A few years ago, everyone started an Instagram account with the aim to increase their sales or their number of followers, and the first solution that came to their mind was buying a bunch of fake or real followers. People including A-list celebrities started paying money for unreal followers but they didn’t know they were making a huge mistake because the Instagram algorithm was changing over time; Soon it became a challenge for digital marketers to detect & delete fake followers on Instagram due to harsh punishments that were on the way for those accounts having a bunch of fake followers with them. Today’s story in the Instamber blog is about discussing the ways to delete fake & ghost followers on Instagram.

Why deleting fake or ghost followers on Instagram became a challenge

Today interaction and real engagements are among the key factors that Instagram currently values first to boost an account. The problem with fake or ghost followers is that they cannot have meaningful interactions. As a result, they undermine the reputation and credibility of your account by, for example, failing to leave relevant and meaningful comments on your posts. Therefore, deleting your fake followers on Instagram is a necessity because Instagram has been detecting and deleting these fake or inactive accounts with the aid of machine learning since 2014, and it may also ban accounts with numerous fake followers.

In fact, Instagram does not value accounts with a huge number of fake followers as these fake followers reduce your engagement rate. Besides, brands spend tons of money on influencer marketing and if an influencer has a ton of fake followers, it means a fraction of the budget spent by these brands and companies to get their ads seen by real people and to increase their return on investment is actually wasted on fake accounts! Therefore, if you want to be a successful influencer, you have to avoid buying fake followers, buying existing accounts, buying likes and comments, and last but not least you have to learn how to delete fake followers because they are considerably reducing your engagement rate. Now let’s see what fake or ghost followers are and how we can spot them.

What are fake or ghost followers?

As the name suggests, fake followers do not represent real people. They are, in fact, created on social media such as Instagram by bots or people for following other people and hyping their popularity. However, since these followers are not created by real people or are not authentic, they cannot engage in real interactions and they have no interest in the content. People buy fake followers to ‘appear’ more popular but since these fake or ghost followers are not run by real people, they fail to meaningfully engage with the influencers’ content and do not satisfy the expectations of brands that massively invest in the influence of these influencers and their followers to attract true and relevant consumers and grow their business.

Brands are now perfectly aware that a large number of followers does not necessarily equal more influence because analyses have revealed that not all profiles with a large number of followers can effectively present the content to real people. These profiles, which use fake followers to ‘appear’ more popular’, cannot present the content and ads to real people and thus they hinder the success of marketing attempts. For example, assume a company spends money on creating infographics, videos, giveaways, etc. but the content is not ‘seen’ by real people and the potential customer. How can a company attract more customers if the content it publishes is not even really seen by real people and accounts that are run by real people?! Companies pay influencers to influence their followers and encourage them to buy their products or services but how can influencers that didn’t build their followers organically influence other people?

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When you have tons of followers but these followers that are actually robots and inactive accounts do not like the posts or comment on them or they just manage to leave automated fake comments, etc. However, people gradually realize that these followers are fake and it damages your reputation instead of boosting it. Moreover, all these fake followers that are sold by companies at very low prices may get detected and deleted suddenly by Instagram, which will damage your reputation even more!

How to detect fake followers on Instagram?

Now that you know what fake followers are, let’s take a look at some of the signs that show you an account is probably fake and is not run by a real person. Understanding these signs helps you identify and successfully delete fake followers in the next steps.

1. The name of the account contains many numbers or it does not make sense

Sometimes the names of fake follower accounts are composed of many numbers such as “abby125448989” and sometimes the names don’t even make sense. An example of the latter is “xgkdlaoejgg”. You should carefully pay attention to these unusual patterns in the names when searching for ghost or fake followers on Instagram.

2. Unusual number of followings

Another revealing sign of a fake Instagram account is a huge number of followings but a very small number of followers. An Instagram account that follows tons of other accounts is probably a bot.

Besides, fake accounts do not meaningfully engage with the content on Instagram or sometimes have very abnormally high engagement rates. An example of these accounts is a fake account that does not like posts, does not common on posts, or does not take part in the giveaways and contests.

3. Low-quality or very few posts

Another telling sign of a fake or ghost account is the lack of good-quality content or the considerably low number of posts. In other words, the quantity and quality of authentic and real Instagram accounts tend to grow over time. Therefore, an account that creates a few posts at the beginning and then stops posting is probably run by a bot rather than a real human.

4. Empty or copied information

Another sign that shows an account might be fake is that the “bio” section is empty or it is filled with very little data. This section may also contain information copied from other sources.

5. No profile photo or stolen profile photo

On a platform like Instagram, the lack of a profile picture could be a sign of a fake and inauthentic account. Besides, some Instagram accounts are created with photos and pictures of other people or photos from Google or other websites to sound like authentic accounts. These accounts are not run by the people they ‘appear’ to represent and are usually used to catfish other users. Therefore, you should definitely spot and delete these fake followers.

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Are cleaner apps recommended for removing fake followers?

The truth is that you have to delete fake followers on Instagram and the safest way of getting rid of your ghost or fake followers is by manually removing them, which is a time-consuming process but it’s worth it. That is to say, all those cleaner apps and bots developed for this purpose are either useless or are not safe to use, and some of them are also basically filters. They fail to analyze and track all of your Instagram followers. For example, they can only keep away fake followers from the moment you start using them. They cannot detect all those fake followers that started following you before installing the app. They cannot accurately identify all the inactive accounts and if they break the Instagram rules in an attempt to identify and delete the fake followers, your account could get disabled by Instagram. Examples of apps that are developed for tracking and deleting fake followers include Cleaner for IG, Unfollow Users Plus, and Unfollow Easy.

Our solution is a combination of the following two effective solutions to delete your ghost or fake followers on Instagram, which is a must and has to be done as soon as possible: 1- Deleting the fake followers manually, and 2- Mitigating the impact of your fake followers, which are going to be detected and deleted by Instagram anyway, by increasing your followers’ engagement rate.

How to delete fake followers on Instagram?

You have to start by scrolling through your followers list. As mentioned, look for account names that don’t make sense or contain many numbers. Examples of such account names include “Samcharmssssss1295327” or “jets891274”. Instagram accounts that have very few followers but have very huge followings could also be fake accounts that are not run by real people. Other examples include accounts with low-quality posts or very few posts as well as accounts with very few likes and comments. You have to detect these followers and delete them one by one. You can also take the following steps to protect your reputation from the effect of fake followers by mitigating their impact on your marketing performance.

  1. Create sharable and savable content

One of the best ways to increase your followers’ engagement is by creating valuable content that might be saved or shared by your followers. For example, post carousel photos that contain valuable information and might be saved by your audience. As for sharable content, create relatable content that might be needed and liked by your audience. These measures will improve your engagement rate and your performance on the platform.

2. Gain more real followers by advertising

Advertising is one of the most effective solutions for organically increasing the number of your real followers. By attracting more real followers that are actually interested in your content, you basically increase your engagement rate. Different types of ads on Instagram include video ads, photo ads, carousel ads, and IGTV ads.

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3. Use stories stickers

The stories stickers allow you to increase your engagement rate in various ways. Examples of these stories stickers include the quiz, donation, DM Me, gift card, and location stickers. Use the different stories stickers to interact with your followers and improve your performance.

  1. Conduct contests and giveaways

You can increase your engagement rate by running fun contests and giveaways that attract the attention of your followers. For instance, you can run contests and reward the winners with your products. The winners can engage by commenting on the posts or writing the best caption for a photo. However, note that you should give away gifts that your potential customers will like because they will probably join your community of customers in the future.

  1. Use a variety of content types

You can also create different types of content such as videos, memes, and infographics to increase your engagement rate. For example, creating fun videos using Instagram Reel is one of the most effective ways of attaining this goal.

  1. Use the right hashtags

Identifying the hashtags that bring more followers to your account is a determining factor. Hashtag tracking tools that analyze the performance of your hashtags and identify the more successful hashtags are highly recommended. Examples of hashtag tracking and analytics tools that allow you to monitor your hashtag performance include Pixlee’s Instagram analytics tool and Hashtagify. These tools provide hashtag statistics, allow you to monitor conversations about your brand, and depict the performance of the hashtags you use.

  1. Time your posts carefully

Posting content at the right time can massively increase your followers’ engagement rate as well as your marketing results as the end goal. That is to say, you should figure out when your followers are most active and post the content exactly at those times. This will boost your engagement rate while also increasing your authenticity in the eyes of Instagram. But how can you find the right time to post? We suggest that you start using Instagram analytics tools that help you find out the content your audiences like, their engagement rate, what they click on, when they are online, the performance of your different posts, and your strengths. Two of the good Instagram analytics tools are Instagram Insights and Hype Auditor. Now let’s take a look at Instagram Insights as one of the best Instagram analytics tools that will help you improve your performance as an influencer.

  • Instagram Insights

This helpful and perfectly safe tool allows you to freely monitor your followers’ engagement rate, analyze your post-specific performance. In order to use this tool, you need a ‘business or creator account on Instagram’. When you are all set, you can easily start using this useful tool by logging into your Instagram account and tapping the Insights button. This tool allows you to monitor your account’s reach and impressions, your account activities, your top posts, the interactions on your Instagram content including all the likes, comments, and shares. It also shows you how many followers you have lost or gained, your audience’s age range, and last but not least the times they are most active.