Are your Instagram followers suddenly abandoning you in droves, despite efforts to create captivating posts and grow your audience?
If you’re wondering what you’re doing wrong, you’re asking the right question.
You can stop the Instagram exodus and start bringing followers back by identifying common mistakes. This guide shows you how.
13 Common Reasons You Are Losing Followers on Instagram — Revealed
Has your Instagram follower count suddenly dropped?
You might be making some of these common mistakes:
- You’ve taken your Instagram profile in a new direction too quickly. Your followers aren’t interested in your new content.
- You don’t have a clear brand image.
- You post too much, too little, or at the wrong time.
- Your Instagram posts are boring, irrelevant, or bad-quality.
- Your captions are dull.
- You don’t like or comment on replies. You fail to engage your audience.
- You have the wrong hashtag strategy.
- You push your products too hard.
- You said something controversial.
- You paid for followers.
- You automated likes and comments.
An Instagram algorithm update might also be behind a sudden loss of followers. The platform periodically deletes suspicious accounts.
Finally, it’s possible that Instagram has shadowbanned you and limited your exposure. There is no proof that shadowbanning is real, but violating Instagram’s terms of service is never a winning strategy.
Keep reading to discover why you are losing followers on Instagram — and how to fix it.
1. You Might Be Losing Followers on Instagram Because You Switched Niches
People follow you on Instagram because you post content they love. Your Instagram followers connect with your style and are interested in the topics you cover.
Has your Instagram content changed radically? Your followers might hate it.
You can stop the follower drain in a few different ways:
Option 1: Shift Gears Gradually
Do you want to take your brand in a different direction without sacrificing Instagram followers?
Shift gears slowly. Keep making tried-and-tested Instagram posts you know your followers love.
Blend the content you’re moving toward with your old-style posts to give your followers time to get used to your new style. Gradually make more of the content you love.
Option 2: Get Back to Your Old Content
Do you want to stop losing followers on Instagram and perhaps even get some of your old followers back?
Getting back to the content you used to make is the easiest way to achieve your goal.
Option 3: Cut Your Losses and Wait for New Instagram Followers
Say you used to share your global travels, but you have recently settled down and become a mom. You’re excited to share the next part of your journey on Instagram, but your old fan base isn’t interested in your new content.
Devote yourself to creating gorgeous posts in your new niche, and new followers will show up over time. Be patient.
2. You Might Be Losing Followers on Instagram Because You Have a Confusing Brand Image
Are you using your Instagram account to promote your business?
Consistency is key. Instagram is a highly-visual social media platform, and your followers should be able to tell your Instagram posts apart from the crowd in seconds.
People may get confused — and unfollow you — if:
- You have not developed a signature aesthetic.
- You don’t have a unique writing voice.
- You use your Instagram account for both personal and business posts.
Your Instagram profile is your virtual business card. Your followers should be able to glean what you’re all about by scrolling through your posts and looking at your bio.
3. You Might Be Losing Followers on Instagram Because You Have an Irregular Posting Schedule
You can overwhelm your followers by posting too often. Your followers will get bored of you if they always see your posts in their feeds. They’ll think you are spammy and unfollow you.
Your followers might think your Instagram account is inactive if you don’t post often enough and unfollow you.
Not having a consistent social media schedule is a surefire way to lose followers on Instagram.
How Often Should You Post on Instagram?
Posting on Instagram two or three times a week is a good baseline.
Do you post (much) more often? Try cutting back. Do you post far less? Increase your activity on Instagram.
What Is the Best Time to Post on Instagram?
A predictable social media schedule helps grow your audience, but it’s also essential to post at the right time.
The best time to post on Instagram is Wednesday at 11 am. Try posting at this time every week to maximize engagement.
If you have an Instagram business account, use Instagram Insights to find out when your followers are online.
4. You Might Be Losing Followers on Instagram Because You Post Bad or Irrelevant Content
Have you heard that a regular posting schedule is key to growing your Instagram audience?
You might feel so pressured to post more often that your content drops in quality.
Poor-quality content is a guaranteed way to lose Instagram followers.
If you want to stop losing followers on Instagram, make sure that:
- Your Instagram feed posts, reels, and stories fit your niche.
- You only put quality Instagram posts out there.
5. You Might Be Losing Followers on Instagram Because Your Captions Are Boring
Instagram is the most visual social media platform, but that doesn’t mean your captions should be an afterthought.
Get it wrong, and you’ll lose followers.
How do you fix that?
- Keep creating striking photos, but put just as much effort into your Instagram captions.
- Keep your audience in mind when you write your Instagram captions. Aim to connect rather than to fill space.
6. You Might Be Losing Followers on Instagram Because You Don’t Engage Your Audience
Do you run an Instagram business account to raise brand awareness and drive sales? You might think engaging your followers looks unprofessional — but that’s not true.
Engaging your followers is key to growing your Instagram community. Here’s why:
1. The Instagram Algorithm Prioritizes High-Engagement Accounts
The Instagram audience favors accounts that engage their audiences.
Do you shout into the void to promote your products or services but never interact with your followers? You’re less likely to show up in people’s Explore feeds.
2. Your Followers Want to Feel Valued
Instagrammers use the platform for shopping inspiration, but they also want to be part of a community. Your followers want to feel valued, and you can achieve that by:
- Liking and replying to comments.
- Taking the time to answer your followers’ burning questions.
- Hosting live Q&A sessions.
- Swiftly replying to DMs.
Instagram business accounts have one goal — to attract more customers. You achieve that aim by asking how you can serve your customers rather than asking how you can drive sales.
7. You Might Be Losing Followers on Instagram Because You Have a Bad Hashtag Strategy
Hashtags play a critical role on Instagram. The platform lets you use up to 30 hashtags in your feed posts and 10 in your stories.
Deploying the right hashtags is a great way to engage your Instagram audience and attract more followers. Get it wrong, and Instagram will punish you.
Are you not sure how to use hashtags to your advantage on Instagram? Try these tips:
1. Use Industry-Specific Instagram Hashtags to Promote Your Business
Brands can gain more Instagram followers by developing a clear hashtag strategy:
- Use hashtags to identify their niches.
- Create branded hashtags that include a company name.
- Use location-based hashtags to attract customers.
- Create unique hashtags and encourage followers to use them when discussing the brand.
2. Stay Up to Date on Instagram Hashtag Trends
Every Instagrammer can up their hashtag game:
- Use Instagram’s search tool to discover which hashtags are popular among your followers.
- Find more specific hashtags by finding related posts on the Instagram Explore page and clicking them.
- Use a tool like Kicksta’s Hashtag Generator.
8. You Might Be Losing Followers on Instagram Because Your Posts Are Overly Promotional
Are you on Instagram to promote your business? Your followers know that you’re on the platform to drive sales. They’ll put up with it if you keep it real by sharing special offers, new collections, and posts focusing on your company values.
Do you have a personal Instagram profile? Your followers still know that you want to grow. They won’t mind the occasional reminder to like, comment, and share — but will get bored if you overdo it.
Here’s how to strike the right balance:
1. Make Sure Your Posts Are Stunning and Useful
Are you promoting your business on Instagram? Your posts should speak for themselves:
- Create striking Photo posts and videos that showcase your products.
- Use Instagram Shopping to create shoppable posts that let your customers buy products in a few clicks.
- Highlight special offers and promotions sparingly.
Brands that point to special offers and unique opportunities in every Instagram post will instantly lose followers. Don’t be tacky — be helpful, informative, and honest.
2. Share Organic Content and Keep it Real
Not every Instagram post has to promote products or services. Brands can show Instagram followers their human side by making other types of posts, too:
- Show how you make your products.
- Reveal your new collection on Instagram.
- Work with Instagram influencers who love your brand.
- Share a day in the life of your workers.
- Pay tribute to important people in your industry.
- Highlight social causes you’re passionate about.
9. You Might Be Losing Followers on Instagram Because You Said Something Controversial
We live in a divisive world. Touching on controversial social or political issues is a guaranteed way to lose Instagram followers.
It’s generally a great idea to steer clear of politics if you want to grow your Instagram following, but following this common-sense rule doesn’t mean you won’t offend your fans.
Even pop culture references or Instagram drama can cause your followers to abandon you.
The moral of the story?
You can’t keep everyone happy, no matter how hard you try.
Be authentic and willing to stand behind the posts you make, and accept any losses that come your way.
10. You Might Be Losing Followers on Instagram Because You Paid for Followers
Building a following on Instagram takes time. Some Instagrammers try to take a shortcut by paying for followers.
Buying Instagram followers may lead to a short-term win, but it will cost you in the long run:
- Many paid followers are fake accounts. Instagram occasionally deletes these fraudulent accounts, causing a drop in followers.
- You’ll lose paid followers eventually, even if they’re real people.
11. You Might Be Losing Followers on Instagram Because of Automated Likes and Comments
Have you heard that engaging with your Instagram audience should be your top priority?
You might have been tempted to set up automated likes and comments with specialized tools.
Setting up automated likes, comments, and DM replies might instantly boost your engagement rate, but you’ll be in trouble later on:
- Your audience can spot automated replies and DMs from a mile away. Instagram followers value authentic engagement and might unfollow your account.
- Instagram bans unauthorized automated activity, and you might get banned from Instagram if you use automated tools.
Engage with your Instagram audience authentically to keep your followers.
12. You Might Be Losing Followers on Instagram Because the Platform Deletes Fake Accounts
Losing followers on Instagram isn’t always your fault.
Instagram deletes accounts it deems fraudulent or suspicious from time to time. Have you suddenly lost hundreds, or even thousands, of Instagram followers? That can point to an Instagram algorithm update that included banning fake accounts.
Keep making great content, and you’ll attract new Instagram followers over time.
13. You Might Be Losing Followers on Instagram Because You Were Shadowbanned
Shadowbanning, also called stealth banning, is a practice that limits the visibility of your posts without banning you from a social media platform.
This secretive practice generates a lot of attention in the Instagram community. Some will instantly suggest you’ve been shadowbanned if your follower count suddenly drops.
There is no concrete evidence that Instagram shadowbans are real, but:
- Instagram has explained how its algorithm works — and your account activity does determine how many people see your posts.
- Instagram limits inappropriate content.
Have you lost a lot of followers, and has your engagement dropped? Did you say something controversial on Instagram? A shadowban is one possible cause.
How to Stop Losing Followers on Instagram: A Final Word
A sudden drop in Instagram followers is scary, especially if you’ve worked hard to grow your account.
You might be able to stop the drain and start gaining Instagram followers again:
- If you have recently switched niches, return to your old content.
- Develop a clear brand image that includes a recognizable voice and aesthetic.
- Post on Instagram regularly and at peak hours.
- Post high-quality content.
- Engage your audience — like and reply to their comments and respond to DMs.
- Use relevant hashtags in your Instagram posts.
- Don’t push your products in every post.
- Steer clear of controversial topics.
- Grow your follower base organically. Don’t pay for followers.
Every Instagram profile goes through ups and downs. You can reconnect with your audience by regularly making quality posts.
Examining where you went wrong should be your first step. You’ll start gaining followers again in no time if you recommit to a winning Instagram strategy.