This New Instagram Feature Will Change the Way You Look at Your Followers

Why the quality of your followers matters

Fab Giovanetti
Feb 9 · 4 min read
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Something very exciting happened last Friday — okay, maybe not very exciting for everyone, but it surely was for marketers.

Instagram has rolled out two new category listings for your “Following” tab.


Instagram is constantly working on new features, including a new video trimming feature for Instagram Stories, or how you can reply to a friend’s story with your favorite GIPHY GIFs.

Yet, neither of them comes close enough to the new Following Tab listings.

Why? Because these listings will enable you to see which accounts get the most visibility in your feed, and which you rarely engage with.

The listing of those you don’t engage with essentially recommends people who you should unfollow, while the most present list will give users more control over their algorithm-defined feed.

If you don’t like any of the accounts you see, you can remove them, or unfollow them as well.

This could be way for Instagram to enable the algorithm to understand what you want to see on the platform, improving the user experience — but it also seems to go somewhat against the past social media ethos of getting users to follow as many people and profiles as possible, in order to keep their content stream flowing.

You may be wondering — how can this benefit me in the long run?

The Quality of Your Followers Matters

The fact that Instagram is adding new listings in the Following tab is great news for personal brands and startups alike when looking to make the most of interactions on the platform.

This is such a big step for Instagram, since it promotes follower curation, as opposed to prompting users to follow as many people as possible in order to maximize engagement.

The old “follower chase” has made it harder for some of the social media “gurus” of the initial wave to build their presence on Instagram — in the past, you could “follow for follow” your way to a massive audience, yet things have changed.

According to research conducted by HypeAuditor, more than 50% of influencers on Instagram are known to be fraudulent.

Most influencers are fraud-free in the 1K-5K followers category, with 51.3% fraud-free influencers. Influencers with 5K-20K followers have the highest number of fraudulent followers, with up to 71% fraudulent influencers.

The two types of followers which can negatively impact your engagement levels are:

  • Social bots: bots are most likely created by growth services or the likes to engage with specific people to up their engagement on auto-pilot
  • Ghost followers: these are inactive followers, who most likely left the platform but did not delete their accounts

When you have a high level of bot and ghost followers, your overall performance will be affected.

This means the audience you are reaching with your message may not be, well, a real audience. Depending on your individual Instagram goals this could be incredibly detrimental to your marketing efforts.

Pro tip: with the new Instagram feature, you can now sort accounts from earliest to latest followed. Who was your first follow?

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Better Followers Equal Better Engagement

Reliance on “simple” engagement as a measurement method isn’t going away given that everyone has attributed value to this method for years.

That said, quality engagements are a much better collective measure of impact and potential influence than quantity alone.

Numerous comments are nice, but are they thoughtful? Relevant? Are they from genuinely engaged followers commenting on the post or caption, or are the comments random, in another language, or bot-generated?

Meaningful engagement matters more — marketers need to ensure that’s what the content is generating.

Overall engagement is made of conversations as well as actions.

How engaging can a conversation with a ghost follower be? Most likely, a very flat one.

By truly harnessing followers who constantly interact with you, you’ll be able to create a healthy and happy ecosystem through which you’ll be able to see greater engagement.

Using the new following tabs to filter, analyse, and assess your followers could be a game-changer in the way engagement is sparked on the platform.

Shifting in Social Media Trends

“Marketing is telling the world you’re a rock star. Content marketing is showing the world you are one.” — Robert Rose, Chief Strategy Officer, The Content Advisory

The shift away from content volume, and towards relevance, is actually part of what’s fueled Instagram’s rise and what has seen it become the fastest-growing social platform, now with over a billion active users.

The initial social media impetus to “add everyone” has, in some ways, hurt accounts like Facebook — yet as people began afresh on Instagram, they can curate their feeds more diligently.

More and more users are curating their content streams to ensure that their content stream is populated with updates they find entertaining — as opposed to just approving everyone and anyone.

Better Marketing

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Fab Giovanetti

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Award-Winning Marketing Consultant || Author, Columnist and Top Writer || 👉Free Marketing Classes:

Better Marketing

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