In 2018, Instagram created the option to remove followers from your account. When this new feature came out, it came with a bad connotation.
“Use this feature to remove creeps from your public page.”
However, when it comes to social media marketing, this feature could be great to improve upon your engagement rate.
Did you know, according to a 2015 Business Insider article, 8% of Instagram accounts are fake and 30% are inactive? This article is 5 years old, meaning that these rates have most likely increased with an increasing user base on Instagram. There were 400 million users on Instagram in 2015. Today, according to Hootsuite, 1 billion people use Instagram every month.
Removing inactive followers could immensely improve your engagement rate [(number of interactions/number of followers) x 100]. Say you have 3,000 followers with an average number of interactions at 250. Your engagement rate would be .08. A good engagement rate is typically between 1 and 3%. Say you have 500 inactive followers that you remove, now you are at 2,500 followers with an average number of interactions at 250. Your engagement rate would bump up to 1% and now you have a good engagement rate.
You may be wondering why a good engagement rate is so important. The higher your engagement rate, the higher the potential reach of your brand will be. Instagram’s algorithm favors posts with higher engagement rates when deciding what posts to put in the top of someone’s feed.
Now you may be wondering, how do I know if an account is inactive? One thing you could do is go through and find accounts that use the generic profile picture icon. If they have no posts and follow a lot of people, they could be a ghost/bot account. These accounts will never engage with you or your content, so they can be removed. You can also skim through your followers and look at the last date they’ve posted. If it’s been a year since their last post, you can remove them as well. If they aren’t posting, they most likely aren’t active.
There are plenty of apps out there that can help you find inactive followers, but I suggest you don’t use them. Most aren’t authorized for use through Instagram and could potentially lead to your account being banned. Yes, it’s quick and easy, but taking 10 minutes out of your day to click through your followers and determine on your own if they are inactive is worth not losing your whole account.
Removing followers from your account shouldn’t be something shameful or frowned upon. I know a shiny number of followers looks good from the outside, but you could be keeping real followers from seeing your content.