There's a popular misconception in Instagram marketing that has led to a lot of misnomer. Many brands and users will do anything to get more followers, but very little care is thrown at how detrimental some of those followers may be.
Before diving into this, kindly answer this important question: do you prefer a large number of followers or a smaller follower count with more engagements?
Your answer to the question either reveals why you badly need to pay more attention to your followers or why you need to maximize the engagement level of your followers. Both are covered in this article.
Let's establish that what was working on Instagram a couple of years ago might not work now. Brands should be up to date with any little changes to the platform's ranking factors.
Having many followers was the coolest thing on Instagram but in recent times, we've seen how celebrities block followers for derogatory comments and other forms of social toxicity.
How they rigged the number of followers on Instagram
There was this buzz that came with having more followers, and it led to a penchant for unnatural ways of achieving this goal. Users started to pay for people to follow them, sometimes dubiously.
It even evolved into something more technical—automations, comment pods, virtual assistants, etc. An even pettier level was the idea of following lots of people for follow-backs and then unfollowing them.
All of the above soon went out of trend because the engagement level was still very low, even with the increased follower count.
This evolution in followership is why you should take your audience engagement more seriously; after all, this is a social network.
The power of your engagement rate
Instagram keeps on growing and the hunger for original, highly-engaging content is still on the rise.
We see users posting their make-ups and clothes before stepping out. Anything can be turned into an IG post these days—it just has to be creative and captivating.
This content hunger, or need (if you will), has led to some sort of dilemma. The app itself seemed to find it difficult choosing which post will appear on the audience's timeline.
To solve that, they now use different algorithms based on engagement rates and other indices.
But wait, what exactly is your engagement rate? Well, it's an estimated ratio of the number of engagements on your posts to the number of followers your page has.
As a part of your business strategy, you need to understand that Instagram would rather display posts with a higher engagement rate since they would likely lead to users spending more time on the app.
This approach brings attention to a major disadvantage for brands and creators with non-engaging followers or even bots. You might be able to buy followers, but those engagement rates are hard to game.
Therefore, auditing your followers (and cutting off those that don't engage with your post) will do some good to your Instagram presence.
Pro-Tip: Like4Like.com is a services that sell organic likes and views from genuine Instagrammers, along with real followers. They both offer a free trial so do well to try them out for yourself. This could be a game changer for your business.
Why are engagement rates important?
Engagement rates are the perfect way to ensure balance in the Instagram space.
The more followers you have, the lower your chances of having high engagement rates. It's a ratio that depends on your number of followers.
This gives users with little followers a chance to effectively reach their audience.
2. Influencer's influence
Influencer marketing is huge on Instagram, and tons of big brands are in search of reputable marketers to work with. And a major ingredient of top Insta influencers is a high engagement rate.
It used to be more about the number of followers and how often one posts. But now, the highest-paid influencers do not even post that often. Their engagement rates just happen to be astronomical whenever they do.
The type of users to do away with
Now that we've established the need for an Instagram clean-up, let's look at the type of followers you should do away with:
1. Users with mass followings
As earlier addressed above, some users go on a following spree to gain more followers.
Strategies like this are quite toxic, so you should remove any member of your audience with such a mass following.
It's most likely that they followed you for a follow-back and nothing more.
Instagram actually sets a limit for the maximum number of users one can follow, which is 7,500.
So if you notice anyone with followers in the neighborhood of such an amount, remove them.
2. Bots or fake accounts
These ones are without profile pictures, posts, or any relevant information. You shouldn't have such accounts associated with your brand.
3. Inactive followers
These followers are the ones that have been dragging your engagement rates down. They rarely interact with your posts, if they do at all.
This class of followers can also cover business accounts that followed to make you a customer. Such accounts will hardly ever interact with any of your posts as they're expecting the interaction to be the other way round.
Finding these users can be exhausting, but we have online apps to help identify such users and unfollow them.
4. Dormant accounts
They have taken a rather long break from Instagram or have stopped using the app altogether. You can't just let them remain in your network with a careless hope that they will be back.
5. Toxic commenters
You must have come across some of those comments that either have no bearing on your post or are just insulting to others. Don't waste a minute to delete such comments.
How to go about cleaning these toxic followers
Two ways—either manually or using automation. The manual method can be tedious and most useful when you identify toxic followers in the comment section.
You can quickly tap on their profile and select the 'Remove Follower' option. A pop-up will require your confirmation for the removal.
There are applications online, like Cleaner or Unfollow, to automatically find such toxic fans.