Why Do People Unfollow Me on Instagram?

Betrayal. Deceit. The Unfollowing…

Social media has become an integral part of our daily lives, and Instagram is one of the most popular platforms for sharing our lives with others. However, it can be frustrating when you notice that your followers are dwindling, and you don’t know why.

There could be many reasons why you were unfollowed on Instagram, and it’s essential to understand what those reasons are so that you can avoid making the same mistakes in the future. In this article, we’ll discuss 12 common reasons why people may unfollow you on Instagram, so you can stay on top of your social media game and keep your followers engaged.

Lack of Engagement

The first reason people might unfollow you on Instagram is a lack of engagement. Instagram is a social sharing community platform that encourages people to take part in sharing, exchanging, and engaging.

Types of People on Instagram

There are two types of people on Instagram, lurkers, and engagers.


The lurkers just use Instagram to look at the pictures of people they follow. They watch stories, and maybe look at funny memes, but they don’t comment or like any pictures. There is nothing wrong with this, and in fact, I’m often a lurker myself.


The engagers, on the other hand, like a lot of posts, comment on posts, and they will reply to people’s Instagram stories. If you are a lurker and someone is currently purging their Instagram followers trying to determine if they should unfollow you, they most likely will because you aren’t engaging with their content.

I agree that this is a harsh reason for someone to unfollow you, but you have to remember that likes and follower counts have become a vanity metric that people hold on to as a status symbol.

How to Fix a Lack of Engagement on Instagram?

It’s simple, just start liking and commenting on posts that you enjoy. Instagram is a community, and communities require shared contributions from both sides. Instagram needs people posting and people engaging. If you find that your feed is filled with posts and stories that you have no interest in engaging in, then it might be time for you to unfollow some people as well if their content does not interest you.

Low-Quality Content

The second reason people may unfollow you on Instagram is that you are the one posting low-quality content. There is a debate on whether posting often is important or whether posting quality content is important. Now, you can post quality content often. However, it takes up a lot of time and unless attending to social media, scheduling posts, and designing/making posts is your full-time job, it can be demanding. Most users do not use Instagram as a full-time job so you have to either determine whether you will want to post often or post higher-quality content.

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What is High-Quality Content?

High-quality content is content that delivers enormous value to the consumer. If you boil it down to its simplest component on why people would follow you, it’s because you provide value. You either provide it by posting beautiful photos, posting informative posts, or just posting photos people like to see (ex. Instagram models).

For example, let’s say you are a photographer, and you gained a massive following by posting beautiful landscape photos. You poured your heart and soul into every post but you only posted twice a month. You decided that you wanted to up the quantity but as a result, the quality of your content declined because it is difficult to find pictures to post that match the speed of your posting. As a result, you post more often but not every post is that high-quality value content that users followed you for in the first place. As a result of that, you start to lose some followers.

High-Quality Content is Also Engaging

Engaging content is content that is of high quality and that can effectively tell a story either through the image, through the caption, or both. Have you seen those posts where you start reading the caption, it draws you in due to the story, and then you end up reading the whole caption — not knowing you were going to read a mini-chapter of a book? At the end of the caption, they also encourage users to leave a comment or tag a friend. Now that’s engaging content. Pair that with a high-quality image and you’re golden.

How to Post More High-Quality Content?

It’s simple, devote more time to your Instagram. If you want to take Instagram seriously and really grow your following, you will have to start looking at it as a part of your job as opposed to just a leisurely activity when you are feeling bored. Schedule out your weeks knowing when you will get the content, how you will edit/design the content, when you will post the content, etc. It is when you take the time to focus on it like a part of your job and find that perfect balance based on quantity and quality that you will thrive.

Posts are Too Personal

The third reason people would unfollow you on Instagram is that you start posting content that is a bit too personal. You can bucket your Instagram followers into three categories: your closest friends, acquaintances, and people you have never met before. Now, I’m all for seeing everything my closest friends are up to because this is my inner circle, my go-to friends for when I am down and out. And the same goes true for them, I want to be there when they are down and out. Now for the acquaintances and people I have never met in real life before — if they are posting 5 posts in a row about their breakup, then it might be time to unfollow. I don’t really care if Becky broke up with Matt, especially if I have never met Becky or Matt. Is it harsh? — Probably. Am I a harsh person? — Debatable. But hey, I’m just being honest, this is how people are.

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Content Has Changed

The fourth reason people would unfollow you on Instagram is that your content has changed. This one is fairly straightforward. Let’s say you run an Instagram account that is dedicated to posting vintage cars. You grow a following of vintage car lovers. One day, all of a sudden, you decide to start posting cat photos. Expect to lose a lot of followers. People followed you expecting one thing but you are providing another. If you wanted to start posting cat photos, then it’d be best if you started a separate account for that to gather a new target audience of cat lovers.

Posting Too Much (Spamming)

The 5th reason people unfollow on Instagram is due to posting too much/spamming. This reason ties closely to reason number two regarding posting high-quality content. As mentioned, people will follow you if you provide value and will unfollow you if you no longer provide that value. When people often say someone is “spamming,” it’s because they are posting a lot of content that is not high-quality. If they were posting content a lot that is high-quality, they wouldn’t call it spamming. So it isn’t a matter of posting too much, it’s a matter of matching the posting frequency to the quality of the content. If you can post highly valuable and quality content often — then more power to you.

Inconsistent Posting

The 6th reason why people may unfollow you on Instagram is because of inconsistent posting. We just mentioned that people could unfollow you for posting too often — now we’re saying they may unfollow you because of inconsistent posting as well? Yes — you can’t please everyone. We don’t believe you’ll lose as many followers from inconsistent posting compared to spam posting — especially if you are still posting high-quality content. Because at the end of the day, as mentioned, it’s about posting high-quality content. Now, if you are trying to grow, then it’s best to post high-quality content often so you can grow your follower count — but as mentioned, this is easier said than done and would require dedication similar to a job.

Fishing for Compliments (Selfies)

The 7th reason people unfollow on Instagram is that the user is fishing for compliments. Have you ever seen a selfie photo captioned something along the lines of “I’m so ugly” and the person is obviously good-looking? That’s an example of fishing for compliments. It may garner a lot of likes with people commenting “You’re so pretty!” a few times, but if you keep doing that — people will catch on and you may lose some followers.

Poor Photo or Video Quality

The 8th reason why people unfollow on Instagram is due to posting poor photo or video quality. It’s no doubt that Instagram is a visual platform. With that being said, if you post photos or videos that look like they are from Minecraft, expect to lose some followers.

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Contest Regrams

The 9th reason why people unfollow on Instagram is due to posting too many contest regrams. Contest regrams are the posts people post on their Instagram to enter a contest. These contests that they enter often require users to “repost” or “regram” the photo to be entered. It’s a smart marketing tactic in terms of network effects; however, it can be annoying for the followers of said person entering the contest. This is similar to posting low-quality content or posting content that has changed from your usual theme. If you post a contest regram on your own profile to enter a contest, you aren’t providing value to your followers, so you may lose some followers from that, especially if you do it often.

Disgusting Photos or Videos

The 10th reason why people may unfollow you on Instagram is that you post disgusting photos or videos. The majority of people don’t want to see photos of cuts, wounds, or anything of that graphic nature. Do this and expect to lose a lot of followers.

Fake or Spam Accounts

The 11th reason why you may be unfollowed on Instagram is that the people that followed you in the first place weren’t even real people to begin with! It has been shown that 1 in 10 Instagram users are fake bot accounts! With that being said, when these fake or spam accounts are deactivated due to Instagram catching them, their account will disappear, which means you will lose a follower account. If a lot of fake or spam accounts followed you, then expect to lose a lot of followers from this alone. Luckily, Instagram has a remove followers feature now so if you see a bot is following you, you can simply remove them or block them the second they follow you to get a better gauge of your actual follower metrics.

Followers Have Changed Interests

The 12th reason why people unfollow on Instagram is that they have changed interests. This is especially true if you own a business or themed account of the sort. For example, let’s say you own an Instagram page dedicated to showing pictures of baby llamas. Let’s say a follower followed you one day because they loved looking at pictures of baby llamas. Well, a couple of years later, that user could decide that they no longer want to look at pictures of baby llamas — so they decide to unfollow your account. But you didn’t do anything wrong? You were posting high-quality photos, not spamming, and you posted engaging content. Sometimes, your followers could just change interests based on where they are at in their life — and that’s perfectly fine and something for you to be cognizant of.

Instagram works off a follower mechanic. Once you create a profile, you can follow what other people post by “following” them. You often follow friends, family, or other people who inspire and influence you. When you unfollow someone, you’re essentially saying that “you do not want to see what they post anymore.”

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The predicament with this, especially with friends and family, is it’s a little awkward and almost sort of like a mini break-up. If you’ve been asking questions lately such as, “Why am I getting unfollowed on Instagram,” or “Why did they unfollow me on Instagram,” then this guide is for you. Getting unfollowed on Instagram sucks, believe me, I know. I’ve lost a lot of followers due to a lack of consistency (we’ll touch on this later). But no need to fret, once you know the reasons people unfollow on Instagram, you can learn what to correct to stop losing followers (as much as you can). If a friend were to unfollow you, and you see that they unfollowed you, it can be a little hurtful. It may be awkward to reach out to them and ask “why did you unfollow me,” because that is just a weird conversation to have. Perhaps it was on accident or perhaps they are just doing a social media purge and going through some stuff at the moment. It’s normal to lose followers every once in a while, but if you are losing masses at a time, especially when you post a new post or story, then something is up. That’s when it’s time to consider all the reasons why someone might unfollow you so you can see if you are doing anything on your part to cause them to unfollow.

Instagram does not provide a built-in feature to see exactly who unfollowed you, but luckily there are third-party apps and services that claim to offer this functionality. It’s important to note that using third-party apps to track your followers can be risky, as they may violate Instagram’s terms of service, and there’s a chance your account could be compromised or restricted for using such apps — so be careful! Additionally, Instagram’s API (Application Programming Interface) access policies have become more restrictive over time, leading many third-party apps to be limited in their functionalities, including follower tracking. If you are determined to track who unfollowed you, here are some common methods people used in the past (keep in mind that these methods might no longer work due to changes in Instagram’s policies and API):

  1. Third-Party Apps: As mentioned earlier, there were third-party apps that claimed to provide insights into your followers, including unfollowers. However, due to the risks associated with these apps, it’s not recommended to use them.
  2. Manually Keep Track: Some users manually kept track of their followers by creating lists or using notes on their devices. Whenever they noticed a change in their follower count, they would manually check who might have unfollowed them. This approach can be time-consuming and may not be practical for accounts with a large number of followers.
  3. Use Instagram Analytics: If you have a business or creator account on Instagram, you can access some basic insights about your followers through Instagram Insights. While this won’t tell you exactly who unfollowed you, it can provide you with general information about your follower growth and engagement.
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Remember that follower counts can fluctuate naturally due to various reasons.

Here’s how you can unfollow someone on Instagram. Please note that the interface may change over time, so the steps could vary slightly.

  1. Open the Instagram app on your mobile device.
  2. Go to the profile of the person you want to unfollow. You can find their profile by searching for their username in the search bar or by tapping on their username from your feed or comments section.
  3. Once you are on their profile page, look for the “Following” button. It should be located right next to their profile name and profile picture.
  4. Tap the “Following” button. After tapping it, the button will change, and it should now read “Follow” or “Follow Back,” depending on whether you were already following them.
  5. Congratulations! You have successfully unfollowed the user on Instagram.

Remember that you can always follow them again later if you change your mind. Additionally, Instagram is known to make regular updates to its app and interface, so if there have been changes since my last update, the steps might differ slightly. However, the core concept of unfollowing someone remains the same.

Is it rude to unfollow on Instagram? It’s not necessarily rude for someone to unfollow someone else because it is their Instagram account, they could do whatever they want. It can be hurtful or painful like I mentioned earlier though, especially if it is a friend that unfollowed you.

In order to game the system and try to accumulate a lot of followers, people engage in a follow-and-unfollow scheme. Essentially, in order to increase their own follower count, this person would follow a mass amount of people, in hopes that they follow them back, then this person unfollows everyone later on. The time frame could be 2 weeks later, a month later, etc. Often, since this scheme is becoming more popular and people are getting wiser, they tend to unfollow a little bit later to make it seem like they are genuinely interested in following you. One way to tell if someone is planning to unfollow you right after they followed you is by checking their follower-to-following ratio. If they have a lot more followers than they are following and they just randomly followed you one day out of the blue, they may be engaging in this scheme — especially if their account niche is nowhere in the same ballpark as yours. For example, if your Instagram account is dedicated to posting art pictures, and a motivational speaker with 10k followers and 100 followers follows you randomly one day, they are probably hoping you follow them back and will then unfollow you later.

So what can you do to stop people from unfollowing you on Instagram? We’ve covered the reasons why people unfollow, so try to do the opposite of what was stated on that list. At the end of the day, though, you can’t control people, and they will ultimately choose to follow or unfollow you if they please, even if you abide by “all the rules.” Just as in life, continue to do what makes you happy and continue to grow. Those who are meant to be in your life, in this case, your social circle (“follower count”), will find a way to be there.

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