Quality can be more important than quantity when it comes to your social media audience, so make sure you're attracting the right kind of followers.
Let’s be honest – if you are a marketer, there is an incredibly high chance you have at least once Googled “how to delete ghost followers on Instagram” or “how to improve Instagram account quality”.
Every account attracts a degree of ghost followers (bot or inactive accounts), but influencers are particularly plagued by this. Since brands are now aware that quality is as important as quantity for these audiences, it’s important to use martech to evaluate them.
Some influencer marketing platforms are more strict than others when it comes to how to deal with the quality of their influencers’ audience. However, both brands and influencers should be wary of inactive, ghost, and/or bought followers.
This is also because the quality of your followers will affect the way your posts will be displayed in your feed. This article is a combination of strategies and everyday practises that can help you to keep your follower quality in check.
How can you detect ghost followers? Obviously there are different aspects you’ll need to look at, as these people are fake or inactive users on Instagram who don’t engage with your content.
First and foremost, these types of accounts rarely have any content on their profiles and are often created by bots. Their handles usually combine a string of names and numbers, and they’re often private accounts with no profile photo.
If you notice any of your followers who are following a high volume of accounts but only have a few followers themselves – there is a good chance they are not real. It’s important to be able to recognize ghost followers before you start with the next steps.
Go through your own account and see who follows you – this is where the fun begins.
Obviously, it can be daunting to scan through all of your likes, so looking at your followers list is a great alternative. You can either remove the followers or block them – with some of them, you won’t even need to check their profile (their picture will speak for itself!).
I’ve searched long and hard for a program that not only identifies ghost followers, but can remove them in bulk without fear of blocking those real followers who don’t post regularly.
Sadly I’m yet to find a safer process than simply manually browsing your followers one by one and blocking any that appear suspicious. On the upside, by doing it manually you are slowly sifting through your followers, instead of bulk deleting. Bulk deleting can be seen by Instagram as an “automated” activity, and that can affect your overall account visibility.
A more day-to-day approach is to check your latest followers and delete anything that looks suspicious or simply not your right fit. It sounds counterproductive to delete someone who follows you, but you should know what type of audience wants to engage with you – and their accounts can give a clear snapshot of whether they are a good fit.
We also started implementing this project, and it allows us also to engage a bit more with new followers, which is always a bonus!
I would always recommend to look at engagement rate first and foremost. The more engagement, the more reach you’ll get. It’s as simple as that. Engagement is not just great for conversions, but also for genuine conversations and audience insights.
As a way of comparison, engagement is much higher on Instagram than a platform like Twitter – including a baffling example of accounts with 1,000 followers at an engagement rate of 7.2% on Instagram, compared with 1.4% on Twitter, according to the State of Influencer Marketing 2019 report.
Commenting on other user’s content, liking relevant pictures, or following similar accounts is a great way to slowly build a following – that we knew already. However, making sure you also engage with followers who engaged with your content is a lovely surprise for them, and a way to keep your content in their feed.
The fact that followers can see your content means that the algorithm still perceives your content as relevant to them.
If you like structure, I am actually a big fan of the 5-3-1 technique from Chalene Johnson of the Marketing Impact Academy: once you follow a new account, like their last 5 photos, comment on their last 3 posts, and get 1 new follower.
I would probably lie if I said it works every time, but for us it’s a 50/50 ratio, and it’s good enough for me.
Truth be told, keeping your Instagram account healthy is truly a combination of day-to-day activities and some hard-working tasks. However, since social media should be still retaining its “social element”, the quality of your audience should be a priority.
Fab is a business mentor, published author, influencer-specialist, best known as the founder of the Health Bloggers Community. A serial start-up founder and professional troublemaker, she is obsessed with avocados and helping people making an impact in health and wellness. Sounds like you? Get daily tips on how to grow your influence via the HBC magazine.