Escaping the Average

How to not get Unfollowed on Instagram

Social Media has taken over the modern world. Instagram started in 2010 and has since experienced incredible growth. A major problem for business profiles and personal profiles alike is getting and keeping followers. Unfortunately, there are some people who will follow you and unfollow you once you follow them. There is not a whole lot of help for dealing with people like that (if you are a person like that, keep reading, I will deal with you later in the post). But there is help for keeping followers who genuinely have an interest in your account. The ten points below will advise you on steps you should take to make sure you are not turning people away from your account and getting unnecessarily followed on Instagram. Remember, you’re always just 3 taps away from being unfollowed.

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How to Not Get Unfollowed on Instagram

Do not post a million times a day

It can be so confusing trying to find the right amount of times to post on Instagram. Many people have very different opinions, ranging from you have to post daily to only posting once a week. I think it definitely all depends on the type of account you have. If it’s just a personal account averaging 1-3 times a week max is perfect. For a business account, 2-5 times a week is great. An entertaining account such as @girlwithnojob does fine with posting multiple times a day. She can get away with posting a lot because she’s funny. The more funny memes the merrier. But if what you are posting is not entertaining or relevant to the audience’s lives, do not, I repeat DO NOT, post gazillion times a day. Especially if you are also doing #2.

Do not just post selfies

I’m sure you have a very pretty face, but no one, I repeat NO ONE, wants to have it plastered all throughout their Instagram feed. I have unfollowed businesses, and even close friends because they were posting selfies 3 times a day every day. Don’t even get me started on the dog ears/nose filter selfies. I can understand maybe one when it was trending. But posting 3 dog-faced filtered selfies a day is a sure way to lose followers. Besides, your face with that filter will never actually be as cute as an actual puppy face.

Chocolate Lab Puppy

Do not follow and unfollow once they follow you

This problem goes back to the very early Instagram days. I remember the first time I discovered this shady method. One of the more attractive guys from where I’m from followed me and I was surprised.  12 year old me was excited, so of course, I followed him back. A day later I was searching through my followers list, trying to find him so I could stalk him only to realize he wasn’t on that list anymore. He unfollowed me LESS than a day later. 12 year old me was angry and 12-20 year old me has never talked to that guy or found him the slightest bit attractive ever since. For the past 8 years, my opinion of him has been tainted. Am I immature for holding a grudge? Maybe. But I can guarantee I’m not the only one who feels this way.

If you are using that shady method where you follow a bunch of people and then unfollow them once they follow you, STOP IT. There are so many apps now that will tell your followers if you unfollowed them. And once they catch wind that you are using that shady practice, you can say goodbye to them forever. I will never follow someone who does that to me again. I have a list on my app of everyone that has ever unfollowed me, and I will never follow them again. Likewise, I will never partner with them again because I don’t want to my brand intertwined with another person or brand that utilizes shady practices. And I know I am not the only one who feels this way.

Post quality content

This seems like a no-brainer, but in all honesty, it’s a lot easier said than done. Make sure that your posts are aesthetically pleasing. Don’t just throw a sloppy post together for the sake of reaching a post quota. Your audience WILL know, and if you are consistently posting dull, sloppy content, you can expect unfollows.

Don’t write a book

By all means, tell a story with your caption. Engage your audience with your caption. Clever captions are really important for your audience to get to know you and to relate to you better. But don’t write an essay with EVERY caption you make. There’s a time and a place for long and heartfelt captions, but I can assure you that that time and place does not include every single blog post. If you are writing 1000 word captions most people aren’t taking the time to read them and that means you are losing valuable connection opportunities.

Extra Tip: Use emojis. People like seeing emojis and captions. It fits in with the Instagram atmosphere.


Do not post grotesque images (unless that’s your niche)

Guysss, I can’t emphasize this one enough! Explicit content will get you an unfollow faster than those three puppy filter selfies. Unless your niche is grotesque things and you are reaching out to that specific audience, then keep your Insta content somewhere between G -PG13. If swearing is not absolutely necessary, DON’T do it. Think of a better word choice. This is especially true for business accounts. Posting gross, violent, inappropriate images is a sure fire way to get unfollowed on Instagram.

Don’t post about politics

As a business major, I can tell you that one of the first things I learned was that you shouldn’t unnecessarily offend your audience. This concept is definitely applicable to politics. America is almost pretty much evenly split between conservatives and liberals. Unless your niche has to do with politics specifically, stay away from that area as much as possible. Don’t unnecessarily offend potentially half of your customer base/following by posting something irrelevant to your business. In general, I don’t tolerate anything hateful on my feed (unless it’s like hateful towards kale chips or something like that). From my research and even just conversation with my friends, a lot of people feel the same way. That snide and irrelevant remark about President Trump, or Former President Obama could earn you a lot of unfollows. 

elephant vs donkey democrat and republican symbols

Use Planoly

Planoly is an AMAZING tool that I just discovered a few weeks ago. It allows you to plan your feed. You can preview which photos you should post in which order to determine what would make your account the most aesthetically pleasing. Your feed should look organized and well put together. That impresses people, and impressing people attracts new followers while keeping old followers secured. Check out Planoly and be amazed for yourself.

Reply to comments

Your followers like to be heard. They are investing their time and Instagram feed space in you because in most cases they probably like you and like what you share. Don’t turn them away by ignoring them. If they take the time to comment, you should take the time to reply. This holds true for both business accounts and personal accounts. Celebrity accounts can do whatever they want. If you’re a celebrity, you’re probably not looking at my humble Instagram advice anyway.

Comment on others (when you genuinely like it)

Engage with your followers on their accounts. You don’t have to follow everyone that follows you, but it’s nice to check out their accounts every once in a while. It will make them feel important and noticed. Usually, if you make someone feel important and noticed, they’ll want to stay friends with you and keep seeing your stuff.

doodle holding social media icons

I hope these tips have helped you. Do you agree with all my assessments? Do you have problems with people unfollowing you? How do you do you make sure people don’t unfollow you on Instagram? Share in the comments 🙂 Check out my Insta: @escapingtheaverage

P.S my Instagram account is small right now because I just created it. But I have run larger Instagram accounts before with thousands of followers, so I do have some experience.

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  • Reply
    November 10, 2017 at 6:27 am

    So well articulated. I must say this is a well-needed post at least for me as I lost more or less 20 followers on Instagram in last 4 days lol. Enjoyed reading this. Thank you for sharing!

    • Reply
      November 13, 2017 at 4:14 am

      Hey Preeti, thank you so much for your comment. Sometimes it’s not even your fault if you lose followers if the people are playing the follow then unfollow game. Keep your head up, I’m sure you’ll get 20 new followers in no time!

  • Reply
    November 10, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    Totally agree with all of these! Especially the follow/unfollow… drives me nuts!

    • Reply
      November 13, 2017 at 4:15 am

      Thanks Chelsea, I’m glad you agree!

  • Reply
    Herlina Kwee
    November 11, 2017 at 3:40 am

    Great tips. I am new to Instagram. Just figure out how to upload pictures to it a few weeks ago. I do a lot of custom images of quotes for my blog posts, so I was trying to figure out how to upload them through my desktop. But, I gave up. I slowly email them to myself. I am having fun with it now. I think I post once a day since I am building up my account. I do mix it up and no, I don’t do selfie. So, hopefully people don’t unfollow me for posting daily 😉 I just check your Insta. Apparently I am already following you.

  • Reply
    Julie I Aloha Lovely
    November 11, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    Nice tips! I hate when people play the follow/unfollow game, its an awful tactic!

    • Reply
      November 13, 2017 at 4:15 am

      Hi Julie, I totally agree! Thanks for commenting!

  • Reply
    November 11, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    It drives me crazy when people follow then unfollow me. I track my followers consistently, so I remain aware of when I lose and gain followers. I even have a good sense of noticing specific pages, and when they unfollow me. I’m trying to get better at consistency, but it’s plain annoying when people follow to get a follow then unfollow. I’ve started waiting a day or two to see if they’re still following before following back unless I’m genuinely interested in their pages.

    • Reply
      November 13, 2017 at 4:12 am

      Girl, me too!! I do the same thing. I wish everyone would just follow accounts they are actually interested in. Then there would be no follow/unfollow problem. But oh well though. Thanks for commenting 🙂

  • Reply
    November 12, 2017 at 2:54 pm

    I wish more people would follow these tips they are so frustrating to see people still doing some of these things! Especially the follow/unfollow method which always leaves a bitter taste in my mouth when people do it to me and I feel so stupid for thinking they wouldn’t do it to me.

    • Reply
      November 13, 2017 at 4:11 am

      Hey Karlee, I so agree! You would think that some of these would be common sense… Don’t worry, you shouldn’t feel stupid, it’s a lack of common sense from the other person. Thanks for commenting!

  • Reply
    November 13, 2017 at 3:46 am

    I’ve basically given up on utilizing Instagram. I failed to really jump on the app properly when I first made it, and it’s a huge bummer. Great tips tho!!

    • Reply
      November 13, 2017 at 4:08 am

      Hey Kate, don’t give up! Keep trying. There’s a lot of great information out there. It’s never too late to start again on Insta 🙂

  • Reply
    Alyssa Dawson
    November 15, 2017 at 8:33 pm

    I can’t stand when people follow and then unfollow! So obnoxious! Great tips!!

  • Reply
    November 16, 2017 at 1:40 am

    I think it’s so important to stay true to who you are on social media. All too often people can get lost in the world. I totally agree with responding to all comments. Thanks for sharing you insight.


  • Reply
    November 16, 2017 at 3:59 am

    Nice post. Instagram has changed so much and we now have to adjust to its growing algorithms. It’s annoying but doable. Thanks for the tips!


  • Reply
    November 16, 2017 at 7:42 am

    A nice humorous look at the issue of the follow/unfollow! So frustrating to the small biz owners!

  • Reply
    Sella - The Mom's Life Cycle
    November 16, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    that’s the good tips, and i totally agree with the unfollow things… that’s so annoying actually to have someone who follows you and it will unfollow you in the next day.

  • Reply
    November 16, 2017 at 1:34 pm

    Great tips and I’ve never heard of Planoly! I’m going to have a look at that!

  • Reply
    November 17, 2017 at 5:40 pm

    As always I your post are always super helpful! I swear today I was thinking: if you want to do the follow/unfollow game please don’t go to my feed! It’s just a waste of my time: because I’ll follow back and then once in awhile I check the app i have and unfollow whoever doesn’t follow me back so we both waste time and it drives me crazy!! I try to have an aestetically pleasent instagram but maybe itdidn’t work, I gave up on theming, It didn’t work for me XD

  • Reply
    November 18, 2017 at 3:29 am

    Instagram can be so aggravating! I find that when I don’t post for a couple days I lose more followers. So I try to post five times a week and that sees better results!

    • Reply
      November 24, 2017 at 4:55 pm

      Hi Kristen, It is definitely important to post consistently. I’m totally fine seeing quality things 4 or 5 times a week. But if someone is posting that much it better be quality content haha. I’m sure you already have that figured out though if you have a higher follower retention when you post. Thanks for commenting! I love hearing how other people get successful!

  • Reply
    Shani | Sunshine & Munchkins
    November 19, 2017 at 2:36 am

    I was just asking some other bloggers the other day about how to better way to plan out my IG posts and a lot of different apps were mentioned, but I don’t remember Planoly being mentioned. I’ll have to look into it!

    • Reply
      November 24, 2017 at 4:52 pm

      Hey Shani, I love Planoly because it is FREE. At least the part where you can see what your feed will look like is free. And for me, that’s all I need right now. I hope you find it helpful!

  • Reply
    November 20, 2017 at 6:24 pm

    Such good points. It really bugs me when people follow and unfollow! I’ve found a good combo of personal + community posts are perfect!

    • Reply
      November 24, 2017 at 4:51 pm

      Hi Susannah, thanks for commenting! Yeah, I think getting a good mix is super important!

  • Reply
    Sarah from A Simple and Contented Life
    December 14, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    Such great tips! I completely agree with them…especially the follow/unfollow rule – it drives me crazy! My followers are important to me and I’d much rather have a smaller number who genuinely like what I post than a higher number who never engage! Quality over quantity every time! 😉 x

    • Reply
      December 30, 2017 at 10:01 pm

      Thank you so much, Sarah!

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