Why you need to ignore the follow/unfollow tactic on Instagram

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Lately when I’ve been scrolling through Twitter I’d be hard-pressed to not see at least one angry tweet about Instagram. It could be about the algorithm, the spammy comments or the absolute worst: the follow/unfollower.

Why you need to stop worrying about the follow/unfollow tactic on Instagram

I’m in the middle of changing my style so it’s not looking perfect right now

You know the one, they drop you a follow after you post a #beaut picture that you spent ages composing and editing, probably leave you a comment like ‘Nice pic!’ and then 3 days later they unfollow you and you never hear from them again. (Or even better they do exactly the same thing 5 days later). And this is getting all of us riled up.

But I want to offer a different perspective. Of course I find it frustrating too – like one weekend I shot up by 30 followers only to see every single one of them unfollowed the next day. And I was f*cking furious! I spend hours liking and commenting on other people’s images and thought it was down to this. But then I read a couple of posts that highlighted how annoying this is and why they are demanding it stopped – and while I strongly agreed I thought there were a few things that needed to be addressed.

Look at your strategy

Most of the bloggers I’ve seen complain have great engagement – lots of likes and loads of comments. That’s far more important than having a high follower count and the new algorithm favours this so keep it up! You are doing the right thing. I’m in a group with some lovely bloggers so we support each other by engaging with each others posts and this is a great way to get the algorithm to work for you.

If you are getting absolutely spammed by follow/unfollowers, then take a look at your hashtags. Are they asking to get spammed? (Jeez I feel like I’m getting political here – someone grab me a podium!) But seriously, switch up whatever you are doing and see if it makes a difference.

Stop playing the game

I’ve seen a lot of people saying that they have unfollowed an account they love because the account follow/unfollowed them. While I completely get this, and I am totally guilty of this too, we are essentially playing the follow/unfollow game ourselves.

Why not follow an account if you love the content? Surely that’s the whole point of Instagram?

When I get followed I don’t automatically follow back – I look first and if I love the posts, then I will follow. I know that’s essentially exactly what this method is aiming to achieve but if done correctly, they have actually introduced me to new content that I’m going to enjoy seeing in my feed and I think it’s best if I can be happy about that rather than getting angry that they have unfollowed me.

Be objective

You can see why people choose to do the follow/unfollow method – it’s an easy way of getting a lot of followers in a really short time. I even tried this myself when I first started blogging because I had no idea how to get people to look at my stuff. But all those followers are gone now, and you know, I felt kinda dirty after cos it’s well wrong.

But anyway, at it’s core, it’s incredibly lazy marketing. Maybe these people don’t know how to get people to look at their accounts, or maybe they just don’t have the time (or maybe they really are just childish pr*cks) But yeah, don’t get pulled into feeling angry about it. Focus that energy and frustration on actually communicating with people and you’ll find that you will gain followers organically.

It’s not you

I mean you need to stop taking it personally! Stop it right now. This activity for the most part is not manual. Someone is not sitting there, planning to follow/unfollow by going through their list and removing everybody they followed the day before. It is likely automated. Most of these people are using programs where they’ve filled out a ton of settings to target and it’s running in the background so please stop thinking that it is being done to get you or that it’s your page. It’s not!

Basically I just wanted to throw my two pence out there because I’ve simply stopped letting the follow/unfollow bother me. I’m trying to learn from what is happening and focusing on figuring out the mythical beast that is that damn algorithm! (But that’s an entirely new post so I’ll save you from anymore of my rambling). And I know if I carry on engaging and creating good content then my followers will grow. Eventually.

Slow and steady wins the race! #It’sNotACompetitionTho

If you’ve enjoyed this, can relate or you think I’m completely wrong please tell me! I would love to hear more thoughts on this sticky subject.

I’m also looking to connect with more bloggers on Instagram so let me know your handle, I’d love to check out your insta 🙂 you can find me here.

Til next time,

xo Becca


  • Completely agree with you Becca – it’s annoying but I just don’t let it bother me anymore. I want engaged followers and even if I have 10 of them, I prefer it than having 500 people who never see or comment on my photos.
    Plus, I absolutely hate the ‘Nice pic’ comments, or worse – an emoji. I’ts okay when it comes from a real profile but most of these are spammy and annoying.
    Thanks for the wonderful post
    xx Mili

    Honestly Mili

    • Exactly! Quality over quantity for sure and it’s always so nice when you can actually strike up a mini conversation on one of your photos 🙂
      Yeah it’s yet another annoying thing but I feel like Instagram is pushing so many of these people towards it cos they just don’t know how else to do it. I’m so glad you liked it! Thank you for stopping by 🙂

  • Couldn’t agree more! It’s really infuriating the way Instagram is developing and I wish they’d take it all into consideration and do another wipe of all the spam accounts that many people dread (only those that end up buying followers because they know everyone will then find them out!). I agree that genuine engagement is key and the most important thing here too. I’m taking a mini break from Insta to spend time getting new images together and developing a theme (got to think of one that suits my blog first) and then I’m goign to switch it all up with the hope I crack the algorithm some how…wish me luck! haha.

    Kayleigh x

    • Yeah they are pushing all the wrong things aren’t they! I hope they do something about it, even more temporary bans to put people off or something. It’s lovely when you feel like part of a community and is deeefinitely the most important thing so that’s what I want to work on this year 🙂
      I’ve sort of taken a break, started a new theme then taken another break cos I’m waiting for my camera to arrive haha! Better get back to it soon though before I lose all my followers! Yes – good luck with cracking that algorithm haha! xx

  • Tasha Steel

    Completely agree! Nothing worse than the follow/unfollow – especially like you say if you go up by 10/20 one night then the next morning you’re lower than you were before. With you on the engagement side of things, it’s nice to see some people regularly leaving comments and liking.

    I’ll go check yours out now anyway, i’m instagram.com/tashajsteel x


    • Yeah I know I was like yesssss all my hard work is starting to pay off! Annndddd we’re back to where we were before haha! What a disaster. Yeah I love getting comments – makes me feel all special lol!

      Your Instagram is loooovely, I’ve followed 🙂 xx

  • Why not follow an account if you love the content? Surely that’s the whole point of Instagram?

    ^^^This! I completely agree, although if someone does that tactic it will annoy me, if I really really do genuinely love their account I’ll still follow 🙂 plus I won’t follow back in the first place if I don’t like their content or if they don’t engage with me 🙂 xx


    • Yeah I know what you mean! It does get annoying especially if you are already following cos I’m always just like I’m already following you? So the follow/unfollow ends up completely pointless an irritating but yeah I just roll with it 🙂 xx

  • Love this post, Becca! I too have had my twitter timeline inundated with instagram-centered complaints recently! I can see why a lot of people get frustrated but your advice is excellent, sometimes we do need to be reminded that it’s not personal!

    Abbey ? http://www.abbeylouisarose.co.uk

    • It’s become a big talking point eh?! ? I can understand though cos it makes growing so soooo difficult and it’s stops it being fun. Yeah I always remind myself that it’s just online and has nothing to do with me so I don’t let it get to me – for the most part anyway! ? Xx

  • Lindsay Murrell

    I love this post! I do find Instagram the hardest to gain followers so I’ve just stopped focusing on it. I’ve read quite a bit about the blogger groups, maybe I should get myself involved with one the next time I get the chance 🙂

    L xo

    • I know why you mean, I keep getting really into it for a couple of weeks and then I get put off again when I’m not getting the engagement I want but I think it’s the long game with that one! Yeah it’s really nice to do and love supporting each other, I would definitely recommend it xx

  • This is such a lovely reminder to let cooler heads prevail. That bit about not taking it personally is something I need to work on — it makes me feel so annoyed when people follow, comment on some things, and then unfollow, but I really shouldn’t let it get to me. The whole reason I started blogging and using Insta was to get into a style community, and I should focus on the friends I’ve made, not the people who are just out to get follows.

    PS: how did you find your Insta blogger group?


    • It’s so easy to take it personally when you put hours of time and effort into it isn’t it! I was always feeling like a failure and that it was me but decided to adopt a different attitude and I think it’s helping with my overall attitude to Instagram which is good cos it can get unhealthy real quick! I found the group from one of the Facebook groups I’m in – FBL group I think it was!
      Becca xx

  • Chloe

    Hi, great post that probably summarizes so many others personal experiences and they way they deal with IG. I use to take it personally until someone pointed out to me it can be quiet fickle. I still use it and find it a great resource but see it in a different light now, Chloe https://pinkiebag.com/ #TeacupClub

    • I hope so, I know we are all struggling with it right know and it’s frustrating for all of us but we should value the interaction and support from other bloggers cos that’s so much more important! Xx

  • Great post 🙂
    It is really frustrating when people follow/unfollow. I’ve never focused on followers on IG because I don’t have a minimalist/flat lay theme (or a theme of any kind, really, I find them boring) and those are the pics that tend to get all the likes/followers.
    Cora @ Tea Party Princess

    • Thank you! It is! Haha I don’t think you need to have a theme, mine is a theme I suppose but that’s how I like it and that’s what it should be right – what you like! So keep doing you cos that’s always better than doing anything just to get likes xx

      • Yes! ❤
        I suppose if I had to say mine had a theme it’d be book-based chaos haha. What’s best for YOU is always BEST for you

  • Kelsey

    Love this post! I definitely used to get really frustrated when people would follow then unfollow almost instantly, but now I can pretty much tell when someone is only following me for a follow back! It doesn’t bother as much anymore, but what does bother me are the people are consistent. I once had one person follow me three times & like a ton of my photos within a few days until I finally followed her back – then she unfollowed instantly and I haven’t heard from her since! Instagram is for sure an interesting world! haha

    ♥ Kelsey