Isn’t it strange that most of us still worry about our follower count; the ever-changing tally of social acceptance. Our minds only revolve around growth and that is proof of mankind’s greedy nature. Why do we still relate success to the number on our screen? However, numbers matter, just not those.
After waking up one day and enthusiastically starting my own Instagram page , I quickly gained my first followers and likes. From there, it wasn’t too challenging. After a few months of hard work and dedication, I reached my first 1000 followers. Proud but not completely satisfied I continued building, brick by brick, in order to be able to achieve what I had dreamed of for so long.
Me being me: over-ambitious and greedy, saw gaining followers as one of the crucial steps to building my online presence. Nevertheless, I wish I would’ve known that it does not matter or that it could work against me!
Platforms such as Instagram rely on a built-in algorithm that decides what we see, so just because you follow Sophie or Patrick doesn’t mean you will see all their posts. Said algorithm combines aspects such as the like count and the time since uploading to fabricate a group of people as the day goes on.
When I had 1500 followers, getting about 500 likes was common. This means I had a 33.3% engagement rate (excluding comments) which is pretty good although I was never able to reach the low 30s again. After surpassing the 2500 follower milestone my page slowly started to plateau. Less likes, less comments, less everything except for one variable. The follower count still rose quite steadily. The page I had created was now more known and recognised across Instagram meaning others encountered suggestions to follow me. Guess who suggested my page to them? The algorithm!
It ranks posts from engaging to … well … not so engaging. If after uploading your post it performs well by receiving comments and likes, the algorithm will classify your post as engaging and show it to most of your followers. If whatever you published does not do so well initially, it will be shown to a smaller percentage of your followers.
There are low and high quality followers. As you build your following and inevitably end up with some fake or inactive followers, your engagement rate will casually sink. This is exactly what happened to me. Lower engagement means less people will see your post, so you will see a decrease in likes.
So, now you know! Maybe it’s time to start removing some of those followers, if you have any, that is ;) .