What is an Instagram Ghost Follower?
A ghost follower is an Instagram user who follows your account, yet never interacts with your posts. They don’t like or comment on any of your images. Ghost followers may be users who have stopped participating on Instagram or spammers who followed you to get you to look at their account. Scary!
Why Should I Care about Ghost Followers?
Having ghost followers may seem harmless. Ghost followers bump up that coveted “Followers” number, so what’s the problem? The main problem is it may keep you from getting exposure on Instagram.
One of the ways Instagram determines who to place on the Explore (or popular page) is by using a percentage of likes to followers. The ratio is estimated to be around 20%.
For example, let’s say you have 1,000 followers. You post an awesome image and it gets 180 likes in the first few minutes you post it. 180 likes / 1,000 followers = 18%.
But after inspection, you realize that over 100 those followers are ghost followers. So, in essence, you really only have 900 followers. 180 likes / 900 followers = 20%.
Those ghost followers are dragging down your percentage – potentially keeping you from the Explore page.
While the like/follower ratio is only part of the algorithm Instagram uses to determine who to feature, it can benefit you to monitor your ghosts. Plus, getting rid of ghost followers will provide you with a more accurate representation of the reach of your posts.
How Do I Get Rid of Ghost Followers?
Now that you know how these seemingly harmless ghost followers can negatively impact your Instagram account, the obvious option is to get rid of them.
The most straightforward way to remove ghost followers is to block them from your account. To block a user, go to that user’s account and click the boxed arrow icon in the upper right corner. A pop up menu with the option ‘Block User’ will appear. Click this button and the user is now blocked. This method works well when you catch a new spammer following you. If you can tell they are a spammer by their account content, go ahead and immediately block them.
But what about users who followed you a while ago?
Because they are not active, it is hard to remember their user names. If you have lots of Instagram followers it would take hours to comb through your followers list to block ghosts.
Luckily, there is a website that will automatically purge your ghost followers for you. IG Exorcist will identify accounts that have not been active for long periods of time – for example, you can request to cull users who have not interacted with you in the past 180 days.
It is important to note, using this method you risk losing valid followers who may have been inactive for personal reasons, or people who truly appreciate your work yet do not comment or like. Be sure to decide if you are willing to potentially lose a true follower in the process before running IG Exorcist. IG Exorcist works by blocking and then unblocking specific users, so if you accidentally block someone they will be able to follow you again.
Have you noticed ghost followers on your Instagram account?