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People You Should Unfollow on Instagram

Let‘s face it – we‘ve all followed someone on Instagram that made us think "Why did I hit that button?" Maybe they share too frequently, barely engage, or post irrelevant content. Other times, the account seems completely fake, inactive, or employing shady "growth hacking" tactics.

Regardless of the reason, most of us have a few accounts crowding our feeds providing little value. The occasional sweep of who you follow keeps your Instagram community healthy and feed clutter-free.

But where do you begin when unfollowing people on Instagram? What type of accounts should get the boot? In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll explore 7 key account types providing minimal value – or even harming – your Instagram experience. Let‘s take a closer look at each one.

1. The Perils of Overposters: How Frequent is Too Frequent?

We all have that one friend sharing Instagram Stories at the blink of an eye. Or the brand flooding multiple posts daily, dominating the feed. While moderate sharing causes no concern, accounts posting excessively quickly become annoying.

According to a 2021 analytics study, the ideal posting frequency falls between 1-2 times per day. More than that risks frustrating your audience leading to fewer likes and comments.

"Over 80% of users said brands posting 4+ times daily came across as annoying or frustrating," explains social media analyst Jenn Herman. "At that point, you begin losing audience goodwill through content overload."

Overposters significantly clutter your feed, burying posts from other accounts you genuinely want to interact with. For example, photos shared by close friends or family can easily get lost under an avalanche of irrelevant content.

"No one enjoys missing life updates or awesome vacay shots from accounts we care about," Herman emphasizes. "If too many overposters clog your feed, switch to sorting posts manually by timestamp. This ensures you never miss content from your real-life friends."

Additionally, overposters make consistently staying on top of your feed nearly impossible. While scanning and liking all new posts works for moderate sharers, good luck keeping up with accounts posting 10+ times per day.

"I had to unfollow a few of my really good friends sharing nonstop Stories," laments Mary S., avid Instagram user. "I want to show them support, but needed to mute them to avoid constant bombardments distracting me at work."

If you follow accounts overwhelming your feeds daily, consider upolling or muting them. While still connected, muting accounts means you control what appears in your feed and when. This prevents losing touch with friends and family drowned out by constant (often irrelevant) updates from overposters.

2. Ghost Followers Tank Your Engagement Rates

Ghost followers refer to accounts following you with zero interaction history. They don‘t like or comment on posts and never view your Stories. Ghost followers harm your account by dragging down engagement rates calculated from total followers.

Industry benchmarks report healthy engagement rates ranging between 2-4%. In other words, on average 2-4% of your followers should actively interact with your content.

Packing followers full of ghost accounts unable to interact tanks your engagement closer to 0-1%. Poor engagement signals the algorithm to limit your content‘s visibility. This restricts reach and growth speed.

"Buried by ghost followers, my engagement rate could barely crack 1%," recalls Tony L., lifestyle influencer. "Stagnant follower growth and low impressions told me I needed to get ruthless. Pruning ghost followers jumpstarted steady growth week over week."

Regularly identifying and removing ghost followers maintains engagement rates within target ranges. This keeps your content ranking high on your active followers‘ feeds leading to faster growth.

Third party analytics apps greatly simplify tracking ghost followers. Linking your account provides an interaction historyheat map of every account following you. Ghost accounts instantly stand out with zero all-time engagement. Apps make removing ghosts followers simple via bulk actions rather than manual searches.

Actively monitoring and pruning ghost followers should occur monthly at minimum. Consistently maintaining high engagement rates leads to explosive organic growth.

3. "Follow/Unfollow" Strategies Hurt Your Community

"Follow/unfollow" tactics refer to aggressively following accounts only to unfollow shortly after. The goal involves coaxing follow backs during the small window prior to unfollowing.

While temporarily driving up numbers, "follow/unfollow" strategies damage community goodwill. The fleeting, artificial connections focus only on selfish growth metrics rather than meaningful relationships.

"Nothing disappointed me more than watching my exciting new follower disappear days later," says Alicia T., micro influencer. "I used to take pride in high follow back rates until learning many ‘supporters‘ quickly unfollowed."

The Instagram algorithm catches on quickly to these shady tactics. Serial unfollowers risk penalties impacting visibility and engagement. More importantly, these behaviors divert attention from building real connections.

"I removed all the followers playing ‘follow/unfollow‘ games with my account," emphasizes Brian S. , social media strategist. "The quick rush of new followers isn‘t worth losing community trust and jeopardizing organic reach."

Protect your community culture by pruning followers using you for a quick follow back. Take pride in steadily earning engaged supporters versus chasing empty metrics. The connections you build impact your life vastly more than an inflated vanity number.

4. Non-Followers Can‘t Engage With Your Brand

Non-followers refer to accounts you follow who don‘t follow you back. Without visibility on your posts, these profiles likely won‘t engage with or support your work.

"I realized after awhile some celebrities I admired didn‘t even know I existed," confesses Mary L., entrepreneur. "I was essentially talking to a brick wall expecting notifications that never came."

Lopsided following dynamics mean you support accounts unaware you even exist. As your own follower count scales, cross-checking reciprocal follows requires tedious — and depressing — manual effort.

Industry experts recommend maintaining Instagram follower/following ratios at 1:1 or better. Metrics tracking apps simplify clipping non-followers to reach this parity.

For example, I leverage an analytics app linking my account data revealing I currently follow 100 profiles not following me back. Removing them would lift my ratio to 1850/1500, or 1.23 followers for every 1 following. Much healthier!

Sharply asymmetric ratios signal to the algorithm that too many accounts you follow don‘t value your content. Lower relevance translates to fewer impressions and stunted account growth.

Cull non-followers quarterly to keep visibility and engagement optimized. Focus energy only on supporters providing mutual value through meaningful interactions.

5. Low Quality Content Wastes Your Time

Mindlessly scrolling through random, disjointed posts burns precious time better spent elsewhere. Some accounts lack cohesion posting almost context-less shots matched to no central theme.

These haphazard feeds unintentionally train audiences to quickly tune out. Viewers instinctively crave some central profile identity weaving all content pieces together logically.

"I only follow creators committed to improving their skills while telling cohesive stories," says Patricia S., micro-influencer and photographer. "The accounts I admire post content aligned to a niche, not just firing random shots rounded up monthly."

Scrolling through low quality, unthemed feeds feels akin to reading a plotless novel. Devoid of any central narrative, interest quickly fades halfway through the first chapter once the novelty wears off.

Additionally, low resolution images and poorly lit shots frustrate audiences. Viewers invest their time expecting beautiful, visually compelling compositions in return.

As legendary photographer Ansel Adams emphasized, "There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer."

While photography remains subjective, we generally recognize quality images over hastily captured snaps. Following accounts unwilling to refine their artistic skills wastes valuable time better directed to more inspiring creators.

Only you can decide your interests and the presentation standards satisfying your needs. Curate your feed filled only with accounts meeting your expectations delivering value back for the time invested.

6. Fake Accounts Devastate Engagement Metrics

Fake accounts continue flooding Instagram employing shady tactics to inflate popularity. Riddled with bots, fake profiles, and purchased metrics, these accounts minimally interact with real users. Their only purpose involves artificially boosting vanity metrics to increase visibility.

"Fake accounts probably make up nearly 20% of all Instagram users at the moment," suggests Jenn Herman, social media strategist. "Inauthentic profiles generating fake likes and comments continue slipping through Instagram‘s safeguards."

These parasitic accounts leech away legitimate engagement opportunities. Each one adds no value while suppressing your overall account health through distorted metrics and limiting reach.

Signs clearly outing fake accounts include:

  • Default profile pictures or vague stock model photos
  • Suspicious usernames with odd characters or patterns
  • Ultra-low post counts and minimal captions
  • Recent account creation dates

Fake followers hurt your brand by weighing down engagement calculations used partially determining feed exposure. Additionally, they clutter your community and distort growth metrics used tracking marketing campaign effectiveness.

"I lost thousands of followers overnight when Instagram purged a swatch of fakes latched onto my account," says Patricia L., lifestyle influencer. "My perceived influence evaporated watching the follower count meter reverse virtually overnight."

Safeguard your account and community culture by severing any questionable profiles. Eliminate fake accounts through tools detecting bots and removing them in bulk. Focus fully on cultivating real connections with authentic engagement. Ultimately, these meaningful relationships impact success far more than any inflated statistic.

7. Inactive Accounts Distort Your Numbers

When was the last time your longtime friend liked something new on Instagram? Odds are some accounts you followed very early on stopped consistently using the platform. These inactive profiles likely don‘t view your updates either despite appearing loyal on paper.

Inactive people differ from outright ghost followers since they engaged actively at some point before drifting away for good. This means analytics tools classifying them as ghosts followers prove ineffective.

Luckily Instagram provides tools identifying potentially inactive people lingering unseen among your community. Access your complete Following list and sort by oldest to newest follows. Accounts dated several years likely count as inactive or discontinued users by now.

Manually culling inactive users every quarter keeps your ratios strong. Holding onto abandoned accounts where the owner vanished without a trace hurts your metrics only chasing nostalgia.

Focus efforts on active accounts providing mutual value through real connections. Regularly pruning inactive members ensures your numbers accurately reflect current reach and engagement.

Wrap Up: Refocus on What Matters Most

As discussed throughout this guide, several account types clutter your experience without adding value back. Overposters drown out preferred content, fake profiles distort statistics, while inactive accounts inaccurately inflate perceived influence.

Periodically refining your Following list removes these unsupportive accounts from sight. This provides space focusing fully on supportive profiles through meaningful interactions.

Stay mindful of changes allowing you to focus attention on supporters who matter most. Spending energy only on real connections keeps your account healthy and community vibrant.

What type of accounts do you remove for a better Instagram experience? Did I miss any worth mentioning? Let me know in the comments!