You might be thinking, “Why would I ever want to remove any Instagram followers?” After all, the entire point of social media platforms like Instagram is to accumulate a bigger audience, right?
It was some time in 2012 when everyone was thirsty for followers, to the point where paying to get a certain sum of them was a possibility. And I don’t just mean one or two. You could pay for thousands of them.
As you might guess, there’s a catch in this seemingly fantastic offer – none of the followers are real live people. These Instagram profiles are purely designed to round up the follower number on your profile without creating any organic engagement.
As a result, these auto-generated fake personas can even spam your profile, adding annoying comments and messages with external links you should never tap on (trust me!!!).
You’ll want to remove them eventually. And not just because these profiles can be a pain in the glutes. There are now regulations rolled out by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that can sanction people that have actively pursued ghost followers.
The trouble is, you might not be able to do it all in one go if you do it manually. So strap in and allow me to explain how to remove followers on Instagram with minimal effort. In this article, you’ll learn:
- What are ghost followers on Instagram?
- How to remove ghost followers on Instagram in 2021?
- How to recognize fake followers on Insta?
- Why is buying fake followers a bad idea?
- What are Instagram Ghost Followers?
- How to Identify Fake Instagram Followers?
- Why Are Ghost Followers Bad for Your Instagram Account?
- How to Remove Ghost Followers on Instagram?
- How to Stay Away from Fake Followers on Instagram?
- Why Buying Fake Followers is a Bad Idea?
- One Last Thing…
What are Instagram Ghost Followers?
Instagram ghost followers come in many shapes and sizes. Plainly put, they are typically fake accounts that use the Instagram app and don’t contribute to your audience growth in any way.
One type of Insta fake is an inactive account that uses the created profile for a one-time follow and becomes permanently inactive past this point. This is the most harmless type of ghost follower.
Another common type is the fake business account. This one might start spamming you with fake affiliate links or even offer you to buy an item you can promote for advertisement purposes. You’ll find these followers can be particularly annoying and persistent. Such fraudsters can even allure you to enter your card details in a fake website and steal tons of money from you.
You might also come across bots programmed to spam your comments section and your followers. Needless to say, your followers won’t be impressed by this sort of behavior, and some might be quick to unfollow your profile. When the bots make up a quarter of your followers, the spamming can be excessive and become a problem.
This fake follower infection can hurt your credibility and does absolutely nothing for your engagement rate. In the end, you’re only losing money in an attempt to grow your audience. It’s best to give up on buying fake followers and admit there’s no such thing as “free followers.”
How to Identify Fake Instagram Followers?
So what are the tell-tale signs of a ghost Instagram follower? You can easily recognize a fake follower from miles away if you learn to look for the signs. Once you identify the faker, you can block them or remove them from your follower’s list.
- Their Instagram handle makes no sense. It might include a random set of numbers or punctuation signs. There’s edgy, and there’s complete gibberish.
- Spot the difference: does the profile have a high following count but low followers? Uh- oh. They’re probably fake!
- Take a look at the content on their Instagram page. Do they have just a handful of posts? Are they low-quality posts with one or two likes and highly outdated? Yup, you’re getting the hang of it; they are ghost followers!
- Are they lacking a profile photo? This isn’t always a valid sign, but if all the above ones are present, this can just confirm your suspicions.
- They have a pretty generic bio or no bio at all. This is usually one of the red flags you should look out for.
Of course, pair these with random comments, weird unrelated direct messages, and you can be sure – you're in the presence of a fake!
Why Are Ghost Followers Bad for Your Instagram Account?
Today, most Instagram influencers understand the risk behind buying fake followers. And yet, some people still think they can get away with it, not realizing the problem with fakes. If you are tempted or know someone who is, let’s discuss why ghost followers are wrong from your Instagram profile.
1. Zero Audience Engagement
Don't expect your freshly gained fake followers to care about your energizing yoga practice or the scrumptious meringue recipe you just posted. Don't forget they're nothing but an inactive account, and it's likely they won't be contributing to your profile with likes, comments, or any other type of interaction. They won't be looking at your stories. You probably know that having a lot of followers is no longer enough to get you recognition on Instagram. Engagement is a vital part of it.
2. Beware of Spam-Malicious Content
Get ready for some spam! Suddenly you are part of groups formed by random Instagram users. You might even recognize some of them – there’s a chance the bots pulled from your following. They are spamming your actual followers, too, and I suggest you don't click on that link you have just been sent. It's most likely a scheme to steal personal information or even money.
3. It’s Pretty Transparent
Any brand ambassador with a pinch of common sense will think to look through your followers before approaching you with an affiliate offer. Since it's public information and available for everyone to see, it’s easy to spot if you’re a #fakefluencer. Your fake followers might be the reason you’re not getting those desired sponsorships.
4. You Should Give a Damn About Your Bad Reputation
You should care how fake followers affect your reputation and presence online. There are enough tools and apps online to spot a faker from miles away. You don’t want to have a bad name on the Internet, do you?
5. It’s a Financial Risk
Sure, you can have your account suspended if Instagram notices you have bought followers, especially since it’s against their Ts and Cs. But that’s not the worst possibility. You could risk receiving a fine for buying unauthentic followers, too. Remember what I mentioned about the FTC regulations? In perspective, buying followers could lose you a ton of money.
With all these things in mind, you now understand the potential risks you're taking when purchasing inactive followers. My advice is to go to Instagram and mass delete those ghost accounts. The section below will give you all the fine details on how you can remove ghost followers from Instagram.
How to Remove Ghost Followers on Instagram?
The truth is, there’s no right or wrong way of doing this. It might just take implementing two or three of the methods below to make sure you’re rid of those annoying internet pests.
Step 1: The first thing you can do is go through your list of followers and manually remove those fake accounts. If you have a huge follower count, I suggest you open up a word file or a Google document as you might get lost in the removal process. Try to note down a real follower’s profile handle every so often.
Step 2: You can use Instagram’s categories to distinguish between the different types of friends. Pay attention to accounts you don’t follow back. You’ll find tons of bots lurking in there.
Alternatively, if you want to remove or block a follower that has been bugging you, you can tap on their Instagram handle and open up their profile. Select the three dots on the top right corner near their follower count. You'll have the option to block their profile, suspend their activity and report them. Unfortunately, unless tons of people report the profile, you won’t be able to have it deleted, so restricting or blocking can be the best option.
Step 3: To remove a follower, simply press the remove button right across their Instagram handle. Confirm your choice and it’s done! You're free from their presence and the annoying commenting and spam can finally stop.
Meet me back here several hours later when you’re done!
Whew, that was looooong, wasn’t it? Allow me to brighten your mood with the following easy-to-use method.
Did you know there are applications and websites out there that can help put your followers in order?
If you’re tired of doing your follower cleanse manually, you can simply use one of the suggestions below. For best results, use the manual method paired with a website.
An excellent follower cleaning service is Spam Guard. Think of it as your knight in shining armor, ready to battle any spamming activity on Instagram. Whether Spam Guard is in the face of ghosts, bots, or fakes, it has sworn an oath to protect your profile. A couple of taps, and you’re free from inactive accounts, annoying spam, and silent users.
The good news is Spam Guard offers a free trial so that you can take full advantage of it for a whole month. And if you choose Spam Guard as your appointed full-time knight, you can subscribe and continue the service (price varies depending on the number of bots it has to face).
What you’ll love most about Spam Guard is the reach – you can add multiple profiles to your account, and Spam Guard will make sure they’re all bot-free. You don't need to download an app or keep the browser tab open at all times. Spam Guard works in the background and can give you daily reports on its activity, allowing insight into its decision-making.
Spam Guard is advanced enough to pinpoint fake engagement too, and enable you to clean fake likes and other suspicious activity.
If you’re adamant about keeping a healthy and hygienic follower activity, Spam Guard can quickly turn into a valuable friend and help improve your engagement rates. If you’re a blogger or influencer, you’ll thoroughly enjoy the services provided by this helpful app.
Another awesome app you can try out is the Unfollowers & Ghost Followers on Google Play. This follower analysis app can help you remove unwanted followers. But that’s not everything. The app features self-promoting shoutouts, too! Go on, give it a try!
If you use all the suggestions above, and you’re still struggling to clean out your account from ghost followers, you might have to say goodbye to your profile. If you want a clean profile where you could easily monitor your statistics, a bot-infected Instagram just won’t cut it. Sometimes the damage is done, and you just have to start over.
It doesn’t have to be a dramatic change, though. You can migrate to a fresh account little by little. Start it up, and tag it in your stories and posts. Since bots and ghost followers never actually register what you’re posting, you can make a picture announcement, ushering your real follower to a brand new account. That way, you don’t have to worry that they’ll head over to your new account along with your loyal audience. Give yourself a week and try to inform your followers every so often through stories and posts.
Be brave. In reality, you might even benefit from starting over. Think of it as a total makeover. What can you do differently this time? Can you do a rebrand? Consider your strengths and weaknesses. Growing your audience organically has always been the right way to do this.
Now that you’ve got a brand new start, whether you have made a brand new profile or have just finished your spring clean, how can you make sure you’re not going to face the same problems again? That’s exactly what we’re going to discuss in the section below.
How to Stay Away from Fake Followers on Instagram?
Now that we’ve lured them out of hiding let’s discuss how to stay away from fake followers.
Step 1. Repeat after me. I don’t buy fake followers.
It’s the most crucial step of all. Don’t get tempted. It’s not worth the money. I’m sure by now you can see there’s no real advantage to it.
Another essential piece of advice is always to stay vigilant and keep an eye out for fakes. Don’t get tempted by random offers pouring through Instagram profiles. Check the legitimacy of these supposed brands and business profiles that approach you.
If you have shared your email address publicly, be prepared for tons of fake email offers too. Research the brand with stalker precision. Another good way to check if you’re approached by a bot or ghost is to google their message. There are tons of people online that have been targeted by bots and fake Instagram profiles. Check their story. If they match, there’s a good chance you’re chatting to a fraud.
Make sure to go through your followers every few months. Check those usernames – this is the easiest way to find ghost followers.
Sometimes ghost followers can pour in from your Twitter account too. If you want to learn more about removing ghost followers on Twitter, check out our article.
Why Buying Fake Followers is a Bad Idea?
There are many reasons why buying fake followers is a bad idea, and the endless spam and clean-up after them is just the start. Have you considered the impact they might have on your potential subscription offers?
Yes, many well-established brands carefully select which followers to approach. If they scan your followers and notice the presence of many ghost users and bots, they might not even consider you.
What’s worse is that you might end up being approached by a well-known brand that hasn’t done a background check on you. Let’s say they want to get 60 people signed up for their service. If you have 25 000 followers, this is easily achievable. Or so the brand thinks. What they don’t know is that half of your followers are fake, making it difficult to fulfill that promise. You could just end up disappointing the brand.
Buying fake followers is also costly. You end up spending a lot of money, and you don’t really get any benefits from it. The lack of offers and subscriptions only pushes you further away from your ultimate goal – to become an influencer.
The presence of spam comments can ruin your reputation. This is just a suggestion, but you should keep your comments section clean of any bots. Otherwise, anyone can spot there’s some funny business going on. If you’re trying to build an authentic following, make sure the environment you’re cultivating is bot-free.
One Last Thing…
I really hope this article has given you insight into why buying fake followers is a bad idea and you now know how to remove them. Who would have thought we’d be facing such bizarre problems with social media!
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