In this guide, we’ll be uncovering the reasons why people unfollow on Instagram.
If you’re more of a visual learner, be sure to check out the video we made on this topic:
Table of Contents
What is Unfollowing on Instagram?
Instagram works off a follower mechanic. Once you create a profile, you can follow what other people post by “following” them. You often follow friends, family, or other people who inspire and influence you. When you unfollow someone, you’re essentially saying that “you do not want to see what they post anymore.”
The predicament with this, especially with friends and family, is it’s a little awkward and almost sort of like a mini break-up.
If you’ve been asking the questions lately such as, “Why am I getting unfollowed on Instagram,” or “Why did they unfollow me on Instagram,” then this guide is for you.
Getting unfollowed on Instagram sucks, believe me, I know. I’ve lost a lot of followers due to a lack of consistency (we’ll touch on this 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 (as much as you can).
If a friend were to unfollow you and you see that they unfollowed you, it can be a little hurtful. It may be awkward to reach out to them and ask “why did you unfollow me,” because that is just a weird conversation to have.
Perhaps it was on accident or perhaps they are just doing a social media purge and going through some stuff at the moment.
It’s normal to lose followers every once in a while, but if you are losing masses at a time, especially when you post a new post or story, then something is up.
That’s when it’s time to consider all the reasons why someone might unfollow you so you can see if you are doing anything on your part to cause them to unfollow.
With all that being said, let’s dive into the 12 reasons why people unfollow on Instagram.
Why do People Unfollow on Instagram? (12 Reasons)
1. Lack of Engagement
The first reason people might be unfollowing 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.
Types of People on Instagram
There are two types of people on Instagram, lurkers and engagers.
The lurkers just use Instagram to look at the pictures of people they follow. They watch stories, 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, they comment on posts, and they will reply to people’s Instagram stories.
If 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, just start liking and commenting on posts that you enjoy.
Instagram is a community and communities require shared contributions from both sides. Instagram needs people posting and people engaging.
If you find that your feed is filled with posts and stories that you have no interest in engaging in, then it might be time for you to unfollow some people as well if their content does not interest you.
2. Low Quality Content
The second reason people may unfollow you on Instagram is because you are the one posting low quality content.
There is a debate on whether posting often is important or posting quality content is important.
The age old quality vs quantity debate.
Now, you can post quality content often, however, it takes up a lot of time and 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 simplest component on why people would follow you, it’s because you provide value.
You either provide it by posting beautiful photos, posting informative posts, or just posting photos people like to see (ex. Instagram models).
For example, 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 because it is 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 of high-quality and that can effectively tell a story either through the image, through the caption, or both.
Have you seen those posts where 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.
How do You Post More High Quality Content?
It’s simple, devote more time to your Instagram.
If you want to take Instagram seriously and really grow your following, you will have to start looking at it is a part of your job 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, when you will post the content, etc.
It is when you take the time to focus on it like a part of your job and find that perfect balance based on quantity and quality that you will thrive.
3. Posts are Too Personal
The third reason people would unfollow you on Instagram is because you start posting content that is a bit too personal.
You can bucket your Instagram followers into three categories: your closest friends, acquaintances, and people you have never met before.
Now, 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 5 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 Becky or Matt.
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 because your content has changed.
This one is fairly straightforward.
Let’s say you run an Instagram account that is 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 wanted to start posting cat photos, then it’d be best if you started a separate account for that to 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 a lot 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.
We just mentioned that people could unfollow you for posting too often — now we’re saying they may unfollow you because of inconsistent posting as well?
Yes — you can’t please everyone.
We don’t believe you’ll 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, then it’s best to post high-quality content often so 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 because 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.
It’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.
that minecraft look
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 in order to be entered.
It’s a smart marketing tactic in terms of 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 posting content that has changed from your usual theme.
If you post a contest regram on your own 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 is because you post disgusting photos or videos.
The majority of 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 because the people that followed you in the first place weren’t even real people to begin with!
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 which means you will lose a follower account.
If a lot of fake or spam accounts followed you, then expect to lose a lot of followers from this alone.
Luckily, Instagram has a remove followers feature now so if you see a bot is following you, you can simply remove them or block them the second they follow you to get a better gauge on your actual follower metrics.
12. Followers Have Changed Interests
The 12th reason why people unfollow on Instagram is because they have changed interests.
This is especially true if you own a business or themed account of the sort.
For example, let’s say you own an Instagram page dedicated to showing pictures of baby llamas.
Let’s say a follower followed you one day because they loved looking at pictures of baby llamas.
Well a couple years later, that user could decide that they know 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 just change interests based on where they are at in their time of life — and that’s perfectly fine and for something for you to be cognizant of.
Is it Rude to Unfollow on Instagram?
Is it rude to unfollow on Instagram?
It’s not necessarily rude for someone to unfollow someone else because it is their Instagram account, they could do whatever they want.
It can be hurtful or painful like I mentioned earlier though, especially if it is a friend that unfollowed you.
Why do People Follow and Unfollow on Instagram?
In order to game the system and try to accumulate a lot of followers, people engage in a follow and unfollow scheme.
Essentially, in order to increase their own follower count, this person would follow a mass amount of people, in hopes that they follow them back, then this person unfollows everyone later on.
The time frame could be 2 weeks later, a month later, etc.
Often, since this scheme is becoming more popular and people are getting more wise, they tend to unfollow a little bit later to make it seem like they are genuinely interested in following you.
One way to tell if someone is planning to unfollow you right after they followed you, is by checking their follower to following ratio.
If they have a lot more followers than they are following and they just randomly followed you one day out of the blue, they may be engaging in this scheme — especially if their account niche is nowhere in the same ballpark as yours.
For example, if your Instagram account is dedicated to posting art pictures, and a motivational speaker with 10k followers and 100 following follows you randomly one day, they are probably hoping you follow them back and will then unfollow you later.
What to Do to Stop People Unfollowing You on Instagram?
So what can you do to stop people from unfollowing you on Instagram?
We’ve covered the reasons why people unfollow, so try to do the opposite of what was stated in that list.
At the end of the day though, you can’t control people and they will ultimately choose to follow or unfollow you if they please even if you abide by “all the rules.”
Just as in life, continue to do what makes you happy and continue to grow, those who are meant to be in your life, in this case, your social circle (“follower count”), will find a way to be there.
We hope you enjoyed this guide on the reasons why people may unfollow you on Instagram.
It’s time to take action, have you resonated with one of these reasons?
If you have engaged in one of these reasons, then just be cognizant of the fact and try not to do it in the future.
Nate Torres is an entrepreneur, growth marketer, and photographer and writes mostly on those topics. Nate used to run his own professional photography business called Nate Joaquin Photography but has since focused on the marketing and business aspect of photography although he still enjoys taking photos. Nate enjoys learning about new digital marketing strategy and new ways to think creatively. He is also a photography speaker and author on Photofocus.com.