Losing Followers on Instagram? Here’s Why and How to Fix It

Updated on September 11, 2023

9 min to read

Content Writer

Published September 16, 2022

Losing Followers on Instagram? Here’s Why and How to Fix It
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Most brands go into panic mode once they start losing followers on Instagram.

In their minds, they did everything right and have done nothing wrong to lose their followers.

They create quality content, tackle the right topics, use viral hashtags on Instagram, and so on. 

As an agency, it’s your job to identify weaknesses in your client’s strategy they may have overlooked.

More importantly, you should must devise a clear and actionable plan to help your clients overcome these weaknesses. 

Continue reading to learn more—before your clients lose their cool. 

Table of contents

What you’ll learn:

  • Why am I losing followers on Instagram? 
  • Why do people unfollow on Instagram?
  • How to build and retain your Instagram followers
  • Losing followers on Instagram: Frequently Asked Questions
  • Skyrocket your client’s follower count with Vista Social

Why am I losing followers on Instagram? 

Your clients may lose Instagram followers for reasons other than normal unfollows by real users:

1. Bought followers

Your client may have purchased Instagram services to get new followers in the past. While there are legitimate services that can help them gain more followers over time, plenty of “budget” services utilize fake accounts Instagram may have deleted. 

2. Follow-unfollow strategy by other brands

Another reason is the follow-unfollow tactics of other Instagram brands. 

This strategy works by following users in bulk for the sake of getting follow backs. And to maintain a healthy follower/following ratio, brands use tools to unfollow users who didn’t follow back. 

Your client’s Instagram account may have been targeted by such campaigns. 

If they didn’t follow those brands back, they’ll eventually lose them as followers. 

3. Instagram glitch

The most unlikely reason why your client lost Instagram followers is an app glitch. 

Similar glitches happened in the past wherein multiple users reported losing followers. 

If you suspect your client lost followers due to a glitch, just Google “Instagram glitch” and check the latest articles. This is usually the case if a number of accounts report suddenly losing Instagram followers.

But if your client is steadily losing Instagram followers over time, it could be happening organically. 

Why do people unfollow on Instagram?

Here are the top reasons why people unfollow brands on Instagram: 

1. Misaligned brand and user expectations 

Some users value consistency in their social media platform feeds.

If your client publishes posts outside their audience’s fields of interest, they might lose followers in the process. This includes users who may have followed after seeing a Story, Reel, or post that your client shared. 

2. Inconsistent posting time

An inconsistent posting schedule makes it difficult for your client to win the loyalty of their followers.

Eventually, followers might forget why they followed your client in the first place, or they may simply lose interest. 

Either way, users might choose to unfollow your client when they decide to clean up their following list. 

3. Posting too much promotional content

Social media users can smell a brand-centered Instagram profile from a mile away. 

Users are fine with a reasonable amount of promotional content every once in a while. However, they care more about the value they can get from your client’s Instagram feed.  

If your client’s content strategy revolves around promotional posts, users may look elsewhere for valuable or entertaining content—leaving your client behind for good. 

4. Low-quality content

Even with a consistent posting schedule and content strategy that doesn’t prioritize promotional posts, your client may still lose followers due to low-quality content. 

A lot of Instagram users value their follower/following ratio—and they won’t think twice to unfollow brand pages that publish subpar posts. 

This not only includes Instagram posts that lack a visual appeal. Irrelevant and unhelpful posts that don’t bring any value to followers also count as low-quality content. 

5. No user engagement strategy

Social media users are more likely to trust a brand that’s approachable and responsive. 

If your client doesn’t reply to comments or answer their questions, users won’t feel connected with their brand. This might be the reason why they lost interest in following them. 

Furthermore, your client may not be using enough calls-to-action or prompts that invite their followers to communicate. 

A simple question, for example, encourages followers to write their answers in the comments. Simple CTAs like “let us know what you think” also helps start conversations with your client’s audience. 

6. “Thin” Instagram post captions

Uninspiring Instagram post captions can flat-out make any post lifeless and boring. 

Remember, there’s a fine line between creative one-word captions and short, lazy captions. If your client is guilty of the latter, their content strategy isn’t conducive to a loyal and active following. 

7. Offensive, hateful, and discriminatory content or comments

Clients that delve into divisive topics may inadvertently alienate a certain group of users on social media. They also may have written comments about sensitive issues that users found offensive or discriminatory.  

In both situations, your client may see a significant drop in Instagram followers. And without an effective damage control strategy, they’ll find it hard to gain followers moving forward. 

8. Change of interests

Lastly, it’s normal to lose a few followers just because they lost interest in your client’s industry. 

On the bright side, Instagram brands rarely lose a significant number of followers this way. 

Your client didn’t do anything wrong. And even if they have the perfect content strategy, losing followers due to a sudden change in their preferences is unavoidable. 

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How to build and retain your Instagram followers 

Understanding the reasons why your clients are losing Instagram followers is the first step. 

Next, you need to devise a strategy to help them retain, recover, and grow their Instagram follower count. 

1. Build a consistent Instagram posting schedule

Keep your client’s followers engaged and maintain brand awareness by automating a consistent posting schedule. 

Use a social media management platform like Vista Social to do this with ease.

Vista Social homepage

Vista Social is one of the best Instagram marketing tools that help agencies supercharge follower growth. 

Build a schedule by specifying automated posting times for Instagram posts. 

From the main dashboard, select ‘Settings’ and click ‘Publishing Settings.’ 

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Vista Social publishing settings

Under “Publishing Queues,” select your entity and the Instagram profile you want to manage. 

Tap ‘Add a slot’ to enter an automated posting time in your schedule.

Vista Social publishing queues

Feel free to add as many posting times as you need. When done, just add new Instagram content to your publishing queue and they will be automatically posted at the next available time. 

2. Share Instagram Stories frequently 

Upload Instagram Stories at least once per day to keep your client’s Instagram followers engaged. 

Instagram Stories are perfect for sharing “behind-the-scenes” images and clips that show your client’s human side. Stories can also be used to promote quick tutorials, product teasers, and other Instagram content (including Reels and feed posts). 

Must-read: How to share a YouTube video on Instagram Story

You can also use Instagram Stories to ramp up user engagement through interactivity. 

Use Instagram poll questions, emoji slider stickers, countdowns, quizzes, music, and more to encourage user interaction. With the right tactics, this will convince followers to stick around and wait for your next Instagram Story.

Instagram app interactive stickers for engagement.
Image Source: Instagram app

3. Use more video content

Videos are among the most effective content pillars for Instagram

Statistics show that video content get twice as much engagement on Instagram. 

Videos can be shared in three ways on Instagram: Reels, Stories, and feed posts. 

  • Reels: Make your video discoverable through the native app’s “Reels” menu and your client’s profile page. Reels can be up to 90 seconds long, which is the longest video post format supported on Instagram. 
  • Stories: Instagram Story videos can only be up to 15 seconds long, but you can string multiple Stories together using connected clips. Story videos let you take full advantage of interactive stickers and other fun features. 
  • Feed posts: Video posts on Instagram can be up to 60 seconds long. They appear on your client’s profile feed, which is good for evergreen content. 

Fire up the Instagram app, check the most viewed Instagram video in your niche, and take notes on how to make your videos better. 

Remember that you can also share videos from other platforms on Instagram. To learn more, read our guide on how to share a YouTube video on Instagram Story

4. Cross-promote your client’s Instagram profile

Promote your client’s Instagram profile on other social media platforms to bolster their following. 

This is a surefire strategy to compensate for a recent drop in Instagram followers. It will also help your client maintain healthy Instagram follower growth long-term. 

Consolidate your social media cross-promotion efforts with an all-in-one platform like Vista Social. 

In addition to all major social media networks, Vista Social will also help you manage your client’s visibility on review websites, online communities, and Google My Business. 

5. Set consistent quality guidelines for Instagram posts

Be consistent with the topics and overall aesthetic quality of your client’s Instagram posts. 

Develop content buckets to guide your team on what type of posts to create and publish. Some examples of content buckets are: 

  • Short-form videos
  • Memes
  • Blog post updates
  • Product reviews
  • Data-based content

All Instagram content pieces should also undergo the same editing process to create consistency. Use tools like Canva, Snapseed, and Photoleap to formulate an editing process that outlines the filters, image adjustments, and effects that your team should use. 

6. Implement a post approval system

To ensure all posts abide by your client’s quality standards, implement a manual post approval system by saving Instagram drafts instead of publishing posts directly. This will also help clients avoid posting offensive or discriminatory content pieces that lead to lost followers. 

Platforms like Vista Social also help agencies implement an internal approval workflow. 

If you work with an Instagram content marketing team, this ensures you create brand-safe content that aligns with your client’s value propositions.

 How to implement a post approval system in Vista Social

7. Nurture the right expectations

Don’t rely on sharing other accounts’ content to win followers for your client. 

It may be effective in raising brand awareness, but it may cause followers to have the wrong expectations about your client’s content. 

Focus on publishing original and brand-aligned content on Instagram. Furthermore, optimize your client’s profile page to reflect their vision and give followers the right idea of what to expect. 

Here are some tips: 

  • Write an accurate profile description to convey the value your client promises followers.
  • Use consistent branding elements on your client’s Instagram profile photo and content (logos, fonts, etc.).
  • Include a link to your client’s website wherever it counts (profile description, Instagram Stories, etc.).
  • Add context to CTAs (follow us for more tips on garden maintenance). 

8. Engage your followers

Comment, like, and share your client’s followers’ posts. Whenever you receive a direct message, ensure someone is there to respond. 

This lets them know that they’re connected to an active brand that’s ready to contribute to the community. 

Assigning a dedicated account manager to monitor your client’s profile is a step in the right direction. 

However, a more efficient approach is to use social media listening tools. 

Vista Social will help you set up “listeners” that send alerts whenever specific keywords are mentioned by your client’s followers. It also consolidates conversations from your client’s social media accounts into one interface. 

9. Track follower growth

Analyze if your Instagram marketing strategies help you gain followers or the other way around. 

Instagram comes with a handy “Insights” tool that tracks your client’s reach, user engagement performance, and follower growth.

Track follower growth through Insights Tool in Instagram app
Image Source: Instagram app

If your agency manages your client’s other social media accounts, consolidate your analytics with Vista Social. 

Use the “Reports” tool to get a bird’s-eye view of your client’s social media presence. Generate on-demand reports or set a reporting schedule to track their social media reach, content performance, competitors, and more. 

Vista Social cross-channel reports track your client’s follower growth across all their social media accounts. These also include user engagement tracking, posting frequency, brand awareness, and other actionable insights.

Vista Social's social media performance report

Frequently Asked Questions about losing followers on Instagram

Why am I suddenly losing a lot of followers on Instagram? 

A rapid drop in follower count could indicate that you publish irrelevant, offensive, or low-quality content that Instagram users want to avoid. In rare cases, it can also be due to a widespread Instagram glitch. 

Is it normal to lose Instagram followers? 

Yes, it’s perfectly normal to lose Instagram followers, especially since Instagram is constantly cracking down on fake accounts that mass-follow other users (including you). To regain and bolster your follower count, focus on factors you can control, like your posting frequency, content quality, and profile optimization.   

Why are my followers unfollowing me? 

Instagram followers may unfollow you for several reasons. This includes low-quality content, too many promotional posts, an inconsistent posting schedule, and a sudden change in your audience’s content preferences. 

Skyrocket your client’s follower count with Vista Social

Vista Social has everything you need to grow and maintain your client’s follower count. 

Build a consistent posting schedule, utilize cross-promotion, establish quality guidelines, track engagement, and more—Vista Social has a feature that helps every facet of Instagram marketing campaigns. 

Learn how it can help supercharge your client’s follower growth by creating a free Vista Social account here

About the Author

Content Writer

Jimmy Rodela is a social media and content marketing consultant with over 9 years of experience, with work appearing on sites such as Business.com, Yahoo, SEMRush, and SearchEnginePeople. He specializes in social media, content marketing, SaaS, small business strategy, marketing automation, and content development.

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