The Probable Cause of Why the Algorithm May Still Be Against You
By: Kenya Pineda
Have you ever uploaded a picture on Instagram and have only 35 of your 500 followers like it? Or have you ever noticed that some influencers may have more than 100,000 followers but notice they can never pass 100 likes? Welcome to the ghost zone.
We’ve all tried to find our own ways of beating the algorithm on Instagram. Posting during “peak” hours, commenting back quickly or using popular hashtags. It’s the final boss battle that we can never seem to beat. But what if I told you that there’s one more factor that could be affecting where your posts show up on a feed? I like to call them, ghost followers.
Ghost followers, in simple terms, are the followers that followed you not to engage with your account. They’re there to simply admire your profile or mute you once you follow back. They boost follower numbers up but keep your numbers low in terms of engagement.
If you received 20 likes but have only 50 followers, that means your engagement rate shoots up to about 40%. Bonus points if you get comments. If you have 1,000 followers and only 200 likes, that’s only a 5% engagement rate. Instagram’s mysterious algorithm will assume you purchased followers or are not engaging back and push your post to the bottom of the feed.
In the past, having more than 1,000 followers allowed you to monetize. Now, prestige brands looking to collaborate are looking at engagement rates. There’s no point in paying someone with thousands of followers if their reach doesn’t actually include those followers. It diminishes credibility and authenticity of your brand.
I like to take a good look at my followers every 50 new ones or so and try to remember the last time we mutually boosted my engagement numbers. Do they watch my stories and not like my posts? Do they only like my posts when it’s good content? When was the last time this account was active? Do I actually like their content? If any of the responses bring back something I’m unhappy about, delete and unfollow.
Thankfully Instagram added a feature that allows you to remove a follower without blocking. All you have to do is click on the far bottom right corner to view your profile, then click on your followers list to check out who’s following you. Click on the three dots to remove any ghost followers. Easy, and no one has to know.
This technique is especially good for any brand that throws “follow” parties to boost their numbers. Many new ones will never interact with the account but others might. As a brand it may be more difficult to figure out who to clean out, especially when the following is so big. But it’s worth sitting down to remove spam and inactive accounts. It balances numbers and protects brands.
So next time you want to follow-for-follow someone ask yourself, is it worth risking my engagement numbers?
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