I was recently discussing Instagram with the owner of a small business and she said that she was concerned because her Instagram account had lost several followers that week and she wondered if it was something that she was doing wrong. She said that she posts content that is relevant to her industry and is in line with her brand identity but she still has noticed that her number of followers fluctuates.

Let’s start with why people may be unfollowing your account...

Spammers and bots.

The first thing to realize is that there are a lot of Instagram accounts out there that act as spammers and will follow and unfollow accounts in hopes of building their own following. This makes it very likely that some of the new followers you get will end up unfollowing you at some point. Now there are even programs that will follow, unfollow, like and leave comments for you, basically automating the spamming process. PLEASE don’t use these programs! I could write a whole blog post just about why these programs suck...but I’ll save that for another day.

You haven’t been active in a while or don’t post consistently.

When was the last time that you posted to your Instagram account? If you were posting a lot for a period of time and then stopped posting for a few weeks, chances are you may have lost the interest of some of your followers and they’ve decided to unfollow you. Think of posting to Instagram like running a blog. With blogging, the key is to be consistent so that your following knows when they can expect to see new content from you. If your Instagram followers expect to see new content every day but you stop delivering, what’s the point in them sticking around?

Turns out, your content just isn’t what they’re looking for.

Maybe when someone first started following you they thought you were the type of account they wanted to follow but after awhile they realized that the posts you were creating weren’t what they wanted to see so they unfollow you. This is ok as long as the content that you’re posting is true to your brand! If you’re being true to your brand and they still unfollow you, it just means that they weren’t actually your ideal audience anyway!

You post too often.

Like I said in the previous paragraph, posting consistently is key to sustaining a solid following. However, oversharing can also deter someone from wanting to continue following your account. Find a happy balance of posting regularly but not so much that you're clogging people's feeds. I've found that posting 1-3 times per day is the sweet spot for keeping people engaged but not overwhelmed or annoyed. 

These are pretty common reasons that someone may have unfollowed you, but I think that the bigger question is, does it even matter that they unfollowed you at all? And to this, I say no, and here’s why…

I’m going to repeat something that I just said a few paragraphs ago because it’s important...It doesn’t matter if someone unfollows you, because if you’ve been posting content that’s true to your brand and they didn’t feel a connection to it, then they weren’t the right audience for you anyway! If you keep consistently posting great and relevant content, the right people will find you and your following will grow!

So, rather than focusing on the people who are unfollowing you, focus more on the people who ARE following and interacting with your account. If you're running a business, having a ton of followers is only valuable if they are people who might actually purchase your product or spread awareness of your brand. Even if it's not a huge following yet, the people who follow you and stick around want to see valuable content from you so be sure you deliver!