Losing Instagram Followers? Here‘s Why It‘s Happening & How You Can Fix It

default image

Have you noticed your Instagram follower count suddenly start to drop? As disheartening as it can be to lose followers you‘ve worked hard to gain, you‘re not alone. Follower drops are an incredibly common phenomenon on Instagram that most accounts experience at some point.

But don‘t panic just yet! In most cases, losing followers is fixable if you know the right solutions. By understanding the various reasons it happens and taking the appropriate actions, you can recover and even gain new followers in the process.

In this detailed guide, I’ll share my insider knowledge as a social media strategist on why you may be losing Instagram followers and provide proven hacks to get your growth back on track.

Let‘s first look at why your follower count might be declining.

Top Reasons You‘re Losing Instagram Followers

There are a number of possible factors that could be causing your Instagram followers to drop. Here are some of the most common ones:

1. Instagram Removing Inactive and Fake Followers

One of the biggest reasons accounts suddenly lose chunks of followers is due to Instagram pruning fake or inactive accounts from the platform.

As part of its ongoing efforts to curb spam and bots, Instagram routinely identifies and removes accounts showing suspicious behavior. This includes:

  • Fake accounts used to inflate follower counts.
  • Bots that automatically like, comment, and follow.
  • Inactive accounts where the user hasn‘t signed in for months.

When these accounts get purged, any account they were following also sees an immediate drop in followers. This especially impacts accounts that previously relied on artificial follower services or bots to inflate their audience size.

I‘ve compiled some interesting stats around Instagram‘s historical purges:

The takeaway here is that if you suddenly lose a significant number of followers, chances are Instagram has identified them as inauthentic accounts and removed them.

While this follower drop may seem alarming, try to see it as an opportunity to rebuild your audience with real, engaged users who actually care about your content.

2. You Have an Irregular Posting Schedule

One of the simplest yet most impactful reasons your followers may be losing interest is because you aren‘t posting frequently or consistently enough.

When you take long breaks between posting, followers have no new content from you to see in their feeds. This reduces your visibility and primes them to stop following your account.

Here are some Instagram user habits showing why posting consistency matters:

  • 53% of Instagram users report disengaging due to inconsistent content.
  • 89% of users say they unfollow due to lack of fresh posts.
  • 85% expect influencers to post daily content as per a Hypeauditor report.

The more days that pass between your posts, the more likely it is followers will stop checking back and eventually unfollow your account altogether.

3. Your Content Quality Has Declined

In today‘s ultra-competitive Instagram landscape, creating consistent high-quality, engaging content is the bare minimum required to gain and retain an audience.

But if the general caliber of your content declines – blurry photos, boring visuals, repetitive or off-brand subjects, etc – it gives followers little incentive to stick around.

Some signs your content may be falling short:

  • Engagement metrics like likes, comments and saves are decreasing.
  • You‘re seeing a rise in account unfollows.
  • Key hashtags and locations you use get little engagement.
  • Followers are requesting different types of content.

Failing to adapt and refresh your content style and topics to consistently capture audience attention will directly impact your follower count.

4. You Changed Your Niche Too Drastically

Followers engage with your account because you provide content around certain topics they‘re interested in. But if you make sudden, drastic changes to your niche or content focus, you risk alienating your existing audience.

For example, if you originally gained followers by posting cat memes, and suddenly shift to dog memes or fashion content, your original audience may no longer resonate with your updates and unfollow you.

5. You Use Irrelevant or Banned Hashtags

Hashtags are still one of the best tools for getting your Instagram posts seen by new potential followers. But using the wrong hashtags can actually limit your reach.

For example, using extremely broad hashtags like #love or #fashion is unlikely to get you noticed in those massively-populated feeds.

On the flip side, using too narrow or unrelated hashtags means you‘re targeting the wrong audiences who likely won‘t follow you.

And if you use any banned or blocked hashtags by mistake, your posts won‘t appear under those tags at all, heavily limiting discovery.

6. You‘re Posting Too Many Promotions

While promotions and sales offers are par for the course in social media marketing, overdoing it can turn followers off.

According to Iconosquare, 80% of users say brands post too many sales promotions on Instagram already.

If your feed becomes flooded with deals, discounts and hard sells back-to-back, you may drive followers away. Be sure to balance promos with other types of valuable content.

7. It‘s Just Natural Follower Churn

It‘s perfectly normal to lose some followers each month just through natural churn as people‘s interests and engagement habits change over time.

In fact, an average 2% follower drop per month is considered completely average as per Hypeauditor industry benchmarks.

So minor losses each month shouldn‘t necessarily be cause for alarm. But consistent heavy drops do warrant investigation into what‘s going wrong.

How Much Follower Loss is Normal on Instagram?

Follower Count Range Normal Follower Loss Per Month
1,000 – 9,999 around 5%
10,000 – 99,999 around 2-3%
100,000 – 999,999 around 1-2%
1,000,000+ around 0.5-1%

Now that we‘ve explored some of the common issues that could be driving your follower drop, let‘s talk solutions.

How to Minimize Follower Loss & Regain Instagram Growth

Here are my top tips and strategies I recommend to clients for reducing Instagram follower loss and rebuilding their audience growth:

1. Analyze Your Content Performance

Your first step is to closely analyze your recent content to identify any performance gaps.

  • Are your posts getting decent engagement? If not, your content style or topics may need reworking.

  • How do your top-performing posts compare to your worst? Make more of what already resonates.

  • Check your follower demographics – who is engaging most? Tailor content to their preferences.

Pay attention to feedback and requests from your audience too. Give them more of what they ask for.

2. Establish a Consistent Posting Schedule

As discussed earlier, inconsistent posting is a huge follower churn driver. But you can counter it by sticking to a regular schedule.

Posting 1-2 times daily is best practice for Instagram. Determine days/times your audience is most active and consistently post great content in those windows.

Tools like Later and Hootsuite can help you plan and schedule posts to maintain consistency.

3. Refresh Your Profile and Bio

Give your entire Instagram profile an audit and makeover. Update your bio to reflect your current brand or interests. Create fresh Highlights covers to showcase your newer content style and topics.

A revamped profile helps re-introduce you to existing and new audiences. Don‘t be afraid to recreate yourself!

4. Engage With Your Followers

Ramp up your audience engagement efforts – reply to comments, ask questions in captions, and interact with user-generated content about your brand.

This community interaction reminds followers of the human behind your account and builds loyalty. They‘ll be less inclined to unfollow an account where their voice is valued.

5. Optimize Your Hashtags

Audit the hashtags you‘re using and compare them to current top performers in your niche.

Research the latest trends using sites like HashtagsForLikes and add relevant ones to your content.

Try a mix of both popular hashtags and niche-specific ones to maximize exposure. Just avoid keyword stuffing.

6. Promote Your Best Content

Repurpose and recycle your highest-performing Instagram content by re-sharing it after some time.

Reminding followers of your greatest hits is a smart way to reinforce why they originally followed you.

7. Collaborate With Other Accounts

Use collaborative posts, guest spots and shoutout exchanges with complementary Instagram accounts to tap into new audiences.

Make sure to clearly promote your collaborator‘s profile and ensure the partnership aligns with your brand values.

8. Run Contests and Giveaways

Contests are hugely effective for boosting engagement and follower growth. Offer fun prizes your audience actually wants and make entry requirements like following, tagging friends and sharing your posts.

Tools like Gleam and Vyper make it easy to run Instagram giveaways.

9. Use Instagram Ads Thoughtfully

Consider using Instagram‘s powerful advertising platform to get your content and profile in front of targeted new potential followers.

Just be sure to pair promo ads with value-focused ones to avoid coming off overly self-promotional.

10. Check for Account Restrictions

Use Instagram restriction-checking tools like IGScanner to test if your reach has been artificially limited through shadowbanning or other restrictions.

If identified, immediately follow their recommendations and appeal any restrictions. Limited visibility prevents growth.

Recovering From a Sudden Follower Drop

Let‘s discuss some additional tactics to employ if you‘re looking to actively recover from a recent major follower decline:

  • Increase Posting Frequency Temporarily: Flood feeds with 2-3 posts daily for a couple weeks to maximize visibility and re-engagement.

  • Message Similar Accounts: Reach out to collaborators and ask to brainstorm ideas to regain shared followers.

  • Run an Instagram Contest: Contests create buzz and incentive followers to re-follow if they left.

  • Take a Break Then Recalibrate: Sometimes a social media hiatus helps you restart stronger. Plan upcoming content in the interim.

  • Re-Share Top Archived Posts: Remind followers of popular past content they may have missed and lure them back.

  • Advertise to Lookalike Audiences: Use ads to easily find people similar to past followers and bring them in.

  • Live Stream More: Broadcast live videos to engage and preview you to potential new followers.

With the right combination of these troubleshooting tactics, you can recover from and minimize future follower drops on Instagram. Be patient and focus on the fundamentals.

Key Takeaways

Gaining followers on Instagram takes time and consistent effort. But losing them can happen more quickly when you neglect certain best practices. Here are the core lessons:

  • Losing some followers monthly is normal. Large drops need investigating.

  • Declines are often due to inconsistency, poor content, or niche change.

  • Profile refresh, quality content, and engagement are key to minimizing loss.

  • Study your performance metrics to identify weak points to improve.

  • Tactics like contests, collaborations, and ads can recover followers.

By understanding the various reasons followers leave and taking corrective actions, you can resume your Instagram growth journey. Stay persistent and keep optimizing until you find your audience sweet spot.

Have you experienced an Instagram follower drop before? What strategies worked to bring them back? I‘d love to hear your experiences!


Written by Alexis Kestler

A female web designer and programmer - Now is a 36-year IT professional with over 15 years of experience living in NorCal. I enjoy keeping my feet wet in the world of technology through reading, working, and researching topics that pique my interest.