Ghost Followers on Instagram – Demystified

Let's admit it, every single one of us is guilty of spending hours on Instagram to capture that perfect selfie, the perfect #foodporn pic or the perfect #wanderlust landscape. Only to be inevitably followed by that gut-wrenching heartbreak of hardly any likes (or comments, if you are so inclined), despite having plenty of followers. If this has ever happened to you, I bet you have some 'Ghost Followers' in your account. But not to worry, we've got you covered on identifying ghost followers and bidding adieu to them.
You cannot buy engagement. You have to build engagement.
- Tara-Nicholle Nelson
What is a Ghost Follower?
Ghost followers are effectively dead to your account. They give you an envious-looking follower count, but they never engage with any of your content. Bots usually create ghost followers. If a follower ticks any of these pointers, you might want to remove them because they are probably a ghost follower:
- They have 0 followers and 0 post
- They have no profile picture
- They have more followers than followers
- They haven't posted anything during the last 30 to 60 days.
- Their username is bizarre or filled with irrelevant numbers.
Are Ghost Followers harmful to your account?
Ghost followers are hardly an issue for some users as they still add to the follower count. But for people, and particularly brands, who need engagement and sales from their content, ghost followers are a big problem.
For example, if a brand with 1,000 followers gets 100 total engagements, the average engagement rate is 10%. However, if some other brand has 10,000 followers and still only has 100 engagements, the engagement rate drops to a paltry 1%. This means lesser of the latter brand's posts would appear in its genuine followers' feeds since the new Instagram feed algorithms prioritise highly engaging content.
How to remove Ghost Followers from your account
You can remove these ghost followers manually and with the help of some readily available tools.
For manual ghost follower removal, follow these steps:
- Go to your profile page
- Tap on your follower's tab
- Pick out the ghost followers using the criteria above
- Tap the symbol with three vertical dots on the right side of the ghost's name.
- You will then receive a choice to remove them from your followers.
- Click yes, and you're done; they are no longer your followers!

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