Unfollowing people on Instagram is taboo in the influencer industry. First, because these days, following on Instagram equals forming a friendship. Thus, I let you guess what unfollowing means. Even though, obviously, a friendship goes way beyond following someone on Instagram. Secondly, of course, because of the follow/unfollow game. And third, because, just in general, it hurts quite a bit when someone unfollows you, especially when you comment on their content all the time. But you know why, when people unfollow you, it can actually be quite good for you!
And you know why? Sure you do!
Because like all human beings, you want to know “why”. In real life, you want to know why some people don’t like you, what you’ve done to deserve this dislike. On Instagram, you want to know why you are unfollowed. And sure, some reasons might be petty or follow/unfollow game. But some other, as hurtful as they may be, can turn out to be very good for you, your Instagram, your engagement rate and your career as a blogger!
1. You get rid off non genuine followers
Why would someone follow you? The most obvious reason is that they like your content. And that they would unfollow if they no longer do. Easy. However, not everyone will follow you for that reason. Some Instagram users will follow you expecting something in return. A follow back most of the time. If they don’t get it, they will unfollow. Maybe you followed them first and they gave you a follow back just because. Or you took part in an Instagram follow thread and had no choice but to reciprocate. And they eventually unfollowed you.
But in the end, there probably wasn’t a real interest in your work. Not to worry, this is good for you! That they unfollowed I mean! Just because… only people who are truly and genuinely interested in your content will stay, be loyal and engage.
2. You narrow down your niche
The hardest thing when it comes to blogging? Picking your niche. Well, maybe not the hardest, but a tough one. You cannot blog nor Instagram for everyone. I mean, you could but then, people would not engage with each photo you put out there but just the ones that relate to their interest. Which would decrease your engagement rate. When you pick a niche (if you wish to, it’s not compulsory), you post content relating to that particular niche of course.
Let say you decide you want to focus on beauty. Oh no, fifteen people have unfollowed since you switched focus. Here is the silver lining: picking a niche helps weed out followers that aren’t interested. In the end, you filter out people that are not your ideal customers. Meaning, people that you would not influence, that would not convert and that, as a consequence, would not help you bring value to brands. You want to create a community that loves what you create. Short-term it may be painful, but rewarding in the long run.
3. You are increasing your engagement rate
This is something I mentioned in my post on how to curate your perfect Instagram feed. Although it was from the perspective of you as a follower and not as someone that is being followed. But the same principles apply in the end! If someone that follows you does it for the wrong reasons and isn’t that much interested in your content, they are less likely to engage with it.
You do not want ghost or inactive followers. Nor followers that, although increasing your following, decrease your engagement rate due to their inactivity. Furthermore, now that engagement rate is a key metrics in influencer marketing, that’s not something you want to happen. Better have a smaller and more engaged audience than thousands of followers that skip over all your photos! You want to be followed by people who care!
4. You it is not, them it is
Excuse the poor attempt at speaking like Yoda. I needed a sentence starting with “you” like the previous headlines!
Back when I was at university, I took a class called Organizational Behavior. Among all the principles we studied, one really caught my attention: fundamental attribution error. It is the tendency people have to overemphasize personal characteristics and ignore situational factors in judging others’ behavior. In other words, if someone has a certain behavior towards me on a certain day, I will think it is because I have done something wrong. However, it might just be because they got bad news earlier, a bad night sleep, are having a bad day, etc.
Thus, it is not you, it is them. Yes. Sometimes it might be you indeed. Like if you have been a dick in real life with someone who was following you. You can’t expect them to stay! However, when people unfollow you, the first thing you will tell yourself is “what have I done?”. Nothing actually. You can relax and breathe. It is them and their decision is based on many factors, which are very rarely about you personally.
Since the number of followers you have really often determines your worth in the influencer industry, we are all incline to panic when we lose followers. And to question ourselves as well as our entire work. The thing is, most of the time, it really isn’t you. And whether it actually is (or not), it is actually not a bad thing when people unfollow you! It helps you create a community of people who love your content, care about what you do, are engaged, and increase your engagement rate!
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What do you think? What is your first reaction when someone unfollow you? Do you agree with those four statements? Do you often go through your followers to do some cleaning of inactive and ghost users?
Thanks a lot for stopping by. I hope you liked this post.
See you soon,