Have you experienced a random rise in numbers on Instagram? Those that come in spurts from 93 to 104 to 9k or more? It happens. And little did I know how damaging the effects can be.
Recently, I had an influx of followers on my Instagram account and at first I thought, “Wow, this is great!” and didn’t make anything out of it until I noticed my engagement drop dramatically. With every post, the engagement was less and less. It was the weirdest thing and made no sense to me at all. I started to sift through the latest followers and noticed they didn’t look right. I knew something wasn’t right so I did some research and learned more about “ghost” and “bot” followers.
At this point, I was just so frustrated because now my account was almost at 12k and flooded with ghost and bot followers that would need to be removed. I finally had the “swipe up” feature but disappointed that it would only be short lived. At least for now.
What I did next…
I had to act quickly because the engagement on my account became pathetic and didn’t match the following I had. It was awful! So, I started removing followers, one by one since that is the only way to really do it successfully without deleting legit followers.
It was becoming such a tedious task I didn’t have time for so I hired a VA on Fiverr to do the work for me. It wasn’t long before Instagram caught on to the “odd” activity on my page coming from overseas so it only allowed her to remove and block 50 at a time. I didn’t want to take any more chances potentially being flagged so I had to continue to do this monotonous job myself.
The good thing is, she did some research for me and found this video to send to me. From there, I did some more research and found this one. Elma was awesome and I’ll continue to use her services for other tasks but for this one, unfortunately it’s one I’ll have to complete myself.
In digging into this mess further, I found an article from John Peltier that dove deeper into the subject and gave me more insight.
Why it’s important to keep your account clean
What I mean by “clean” is keeping your account free and clear from fake instagram followers AKA “ghosts” or “bots.” Otherwise, my friend, you are looking at more to follow and a huge decrease in engagement which is the last thing you want for your account if growth is what you’re working so hard toward.
When and how to resolve this issue
If you’ve experienced an influx of random followers that comes in spurts like I did, I would highly recommend taking a look at them by going into each of the accounts to see if they’re legit or not.
Another thing I would recommend and something I will continue to do moving forward is spot check your followers from time to time to see what they look like or get a VA to do it for you.
Keep your account clean and current so you don’t ever have to deal with this issue again. But do know that if you experience something like this, you will need to remove followers a little at a time so that Instagram doesn’t flag your account. Unfortunately, the only way to resolve it is removing followers one by one manually so that you don’t accidentally remove your real followers.
What to look out for
Ghost or bot followers are those that have a huge following but very few followers and very little, if any, feed posts. The posts they do have are random and have no meaning behind them.
Their following can range anywhere from 7k or below and their followers will have a very low count. Usually in the single or low double digits.
Here are some examples:
How this all happens
A few reasons this could potentially happen is that one, you’re using hashtags that are being used by millions of users; two, you are following and engaging in high ranked celebrity accounts with followers in the millions; three, you have bought followers from Instagram services claiming they are selling you “real” followers.
Naturally, you would think that targeting the largest user hashtag following would yield the best results but the reality is, it does not. Target hashtags lower than 500k. This will most likely attract more of the authentic followers versus the IG hounds!
This article breaks it down well so you understand what this means.
Like with anything, Instagram is going to always be a learning process. As the algorithm changes so do the metrics. What used to count before, may no longer be a requirement.
For example, before, having a 10k following would justify your account as credible from a brand’s perspective. Now, it’s not necessarily the following that matters, but more so the level of engagement and interaction with your content that holds the most credibility and value. Because think about it, what is the sense in having a large following when your followers are not interacting with your content?
It’s no longer a number’s game with the exception of gaining certain features on the platform like the “swipe up.” Other than that, it’s more about what holds the most value and what will yield the highest return when it comes to content creation; in whatever form, shape or size.
If this article was helpful in any way, please let me know in the comments below!