5 Reasons Why Brands Lose Followers on Instagram [HubSpot Blog Data]

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Martina Bretous
Martina Bretous


According to HubSpot Blog Research, 14% of Instagram marketers report losing followers from 2020 to 2021.

losing followers instagram: image shows a girl holding her phone and the instagram logo nearby

If you’re a part of that 14%, you may be panicking trying to figure out what’s causing the decline.

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Don’t fret – we’ve got you covered. Below, we’re covering the top reasons why brands lose followers on Instagram and how to regain them.

Why am I losing so many followers on Instagram?

1. You’re not posting often enough or posting too much.

When we surveyed Instagram marketers, 40% said that not posting enough is the number one reason why brands lose followers.

Meanwhile, 33% said posting too much can have the same impact.

When it comes to posting, it’s all about striking the right balance. You want to post enough to make sure you’re reaching your target audience and not disappearing in a sea of posts.

However, you don’t want to post too much that your audience is getting flooded with your posts all over their timeline.

Here are a few guidelines: First, post at least once a day on the platform – whether it’s on Instagram Stories, Reels, or in-feed. If you have to choose, Stories is probably the best option as marketers surveyed say it’s the second-best way to gain followers behind going live.

Second, share an in-feed post two to three times a week. You can increase this cadence based on how your audience responds but you probably shouldn’t lower it.

2. You’re being too sales-y.

The second most popular reason why your brand is losing followers is that your content is too focused on selling, according to 39% of Instagram marketers surveyed.

Our survey found that content centered around a brand’s products/services is leveraged by 39% of IG marketers and has the second-highest ROI.

However, if it’s the only type of content you post, you might alienate your audience.

Again, balance is the keyword here.

In addition to posts that highlight your products and/or services, you should also post content that:

  • Reflects your brand values.
  • Invites conversation.
  • Builds community.

Another effective content strategy? Make your audience laugh.

Our survey revealed that funny content is the most effective for getting followers, shares, and engagement on Instagram.

3. You had bot followers.

If you purchased bot followers, you’ll be in for a rude awakening when they all disappear and your follower list tanks.

39% of Instagram marketers surveyed say this is the third most popular reason why brands lose followers.

While it’s tempting to buy bots to give the semblance of a strong follower base, this practice will only hurt you in the long run.

Instead, focus on building a follower list organically through a consistent posting schedule, sharing valuable content, following trends, and listening to your data.

It doesn’t have to take long either. Only 1% of marketers we surveyed say it took over a year to grow their followers by 1K. Most marketers (65%) said it took anywhere from one to six months.

And 13% actually did it in less than a month.

This is all to say that see this loss in followers as an opportunity to rebuild your Instagram page and get more reliable data on your audience.

4. You don’t have a consistent aesthetic and voice.

One thing audiences love is consistency.

Consistency in your branding and your creative assets is key in building strong brand recognition. In addition, consistency also helps build a visually appealing profile.

If a user visits your profile and every post looks like it was created by a different brand, they’ll have a hard time understanding what your brand is all about and choose to unfollow you.

Personally, if I’m scrolling and I notice a brand I don’t recognize on my timeline, I’ll visit their profile and if I don’t recognize their last few posts, I’ll likely unfollow them. I imagine many users behave the same way.

With this in mind, figure out what your brand identity and visual aesthetic are early on in your branding process.

From there, you can leverage tools like Canva to build a visual profile that stays consistent across all platforms.

5. Your audience has evolved and you’re not keeping up.

It would be so easy to market to our audiences if their interests and behaviors always stayed the same.

Unfortunately, that isn’t the case.

This requires marketers to stay on top of what attracts and retains their audiences. One of the most effective ways to do this is by relying on your data. What is it telling you?

Say you’re HubSpot and our feed consists of customer success stories, product highlights, company values, and industry trends.

Perhaps content surrounding industry trends used to perform very well but you’ve noticed a slow decline over the past six months. Perhaps your audience is not as interested in this content or the format in which it’s being presented.

Maybe if you used to leverage images, you should consider switching to video.

Your Instagram strategy should be steered by what your data is telling you. If you don’t use it, you will quickly lose touch with your audience and slowly see your follower list decrease.

Losing Instagram followers can be a scary reality to face. However, once you identify the reason behind the decline, you can address it and regain them.



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