Instahacks: 7 things that will get you unfollowed on Instagram

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Many people are often so focused on doing what will gain them more followers, that they fail to ignore the actions they take that are causing people to unfollow them. Below are 7 reasons that people might unfollow you. If you care about that sort of thing.

Posting too often

No no, I’m not talking about the users who post 1-2 times per day, often with different or complementary content. I’m talking about those users who post 3 photos in a row. Of the exact same thing. Nobody wants to see 3 photos, 5 minutes apart, of you eating lunch. Not to mention, this is a really fast way to kill your engagement. It actually blows my mind that people still do this, especially considering the launch of Instagram stories. Okay okay, so your lunch is absolutely mind-blowing? Post one photo, and supplement it with a few stories. Which brings me to the next point…

Too many stories

Too many Instagram stories

Oh yaaaaayyyyyyy!

So you go to an amazing party, and everything about it is mind-blowing. Or at least it is to you. Even if your followers are interested, they probably don’t want to watch 9 stories of it. In my experience, when someone isn’t hooked by the first 2-3 stories, they will often swipe out of it completely. Which hurts your engagement. Keep this up, and they may just unfollow you so your stories no longer pop up in their feed.

I personally wish this wasn’t the reality of this situation, and I hope Instagram soon releases a feature that allows you to ‘unsubscribe’ to user’s stories, while still following them.

Not posting enough

Contrary to the above, not posting enough can also result in being unfollowed. How infrequently am I talking here? Well, this is different for different people. But I’d said posting less than once every two weeks is a definite ‘danger zone’.

Why? Well, when a user goes through his or her ‘following’ list in order to clean up their feed or keep their number low for ‘vanity reasons’, the chances of him or her unfollowing someone who rarely posts is quite high. Unless your content is mind-blowing and loaded with value every single time, chances are that this user is not going to even remember who you are or what your account is about.

Posting regularly (at least a couple times a week) helps to keep you in feeds, and shows you are an active member of the Instagram community.

Shock-value content

This should go without saying, but the amount of times I see this tells me otherwise. Nobody wants to see a close-up of that roadkill on the street. Or your dislocated and bloody ankle. I’ve unfollowed people a number of times when something like this has popped up in my feed without warning. Sure, shock-value type content can appeal to some people. But the key words here are really ‘some people’. And by ‘some people’, I mean very few people.

Too many selfies

Early on in my Instagram endeavours, I used to notice a lot that when I posted selfies, I also lost followers. This thoroughly confused me, as the engagement rate on those types of photos for me was significantly (and consistently) higher than any other type of content I posted.

Too many selfies

Selfie queen

So, why were people unfollowing me? Well primarily, I wasn’t providing any value. It’s as simple as that. It wasn’t like I was showing off a new hairstyle, or a new beauty product. It wasn’t like I was in some epic place and had nobody else to take a photo of me. It was just ‘Hi, here’s my face”. And that gets annoying after a while.

Do I still post photos of myself? Yes, every second one on my feed in fact. So what’s different now?

  1. I try to ensure the quality is much higher than a simple iPhone selfie.
  2. I aim to provide additional value somehow (whether it’s showing off a make-up look or hairstyle, a landscape, an outfit, a message, etc).
  3. I try to stay away from the ‘selfie style’ photo with shoulder/arm in the shot and all.


Showing your partner in your feed

This is one that I hate to admit is true. It unfortunately promotes and perpetuates the inauthenticity of Instagram, but it is a hard truth.

Maybe you have some ‘instafans’ – or let’s just be real, some people who have digital crushes on you. You then post a photo of yourself with your partner, and just like that, fantasy over. You are now made unavailable (even though you weren’t ever ‘available’ to begin with perhaps).

Now this isn’t necessarily a reality for every Instagrammer. But it all depends on your ‘personal brand’. For example, let’s say you position yourself as a mommy blogger type, and thus, the majority of your followers are also mothers. The likelihood of you posting a picture of your partner causing someone to unfollow you is very low. In fact, in this scenario, showing your partner and/or family will likely only be of benefit.

But let’s say you are a young woman who positions herself as a swimwear model. Naturally, the majority of the people who follow you will be men. Who follow you because they like the way you look. Now you post a photo of yourself with your partner and just like that, you notice a drop.

I’m by no means saying that you shouldn’t post pictures of or with your partner. In fact, if you are so lucky to be with an amazing person, I highly encourage you to do this! Just don’t be disappointed if you see a drop in followers. He or she is likely beyond worth it anyway, amirite?

Not following back

Yes, this one’s really that simple. And there’s nothing you can really do about it unless you want to follow every single account that follows you.

The follow/unfollow tactic is alive and well. In fact, it’s arguably one of the most common growth hacking tactics in the book. Many users who are really focused on building their accounts use the tactic of following others in hopes that they’ll return the favour or at least check out their profile. And if the account they follow doesn’t follow them back, they unfollow them.

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  1. Tsvetelina says:

    Accidently found your blog and love it. Also followed your IG (not with the idea that you have to follow me back :). I love your tips and also download the others.

    I really hate when the people follow and unfollow. I have one suggestion for everyone that don’t want to deal with this BS. Just get any app that tracks who follows and unfollows you and the rest is history.


    • Hi Tsvetelina!

      Glad you found me and thank you for the kind words! And that’s really great that you find my Instagram tips helpful too! I really appreciate the support.

      Haha yes, it is very easy to see who follows and unfollows. The app I use it called Followers+ – I have listed in in one of my Instahacks articles.

      Have a lovely weekend!


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a-frame owner, infj, multi-6 figure biz owner, mama, ex ADRENALINE JUNKIE. 

Hi, I'm Caley.
Your Soul Sister + New Business & Marketing Mentor.

And I'm probably the mentor for you if you value direct tangible advice, backed by science and data, but you're also into the energy of it all. The synchronicities. You get it.

I built my business to over $400,000k per year, extremely profitably, making an impact with people around the global, and while working part time hours so I can prioritize my sanity and everything else that's actually important in life. I want that for you, too.