Are less followers actually more?

Followers have long been seen as a way to measure how “successful” an account on Instagram is. This can make it so tempting for people to try anything they can to grow that audience number - be it through giant giveaways, scammy follow/unfollow tactics or even buying new followers! 


A lot of people can fall into this trap because they want to make their business seem important, they think that others won’t follow them unless they already have a lot of followers or worst of all, they believe that more followers=more clients. We’re here to bust this myth wide open and explain why fewer followers might actually be more, especially if you’re running a small business!


The algorithm

The first thing that’s important to understand is that the Instagram algorithm is always changing, and each change makes it a little harder for your account to be seen - we dive into this in our last post if you want more details on the recent updates! 10 years ago, your post would have shown up on the feed of just about every single person that follows you. Sadly, this number seems to have gone down with every new update and the platform’s change to a non-chronological feed a few years back made it even smaller. These days, it’s rumoured that only 10% of your following initially sees your post, and if they engage with it, Instagram will continue to show it to more followers and maybe put it on the explore page. 


This is the exact reason that engagement is said to be SO important. The more active your audience is, the more Instagram will show it to the rest of your followers. If you have a post that gets shown to 10% and only a few people like it or comment, there’s a chance that almost no one else will see it. If you have a post that the first 10% absolutely love, then Instagram might show it to the next 20%. If they love it, they will continue to show it to more and more people.



This is why the quality of your followers matters! If you only have 300 followers, but every single one of them is a die-hard fan, they will all be likely to engage with your account and Instagram will continue to push your photos to more of them and it might even get seen by most of your followers. Unfortunately, if you have 2000 followers, but only 300 hundred are big fans, the first 10% of people who see your photo might not all engage with it because they don’t care about it since they aren’t so committed. When this happens, Instagram assumes that your post isn’t valuable to your followers and decides not to show it on any more feeds. In the second case, only 10% of your audience sees your post.


So, how does that affect you as a business? We all know that a fan is more likely to repurchase from you or rehire you than a person that doesn’t care about your company. By having a following that is small but loyal, your posts have a better chance of getting engaged with, meaning that more of your fans will get informed about new products or specials you’re running, which will ultimately result in more sales for you and a better bottom line for your biz! With an unengaged following, you run the risk of not getting your posts seen by those few followers that truly care about you or your products, meaning that in the end, you’ll reap less financial benefits from promoting your business on Instagram!


So what is the solution here?

Next week, we'll be talking about all the steps you can take to keep your following small, but valuable! Check back to find out actionable steps that you can apply right away.



If your head is already spinning with all this social media talk, check out our social media management packages so we can help you out!

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Michelle Pijanowski

Michelle Pijanowski, better known as PJ, is our go-to girl for all things social. Don’t let her love of gourmet ice cream and appreciation of craft beer fool you! She isn’t your average millennial whose experience starts and ends with an Insta account. A traveller at heart, PJ has always been excited by storytelling and connecting with people from all walks of life. Her passion for content creation started when she accidentally landed an internship in marketing that ended up leading her into the worlds of social media and journalism. Despite not even having a personal Instagram at the time, she immediately fell in love with helping brands grow a community through the power of the internet. She’s worked with businesses of all shapes and sizes, from hotels to restaurants to startups. After years of learning the ins and outs of different social networks and completing her degree in Communication and Media, PJ is stoked to help brands build a human connection with a virtual audience.

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