When you’re in the groove and posting regularly, you want to make sure your posts are being seen by real people, not ghost followers on Instagram.
If you don’t know what ghost followers are, they’re accounts that follow you without saying anything.
They don’t like or comment on your posts and they certainly aren’t going to convert into customers.
Having ghost followers can not only hurt your metrics on Instagram, but it can also be demoralizing. If you put time and energy into creating new posts and showing up in Stories and only a very small fraction of your audience is engaging with your posts, you might feel like giving up.
Instead of doing that, let’s focus on how you can avoid attracting ghost followers in the first place.
If you think you have a legion of ghost followers, it might be worth it to take the time to scrub your list and remove ghost followers.
It might be hard to see that follower count go down, but it’s better in the long run. We’ll talk more about this later.
5 Tips You Can Follow To Avoid Ghost Followers On Instagram
There are plenty of ways you can avoid ghost followers, but here are our top five tips that you can put into practice today.
1. Have A Private Account
When you have a private account, you have to accept every follower that you get.
This means you can do a little research and make sure they’re a real user. It’s also more difficult for fake accounts to follow private accounts.
If you’re interested in switching from a public to private account, simply go into your Instagram settings, and then tap “Privacy.”
At the top of that page you’ll see a toggle button to turn on (or off) “Private Account.” Simply tap that toggle and you’ll be private!
There’s a downside to this solution, though. You can’t be private as a business account. So, if you want to do this, you’ll need to switch to a personal account first.
This means you’ll lose access to analytics, the ability to easily share contact information, Instagram shops, advertising and other business-specific options.
You’ll have to consider this before you make the switch to a private account.
It’s the right decision for some users but not for everyone. (Oh – and if you use hashtags with a private account, they won’t show up on the search page for that hashtag.)
2. Avoid Buying Followers
When you buy Instagram followers, there’s a good chance that some of your new followers will be ghosts. If you’re buying from someone who’s guaranteeing you a certain number of followers, the chances that you’ll be getting ghost followers increases.
After all, if you’re going to get real followers, they have to make that decision for themselves.
If you can guarantee that someone will follow you, they’re most likely not really interested in your page and won’t engage with your posts.
Instead, focus on attracting real followers for Instagram only.
This way, you’ll know that the people you have following you have chosen to do so and are excited to see your posts and learn about what you’re sharing.
They might not engage on every single thing you post, but they’re generally interested in your content. This will help your engagement and it’ll also increase the likelihood that some of your followers will convert into customers.
When you have real people following you, they can see your content, form opinions about it and your business and then act on those opinions.
Social media marketing only works when real people are seeing your content.
3. Do Not Buy Likes Or Comments
Just like buying followers, you want to avoid purchasing likes and comments, too.
First of all, this will just give you a boost of engagement that won’t last. It might help one or two of your posts to do well, but it won’t impact much long-term.
Beyond that, posts that get a lot of engagement out of the blue can also attract bots and fake followers.
They might join in the liking and commenting spree and then begin to follow you. After that, though, they’ll go radio silent and turn into ghosts.
No one wants to see that happen, so it’s better to just steer clear of these kinds of purchases from the beginning.
After all, the best kind of engagement is real engagement from your interested followers.
4. Avoid Acquiring Pre-existing Instagram Accounts
Did you know that this is technically an option?
There are people who will build a following on an Instagram account through whatever means they choose to use, and then they sell that Instagram account to someone looking to grow their business.
The idea is that they’ll have a built-in group to market to and have followers ready to engage with their posts.
While it sounds like a great idea in theory, there are a few reasons it’s actually probably going to fail.
First of all, it’s very likely that this account’s following was built through some of the methods we mentioned above, notably buying followers.
If that’s the case, we already know they’re probably ghost followers on Instagram.
However, even if the account seller grew the following through organic ways, chances are they aren’t in the same industry as the business that purchases the account.
Because of this, there’s no guarantee that the followers will even be interested in the content that the buyer is posting.
But let’s say the buyer and seller do everything right.
The seller built up the account organically with real followers.
Then they sold it to someone in their niche because they’re tired of their brand or business.
Even if the new account owner is a great fit for the existing followers, that new owner hasn’t built up any trust with the audience.
Followers will probably go silent after the switch and they might just stop engaging altogether. Some might even forget why they followed the account if someone else is running it.
Stepping into a pre-existing Instagram account might sound like a great shortcut, but it’s not worth the headache.
5. Remove Inactive Followers
Finally, let’s circle back to one of our initial suggestions. If you have people following you who aren’t engaging, it’s time to remove them from your account.
It might feel difficult to delete followers because we’re so focused on watching our follower number grow, but it’s really going to be beneficial to your account in the long run if you do so.
After all, do you really want fake Instagram followers clogging up your account? Having a large following is great, but if they aren’t engaging with your posts, Instagram could penalize you.
Why You Should Avoid Ghost Followers On Instagram
We alluded to this a little bit earlier, but let’s talk for a minute about why you want to avoid ghost followers now that we’ve talked about how to avoid them.
Ghost Followers On Engagement
Having ghost followers can really hurt your engagement rates on Instagram. We’ve said many times that ghost followers don’t engage with your posts.
But they can also keep real followers from seeing your posts.
When you create a post on Instagram, the platform will show it to a small percentage of your followers. Then, if they respond well to it with plenty of likes and comments, Instagram will see that your post is valuable and they’ll show it to more of your followers.
This pattern continues and eventually will land your post on the explore page if it’s performing well enough.
However, if your post is initially shown to a group of ghost followers, they won’t be engaging with your post, so Instagram might think it’s not a good post.
Because of this, the platform might decide not to show it to more of your followers, and the process ends before it really begins.
Because of this, you want to remove ghost followers as quickly as possible.
Ghost Followers On Credibility
Ghost followers can also hurt your credibility on Instagram.
Whether you’re looking for a brand or influencer deal or you’re just focused on the decisions your potential real followers are making, you want to pay attention to your credibility.
Brands and influencers will always look at your follower count, but they’ll also look at your engagement.
If they see that you have thousands of followers but are only getting 50-60 likes on your posts and 10-15 comments, they might think something’s fishy.
Either your content isn’t very good or your following is weak.
If your engagement rate is too low, you might lose out on the deal.
Similarly, potential followers might see how active your current following is when they decide whether or not to follow you.
If they see a big gap in follower count and engagement, they might think your posts aren’t really that good or that there’s some other problem with your content.
They might decide it’s not worth it and click away without tapping the follow button.
Time To Bust The Ghosts
Whether you currently have ghost followers or you want to avoid them at all costs, you should now have a few tips to help you move forward.
Most importantly, remember that while follower count is great, your engagement rate is the most critical metric in boosting your social media presence.
Your audience shows you what posts they do and don’t like by how they engage.
If they aren’t engaging with anything, you’re missing out on that feedback.
It’ll also hurt your credibility, so it’s time to remove any ghost followers on Instagram that you have and think about how you’ll prevent them in the future.