For any business, from retail to healthcare, with a social media account, life is always great when you’re gaining new followers, people are engaging with your content, and you’re seeing a healthy amount of traffic directed to your homepage. But then… there may come a time when things start to slow down, less people like and comment on your posts, and you start to lose precious followers. Why does this happen?

First off, most Instagram accounts go through this at some point and it’s usually nothing to stress about. The good news is that the solutions are right around the corner and you’ll only have to make a few changes to your Instagram page in order to get followers again and lots of engagement with your account. Remember that you can easily check when you’re losing followers with certain web tools that let you check stats like Social Blade, allowing you to know your account analytics in detail. Let’s look at a few possible reasons as to why you’re losing Instagram followers.

The old “follow and unfollow” technique

Unfortunately, many people out there will employ a method on Instagram where they follow all sorts of personal and business accounts in the hope that they’ll get followers in return. They might do this for hundreds of accounts, but will unfollow any account if they don’t receive a follow back after a few days. It might seem a bit childish, but this is just the way things are in the online world.

Your account is using black hat methods

Any account that uses automation software to like other users’ posts and follow other accounts, or dabbles in the very shady business of buying fake followers (a very common practice in the industry even among celebrities) might end up getting a sudden wake up call when Instagram starts cracking down. The Instagram team occasionally wipes out millions of fake accounts in order to stop spam and bots from ruining the social media app. Many of your followers could have been purged by Instagram itself, so watch out for this throughout the year. Instagram also looks very unfavourably at buying followers, and sometimes bans or even blocks accounts that don’t follow the rules.

Your audience doesn’t feel like you’re engaging with them

Instagram users have feelings too! If they are commenting on your posts or sending you questions or comments via DM (direct messaging) and you’re just ghosting them all… don’t be surprised if they unfollow you. You don’t have to talk to everyone about their life story, of course, but show the online community that you’re engaging with your followers and really connecting with them – you’ll notice the difference. Caption competitions are a good idea, as you can engage followers by offering a free giveaway to the person with the best caption.

You’re trying too hard to sell

An Instagram business account is definitely there to increase sales, improve your brand reputation, and provide interesting details and insight about your company or organisation, but that doesn’t mean you have to be the salesperson. People can look at billboards or adverts if they want a direct promotion about a product or service, but when your account turns into a spot for you to just sell, sell, sell, users get turned off quickly. Remember, you should try to sell a lifestyle, not an item, when on Instagram. It’s ok to promote something new every now and then, but keep users interested with attractive and fun posts, otherwise they’ll jump ship.

Your pictures and videos just… aren’t very good

This is probably the hardest one to stomach, but it might be time to face facts and look at the quality of your content. Even a picture of a meal needs a lot of time and effort to look good on a photo! So, if you’re just posting any old picture and hoping for the best, your followers will stop caring at some point. Using a professional camera or a high quality smartphone is a must, but so too is good lighting and a striking angle. Learn how the best Instagram accounts take good photos to put online.

Over-posting

While under-posting isn’t usually a problem that will get you unfollowed (your account just won’t be engaged with), over-posting is a far bigger issue that followers will start to take action against after a while. 5-7 posts a week is a healthy amount, but when we’re talking 5-7 a day, not all of which are particularly interesting, expect followers to drop off one by one. Only post your very best stuff and try to space them out over the week.