Losing Instagram Followers? See Why & How To Fix It

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You’ve been cracking away to grow your Instagram, pouring countless days, weeks, and months trying to move the needle and develop a strategy but instead of seeing your follower counter going up, you are losing Instagram followers?

In this article, I will help you evaluate your efforts and shed more light on the reasons why you might be losing followers.

I will also show you how you can prevent that from happening and put your Instagram growth back on track.

You will learn:

But first, let’s clarify something…

Is Losing Instagram Followers normal?

Since you’ve built up a respectable follower number on your Instagram account already, you’re most likely aware that people unfollow accounts for a variety of reasons and a small follower churn is completely normal and might happen to everyone.

Usually, it will happen when you stop posting and engaging with your audience on Instagram.

If you notice that you are losing followers on Instagram at a rapid pace, you’ll want to act quickly, as likely, this unnatural churn is caused by something else.

A falling follower count could affect your engagement which in turn could make it harder to gain new followers too.

Sometimes low Instagram engagement could be a result of Instagram shadowban.

Preventing people from unfollowing you doesn’t have to be difficult, but unless you understand why they are unfollowing you, there isn’t much you can do to stop it.

The first thing you need to do when you notice a follower drop is to take an honest look at your content and identify the reason people are leaving.

We’ve outlined some of the common reasons why you might be losing Instagram followers.

Take a look at them and see whether or not you think any of these reasons apply to you.

Why you are losing Instagram followers?

Here are the most common reasons why you might be losing followers on Instagram:

  • Instagram is removing bot followers
  • you are not posting enough
  • your profile needs more love
  • your content is low quality
  • you’re promoting yourself too much
  • you’re posting outside of your theme
  • you don’t use the right hashtags
  • you’ve purchased your followers
  • it’s an Instagram glitch

Let’s go over each in more detail as well as list some solutions to help you recover and prevent losing Instagram followers in the future:

Instagram is removing fake Instagram accounts

This is one of the most common reasons why you might be losing followers on Instagram.

Fake follower networks are getting to be something of a huge issue on Facebook and Instagram.

Naturally, as these follower networks grow, Instagram will begin to start cracking down on these networks more.

This is usually done in large batches through changes to their algorithm and detection methods which people often refer to as “Instagram purge”.

If you noticed you’ve been losing hundreds of followers overnight, very likely that might be Instagram taking on fake follower networks.

The moment Instagram’s anti-spam algorithm flags and suspends the suspicious profile, it’s deducted from your follower counter as well (just like it never existed).

Instagram constantly fights with spam and bot networks and is known for doing a large purge every couple of months, causing you to lose followers suddenly.

But cheer up - even though your followers are decreasing, you will be getting better engagement rates per follower and your Instagram account stop being a ghost town.

Fake followers were never really followers anyways, so keep that in mind and keep making great content for your genuine part of the audience.

This doesn’t apply to IG only - fake followers are also common on other social media platforms.

Suspended accounts show up as “not found” on Instagram.


Keep posting great content and seek to attract real engagement from a real audience.

If your followers are fake, then you won’t get much value from them anyway.

Fake followers won’t engage with your content, visit your website, or make a purchase.

All they were doing was inflating the number of followers that you had.

Which is not a value-add beyond what it provides to your ego.

Finally, make sure to not rely on any apps and bots to grow following as they might artificially inflate your instagram growth.

There is a lot of ways to get Instagram followers without bots, so I recommend looking into them.

You’re not posting enough

There is a lot of content being posted to Instagram every day.

To stay relevant you need to be posting, at least every other day.

If you aren’t posting often people may not be able to engage with your posts when you do post.

Keeping a consistent posting schedule will help people recognize your content better and allow them to participate more frequently if they like the content you post.

You want to make sure that you are giving followers enough of what they want.

Otherwise, when you do post, you won’t see much engagement, and they might even decide that they’ve had enough of what you have had to show in their feed and choose to unfollow you.


This will vary among different social media platforms, but on Instagram, posting every other day (about 3-4 times a week) is a good amount to aim for.

If you are posting less than that, your content will seem sporadic, and it will be challenging for you to connect with your followers.

Posting often enough will also be something that you want to test and change depending on the engagement that you get on your posts.

If you notice that posting more during the week results in less involvement and shares from your Instagram audience you might try varying how you post.

Promoting enough for your audience is something that only you will understand, and you can realize through trial and error.

Your Instagram profile needs more love

Instagram is an image-based network so people will judge your profile based on its look.


Tweaking your Instagram avatar and Instagram bio is a good place to start for your profile optimization. If you are a business, make sure that the way you present yourself to your community matches your branding.

Don’t put to your bio something that could offend your audience and cause you to lose followers.

Your content is low quality

Because Instagram is primarily a visual platform, your images are more important than any other type of content you could post.

It’s in your best interest to make sure the pictures look good.

With everyone on the platform taking at least medium-quality photos, your low-resolution images may be the reason people are deciding to jump ship.

If you don’t have an excellent camera for taking pictures, you might be uploading low-resolution photos.

If this is the case, you might want to invest in a better camera and learn how to create more captivating images.

After all, on a platform that includes everything from world-class photographers, media companies, and even regular folks with amazing pics taken from the new powerful smartphone cameras available.

Why would someone want to follow an account that takes pictures that look like they are ten years old?

Unless you are doing so ironically, make sure your images are not low resolution.

If it’s not the quality of the photos themselves, it may be the content of the images themselves or captions you make.

Are you posting content that is unique or that serves a purpose in your given niche? Or are you just posting generic image macros that you found somewhere else?

If your content is not unique and doesn’t represent the value that your audience originally signed up for you might see them decide to unfollow you.


Give your content some love and improve it!

Make sure your content is high quality in both images and text.

Don’t post low-resolution photos to an image-sharing platform like Instagram, and don’t just re-post content that you found from somewhere else online.

Also, take care to make sure that your posts don’t become formulaic and boring.

This should not only improve content strategy but also encourage more shares from your Instagram audience.

Overall, the best will be if you have a solid social media content strategy in place that you can stick to.

You’re promoting yourself too hard

If you’re posting five times a day and your content is all about you or your business, you might be posting too salesy.

If your content feels too much like self-promotion people might be put off.

How much after all, do you like it when brands post about deals they’re offering or products that they sell?

Sure we like posts like that since we follow brands that post those things, but we don’t want them in our face multiple times a day from the same brand.

After a while, self-promotion can be tiresome, and your followers might decide to unfollow you if all you’ve done is a post about yourself multiple times a day for the last month.

Your audience has more choices than ever of who they follow on Instagram, and that makes it easy for them to unfollow people who are only interested in self-promotion.


Vary your content up and post about things that are relevant to your niche.

If this is a profile for your business, try to balance posts a bit and don’t try to sell every single time.

If you make a point to post about topics that are trending in your niche but don’t necessarily involve your brand you may find that you’ll get more engagement from your audience than when you post about yourself.

You’re posting outside of your theme

If you’re posting outside of the subject that you or your brand are known for you might find that people who followed you for the content in that niche will unfollow you.

This might be fine if you only lose a few every once in a while, but if you start noticing a large group of followers jumping ship, you might want to be sure you aren’t straying from the path you laid down when you initially started your account.

Instagram has a wide variety of different subjects, and many people only like to follow people who are posting about specific topics.

You might find that people are more dedicated to just seeing what interests them than you might initially have thought.


Evaluate your content and make sure that you aren’t posting entirely outside of your theme.

A post here and there may be fine, but you certainly don’t want it to have a significant effect on your follower count.

If you still want to create the new content and spark more shares, evaluate whether or not you wish to change niches, or whether you need to start another account for the new content you want to post.

You don’t use the right hashtags

One of the main ways your profile can be discovered is through hashtags. Hashtags become a thing on various social media platforms and Instagram is no different.

A large part of the followers on Instagram you’ve acquired likely came from the hashtag discovery.

If you stop using Instagram hashtags completely or use them incorrectly in your strategy, you might experience an audience and engagement drop.

Also, it’s important to remember that some hashtags are banned so even if you attach them to your post, you won’t appear in the feed.


You might want to check a hashtag app to help you come up with Instagram hashtag ideas.

Avoid using hashtags that are not related to the content you post or hashtag-stuffing.

If you post a picture from Tokyo Disneyland, don’t add #newyork to your post.

Also, don’t use hashtags that are banned on the Instagram platform.

You purchased Instagram followers

Purchasing followers on Instagram it’s not that uncommon as you might think - many business profiles, high-profile people and celebrities did that at some point.

However, purchasing fake profiles does not help long-term.

Are you running a business and this is your brand account?

Having a fake audience will likely damage your brand reputation.

On top of that, fake followers won’t drive you any engagement, clicks, or sales.

There is one more issue: sooner or later, they will be gone.


Either the service you bought followers from started pulling those Instagram profiles back (all at once or gradually over time) or the Instagram algorithm simply figured out what’s going on and started deleting them already.

The moment it happens, your Instagram account starts to bleed followers, and that this will prevent you from growing, making any additional marketing efforts to grow pointless.

You won’t know exactly how big a percentage of your audience is fake and you won’t have a simple way to get rid of them other than wait for the Instagram algorithm to kick in.


Stay away from this method. Purchasing followers on Instagram might sound like a great way to boost your social proof in the short run but it’s pretty easy for someone to figure out your followers are not genuine.

It’s an Instagram glitch

At the end of the day, it could be just a glitch - Instagram had similar glitches in the past, resulting in Instagram followers disappearing from user accounts for hours and sometimes for whole days.

When it happens, usually there going to be news around the Internet so googling up “Instagram glitch” should give you an answer and confirm that this is indeed just a glitch.


Just wait. Once the Instagram team resolves the issue, you should see the follower numbers going back to their normal state.

It might take sometimes a day or two so just be patient - eventually, you will see your followers back!

How can I track my follower loss?

The simplest way to check & track your follower gain and loss is with an instagram analytics tool.

You will be able to track how many followers you are losing and gaining each day, helping you understand whether you might be dealing with a natural loss or something more serious.

How to recover lost Instagram followers?

If the lost followers were a result of Instagram bans and got suspended, there is not much you can do.

If other Instagram users unfollowed you at some point, there is still a chance you could win them back in the future.

Mind that, you won’t recover your lost followers overnight - gaining followers that churned won’t be effortless.

Final Thoughts on Losing Instagram Followers

The Instagram community grew an enormous amount over the last few years, and this has meant that people are presented with a vast amount of choice with regards to who they choose to follow on the platform.

With that added choice comes more competition, and more noise on the platform that users will have to sort through to find the content that they like.

If they aren’t getting what they want from you, they can get it somewhere else.

Once you notice that you are losing followers on Instagram, you’ll want to do something about it sooner rather than later.

Losing Instagram followers that you worked hard to acquire is not something anyone who has an Instagram account wants to experience.

There are a variety of ways to lose followers, but the good news is that almost always, you can identify what it is that you are doing to cause followers to go away, and make the changes necessary to stop the flow of people out of your account.

If you kept losing followers for over a month, it might be a good idea to check it directly with Instagram by sending a message to their support team.

No matter what is going on with your account, you should always be thinking of ways to maximize the value you are giving to your audience, not just on IG, but other social media out there.

If you notice a drop in followers, it may be the perfect opportunity for you to re-evaluate your content strategy on the platform.

Who knows, you might even gain them back after making the changes.

I hope this article sheds more light on follower bleed on Instagram. Make sure to check out our other post about action blocked on Instagram!.

About the author

Karen is a senior technical writer and copywriter here at GrowFollowing. Her area of expertize are social media apps and new media.