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Is your engagement down on Instagram? It could be more than an algorithm update! Read more to find out why ghost followers on Instagram can sabotage your account.

Instagram has gone through some pretty significant changes over the past few years. The main result is weeding out all the bots from its platform.

Long gone are the days of mass following and unfollowing to boost your numbers. The algorithm is hunting down those people and treating them as spammers. This means they won’t get shown in the algorithm which is kind of like instant death on Instagram.

To keep yourself from falling into that same trap, it’s important that you never utilize any of these strategies:

  • Buying Followers
  • Signing up with a “Management Agency”
  • Using a bot to mass follow/unfollow

If you have ever bought followers or did a massive follow/unfollow campaign, the time is now to clean it up! No judgement, but you growth will always be held back if you don’t fix this.

You may be wondering…why is this such a bad thing?

The main reason is that it kills your engagement rating. When you buy followers or even go on a follow/unfollow rampage to boost your follower count you ultimately end up gaining “ghost” or in-active followers that could care less about you and your Instagram posts. They don’t interact, comment, like or even look at your posts.

This kills your engagement rating because when they ignore your posts the Instagram algorithm hears, “This profile is lame – don’t show it to anyone else.”

Even if these people are real and originally followed you, they can still hurt your account.

This is why when you see large Influencer and celebrity accounts their following numbers are always a fraction of what their follower account is.

Before I get into showing you how to purge all these ghost followers, I want to share some additional theories out there on eliminating the threat of ghost followers. One extreme strategy is to not only unfollow those inactive accounts, but to take it a step further and block them as well. Personally, I think this is a horrible idea. Let me explain.

What are ghost followers on Instagram?

The definition of a “ghost” or inactive follower is someone who doesn’t engage with your posts, they don’t like, comment or share.

But let me ask you this…how many accounts do you actively follow and enjoy seeing their posts, but don’t necessarily like, comment and engage with regularly? How would you feel if you got blocked from ever seeing that content again because you forgot to like all their posts?

The phenomena is similar to what happens on Facebook. All too often the most consumed posts have the lowest likes and shares. Why is this?

Typically when a person clicks through to read a post on Facebook, they read the post and then move on. Rarely ever do they make the effort to hit the back button and then “like” and comment on the post.

Even when we enjoyed the post, it’s just not human nature to back track like that. This is exactly what happens on Instagram as well.

For this reason, I highly suggest you do not block these accounts. Instead, a much more prudent solution is to just unfollow them.

In time, as you add more variety to your posting, these accounts may eventually start to engage with you. At that point, you can always follow back.

UPDATED: Years ago I would have recommended you download one of the many apps available to make removing these ghost followers quick and painless – HOWEVER – I would NOT recommend that today.

Instagram has taken a very firm stance against using apps like that and it is a direct violation of their terms of service. There is a HIGH probability of getting your account disabled for using these “cleaner” apps. Resist the temptation! As time consuming as it is, you will need to unfollow them manually.

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