Losing followers on Instagram? 13 reasons and solutions

Content Marketer and Writer
Updated 24 May, 2024
Julia Moore
Content Marketer and Writer
Gaining Instagram followers is only half of the story. And it’s not even the most difficult one. Keeping users subscribed and engaged is the other half you must thoroughly think about. If you neglect the second part, you lose followers. Fortunately, you can prevent or stop it. We will tell you what you may do wrong that causes the number to decrease and how to fix it.
Reading time — 10 minutes

Reasons why you may be losing Instagram followers

In general, the reasons why you are losing followers on Instagram can be divided into 2 categories. They are the reasons you can affect and those you don't. Don't worry, the first group is much bigger. That's why you have a fighting chance to save your Instagram account.

Read below the common mistakes that cause people to unfollow you on Instagram. Thus you can avoid the mistakes. If you've already done some, you will find how to fix it. 

1. You post to hype on Instagram

It's all too easy to fall for the temptation of posting on a hot topic to get more reach and engagement. But the result may be just the opposite, like losing Instagram followers.

When a blogger brings up a hot-button issue without looking into it first, they may give an inappropriate view on it. They can't provide proof for their opinion and explain it. And if an argument starts in the comments, they will be defeated by the real experts.

You may guess why all this is bad for the number of followers on Instagram. Users see the blogger is a poser and have no idea what he or she is talking about. Besides, this hot topic may be too far from the topic of their profile. It means users are not interested in it. And people on the internet appreciate honesty and want to get what they are used to in your profile.

Fix it: No one can prohibit you from hyping. If you want to comment on a hot topic, make sure you studied the question thoroughly and the publication is interesting to your followers. 

2. Indirect communication with your Instagram followers

Followers appreciate direct conversations with the author. They want to communicate directly with you. You may lose a part of Instagram followers if you delegate your account promotion to another person or your words are too formal.

Fix it: Try to always write texts and make photos and videos yourself. Add them to the profile yourself too. Go Live often to speak with your audience directly, check your DM and reply to the messages every day.

 Don’t have enough time to answer everybody? Losing clients because of it? Set up automated Instagram messages to reply even when you are offline.

3. You are losing to your rivals on Instagram

You may be losing followers on Instagram because they go to your rivals, because they found something better there. These may be anything from cheaper prices to more engaging content or more personal communication. The situation may be caused by a rival who broke through or by you who changed the behavior on social media recently.

Fix it: Think if something has recently changed in your account. You might be trying a new type of content, posting more often or seldom. Analyze your rivals' accounts, learn from them, figure out what is the reason for their success.

You can also ask users directly what they would like to see in their feed. Then you should make sure you give it to them.

4. Changing the approach of posting in your Instagram profile

People subscribe to you when they like your photos and videos. If you change your style, you may start losing followers on Instagram. Whether it's the topic, type of content, design, the speech style, or even the frequency of publishing, followers may not like these changes. That's another possible reason for losing subscribers on Instagram.

For example, initially, you wrote about yoga. Your followers liked your Instagram informative posts about the training at home. You gave them all the details in the description along with beautiful pictures and videos. Then you decide you have no time for this, or whatever is the reason. Now users get only thematic pictures from you and no texts they liked. Their expectations don’t meet real life and people start unfollowing you on Instagram. 

Fix it: First, decide what you really want and can post about. People who don't like it will unfollow you after you post. But don't worry too much. You will get a new audience that is interested in your new content. Yes, the number of followers may become smaller than it was, but it may become even bigger! 

If the number of followers takes priority over what you want to post, you should adjust to your audience. Do what you did before the changes, then you stop losing your followers. 

The thing is, you should stick to one topic to stop losing followers on Instagram. Then you can get a loyal audience. If you have a lot of things to post about, create different IG accounts for them.

5. Worthless content causes losing Instagram followers

Let's admit that Instagram is all about benefits. You want to have a lot of followers, maybe because you like to be in the spotlight or want to make money on Instagram. Users want to get benefits too. And if you want to stop losing followers on Instagram, you should give it to them.

Answer a couple of questions. Is your content informative? Does it provide exclusive insights? Is it inspiring? Maybe it is fun? If you want to prevent or stop losing Instagram followers, you should be able to answer "yes" to at least one of these questions. 

You may also be interested in making money on TikTok

Fix it: Give life hacks, advice, reviews, recipes, compilations and so on. Remember about the audience’s interests. Places to go fishing won’t be appreciated in a handicraft profile. 

Add a post or an interactive story in your profile to ask followers whether they find your content informative, fun, or inspiring. Read 100 more question ideas for Instagram Stories. This will help to make a reasonable opinion about the worth of the photos and videos in your profile.

6. Bad Instagram profile design

If your profile has a bad design, you are at the risk of losing your Instagram followers. Make sure your profile looks good to save users subscribed. It's both about the design, colors, arrangement of posts, logos, and about usability, line spacing, and photos quality. 

Fix it: Choose a color for your profile. Choose similar shades in your posts, profile photo, and Highlights covers. Archive posts that don't match your page design, they will be hidden but not deleted. Use high-quality photos, alternate portraits, landscapes and other types of photo. 

Separate paragraphs in a text with spacing and emoji. One thought — one paragraph, 4-7 lines is a good length.

7. Bad service scares away your Instagram followers

In a business account, you may start losing your Instagram followers even if you have a perfect design and post quality content. This may be because of the poor service quality. It means you or your managers are rude to the customers, don't answer their questions, don’t call etc. Then, your brand's reputation and authority decreases and people unfollow you on Instagram.

Fix it: Teach your staff to be client-oriented, introduce sales scripts and make sure they are used. Of course, you  yourself should be polite and respectful too. This must stop the number from dropping.

8. You are losing fake Instagram followers

If you bought followers or gained them by mutual subscription, there is another reason explaining why you are losing followers on Instagram.

Some of the followers are bots and some of them are people who are not interested in you. They just wanted you to follow them back. After a time, they unfollow you and subscribe to other Instagram accounts.

Fix it: You should not stop these accounts from unfollowing you. Actually, these "dead souls" are a big threat to your Instagram account. Read why and how to delete ghost followers

9. You are losing Instagram "marathoners" and "prize hunters"

It comes as no surprise that you are losing followers after a giveaway on Instagram, marathon, prize drawing, competitions, raffles. Users came to your Instagram account for the benefit. Since they’ve already got it (or haven’t got), they unfollow you.

Fix it: You better avoid giving prizes for subscription. Don't worry if you are losing followers now due to it. These Instagram accounts are bad for you, so just let them go.

10. Your Instagram content is not balanced

You should keep balance between the types of content you add if you want to avoid losing followers on Instagram. You don't have to upload only funny pictures to your profile with memes, or write strictly informative texts in descriptions on a brand's page. The major part should be what your Instagram followers expect, but spare a room for posts to diversify it. 

Let's look at an example. If you run a commercial account or expert blog. People follow you for a clear purpose, they want to buy a product or get benefits. Loads of personal information in such accounts cause lack of trust and irritation. This is also what makes users unsubscribe. 

Another example is when you post too much advertising. Promoting a product or service in your account is not a problem. But it is a problem when the ad is too much. The flow of advertisement non-stop instead of useful content irritates users, and you start losing followers on Instagram.

Fix it: Keep the proportion of 80/20. It means 80 percent of the content should be relevant to your topic, and 20% may be about something else. If you run a shop's page, 80% of the information should be about the shop and its products. 20% may be dedicated to different topics, for example, you can tell a story from your life.

Add to that, you should dose the ads if you promote products of other brands in your account. Less than a half of the content should be promotional. 

Create a content plan ahead to watch the ratio. Bonus, you will always know what to share in your profile today. 

11. You steal pictures, videos, or texts

It is as severe as it is useless to steal from others. Plagiarism is easily detected by both users and the Instagram itself. Users want to see what they haven't seen, your photos and videos, and know your thoughts and opinions. Besides, you can be blocked due to the copyright policy. So, you may start losing your Instagram followers or you lose your account if you steal content. 

Fix it: Make photos and videos for Instagram by yourself, write unique texts. If you like ideas of other bloggers, you should repost them or inspire and make your own pics and videos. Choose the topic you are good at, then it won't be a problem to make original content.

12. Instagram hackers are the guilty ones

If you are losing followers on Instagram at an alarming rate, your account may be hacked. Spam mailing, or replacing content are the evident indications in addition to the lost followers.

Fix it: Change the password more often, use multifactor authentication. Tell your subscribers the account is hacked in posts or Stories if you haven’t lost the access. You may also inform them in your other social media profiles or DM from your second IG account. It doesn't bring all the unfollowed users back, but it saves the remaining followers. 

13. Rare posting on Instagram

Users subscribe to you to see your photos and videos and know about updates in your life. If you don't post them, most of the users have no reason to be subscribed to you. So you may be losing these followers on Instagram.

If you’ve been radio silent for months, only the most loyal subscribers will stay with you. Or those who follow 1,000 accounts, they will not even notice you do not post. 

Fix it: Add posts and Stories regularly. Use Instagram tools for growth that save the time you spend on creating and posting photos and videos. But do not fall for the opposite extreme. Adding 4 new publications to the feed a day is good for personal profiles. Business accounts should add photos and videos up to 2 times a day. 

Does Instagram delete your followers?

Instagram doesn’t delete real users. But it detects suspicious profiles and blocks spam accounts. Of course, "suspicious profiles" and "spam accounts" are defined by Instagram algorithms, and some real accounts may fall under the ruthless deleting. But this is usually an exception. And if you are losing your Instagram followers in a big amount, this is not the case. 

Are there apps that tell you who unfollowed you on Instagram?

We do not recommend using the apps that promise to reveal who unfollowed you. But you can monitor your profile and get the full information. Read our article about the apps that tell you who unfollowed you on Instagram.

The bottom line

People are always subscribing and unsubscribing social accounts. So don't be too worried when you start losing followers on Instagram. The question is why it happens in your case.

  • There are situations when you can stop the number from dropping. You should add engaging content of high quality to your profile and ask followers how they like it. 
  • There are also cases when you can't help it. This is when you want to change the topic or style of your profile. You will lose Instagram followers who don't like the changes. But don't worry too much because you will gain new followers who like what you do now.
  • And there are situations when you are losing Instagram bots, fake accounts, "marathoners" and "prize hunters". You shouldn't stop it, they badly affect your account.