Why I Deleted 2000 Followers From Instagram

26 August 2018

Okay, I'm here to bare all and reveal what I've been up to lately. If you've been following me on Instagram you might have already seen me talk a little about this on stories and in some of my photo captions. But I wanted to go a little more in-depth about why I did what I did.  

You used to only be able to remove followers if your account was on private. Private accounts were granted an extra little feature where you could tap the three dots next to a followers name and remove them. This was never something available on public or business accounts, and the only way you could remove someone was by blocking and then unblocking them.

This is no longer the case! As I was looking through my followers the other day I realised that the feature to remove them was now available for every account. Which means that removing followers you no longer want just got a whole lot easier. 

The Realisation

When you get to a certain amount of followers and are asking for $$$ to work with companies, they want to see your stats. There's a whole hidden area to the Instagram app that allows you to see stats about your followers that only gets revealed when you switch to a business account. 
If you're using Instagram to be a content creator and work with brands you should switch to a business account. Contrary to popular belief it does not affect your reach at all, and won't negatively affect you in any way. It will give you access to a lot of helpful statistics. Eventually brands will ask to see those stats and obviously it looks less professional if you can't provide them. 

I don't get to see other Instagrammers stats so I don't know what a regular one looks like. I also couldn't be sure if mine was a lot different than it should be. I have had my Instagram account since the very beginning. I've been building followers for a long time, so I've built up a lot of random and spammy followers over the years that I've never really taken much notice of. 

Recently companies started asking to see my stats. I sent them straight through but they weren't completely impressed. The main majority of my followers are from Australia, the US and the UK. But about 16% of the total were from Brazil and India. I got so stressed, I had no idea who all these followers were but I realised that wasn't ideal and it needed to change. 

The Audit

I used Social Audit Pro to audit my 18,000 followers on Instagram. While it did give me some insight, I wouldn't recommend using it. It cost me about $18 USD to audit the number of followers I had and while it showed me which accounts were dodgy it wasn't incredibly accurate. In a list of followers I received from them, a lot of accounts marked as definitely shady were actually people I knew. It also counted anyone following more than 1500 people as a poor follower too. But a lot of fellow bloggers I know, as well as myself follow at least that many and often more. 

In the end, this was probably a waste of money, even though it gave me a bit of insight. I was able to work out the majority of followers I needed to delete on my own. 

Scrolling Through + Deleting

This process was incredibly long. It took me days. You can only delete a certain amount of followers per hour until Instagram stops letting you as well. My process was simple. I opened my followers on my phone and scrolled through until I found a section of followers that looked fake af. 
They were often clustered together which made them easier to remove. I would go to the profile of a few and double check before I removed them but generally, it was pretty easy to tell that they were fake.

What to Look For

  • Following 7000+ People
  • Very small amount of followers
  • Indian Account
  • No pictures/Hasn't posted in a long time/Lots of really weird images or ads
  • Username is basically gibberish

The only issue with this though is that a lot of the time all of these didn't apply, or there was contradicting evidence. At the end of the day, I had to just make the call and delete accounts I thought were damaging my stats and engagement. 

Other Reasons to Delete Spam/Bot/Fake Followers

We're all trying to figure out the algorithm, but we never will. A common theme we keep hearing is that when you post a photo, Instagram shows your image to a sample of your followers and depending on how well that does in the first 10 minutes or so. Instagram will make sure more of your followers see your stuff. So if the algorithm showed eg. 500 people your post but 350 of them were fake then that's not going to do you any good is it. 

What I Learnt from Clearing Out My Followers

It can be really hard to tell whether accounts are fake or not. Some are very clearly fake and others are almost impossible to tell. I started to get bothered that my Brazil stats weren't really going down but I was also gaining legitimate followers from Brazil on the daily. After I'd just clear out a huge chunk of accounts, some that looked similar to ones I had deleted would follow me and like a bunch of my photos. 

I'm not saying that they refollowed after I removed them. But I am saying that it made it incredibly hard to tell if I had been deleting real people or shell accounts. 


My stats changed! Not majorly but where I wanted to be. India is completely gone from the top 5 and has been replaced by Canada. My Brazil percentage jumped around quite a bit before I came to the conclusion that I have a bunch of legitimate followers from Brazil. The main country percentages have increased as well. 

My engagement has only gone up, it was 5% and now it's about 7.5%. I deleted 2000 followers but fewer people aren't liking and seeing my stuff. I may only have 16k followers now but I didn't lose any that were actually helping me out. This whole project was a major contributor to my stress of late as well. I didn't want companies thinking I was coming to them with fake followers if that's what my stats appeared to show.  Now I've just got to build up the real ones again.
I feel much better about it all now. 

So would you take the plunge and delete your spammy inactive followers?

Follow Me on Bloglovin' / Follow Me on Instagram

1 comment

  1. I have heard this and done this once before using an app. But you've encouraged me to do it again. I am at a point I want to grow. Maybe its time I cut if some of the withered leaves.
    Thanks for the advice oh and I'll think as you did. Do the deleting myself and save the dollars and real followers.


Thanks so much for commenting everyone! I read and appreciate every single one of your comments! xx