Why I'm Deleting My Instagram Followers!
Why I’m DELETING my Instagram Followers.
I know this is going to sound crazy, but I want LESS followers on Instagram. I HAD 3,630 the other day and it fluctuates by at least fifty followers every 12 hours. But this isn’t unusual and it doesn’t drive me nearly as crazy as it used to. Instagram is a weird space and I have no idea how it works even when I have a pretty SOLID understanding of the “algorithm” and creating super valuable content. This follow/unfollow bullshit is just one of the MANY reasons I want less followers, and I’ll break down my reasons for the change so you can decide if you’d like to do something similar.
First, this isn’t the first account I have grown to over 3,000 plus followers, but growing a following is nothing like it used to be. Something MOST people who have a crazy large following won’t tell you. They grew their account in a different time and on a different planet. REALLY. It’s totally different and MUCH HARDER now. Anyone who is growing rapidly right now is getting featured left and right and leveraging the influence from the people featuring them, which solidifies my stance on our need for COMMUNITY and collaboration.
Second, my business has evolved in a variety of ways over the last three years when I started growing my current following. The biggest and most important brand values I have are community and helping business owners grow into leaders. What kind of leader am I if I’m sending the message that superficial or misleading follower counts matter.? They don’t, and I suspect it’s probably hurting me from getting seen by the people who really do want to see my content, so it’s hurting my ability to help people. To get there I will have to go backwards. For having over 3,000 followers my engagement should be MUCH BETTER, and since it doesn’t matter what that number SAYS - it only matters what it actually DOES- I have no reservations about clearing these followers out.
Sure, the algorithm smalgorithm has a bit to do with it, but people are also just CHECKING OUT left and right. They’re getting more and more (desperate) focused on (hoarding) growing their own followers, that they’re losing track of the super valuable connection that hold us all together AND helps each of us grow together.
Your people matter! Especifically the people who really are invested in your business which are usually the people who are benefiting or entertained by the content you’re producing. My focus is on using a collective voice rather than trying to shout over top of my people. That means I want my followers to be a controlled intimate collection of business owners who share the same values, and will show up for me in the same way I show up for them which also means I need to weed out the people that just don’t align with my values anymore. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t get on Instagram to talk to myself. And if they all of sudden realize they aren’t seeing my content anymore or that want to prioritize interaction and conversation with a willingness to put the community before themself they might come back. If not that’s ok too.
To be clear: I’m NOT deleting people who actually do engage and participate, but everyone else? Sorry, but bye. .
Honestly, I’d rather have 200 followers that are SUPER FUCKING ECSTATIC- over the moon, and super engaged who don’t just want to read my free content and skip away, but who truly want to support me, hire me, collaborate with me etc. etc. Who want to answer my polls on stories, who want to comment on my photos, who want to PARTICIPATE in true CONVERSATIONS. I know this is all crazy but it could happen, if we all just started giving a little bit more of a shit about the people we interact with instead of being all about ourselves 24/7 we could make a MASSIVE shift in how many businesses are getting seen, heard and enjoying success!
Three, I think it’s a good practice to take an inventory of who is following you from time to time and just weed out the inactive accounts, the nameless/faceless profiles, the bots, and the spam accounts. Again, it’s not about the number. It’s about having a solid following of real people - a true community. I know everyone dreams of the day they can work two hours a week from their phone posting from instagram with endless amounts of minions ready to gobble up whatever they’re peddling, but it’s time to get real. It’s time to realize you need to SHOW UP for those people if you want them to support you, and not on automation. Here's a live look at how I regularly show up for my people:
I’m sure there are people out there thinking I’m making a huge mistake or that I’m ungrateful because they would kill to have that many followers, but if those "followers" aren’t actually DOING anything I don’t really “have” a thing.
I’m sure there are people out there that are a lot more emotionally invested in their follower count too- but, you are a magnificent person running an incredible business PERIOD. Your follower count won’t validate you. I’m sure it feels like it will, but there are plenty of people out there with massive followings and worse engagement than I have, converting less traffic to their website too. It is not a mark of success. My validation comes from within and from the people who have actually hired me to improve their business. THEIR success is my success, but that’s more than any follower count will tell you! If people want to judge my success by the number of followers I have rather than really reading the captions and consuming the content- that’s on them, and I already have enough followers who aren’t reading the captions anyways, so if followers is all you care about just keep it moving.
SO HOW AM I DOING THIS?
Well, I’m removing slowly and with consideration. I’m not going to worry too much about removing someone who WAS genuinely interested in my content months ago because I have to work in the here and now. I’m not going to worry about deleting people who I see frequently in my Instagram stories list but that I never hear from. Lurkers don’t pay the bills, and honestly if you can’t be bothered to answer ONE poll question in the last 8 months- why are you even still following me? Let me make it easy for you.
As I mentioned before I am about community which is a TWO way relationship. Community doesn’t have to be touchy feely. Sometimes it means parting ways because someone can’t see beyond their own self interest. I’ve said this before, but I’ll share it here too: No one likes that friend that just shows up when they want something- and we can’t be those kinds of business owners.
To get more specific here’s a step by step of my process:
Pull up your followers.
Scroll to the bottom- my list came up in chronological order so the people following me the longest are at the bottom.
As I scrolled up I removed anyone without a profile photo, any personal accounts ( I had a lot of random teenagers in my followers), spam + bot accounts ( it usually says something about followers in their profile name) and then people I hadn’t heard from in as many years as they had been following me. BYE.
The next step takes more time- I am currently looking through semi- targeted followers, that I haven’t seen or heard from in months upon months and I’m checking if they’re still alive, still active, and making decisions to remove or re-engage.
Removing is different than blocking. Removing gives them the ability to follow you again. To remove someone you click on the three dots on the right. The remove option will pop up. Boom. done.
So with all of that I will leave you with a few parting ideas:
It’s frustrating that people are out there STILL following and unfollowing to build their numbers. That tatic is outdated and really ineffective in actually getting people to INTERACT on your profile- which is what you will want them to do if you’re trying to sell literally anything.
NURTURE THE FOLLOWING YOU ALREADY HAVE! Especially if that following is less than 1000. You don’t know what a valuable gift you are sitting on- a little nest egg of followers that you can really touch each day. Remember each of those people knows at least ten more on Instagram and if you take care of them they will help you grow. The most ungrateful people are those that are looking at the number as just a number instead of seeing the faces, beating hearts, stories and POTENTIAL behind it. You have all you need right now. Stop wasting time wanting more when you aren’t even serving the following you have right now.
The landscape is changing. We need each other more than ever.
The algorithm isn’t all that bad. It’s there to help you if you know how to work the system. Try this:
Go to your explore page. The page with the magnifying glass.
Scroll a bit.
Pick any video or photo.
Scroll to the bottom of that image or video.
Instagram is LITERALLY telling you WHY it’s showing you that content. Now, if that content has nothing to do with your business whatsoever you might want to change how you're spending your time. For example: I watched one Cardi B. video and now she's ALL OVER my damn explore page. No complaints, but she has nothing to do with my business.
- Yes, depending on what you’re liking, who you’re following and what you’re looking at on Instagram matters and you will see more and more of it. Make sure you're putting the explore to work for you. It should be introducing you to new people and getting access to accounts that help you co-work, collaborate, network, and socialize within your business space.
At the end of the day I guess this is all a matter of opinion, and we all need to do what’s best for our own business, but there’s one repeating theme here: more isn’t always the solution.