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How To Remove Instagram Followers and Beat the IG Algorithm

If high social following numbers are your thing then you probably won’t be interested in this post as after following the steps, YOUR INSTAGRAM FOLLOWERS COUNT WILL GO DOWN.  But… In turn, you will have more quality followers on Instagram and in turn YOUR ENGAGEMENT AND GENUINE FOLLOWING WILL IMPROVE. ...

If high social following numbers are your thing then you probably won’t be interested in this post as after following the steps, YOUR INSTAGRAM FOLLOWERS COUNT WILL GO DOWN. 


In turn, you will have more quality followers on Instagram and in turn YOUR ENGAGEMENT AND GENUINE FOLLOWING WILL IMPROVE.

An iPad at the edge of the pool. A disaster waiting to happen.

Think of this as a facial for your instagram, like sloughing off dead skin.

How so? 

We are going to address spam accounts and ghost accounts and have a social media declutter!

Before we start, I know there are apps which clean your social media accounts for you.  This means you would give your instagram log in details to an app, which then sends a bot to unfollow accounts for you.

I personally would not trust any 3rd party apps with my log in details.  If they can remove followers from your account, what’s to say they don’t manipulate and start following/unfollowing accounts on your behalf, commenting, or even lock you out of your account?! 

This is the manual way of doing things, but if you do it little and often you should see your instagram flourish and be a more pleasant place to scroll and enjoy content.

Preferably follow these steps on your phone or tablet on the official instagram app.

You may want to make a note of your followers and following numbers before hand just for fun.

Cuteek Geek Lifestyle Instagram
Cuteek on Instagram

At one point my followers count on my Geek Lifestyle instagram account was well over 1,000 and following has always been around 500.  I would get around 50 likes on a post and have been very strategic with my hashtags and engaging with other accounts as per the Gary Vaynerchuk Instagram for business 180 strategy.

I dabbled in Instagram pods but felt like it wasn’t working for me and didn’t help me reach new people, just people within my niche leaving zombie likes. I’ve never paid for followers or spammed emojis on everyone’s posts.

So what was happening?

Not too long ago, Instagram released a feature so you could ‘Remove Followers’.  Again, if this is just a numbers game to you, it might be hard to understand why we would be removing followers.

An example is when I would post about Pokémon Go.  The #pokemongo hashtag would trigger a load of bots eg: @pokemon.coins123 and variations of it to follow me.  I had absolutely no interest in these accounts. But now those 5 or 6 Pokemon bot accounts were following me and were only triggered by certain keywords or hashtags.  

How to remove followers from instagram

What I did was clicked on my followers from my profile.

There I typed Pokemon into the search bar and all the bot accounts showed up.  From there I tapped on the 3 dots next to the name and clicked on remove follower.

How to remove instagram followers
How to remove Instagram followers

Instagram states that the person will not be informed of this, so don’t be worried about alerting anyone.  If it’s a particularly bothersome account as these bot accounts were for me, then please consider blocking them so they don’t refollow you.

Improve instagram engagement by removing ghost followers
Remove fake followers on instagram

I’m just using the fake Pokemon accounts as an example but you may want to check through your list either by scrolling or searching for specific names.  

As soon as I starred to curate my followers, I began to get likes from accounts that haven’t clicked like on my photos in SO long!  It definitely works.

Haunted by Ghost Accounts?

Ghost accounts are what I refer to as those followers who haven’t posted since summer of 2014 and you know for sure aren’t active users.  

You will probably not recognize their usernames as they haven’t even been active.  This can happen when people just naturally stop using the app or have even made a new account and this is a stale ghost account they left behind.

You may notice people have written something in their bio like: 

‘new account is @vikkinewaccount – not posting here anymore’

You see mon ami, a ghost of its former self.

So of course you don’t want a dead account following your very active account.

The algorithm shows us content based on what we are clicking like on and engaging with.  So if your post is seen by 10 people who all click like and 5 leave comments, then instagram’s algorithm will then show that to another bunch of your followers and depending on the outcome there, will show it to some more and so on.

The goal for me for a while has always been quality over quantity.  

What’s better?

100 superfans or 1,000 people who aren’t really bothered. 

Imagine having 90% of your following ignoring everything you post.  Doesn’t sound very fun does it?

“Build something 100 people love, not something 1 million people kind of like.”

– Brian Chesky, AirBnB.

On the reverse side of this, go through the accounts that you are following.  Do them the favour.  Do you still enjoy their content?  Are you a big fan of their main feed content but not their stories? 

Go ahead and mute their stories instead of zombie swiping past them everyday.  You will thank me for it.

I usually tap on each account to see if what they post, ‘sparks joy’ and check when they last posted.  

There are other tweaks you can do like muting accounts altogether but don’t you think it’s better to just unfollow and keep it real? 

Have you tried any of these instagram tips? Let me know in the comments below. 

If you end up with a significant drop in followers, it’s worth noting how many likes you get per post before and after the cleanse.  It’s likely to be the same or even higher. 😉

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beat the instagram algorithm
top tips for beating the instagram algorithm

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