Why I Deleted 300 Instagram Followers

Sunday, 12 November 2017
A few weeks ago I sat down and spent a considerable amount of time going through my Instagram followers and deleting them. Which for someone who is trying to grow their Instagram following seems like a highly irrational thing to do. But hear me out, there was some method to my madness.

So we all know that Instagram has been a bit of cunt recently. With poor engagement and shadowbans left right and centre it's really hard to remain motivated when you're trying to authentically grow a following. Especially with people getting crazy high follower counts just using follow unfollow bots. It just seemed like every time I checked my account I'd lost 10 followers. I had almost 1'700 followers but over the last few months, I was struggling to hit 100 likes on my photos. And a lot of those likes were coming from hashtags, not actual followers. 

So I have x amount of followers. But only y amount of those are regularly liking my pictures, watching my stories and genuinely engaging with me. So those are the valuable followers. Then x-y = inactive followers. I wanted to delete these followers because I want to feel like the people who follow my account are actual genuine followers.

I went to my Instagram followers and scrolled right back to the beginning and then I went through all my followers and deleted people who fit into the following 4 categories. There's no real way to delete someone as a follower so I had to block people and then immediately unblock them which removes them as a follower. This ended up being about 300 of my followers. 

1. People who haven't posted on Instagram in years.
I've had my Instagram account since it launched on Android and therefore it would make sense that a few of the people who have followed me since they are no longer Instagram users. So if someone hasn't posted a photo since 2014? It's unlikely that they're going to be seeing my photos so what's the point in keeping them around? Having a higher follower number is impressive but if you aren't getting the engagement rates to match is it worth it?

2. Duplicate accounts.
A few people I know have multiple Instagram accounts so I went through them all to work out which ones they were actually using and then deleted the rest. Simple. 

3. Creepy men. 
Bloody hell, I don't think I even realised how many weird men were following me on Instagram. I went through and deleted anyone whose profile looked a bit shifty. Maybe 32-year-olds from Oman are following because they like pumpkin patch photos but to be honest, I'm not sure I'm comfortable with having older men who don't appear to speak English seeing all my photos so... goodbye! I actually got a DM recently from an account I hadn't removed as a follower basically confessing love to me so it just goes to show you never know who's looking at what you put out onto the internet. 

4. Companies/stores who don't interact with my content. 
It seems to be tactic that when some small businesses/stores are starting their Instagrams that they'll follow an absolute tonne of people. I guess in the hope that people will follow them back. Which is fair enough but as I want genuine followers who want to engage with my account and like my photos then that's not for me. If it is an account that's followed me recently then I've kept them but if it's a store that followed me 3 years ago and hasn't liked any photos since then? Goodbye!

And how has it been since then? If anything I've actually noticed an increase in my engagement. I'm now getting at least 100 likes per photos which means that my percentage engagement has actually doubled. But perhaps the biggest difference is in my motivation. When I see my follower count drop I'm no longer thinking 'ah what am I doing wrong?' I think 'ok, that person didn't like my photos and that's ok' and I just want to keep on doing my thing and creating fun photos that I love. 

Would you ever consider deleting Instagram followers?

Twitter @honestlyrussell // Instagram  @honestlyrussell // Pinterest @honestlyrussell

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