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How to stop a downward trend in Instagram followers and likes (and do a turnaround)

If you’re noticing a downward trend in Instagram followers and likes, it’s time to get to work.

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Image: KnowTechie

Brands, influencers, and average users alike generally want to see an upward trend in Instagram followers and likes. Sometimes that can level off to no growth, which isn’t ideal, but there are certainly ways to make those numbers start increasing. Sometimes, though, you might be seeing a downward or negative trend in your Instagram followers and likes – and that’s the last thing you want. 

If your follower count is beginning to decrease or you’re getting fewer and fewer likes on your posts, it’s time to pause, analyze what’s happening, and turn things around as soon as possible. Today we’re going to dive into how to spot this downward trend, why it might be happening, and how to turn it around and start growing again.

How To Spot A Downward Trend Of Instagram Followers & Likes

Unless you’re keeping close track of your follower count and how many likes you’re getting, it might actually be difficult to spot a downward trend. Instagram notifies you when you gain followers, but it doesn’t tell you when you lose them. So, it’s a good idea to monitor your Instagram account regularly so you have a general idea of how many followers you have and how much engagement you’re getting.

Your Engagement Is Low

You can tell if you’re on a downward trend if your followers aren’t liking, commenting, and engaging with your content. If you know that you typically get 50 likes on a post and you begin getting 30, then 20 then single digits, you’ll know quickly that something’s wrong. There are a few reasons this may be happening. 

First of all, maybe you posted at a bad time. Experiment with different posting schedules and try mixing up the kind of content you’re creating. If you try different things and you’re still getting low engagement, you need to look for another reason.

If you buy followers or have fake bots as followers, they’re not going to engage with your posts. Even if it seemed like a good idea at the time to increase your follower count, these fake followers can actually hurt you in the long run. Sometimes they’ll even start to unfollow you, too, which means it was just a general waste of money.

For example, @adaptiveinsights probably has an engagement problem. They have 802 followers, but only received 21 likes and one comment on this post. They should start changing up their kinds of posts and evaluate their followers to see if they’re really making a good impact.

If you’re not sure how your overall engagement is, you can easily check your engagement rate with an Instagram engagement rate calculator. Simply add your username and let the tool do the calculation for you.

You’re Not Posting Enough 

Another reason you might be losing engagement is by not posting frequently. If you’re not consistently posting content, your audience can become uninterested and disengage or unfollow your profile. They might even forget who you are and why they followed you in the first place.

Consistent posting is the key to success on Instagram. The best way to do so is by having a content calendar. Take the time to think about what kind of posts you want to create and plan out when you want to post your content. This can help you stick to a schedule and keep your account top of mind.

After you’ve posted consistently for a month or a few weeks, check the analytics that Instagram provides to see what your audience likes and engages with most often. Then, create more posts like that to ensure that you’re getting good engagement.

You’re Not Using The Right Hashtags

Hashtags are a great way to generate engagement and promote growth for your Instagram account. However, it’s all about using the best hashtags. If you’re using hashtags that are too big, like those with 300,000 or more posts, or hashtags that are too small, that can lead to fewer likes and followers. When you use hashtags that are too big, your posts will likely get lost. When you use hashtags that are too small, you’re not going to land in front of many new people.

You also want to be careful about accidentally using banned hashtags. These often seem like they’re innocent, but they’re banned because of improper use by people on the app. If you use one banned hashtag mixed with other non-banned hashtags, your post could be blocked from reaching even your followers.

If you’re using hashtags that are the right size, but not targeting the correct audience, that can lead to less engagement as well. There’s a lot that goes into hashtag strategy. If your hashtags aren’t targeting the right people, then they won’t engage with your post. No matter how many people see it, if it isn’t meant for them, they probably won’t want to engage.

How To Get More Instagram Followers And Likes 

Now that we’ve talked about how to determine if your Instagram followers and likes are low, as well as a few ways to stop the decline, let’s look at how to fully turn around the downward trend.

Optimize Your Instagram Bio

When you’re ready to start growing your following again, you’ll want to start by optimizing your bio. It might seem like an odd first step, but think about it. When someone discovers your account, whether it’s through a hashtag, if someone sent your post to them or even through a promoted post, they have to go to your profile to follow you. While they’re there, they’ll see your bio.

If your bio is unclear or doesn’t resonate with them, they might click away. Spend some time thinking about what makes for good Instagram bios and then get to writing! You’ll be able to rest assured that anyone who comes across your page will know if they’re the right fit.

Work With Influencers

Working with influencers to create excellent content is a great way to grow your following or increase your likes. There are a few ways you can work with influencers. First of all, you can hire them to simply promote your product, service, or overall page. They’ll talk about your brand and what you’re selling, and they’ll promote it to their audience. If you use affiliate links, you can easily see how many sales they’re bringing into your business.

You can also work with influencers to host contests specifically designed to grow your following or boost your engagement. For example, you can co-host a giveaway where they tell their followers to go and follow your account or like a few of your recent posts in order to be entered to win. This is a great option because it boosts your Instagram presence and it gets your product or service in the hands of a potential customer so they can try it out.

Make Sure Your Know How The Instagram Algorithm Works

When you’re actually creating content, you should always create it for your followers – not the algorithm. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the algorithm into account. After all, that’s how your posts will be promoted. Here are a few fast facts about the algorithm and how Instagram determines what content shows up in someone’s feed.

What time you post matters. The algorithm will see how engaged your followers are right after you post. If they aren’t engaging quickly, the algorithm will assume your content isn’t very good, so it won’t promote it to more people. On the other hand, if you start getting likes and comments right away, it will push it to more of your followers. If it does well there, it’ll keep expanding who sees it, potentially landing it on the “Explore” page.

Recently the algorithm has been favoring video posts over static posts. So, if you can, try adding some Reels and other videos into your content creation mix. This way the algorithm will be more likely to show your posts to more people.

Shares, saves, and comments are the most important forms of engagement for the algorithm. Likes are great, but they take very little effort from your audience. Instead, if someone takes the time to save your post or share it with someone else or type out a comment that’s four or more words, the algorithm sees that they’re trying to make an effort and will see your post as more valuable.

Cross-Promote Your Instagram

Finally, another great way to increase your Instagram followers and likes is by promoting your Instagram account in other places. If you have a strong following on YouTube, Twitter or Facebook, share your posts to those platforms occasionally or mention your Instagram account in a video. Leave a link to your Instagram on your website and add it to your email signature. Or, write an email or a social media post dedicated to how great your Instagram account is. Give your readers a peek into the kind of content you share on Instagram, and then give them the link to follow you there.

If people are already your fans elsewhere, they’re likely to want to see your content and engage with your posts on Instagram. They might just need a little guidance and encouragement to show them where to go.

Putting It Together

So, if you’re noticing a downward trend in Instagram followers and likes or you suspect it might be going that way, it’s time to get to work. Start creating excellent content, follow the algorithm, use the right hashtags, and optimize your bio. Promote your Instagram account on other platforms, work with influencers, and post consistently. You’ll be back on the Instagram growth train in no time.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Chris has been blogging since the early days of the internet. He primarily focuses on topics related to tech, business, marketing, and pretty much anything else that revolves around tech. When he's not writing, you can find him noodling around on a guitar or cooking up a mean storm for friends and family.

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