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10 Reasons Why Your Account Isn’t Growing and You’re Constantly Losing Instagram Followers!

Hey you!.. Before you even start reading this article, let me tell you this: if you’re losing Instagram followers, you’re just like the rest of us. (Yes, even me!) Noticing that every day you have a few less followers than the one before, or perhaps you gain 10 only to lose 6 moments later, is completely normal. This is just part of Instagram and part of the process of growing your account. Not everyone is going to love your content forever, some people may play follow and unfollow games, and sometimes you unknowingly might be doing things that cause people to unfollow you, but that’s why I’m here! – to help you figure out what those things are and stop them in their tracks.

Below are 10 reasons why you may be losing Instagram followers and how you can stop it from happening, today. If you take the time to truly read each one and implement my suggestions on your account, you should see a continual increase in followers and those pesky unfollowers will become a worry of your past. So, if you’re tired of losing Instagram followers and you want to inject some life back into your feed, keep reading!

Are you continually losing followers on Instagram? Is your account growth stagnant? It happens, but luckily there are ways to turn it around! Instagram expert Alex Tooby shares 10 reason why you may be losing Instagram followers and how to stop it from happening. Great read!


1. You’re using “black hat” methods and getting “shadow banned”

Using bots like Instagress or FollowLiker to automatically interact with users can not only attract an unengaged and inauthentic following to your account, but it can also get you in trouble. If you aren’t aware of what these services are, basically you give them access to your Instagram credentials and they automatically like, comment, follow and unfollow on your behalf. If it sounds convenient, it’s because it is, but these softwares are against Instagram’s Terms of Service and should be avoided if you want to stay in their good books.

In the last 6 months Instagram has shown signs of strongly cracking down on services like this by straight up deleting your account, or putting you under a “shadow ban” which makes everything look fine in theory, but realistically your posts aren’t being seen by your followers, your images aren’t being categorized in hashtags, and you’ve practically become invisible on the platform.. Which, obviously, could be seriously detrimental to the growth of your account.


Lastly, keep in mind you can get shadow banned for reasons other than using autobots. For example if your account is continually reported by users, you’re posting inappropriate content, you’re leaving racially insensitive comments, etc. So if you want your account to grow, avoid all these things and focus on being genuine, providing value, and engaging with your audience in an authentic manner!

Wanna grow on Instagram? Be genuine, provide value & engage with your audience! Click To Tweet

2. You’re posting inconsistently, or you’re posting too much

If you’ve noticed that you’re losing Instagram followers more than you’re gaining them, your posting schedule could definitely have something to do with it. You’ve probably heard it before and I’m certain you’ll hear it again; Consistency is KEY. (In many aspects of life too, not just Instagram!) If you’re posting haphazardly you aren’t giving your audience a chance to get used to your content in their feeds and when you do finally show up they might not remember who you are or why they followed in the first place. On the other hand, if you’re posting too much, say 5+ times per day, you can quickly and easily annoy your followers which leads to them hitting that unfollow button. For me the happy balance is 1-2 posts per day, or at a bare minimum, 5 posts per week.

When you post consistently your audience gets to know you a little bit better with each post. If your content is pleasing to the eye and your captions are interesting, they’ll start building an admiration for you and get excited when they see your posts. It’s like the first few weeks of dating someone new.. you want to be around them all the time, but you’ve also gotta let them miss you a little bit to build up the connection 😉 (What? You didn’t think you were gonna get dating advice when you landed on this blog post? Well.. think again my friend!)

3. Your first impression is poor

First impressions are everything. Whether it’s a job interview, a blind date, a speaking engagement, or even here on Instagram, the first impression you make on a new visitor to your feed is critical – so make sure you don’t mess it up!

Besides your images (that’s covered in #4) the first thing new visitors are going to see is your bio.. Is it filled out? Does it explain who you are or what your business is? Do you mention how you may be able to help them? Where you’re located? Where they can find out more? etc.. If you haven’t done this, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity, and it’s likely your first impression did not go well!


If you want a full length tutorial on how to set up your bio for the best results, enroll in my FREE 7 day e-course: Instagram Authority. Lesson 1 will teach you everything you need to know!

4. You’re lacking cohesiveness / consistency / theme

Just like your bio, the images in your feed give your audience an instant taste of what you’re all about and what they can expect from you. If your feed is clunky with wildly different images, mismatched colors, and varying image qualities you can easily scare away potential followers. On the other hand, if your feed is filled with high quality photos that flow effortlessly from one to the next, your follower count will naturally skyrocket. Here’s a few things to consider when uploading anything to your account:

* Is this photo interesting on it’s own? (is it high quality and does it relate to the focus of your account?)
* How does this photo compliment the last one? (does it share the same composition, color, or content?)
* Do all of my photos have an element that links them together? (recurring color, consistent white space, repeated font choice?)


This is something I suggest you invest a good amount of time in as it can have a very big impact on your following. This topic is also covered thoroughly in Instagram Authority so click to enroll for free if you need more help!

High quality photos that flow from one to the next will naturally skyrocket your follower count! Click To Tweet

5. Your captions aren’t interesting or engaging

Great images can keep your followers interested, but great captions keep your audience invested. If you find you’re losing Instagram followers after you’ve just posted an image, your captions could be the culprit. On your next post, consider including some of the following things:

* Context behind the image (what’s happening here, why is it important, who’s in it?)
* Tell a story (how do you connect personally to this image, was it taken during a time of struggle, is it something you love, is it an essential element of your business?)
* Ask a question (get your audience involved!)
* Use a call to action (tell your audience you want them to leave a comment, double tap, tag a friend, or click the link in your bio)

These simple tweaks make your audience feel like you’re talking directly to them and it encourages them to engage with your content. If what you’re sharing resonates with them you better believe they’re going to keep coming back. If you’re simply just uploading images with no context, chances are good they’ll eventually get bored and hit that unfollow button.

6. You aren’t using hashtags properly

If you aren’t using hashtags at all, you’re making a big mistake. If you’re using hashtags but you aren’t entirely sure about the ones you’re using or can’t tell if you’re getting results from them, you’re part of the majority on Instagram. Hashtags are a must-have for any good Instagram strategy as they put your content in front of new audiences all day long. If you aren’t using them, you aren’t necessarily going to lose followers, but you certainly wont gain any new ones!

Read this blog post, or take this course to perfect your hashtag game.

Losing Instagram Followers - Hashtag Hero

If you aren't using hashtags on Instagram, you're making a big mistake! Click To Tweet

7. You aren’t being proactive

You can’t join Instagram, post a couple pics and expect to have your following consistently grow day by day.. Unfortunately there is a level of effort and work that needs to be put in in order to see upward growth and to keep your current followers around. That effort comes in the form of engaging with your audience, or potential audience, on a daily basis. I recommend setting some time aside every day to like and comment on the images of people you think may be interested in your content (this is how you get new people looking at your feed). I would also set aside time to engage with your current audience by replying to any comments left on your images, or going through your home feed and liking/commenting on the photos of people who already follow you. Getting new followers is one thing. Keeping, and appreciating your current followers is another. Make sure you do both to see the best results.

8. You’re not providing value, entertainment, or education

If you want to grow and audience, or keep the one you have now, happy, you need to solve some sort of problem for them. Are they trying to learn how to knit? – offer them some tips or video tutorials.. are they looking for a laugh or something funny they can share with their friends? – offer them up to date, well made memes with funny complimentary captions. Fill a void for them and they’ll keep coming back. Get stale and they’ll unfollow.


(Want to know what value I shared in this post? Click here)

9. You’re being too sales-y

If you’re constantly promoting your products without providing any value, your audience is gonna get bored, fast. Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with promoting your products and services – that’s exactly why we’re building an audience on Instagram after all! But, there is a difference between selling and being sales-y. If every caption you write is “GET THIS SWEATER FOR $29.99. JUST CLICK THE LINK IN MY BIO” you’re being sales-y.. Instead, try something like this:

“This is one of our favorite sweaters for day to day wear. It’s warm enough for the winter but the chunky knit allows it to breath in summer as well. You can easily throw it over a tank for your bike ride to the beach, then tie it around your waist until the sun goes down! If you like a loose fit we recommend ordering a size larger than you normally would. Click the link in our bio to find your perfect fit, or DM us if you have any questions!”

See the difference? In the second caption you’re providing value in the form of “education”.. You’re educating your audience about your product; who it’s good for, how it fits, some recommendations for use, etc. If any of what you say resonates with your audience, that’s when they’re going to take the next step and visit the link in your bio. If you simply try to force it with an overly sales-y caption the sale becomes much harder to complete and your followers will end up leaving.

There's a difference between selling and being sales-y on Instagram. Which one are you doing? Click To Tweet

10. You’re the victim of an Instagram purge

Ever heard of an Instagram purge?? The most notable event of this happening was in 2014 (“The Great Instagram Purge”) when Instagram took action against those who had bought fake followers or used autobot services to increase their numbers. They literally removed MILLIONS of users resulting in an embarrassing state of affairs for “popular” accounts and celebrities. Justin Bieber lost 3.5 million followers overnight, Akon lost 2.4 million, and a trending Nail account lost over 23,000 (source). While there hasn’t been a purge as large and as noticeable as that one since, I suspect Instagram still implements similar measures often (especially since they’ve been cracking down on unapproved third party apps). So if you ever see a big drop in followers, it could be the result of a “purge”. To avoid this, make sure to never ever buy followers or use services that claim you’ll gain x amount of followers over night (or in a week, or whatever!) Also, make sure you aren’t using super overpopulated hashtags because spammers can target those and follow you via them which may increase your following but leaves you susceptible to a purge. Refer to this post about hashtags to avoid that from happening!


Phew!! That was a long one, but it was necessary. Each and every one of these things could be significantly impacting the growth of your account and could be causing you to lose Instagram followers. So, like I said at the beginning, take it from me, consider my suggestions and implement them on your accounts. If you keep it up (’cause remember, consistency is key) losing Instagram followers will soon be a distant memory!

Want to build an Targeted, Engaged &
Profitable Following on Instagram?

Guess what? You can! It just takes 6 simple steps:

Did you find this post helpful? Did you realize you’re making some mistakes that may be costing you your following? 

Let me know in the comments!

> Keep on reading..

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117 Comments on "Losing Instagram Followers? Here’s Why & How to Stop It From Happening!"

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted

Great advice .. I’m not really losing many followers thankfully but these points will certainly help to keep it that way. Thanks so much


I would love to see them cracking down on Mass Planner more, which is like Instagress, I feel like the amount of follow/unfollows is just surging at the moment. I also know that people actively promote it and that’s part of the problem. It’s really disheartening if you’re trying to grow your account organically and people use that and just shoot up in followers so fast! Thanks for the great article, definitely taking some of those on board

Jeanifay Mansfield

I am new to all this! Yet I have followers??? I have never posted. Did not know the protocol. Now I do. New business, new strategy,
Just trying to do it right. Thanks Alex


Thank you – this is insightful. I’m struggling with cohesion and content. My blog is not launched yet, so I’m finding that I simply do not have content to post to Instagram and what I am posting, visually, is kind of all over the place, from bright tropical colors to more muted tones. I’m not sure how to find a balance.


Great tips Alex! Keeping a cohesive feed is the challenge for me . Also I know some accounts use massplanner to grow their acct.. I’m curious why Instagram doesn’t crack down on those. I see n one go from zero to 30,000 fast using it .. doesn’t seem organic to me

Anyway thanks for sharing !


nicola baird

Tnx Alex for being such a positive IG inspiration. I may not have cracked it, but I’ve learnt some good lessons from you (best take away tip was to post consistently so I try to do so most days), and I always try to read your posts that pop into my inbox to the end. I run two IG accounts (my personal and a business one which is all about islington in the uk) and find IG infuriating for so regularly preventing me from logging into one or the other account. Perhaps that is a mini version of IG purging?

Kristie of The Official ceoMom

Such great tips. I am definitely one of those people who doesn’t post consistently. I’ll work on thar this week!


Loved this !!!


You’re so right. Cohesiveness and hashtags are key. I’m not losing followers, but it’s a sloooow process.


Great post!

Discover Hut

I didn’t know about a lot of things but thanks for educating me about Instagram! Really useful blogpost!

Lucy Walter

Great information. I’m still getting to know this platform, so this is going to help me a lot. Thanks for sharing all this

Harshraj Jhala

Very informative and great article!

Diane Boyd

Hi Alex, Many of the points mentioned I’m already following. I did enjoy the one about not being to salesy. I need to get better at this.


These are awesome tips! Thank you for sharing 🙂

Safaniya Stevenson

This was such a great read! I have recently up’ed my game now that I’m blogging. The hardest advice to follow is theme! But i’ve noticed since I’ve started using the same filters on my photos, our following has grown so quickly.

Valérie Derbaudrenghien
Valérie Derbaudrenghien

Loved reading this! Thank you so much!

Andrea | Moonlight Sweetness

I think you’re the IG wizard/fairy godmother! These tips are great and straight to the point. I don’t know why having a theme for my IG has become so hard. I’m still working on that. Thanks for sharing this awesome post! 🙂


Great post Alex. I know so many people get so disheartened by profiles that follow and then unfollow after you have followed them back, but it’s always best to keep it organic and real. These tips are all great for growing an organic following and things to do to keep your audience engaged.


#5…I swear I try to be so engaging, but only certain photos with certain themes get me the real engagement I want. I might have to analyze those closer.


Great Post! I’m not a fan of the Follow/Unfollow nonsense. I’m growing my followers slowly but for now it’s been consistent. I’ve seen a lot of people complaining about how things have slowed down on instagram and have been wondering what all the fuss is about. Now I know and have a much better understanding. Thanks for your article!

Lanae Bond

My problem is cohesiveness and not being the best photographer in the world. Plus that follow and unfollow has been happening a lot! If I can get those things settled I will see more growth!


Love this article. I am guilty of several of these things, but now that I am conscious of it, I can do better. I signed up for your course, and look forward to it.


Thanks for the great advice! For me, I think that I need to engage more with my audience 🙂 thanks for the reminder ‘n


Okay so, I joined in December last year, I’ve gained 300 followers in a week and since then I can’t seem to stay past 400 🙁 I follow a list of does and don’ts similar to this from my own research. I’m a little lost and confused lol. Hoping to learn something new here 🙂


I have been losing a lot of followers. I don’t use the f/uf method nor do I use Instagress or anything similar. I have also not been shadow banned. I really don’t understand why.


Very helpful and informative thank you


I love your post. I’m new at trying to get my blog out there via social media. And I’ve been trying to learn more about Instagram. I found out some things the hard way (like the hashtags) but now with your tips I’m going to work on my bio and try to be more consistent with my insta posts. Luckily I haven’t been posting more than once a day so I don’t think I annoyed anyone


Thanks Alex! I just joined Instagram, and have done zero with my account so far. I’ve bookmarked this post, and after my launch I’ll be signing up for your free Instagram course. Lovely blog layout, btw 🙂

Sarah Liu

That was serious interesting read! Thanks for putting this together! 🙂

Sincerely Ophelia

Interesting read. Thanks!

Ebony | The Den of Grace

This blog a so thorough! Thank you for the advice


Another great blog post Alex! I’m stuck in a rut at the moment gaining as many as I am losing so I’m going to take a little look at my page and see where I can improve 🙂


Comprehensive and useful tips here thanks a lot!

Heather LeGuilloux

Instagram is like a full-time job in itself! It was the last main platform I joined for my professional services and it’s still very intimidating! This list really helps, though. I think my main issue at the moment is theme. Thanks for the tips!

Nicole Kleiss

I loved all this advice I have been steadily growing (thank God) for the last month but before that i would get 50 loose 40 get 30 loose 25 It was a constant battle I was participating in some follow-for-follow threads back then and I think thats what was killing me. People would follow and then unfollow within the next day or two. Irritating. But now I am growing organically and because of your post I know of a lot of things NOT to do 🙂


i’m unfortunately guilty of a lot of these. except number 1

Angela Spencer

Thanks! I had no idea they were cracking down on instagress… #societygal


These are definitely some very helpful tips. I am working on creating a theme for my Instagram. I am finding that to be one of the most difficult parts.

Cozy Resort

wow.. nice tips.. I will use it for my instagram account


This is amazing advice! Thanks a lot, I’ll definitely be bookmarking this so I can go back to it as a reminder. Would love to see more posts like this! Do you know if there’s like a website or something to help with captions – I’m always stuck with that, which results in posting inconsistently!

Sarah @ Frugal Happy Homemaker

Such great advice, thanks for sharing your wisdom! Consistency (or should I say inconsistency!!) is definitely my main cause of losing followers. I’m working on being more consistent but don’t want to post just for the sake of posting. Instagram is definitely a learning curve but I love it! 🙂


Thankfully I’m not using any yet, although I’m not really sure I even have enough to be noticed lol


I’m not using bots but it says some of my images are banned …


Awesome post! I run a bloggers group and I keep getting messages about why their images are not showing up in anyone’s feed and why their engagement is getting lower. I’m not big on Instagram, but my guess is #1.


Looove these!!! Bookmarking

Ankit Kumar
I would like an advice on something that I have been pondering over for quite some time. I post fashion and portraits on my Instagram and they are among the most liked pictures of mine. Those pictures also get me more followers on a regular basis. However, I also like to post street photography and travel photography, which on the other hand do not fetch a lot of likes and followers. So, should I maintain consistency and post only fashion and portrait photos on my Instagram and not other genres? Or should I post all kinds even though engagement on… Read more »

This was really helpful! I just signed up for your course. My Instagram is slowly growing, but I’m always keen to learn more! 🙂


Great tips Alex! These are great reminders to keep challenging myself with what I post. Thanks for sharing!


Thanks for sharing these tips! I hope I don’t get reported to IG as a spammer, especially since I tend to visit lots of peoples pages and like and comment on their stuff!