This guide is aimed at all those who want to understand what ghost followers are, how to identify them and how to delete them from their Instagram account.
You will surely have noticed that the music has changed on Instagram. Some time ago it was enough to create excellent content to publish, press the “share” button and wait a few seconds to start noticing that the likes and comments arrived in buckets.
I’ll be nostalgic, but how beautiful the old days were …
Now you don’t get the same interactions you used to anymore, do you?
Are you working hard to grow your Instagram account but the results don’t come?
If the answer to these questions is yes, then it is likely that you are a victim of ghost followers, the so-called ghost followers.
What is a ghost follower?
It is not as spooky as it seems but it is disturbing from a marketing point of view.
A ghost follower on Instagram is an inactive or fake Instagram account that follows you.
The meaning of inactive can be defined in different ways, but this below is the definition I prefer.
An inactive follower is an Instagram account that follows you but does not interact with your profile (for example, it does not comment and never likes your content).
Should you be afraid of ghost followers?
For some people, ghost followers aren’t a big deal. Even when these followers don’t interact, they are still considered full-fledged followers.
These people simply want their Instagram followers to count as high as possible.
There are so many instances of influencers and even celebrities who have bought followers in an attempt to appear more popular than they are. The problem, however, stems from the fact that 99% of the followers purchased will be ghost followers, inactive followers, ghost followers or call them as you wish.
They are typically spam accounts created by certain types of bots.
Fortunately, some signs can tell you if an account is a ghost follower and later in this post, we will tell you how to recognize them.
Especially in the last period, hundreds of services have sprung up that offer Instagram users the opportunity to buy more followers.
The problem, however, is that as we said before, 99% of them are inactive followers, therefore extremely harmful to your Instagram profile.
For marketing professionals, the number of followers doesn’t matter much. Instagram influencers must be able to engage their followers through their content.
For these social media and content marketing professionals, there are other metrics at the center of attention, such as engagement, and in this case, ghost followers are a great obstacle to success.
Let’s do some basic analysis keeping the numbers simple.
Let’s say you had 20,000 followers throughout January and on average you received 2,000 interactions per post (1900 likes per post and 100 comments per post).
Your average engagement rate in January would, therefore, be 10% (2,000 interactions / 20,000 followers).
Then, on February 1st, you decided to buy 40,000 followers.
So now you have 60,000 followers!
However, these 40,000 new followers are practically all ghost accounts.
They do not interact with your posts because they are not even real humans: they are ghosts! This means that the number of interactions you get on your content won’t change at all.
You will continue to receive 2000 interactions as in January.
But in doing so, your average engagement rate in February will now drop to 3.3% (2,000 interactions / 60,000 followers).
Should I be concerned if ghost followers affect my engagement rate?
The answer is yes. Instagram worries us. So you should too.
Historically, your Instagram account home was made up of posts that appeared in reverse chronological order. There were no exceptions to this rule.
However, since Instagram introduced its new post algorithm, the order of the photos and videos in your home has been reorganized based on the probability of your interest in that content.
One of the most important factors that Instagram considers when viewing your content is how engaging that content is. To do this he uses a secret algorithm, but we know for sure that he takes the engagement rate very much into consideration.
So going back to our example above, which content would Instagram prefer? A post that gets 10% engagement or one that only gets 3.3%?
As we have already said, it also depends on several other factors, but assuming that all these other factors are the same between the 2 posts, Instagram would certainly have favored the post with the highest involvement rate.
Since your engagement rate has dropped to 3.3%, your content is less likely to be displayed on your followers’ home because Instagram will show your content to fewer people than before.
This means that fewer people will interact with your posts and the more your engagement rate will drop again -> even fewer people will see it -> your engagement rate will drop once again -> fewer and fewer people will see it.
It is a vicious circle from which it is difficult to escape. It is the so-called avalanche effect of ghost followers.
Damn these ghost followers.
But thanks to this post, the time has come to hit them and send them back where they came from.
How to find and remove ghost followers?
If you find yourself in the situation we just mentioned, don’t worry!
Regardless of whether you purchased inactive followers or not, you probably did so because you were ignorant of the matter.
It’s normal and doesn’t blame yourself.
But now you need to make amends and go to find and delete all inactive accounts from your Instagram profile.
You can start identifying ghost followers by looking for users who have the following characteristics:
- 0 followers
- 0 posts
- No profile picture
- High ratio of people following for followers
- 0 posts in the last 30 days
- 0 posts in the last 60 days
- Username filled with random numbers
If you have a small number of followers, you should be able to do it manually, analyzing all your followers on Instagram one at a time and going to eliminate those who are inactive.
It will take you some time, but by doing so for sure, your account will improve significantly.