you posted brilliant pictures every day, then nothing for two months. Anyone that came to check in during that time might think you’d gone for good & unsubscribe.
  2. You post too many pictures at once. Most people consume posts in their home feed, and a huge photo dump is annoying and un-instagrammy. Spread them out for maximum impact and engagement.
  3. You post things ‘off topic’. If your account is all flowers and flatlay and you drop in a drunk selfie in a badly lit bar, people are likely to hit unfollow.
  4. You never engage. Instagram is all about community and reciprocal relationships. You are not Beyonce collecting fans.
  5. Your quality is inconsistent. If you sometimes post gorgeous DSLR shots but occasionally share blurry snaps of your kids from your phone, you might find people come and go.
  6. Follow-to-unfollow-ers. A lot of people (especially teens) will follow a batch of accounts in the hopes that some will follow back. They then go back and unfollow them all a day or so later – often regardless of whether you followed back or not. 
  7. Spambots. Instagram regularly deletes spam accounts & fake profiles. If you lose a sudden chunk of followers overnight, this might be why.
  8. You recently ran a giveaway. Some people will follow for entry and then unfollow again afterwards – there’s no avoiding it, I’m afraid.
  9. You post something they disagree with. Parenting, religious beliefs, political affiliations… people are looking to create friendships on instagram, so if you’re not a good match for them or their values they may unfollow, & that’s ok.
  10. They’re worried about their follower count. People can feel overwhelmed by the number of accounts they follow, or get hung up on how they think it looks to follow a certain number of accounts. Often they’ll go through and cut down – it may not be anything personal or about your posts, so try not to worry about it! 
What can you do about it?  Make your account more followable to the good guys! 

how to get more instagram followers

the top ten reasons people hit follow on instagram

  1. Your whole-gallery view is awesome. Read my post here for some tips on how to achieve this, and why it matters.
  2. You post consistent content with a theme. People love to know what they’re getting.
  3. You post something different to what everyone else is doing. There’s only so many coffee-in-a-cafe accounts someone can follow before it begins to blur. Even me! 😉
  4. You have a large following already. There’s definitely a certain gravity to a bigger follow count – I guess people take it as testimony to the quality of your account and are quicker to join the crowd?
  5. You reply to comments and like other peoples photos. People will connect with you, the person, and want to do it more.
  6. You’re insta-friendly with someone currently on the Suggested User list, or are appearing on people’s ‘explore’ page. (Or you’ve been featured by IG yourself, but that should be obvious!)
  7. You recently followed a big account (and they might be spammy). Some users, like those mentioned in 6 above, will regularly skim the latest followers of big accounts to find potential new fans for themselves. Some will then unfollow, but not always.
  8. You’re running a giveaway that requires it. Self explanatory.
  9. They want to keep track of you. Perhaps they’re a brand or future work partner who wants to bookmark your page, or perhaps you just inspired them somehow.
  10. You post awesome photographs. Hurray! The whole point of Instagram, after all!

Want to know more?

What seems to influence your follower count, for better or for worse? Do you play the game, or stick to posting what you want and ignore the numbers? Or a bit of both, perhaps? x