Wondering why your Instagram engagement seems low lately? Have you noticed your follower count going up but your likes and comments remaining flat? If so, you likely have some inactive followers bringing those metrics down.
Not to worry! In this detailed guide, I‘ll show you step-by-step how to spot and remove inactive Instagram followers so you can get your account‘s health and engagement back on track in no time.
After reading, you‘ll know exactly how to:
- Identify different types of inactive followers
- Use Instagram‘s own tools to find ghost followers
- Leverage third party apps for deeper analytics
- Remove inactive accounts without getting blocked
- Re-engage inactive followers when possible
- And grow your active community!
Let‘s get started.
What are Inactive Instagram Followers?
Inactive followers, sometimes called "ghost followers," are accounts that follow you but don‘t actively engage with the great content you post.
Unlike your real fans, inactive followers don‘t do things like:
- Like your posts or videos
- Comment with their reactions and ideas
- Tap to view your stories
- Save your posts to their collections
- Direct message you questions or feedback
In other words, they follow you but then remain totally silent. Not very useful, right?
These inactive accounts hurt your profile in a few important ways:
They inflate your follower count without providing real value. Your number of followers reflects potential reach, but inactive followers don‘t actually see your posts.
They drag down your engagement rates. Your engagement rate is the percentage of followers that like and comment on your average post. Inactive followers bring this percentage down since they don‘t engage at all!
They limit your content‘s reach. Instagram‘s algorithm shows your posts to followers who engage. Inactive followers teach the algorithm your content isn‘t interesting, negatively impacting how many people see your posts.
See the problem? Inactive followers make your Instagram profile look less popular and successful than it really is. That hurts growth.
Luckily removing inactive followers is pretty straightforward once you know how. So let‘s look at how to spot them first.
Identifying Inactive Instagram Followers
Before you can prune inactive followers, you need to know how to recognize them. There are two main types of inactive accounts to look for:
Bot accounts are fake accounts created automatically to inflate follower numbers. They follow and unfollow tons of accounts hoping to get a follow back.
Because they‘re not managed by real people, bots are completely non-interactive. Here are the telltale signs of a bot account:
- Default profile picture (often a landscape or logo)
- No posts on their grid
- Username containing random numbers or letters
- Mass following hundreds or thousands of accounts
- No bio or website link
Since bots don‘t actually care about your content, removing them is an easy decision. Their only purpose is inflating vanity metrics by following you, so pruning them improves your profile‘s accuracy.
Real People 👨💻👩💻
The second type of inactive followers are real people who followed you, but have since stopped using Instagram or checking their feed.
Some signs a real follower has gone inactive include:
- Hasn‘t liked or commented on your posts in a long time
- Used to engage frequently but interactions have dropped off
- Has an authentic looking profile photo and bio
- Has some previous post history, but nothing recent
- Follows a reasonable number of accounts
With real people, it can make sense to first try re-engaging them before removing them completely. But if they remain inactive, pruning them will help your account as well.
Okay, now that you know what to look for, let‘s go through some ways to actually find inactive followers lurking on your profile.
Analyzing Your Followers List
One of the simplest ways to spot inactive followers is to manually browse through your followers list looking for bots and ghost accounts.
Here‘s how to access your followers list and review it:
Go to your Instagram profile
Tap "Followers" below your bio
Your list of followers will open. Start slowly scrolling through looking for accounts showing signs of being inactive.
Tap each suspicious looking follower to open their profile and investigate further. See if they have no posts, zero engagement, or other red flags.
Make a note of any followers you confirm to be inactive.
Pro Tip: Sort your followers list by "Most Recent" to spotlight accounts that followed you long ago but have since gone quiet.
Manually checking followers takes time, but it lets you thoroughly inspect each account before deciding whether to remove them.
Next up, let‘s look at how Instagram Insights can help identify inactive followers.
Reviewing Your Instagram Insights
Diving into your Instagram Insights is another great way to reveal gaps where you gained followers but saw little added engagement. This signals periods where you likely picked up inactive followers.
Here‘s how to analyze your Insights to spot dips in engagement:
Tap the profile menu in the top right and choose "Insights"
Select "Content" to view your post metrics over time
Scroll down through your feed posts, looking for any with especially low engagement
Check the follower count you had when those posts went up and compare it to the low engagement
This reveals times when follower growth didn‘t match the engagement you should expect. Likely times when inactive followers joined!
For example, if you have 50k followers now, but a post from when you had 40k followers only got 400 likes, something isn‘t adding up. Those 10k new followers should have provided more engagement.
Digging into Insights gives you hard data to back up your inactive follower suspicions. Now let‘s look at Instagram‘s newest tool for follower pruning.
Leverage Instagram‘s "Least Interacted With" List
Just this year, Instagram launched a new follower management feature to help you find accounts you have low engagement with. This list makes it easy to identify inactive followers!
Here‘s how to use it:
Go to your profile
Tap "Following" at the top
Tap "Least Interacted With" right at the top
This surfaces followers you‘ve had little interaction with recently, signaling inactivity
Scroll through and remove followers as needed to prune this list down
The "Least Interacted With" list takes the guesswork out of spotting less engaged, inactive followers. Instagram is essentially surfacing these accounts for you and recommending you unfollow or remove them!
Use a Follower Tracker App for Deeper Insights
While Instagram‘s built-in tools are great, third party follower and analytics apps can provide even more data to uncover inactive followers.
- Fake follower detection using machine learning
- Engagement metrics for each individual follower
- Historical data on each follower‘s activity over time
- Unfollower tracking
The key is to use these apps purely for analysis – never remove or unfollow followers directly through them. Doing so goes against Instagram‘s terms and may get your account banned.
But combining these apps‘ insights with Instagram‘s own data gives you incredible insight into follower engagement and activity.
Safely Prune Inactive Followers
Once you‘ve done the work to identify inactive followers, here are a few safe methods to remove them from your profile:
The most straightforward approach is to simply visit each inactive follower‘s profile and tap "Following" to unfollow them. This immediately removes them from your followers list.
To do this efficiently:
- Use your analysis tools to compile a list of inactive accounts
- Go to each of their profiles in turn and tap to unfollow
- Spread this out over multiple days to avoid raising red flags
Unfollowing followers yourself gives you total control over who gets removed.
If you have access to Instagram‘s newest follower management tool, you can remove followers without needing to unfollow them.
To use it:
Go to your followers list
Tap the three dots next to an inactive follower
Select "Remove this follower" to delete them from your list
This lets you prune followers without affecting your "following number." And because it‘s Instagram‘s own tool, there is no risk of account bans.
Block Inactive Accounts
You can also remove an inactive follower by blocking them. Just go to their profile, tap the three dots, and choose "Block."
The only downside to blocking is that the user will know if they check and try to find your profile. The other pruning methods happen behind the scenes.
But overall, blocking is a straightforward option for severing ties with inactive accounts harming your profile.
Tips for Managing Inactive Followers
As you work to clean up your followers list, keep these tips in mind:
Take it slowly – Don‘t remove more than a few hundred followers per day. Aggressive purges will raise red flags with Instagram.
Try engaging inactive followers before removing them. Sometimes all it takes is reciprocating likes or comments to re-activate an old follower!
Focus on growing engaged followers too! It‘s all about quality over quantity. Use relevant hashtags, engage your niche, and post consistently.
Check your metrics often – follower/engagement rate specifically. Removing inactives should keep your rates consistent even as you grow.
Be patient and persistent – revisiting your inactive pruning regularly is key for long term health. Don‘t stress if it takes time.
Here are the key steps we covered to find and remove inactive Instagram followers:
💡 Learn how to recognize inactive accounts – look for bots and real ghost followers
🔍 Manually review your followers list for suspicious and inactive looking accounts
📊 Analyze Instagram Insights to find engagement drop-offs indicating inactive growth
📉 Use Instagram‘s "Least Interacted With" list to surface inactive followers
📱 Consider a third party app for deeper analytics and tracking
❌ Safely remove inactive followers via unfollowing, blocking, or Instagram‘s removal tool
📈 Keep focusing on growing your active, engaged audience!
See? With the right tools and techniques, you can easily keep your Instagram profile‘s follower count accurate and your engagement metrics healthy!
Now Go Prune Those Followers!
As you can see, inactive Instagram followers can seriously limit your growth and engagement if left unchecked.
But you‘re now armed with everything you need to find inactive accounts, analyze your followers, and give your profile a thorough pruning.
Sticking to this process consistently will keep your account‘s health and metrics on the right track as you continue growing your audience.
Here‘s to an engaged, active community of loyal Instagram fans! Now get to sleuthing and pruning. You‘ve got this!