Many Instagram users, especially businesses on Instagram, work hard to gain a large following. This makes it even more disheartening when you lose followers, especially if your numbers are seriously decreasing.

If you’re losing followers and you don’t know why, there are various possible reasons. We’ll break down the main reasons that you may be losing followers, so you can figure out what’s going on with your account and work to fix it.

Your Content is Poor

This may seem obvious, but if your content is of poor quality, then people are going to unfollow you. Posting blurry photos or videos, images without a clear point or focus, or simply all around low quality content will lead to your followers giving up and hitting the unfollow button.

The same goes for captions – even a great picture with a poorly written or irrelevant caption will have followers questioning their commitment to your account. Strange, unrelated, or poorly worded captions can also cost you followers.

Aim to post quality photos and videos with relevant and clever captions. If you’re posting low quality content, it’s easy to see why followers are giving up on your account. No one wants to see bad content on their Instagram feed.

Your Content is Off-Brand

If you’re posting great images but they have nothing to do with the theme or purpose of your account, followers are going to drop off. Think about it: if you followed an account that claimed to be all about fashion, but then posts a bunch of unrelated pictures about fish, you’ll probably unfollow that account. Give the people what they expect and desire from your account.

All successful Instagram accounts have some kind of theme or focus. If you run a business profile on Instagram, your account should be all about your business, its products or services, and related content. A clothing line shouldn’t be posting all about the Olympics (unless they sell sportswear).

Personal accounts have less to do with branding, but if you have people other than your friends and family following you, then your content should still be focused in some way. If strangers followed you because they loved your high quality travel photos, then they may unfollow you if you stop posting that type of content and switch to all selfies.

Before sharing any post, ask yourself if it is on-brand. If it isn’t, don’t share it. Your account should have a clear purpose and theme, not just be a random collage of whatever is on your mind day by day.

You’re Posting Too Much or Too Little

Even if your content is great and on-brand, no one likes having their Instagram feed blown up with constant posting. If you’re flooding your followers’ feeds with multiple posts a day and getting little engagement and no likes, back off.

Posting too little can also lose you followers. If you rarely post, people may think your account is inactive and unfollow you, since they are not being entertained by your content. If you haven’t posted in forever and your followers drop off, that may be your reason.

Some accounts can successfully post more often than others; the key is finding balance. Start by posting once a week or a few times a week to build up some loyalty with your existing followers. You can even ask in your captions what kind of content they want to see.

Test out posting more or less frequently to see how it affects engagement. If you start posting more often and your likes and comments are either the same or better, keep posting. If you post more and see a drop off in likes or followers, wait longer between posts. Keep them wanting more, but don’t post so infrequently that followers think your account is inactive.

You Bought Fake Followers

This mistake could cost you. Buying fake followers is against Instagram’s Community Guidelines, and will ultimately only hurt your account. We all want more followers, but you need to grow them the right way or you’ll end up back at the drawing board, or worse.

Fake bot accounts have been the target of Instagram purges in the last year. The platform has stated that it is working to remove all fake, inactive accounts. This means that if you bought fake followers, it’s likely that Instagram has since deleted them.

Not only did you waste your money on fake followers, you also made your account look bad: fake followers are easy to spot, and prospective real followers may have noticed the fakes or seen how low your engagement was and passed on giving you a follow.

If you want to speed up your growth on Instagram, use a legit, organic growth service. There are real companies that will help you organically grow your Instagram following by targeting real followers with an interest in your content. If you’re willing to pay for fake followers, save your money and spend it on a safe Instagram growth tool instead.

You’ve Been Shadowbanned

A shadowban is essentially when Instagram blocks your account, so you don’t show up on hashtag pages, explore pages, or even on the Instagram feed. There is no comment from Instagram on the existence of the elusive shadowban, but accounts that have been affected have vouched that it is real.

There are a few ways that an account can get shadowbanned, most of which have to do with breaking Instagram’s rules or Community Guidelines. You could get shadowbanned for buying fake bot followers (see above), posting inappropriate or hateful content, using banned hashtags, or violating any other of Instagram’s terms of service.

The best way to avoid a shadowban is to simply comply with Instagram’s rules and post appropriate content. If you think you’ve been shadowbanned, delete any fake followers or posts that may have broken the rules and focus on rebuilding a safer account.

You Aren’t Using Hashtags Right (Or At All)

If you aren’t using hashtags at all and you want to grow your followers, it’s time to get started. Just be sure to use the right hashtags that are relevant to your brand or content, and don’t spam the wrong hashtags in an attempt to get likes.

By wrong hashtags, we mean hashtags that are totally irrelevant to your post or overall brand. Often, people try to use vague or spammy hashtags just to reach a larger audience. Many of these hashtags are now banned, which hurts your account. Even if they aren’t banned, using generic, misplaced hashtags in an attempt to get followers will likely result in the opposite effect.

Research the best hashtags for your brand or industry and apply those without spamming your followers. This will help you reach new potential followers interested in your content, so long as the post and the hashtags you use match up.

Stop Losing Followers

Focus on creating great content, and check your account for any of these possible reasons for why you’re losing followers. Once you diagnose the problem, you can work towards creating a better account and growing real, engaged followers.

Chris McdonaldSocial Media
Many Instagram users, especially businesses on Instagram, work hard to gain a large following. This makes it even more disheartening when you lose followers, especially if your numbers are seriously decreasing. If you’re losing followers and you don’t know why, there are various possible reasons. We’ll break down the main...