I woke up this morning and chose not violence, but peace. I’m sure its old news that I’m interested in social media: I endlessly scroll through Pinterest, post daily on Instagram, and have a YouTube channel. This girl is obsessed with everything social media! After talkiing to one of my friends about how hard it is to grow on Instagram, and how weird it is that eventhough I had a larger following than about a year ago, it wasn’t really growing within my deired community (which is fashion, if you haven’t picked up on that by now). Most people following me were fake/empty accounts or random men who did nothing but reply to my stories with lewd suggestions (like, at least like and save my pictures if you’re going to objectify and verbally assault me?). This is when my friend decided to drop a bomb: ghost followers do more harm than good in this new (and yet to be understood) Instagram algorithm.
So here it is: the cold hard truth. Having a larger following doesn’t matter if it is made up of fake accounts and/or accounts of people who have no interest in your actual content. I watched a few YouTube videos on the topic and it’s really as simple as could be. The more fake followers you have, the larger is the gap between engagement and follower count, which the algorithm (rightfully) finds suspicious. It is unclear how the the algortihm really works, since Instagram is yet to make a statement on the specifics, but apparently your posts will be shown to a smaller audience as soon as the algorithm suspects that you have bought followers or claimed them in any other unorganic way.
So, even though a major part of my online self-worth has been based on my follower count, I decided to weed out the accounts that were holding me back from being shown to my target audience. I went through the alphabet, and removed every follower who was one of the following:
a) the kind of account that had a weird name, no profile picture, no posts, and virtually no followers
b) a random man who followed me only because I’m pretty to look at
c) one of those jewelry ambassador/management/recruiter accounts
d) someone I used to know/met once at a party/followed me but never interacts with my pictures
And it came down to about 500/600 people! How crazy is that? All this time I was proud of my follower count when most of it wasn’t even “real”! Yes, removing followers hurt my ego a little bit: I should be but am not fully immune to the negative sides of social media, such as comparisons, etc, but removing all these accounts also felt somewhat liberating. Not only did I take a step to better my engagement rate, but I also revoked creepy men’s access to seeing my pictures and viewing my stories and that felt so freeing, like a cleanse of my Instagram, which is my little spot on the internet.
Experimenting with Instagram is fun and I won’t lose my love for creating content just because I lost 500-600 followers today, but I honeslty have to say that it feels a bit discouraging ot be back at barely over 1,000 followers. Still, I am excited to see what other tricks Instagram has up their sleeves that I can explore with my page!
In the meantime, I’ll go take outfit pictures in front of the perfect white wall I found in my neighborhood the other day.