What happened to my followers?!
Last week we saw some serious follower movement on our accounts - both big and small!
Most of us woke up on Thursday to a bit of a change in followers on our Instagram accounts. We saw some of our clients lose a couple dozen, while others lost several hundred. Even celebrities got hit by the follower drop! Apparently Kylie Jenner lost roughly 2.5 million followers, Katy Perry lost 900 000 and even Barack Obama lost 450 000. What happen could have been a couple of things, but Instagram did release a statement that clarified the situation… a little.
Instagram alluded to a potential bug in the system, which resulted in a change in account follower numbers for some people right now, however we’re finding more and more people noticed the sudden change, and want a little more of an explanation…
We’re aware of an issue that is causing a change in account follower numbers for some people right now. We’re working to resolve this as quickly as possible.
So it could be a bot, which is viable, but if you ask us, we think Instagram has started their crackdown on inactive accounts (and bots). Late last year they released a statement, warning Instagram users that they were going to start culling inactive and inauthentic profiles.
"Starting today, we will begin removing inauthentic likes, follows and comments from accounts that use third-party apps to boost their popularity," it said at the time.
"We've built machine learning tools to help identify accounts that use these services and remove the inauthentic activity."
Because of this, you might have also noticed a decrease in followers late last year, around about the time this statement was released, however it was nothing as dramatic as what we saw this week.
So, what’s happening, and how can we stop it from happening again?
Well, if it is The Great Instagram Cull of 2019, which we’re pretty certain it is, here’s a couple of tips to help you through:
Be careful who you follow! You might have been told that ‘Follow for follow’ is a surefire way to increase that follower count, however this could not be more far from the truth. The truth is, that people often use bots that go out and follow as many people that look similar, in the hopes that people will return the follow. Avoid being on both ends of this. Once you follow back, you’re more than likely going to see them unfollow you sooner rather than later, and you’ll be stuck with a huge following list, and a plateaued follower list. And if you’re considering using bots, please don’t…
Avoid using bots. Bots are a guarantee increase in followers and engagement, but it’s not authentic, nor is it sustainable long term. And with Instagram’s crack down on bots, you can be sure that your account will be shut down as quickly as it started, as they start targeting people that are using bots. For the sake of your Instagram account, we’d recommend ruling out this option altogether. Authenticity will always be a better way to increase engagement.
Learn who is genuine, so you can create a genuine audience. You know the comments like “Nice page! I think you’ll like mine too ;)” or even the really bad ones like “You look beautiful!” on a photo of our coffee (don’t even get us started!)? They’re those bots we’ve been talking about, so you can almost guarantee that the accounts behind them aren’t genuine, and aren’t putting in the effort they should be to engage. Instead, find the people that respond to your call-to-actions, comment on your hair (in a photo that ACTUALLY has your face and hair in it), and is genuine in the way that they are engaging. These are your audience. Find them, follow them, make an effort to continue to engage with them, make them a part of your tribe.
Did you lose any followers last week? Are you ready for the great Instagram Cull of 2019? Let us know!