In this guide I’ll be covering why people unfollow on Instagram.
When speaking to my followers, these are the common reasons they’ve stated.
Getting unfollowed on Instagram sucks, believe me, I know.
I’ve lost a lot of followers due to a lack of consistency, which I’ll touch on later.
But no need to fret:
Once you know the reasons people unfollow on Instagram, you can learn what to correct in order to stop losing followers.
Let’s dive right in.
12 Reasons Why You Were Unfollowed on Instagram
1. Lack of Engagement
The first reason people might unfollow you on Instagram is a lack of engagement.
Instagram is a social sharing community platform that encourages people to take part in sharing, exchanging, and engaging.
There are two types of people on Instagram: lurkers and engagers.
The lurkers use Instagram to look at the pictures of people they follow.
They watch stories and maybe look at funny memes, but they don’t comment or like any pictures.
There is nothing wrong with this, and in fact, I’m often a lurker myself.
The engagers, on the other hand, like a lot of posts, comment on posts, and reply to people’s Instagram stories.
Let’s say you are a lurker and someone is currently purging their Instagram followers trying to determine if they should unfollow you.
They most likely will because you aren’t engaging with their content.
I agree that this is a harsh reason for someone to unfollow you.
But you have to remember that likes and follower counts have become a vanity metric that people hold on to as a status symbol.
How do you Fix a Lack of Engagement on Instagram?
It’s simple: start liking and commenting on posts that you enjoy.
Here’s the bottom line:
Instagram is a community, and communities require shared contributions from both sides.
Instagram needs people posting and people engaging.
Find that your feed is filled with posts and stories you have no interest in engaging in?
Then it might be time for you to unfollow some people if their content does not interest you.
2. Low-Quality Content
The second reason people may unfollow you on Instagram is that you are the one posting low-quality content.
There is a debate on whether posting often is important or whether posting quality content is important.
The age-old quality vs. quantity debate.
Now, you can post quality content often.
It takes up a lot of time.
Unless attending to social media, scheduling posts, and designing/making posts is your full-time job, it can be demanding.
Most users do not use Instagram as a full-time job.
So you have to either determine whether you will want to post often or post higher-quality content.
What is High-Quality Content?
High-quality content is content that delivers enormous value to the consumer.
If you boil it down to its most straightforward component on why people would follow you, it’s because you provide value.
You either provide it by:
- posting beautiful photos
- posting informative posts
- posting photos people like to see (e.g. Instagram models).
Let’s say you are a photographer and you gained a massive following by posting beautiful landscape photos.
You poured your heart and soul into every post, but you only posted twice a month.
You decided that you wanted to up the quantity but as a result, the quality of your content declined.
Maybe you found it difficult to find pictures to post that match the speed of your posting.
As a result, you post more often, but not every post is that high-quality value content that users followed you for in the first place.
As a result of that, you start to lose some followers.
High-Quality Content is Also Engaging
Engaging content is content that is high-quality and can effectively tell a story either through the image, through the caption, or both.
Let me know if you’ve had this experience.
You start reading the caption, it draws you in due to the story, and then you end up reading the whole caption…
…not knowing you were going to read a mini-chapter of a book?
At the end of the caption, they also encourage users to leave a comment or tag a friend.
Now, that’s engaging content.
Pair that with a high-quality image, and you’re golden.
You often see this technique employed by Humans of New York.
That’s why they have millions of followers!
How do You Post More High-Quality Content?
It’s simple: devote more time to your Instagram.
Want to take Instagram seriously and really grow your following?
Here’s the deal:
You will have to start looking at it as a part of your job as opposed to just a leisurely activity when you are feeling bored.
Schedule out your weeks knowing when you will get the content, how you will edit/design the content, and when you will post.
Take the time to focus on it like a part of your job.
And you will find that perfect balance based on quantity and quality that will allow you to grow and thrive.
3. Posts are Too Personal
The third reason people would unfollow you on Instagram is that you start posting content that is too personal.
You can bucket your Instagram followers into three categories:
- your closest friends
- people you have never met before
Here’s the thing:
I’m all for seeing everything my closest friends are up to because this is my inner circle.
My go-to friends for when I am down and out.
And the same goes true for them; I want to be there when they are down and out.
Now for the acquaintances and people I have never met in real life before.
If they are posting five posts in a row about their breakup, then it might be time to unfollow.
I don’t really care if Becky broke up with Matt, especially if I have never met either of them.
Is it harsh? — Probably
Am I a harsh person? — Debatable.
But hey, I’m just being honest, this is how people are.
4. Content Has Changed
The fourth reason people would unfollow you on Instagram is that your content has changed.
This one is pretty straightforward.
Let’s say you run an Instagram account dedicated to posting vintage cars.
You grow a following of vintage car lovers.
One day, all of a sudden, you decide to start posting cat photos.
Expect to lose a lot of followers.
People followed you expecting one thing, but you are providing another.
If you want to start posting cat photos, it’d be best to start a separate account for that.
This way you can gather a new target audience of cat lovers.
5. Posting Too Much (Spamming)
The 5th reason people unfollow on Instagram is due to posting too much/spamming.
This reason ties closely to reason number two regarding posting high-quality content.
As mentioned, people will follow you if you provide value and will unfollow you if you no longer provide that value.
When people often say someone is “spamming,” it’s because they are posting a lot of content that is not high-quality.
If they were posting content that is high-quality, they wouldn’t call it spamming.
So it isn’t a matter of posting too much, it’s a matter of matching the posting frequency to the quality of the content.
If you can post highly valuable and quality content often — then more power to you.
6. Inconsistent Posting
The 6th reason why people may unfollow you on Instagram is because of inconsistent posting.
I just mentioned that people could unfollow you for posting too often.
Now I’m saying they may unfollow you because of inconsistent posting as well?
Yes, you can’t please everyone.
You won’t lose as many followers from inconsistent posting compared to spam posting.
Especially if you are still posting high-quality content.
Because at the end of the day, as mentioned, it’s about posting high-quality content.
Now, if you are trying to grow, it’s best to post high-quality content often.
This way you can grow your follower count.
But as mentioned, this is easier said than done and would require dedication similar to a job.
7. Fishing for Compliments (Selfies)
The 7th reason people unfollow on Instagram is that the user is fishing for compliments.
Have you ever seen a selfie photo captioned something along the lines of “I’m so ugly,” and the person is obviously good-looking?
That’s an example of fishing for compliments.
It may garner a lot of likes with people commenting, “You’re so pretty!” a few times.
But if you keep doing that — people will catch on, and you may lose some followers.
8. Poor Photo or Video Quality
The 8th reason why people unfollow on Instagram is due to posting poor photo or video quality.
There’s no doubt that Instagram is a visual platform.
With that being said, if you post photos or videos that look like they are from Minecraft, expect to lose some followers.
9. Contest Regrams
The 9th reason why people unfollow on Instagram is due to posting too many contest regrams.
Contest regrams are the posts people post on their Instagram to enter a contest.
These contests that they enter often require users to “repost” or “regram” the photo to be entered.
It’s a clever marketing tactic regarding network effects.
However, it can be annoying for the followers of said person entering the contest.
This is similar to posting low-quality content or content that has changed from your usual theme.
If you post a contest regram on your profile to enter a contest, you aren’t providing value to your followers.
So you may lose some followers from that, especially if you do it often.
10. Disgusting Photos or Videos
The 10th reason why people may unfollow you on Instagram because you post disgusting photos or videos.
Most people don’t want to see photos of cuts, wounds, or anything of that graphic nature.
Do this and expect to lose a lot of followers.
11. Fake or Spam Accounts
The 11th reason why you may be unfollowed on Instagram is that the people who followed you were bots.
They might not have been real people in the first place!
It has been shown that 1 in 10 Instagram users are fake bot accounts!
With that being said:
When these fake or spam accounts are deactivated due to Instagram catching them, their account will disappear.
This means you will lose a follower account.
If a lot of fake or spam accounts follow you, then expect to lose a lot of followers from this alone.
Instagram has a “remove followers” feature now.
So if you see a bot following you, you can simply remove it or block it the second it follows you.
This will allow you to get a better gauge of your actual follower metrics.
12. Followers Have Changed Interests
The 12th reason why people unfollow on Instagram is that they have changed interests.
This is especially true if you own a business or themed account.
Let’s say you own an Instagram page showing pictures of baby llamas.
Suppose a follower followed you one day because they loved looking at pictures of baby llamas.
Well, a couple of years later, that user could decide that they no longer want to look at pictures of baby llamas.
So they decide to unfollow your account.
But you didn’t do anything wrong?
You were posting high-quality photos, not spamming, and you posted engaging content.
Sometimes, your followers could change interests based on where they are at in their time of life.
And that’s perfectly fine and something for you to be cognizant of.
Why do people follow and unfollow on Instagram?
Some follow accounts because they genuinely like the content being posted and want to stay updated, while others may follow for the sake of getting a follow back. Similarly, people may unfollow accounts because they no longer find the content interesting or relevant, or they may be trying to declutter their Instagram feed.
When you unfollow someone on Instagram do they know?
When you unfollow someone on Instagram, they will not receive a notification or direct message informing them that you have unfollowed them.
Why do I get upset when someone unfollows me?
It’s common to feel upset or hurt when someone unfollows you on Instagram. When someone unfollows us, it can feel like a rejection, as if they no longer value our content or friendship.
Nate Torres is a seasoned photographer and marketing consultant, providing educational photography content while also teaching photographers how to grow their business and brand through SEO. Beyond the lens, he’s an authoritative voice in the photography industry, serving as a speaker and photography author for renowned photography publications such as Photofocus, SLR Lounge, and Fstoppers. An entrepreneur and lifelong learner at heart, Nate is also the co-founder of Imaginated, an educational platform. Nate shares his insights on his YouTube channel, “Nate Torres,” and on his personal photography blog, Nate Torres Photography. But his expertise doesn’t stop at photography. Whether it’s elucidating the nuances of marketing within the realm of photography or sharing broader marketing insights, Nate Torres brings to the table a wealth of expertise, ensuring readers and audiences benefit from both his photographic acumen and marketing knowledge.