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How to identify and remove Instagram ghost followers — and why you should

Amplify content , Drive conversion

Lauren Venticinque

Lauren Venticinque

Marketing Communications Manager

November 27, 2023

instagram ghost followers

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It’s easy to assume that when it comes to Instagram, the more followers you have, the better. But that’s not always the case — especially where ghost or fake followers are concerned. Creative Impact Collective, a consulting membership for small-business owners, recently deleted 20,000 of its Instagram followers . That’s a quarter of its followers.

Why? Because after conducting a quality audit of its account, founder Fab Giovanetti made a startling discovery: their engagement rate — the percentage of followers who engage with its posts — was a mere 0.1%. Meanwhile, the average engagement rate for an Instagram business profile is 4.7%.

Lots of Giovanetti’s followers weren’t liking and commenting on her content. But not just because they were infrequent users or were uninterested in her posts — thousands weren’t real followers at all. They were fake accounts created by bots. Essentially, they were ghosts.

Odds are your brand’s Instagram also has ghost followers that can hurt your credibility and lower your engagement rate. So here’s everything you need to know about Instagram ghost followers, including how to find them, remove them, and avoid them.

What are Instagram ghost followers?

Instagram ghost followers are inactive or fake Instagram accounts that may follow you, contributing to your overall follower count. However, they never interact with your content.

Sometimes these accounts are created by real people who simply don’t use their account. However, they’re often social bots with no actual users behind them.

instagram ghost followers

These accounts exist because people are willing to pay for followers, which has created a market for fake follower accounts. All those fake followers must be created though, and this process is often automated.

Just because you didn’t purchase them doesn’t mean these fakes aren’t lurking in your follower count. The Institute of Contemporary Music Performance conducted an audit of 100 of the most successful Instagram accounts and found that up to half of all the accounts following celebrities like Taylor Swift, Ellen DeGeneres, and Ariana Grande weren’t real at all.

“All large Instagram profiles have some percentage of ghost followers,” says David Dundas, founder of influencer marketing agency HelloConvo. He estimates that 10% to 20% of brand accounts’ followers are fakes.

How do you identify them?

The Instagram ghost followers that are easiest to spot have no profile picture, no posts, and a high ratio of people-they-follow to followers. They may also have a username that looks like gibberish or is composed of random numbers.

In the example below, this account has no profile photo or posts, and it’s following more than 2,000 people but has no followers. Most likely, we’re looking at a ghost account.

instagram ghost followers

However, a fake Instagram account can sometimes appear to be real. They may have a more convincing username and even a few actual photos posted.

What’s so bad about ghost followers?

If you’re concerned only about your number of Instagram followers, ghost followers won’t harm your account. In fact, you might even be grateful for the boost. But those fake followers could hurt your bottom line if you collaborate with an influencer or manage a brand account . 

They harm your credibility

Anyone can appear to be influential on Instagram these days by purchasing a few thousand followers. Since social media has become a competitive space, organically gaining followers can take time and effort. Many brands and influencers are fighting for consumers’ attention, leading to an increase in purchasing fake followers.  

These days though it’s common practice for businesses to analyze an account’s following to ensure they’re teaming up with the real deal — a person or brand that can deliver a worthwhile return on investment .

“When we evaluate influencers on behalf of brands, we use sophisticated tools to understand the makeup of your audience,” Dundas says. “We also do a ‘spot check’ looking at the comments on posts, as well as a quick scroll of your followers to see whether they’re real or not. If things look strange or they don’t have real conversations in the comments, we’re not likely to work with the influencer.”

Because Instagram users are typically paid based on the size of their audience, companies that team up with businesses and influencers that have fake followers are often paying to reach people that don’t even exist. For example, a report by cybersecurity firm Cheq estimates that fake followers cost brands $1.3 billion in 2019 alone .

instagram ghost followers

That’s why companies usually now include language in their contracts that addresses Instagram ghost followers.

So if you’re working with other brands or creators, it’s important to ensure that your followers are legit, so you can establish and maintain an honest and mutually beneficial partnership.

They lower your engagement rate

Just as Giovanetti discovered, Instagram ghost followers can make your content less engaging because fake followers don’t interact with your content. For example, let’s say you have 10,000 followers, but you’re getting only 30 likes per photo. In this case, it’s obvious, at a glance, to any savvy Instagram user that your engagement rate is incredibly low.

An account with many followers but low engagement likely has a lot of ghosts contributing to that high follower count. And if your posts aren’t getting enough attention from followers, they’re certainly not going to attract advertisers.

To calculate your account’s engagement rate, divide the number of likes and comments of your 10 most recent posts received by your number of followers. Then, multiply the value by 100.

Engagement rate = likes + comments ÷ followers x 100

Fewer people will see your content

Instagram’s algorithm predicts what kind of posts users want to see in their feeds based on what they’ve liked and commented on previously. And it’s more likely to display content based on how engaging it is.

If your brand announces a new product and the post generates a lot of interactions, the algorithm is likely to place this post in more of your followers’ feeds. This could also land it on Instagram’s coveted Explore page , where users are recommended posts from accounts they don’t follow.

A post that doesn’t attract many likes or comments, however, won’t have as much reach because Instagram’s algorithm deems it less relevant to users’ interests.

When your account has a lot of ghost followers that don’t engage with your content, this lack of interaction affects your post’s visibility. Not only is it less likely to appear in your fake followers’ feeds, but it’s also less likely to show up in your other followers’ feeds.

This can create a vicious cycle: your engagement rate drops, so fewer people view your content. And the fewer users who see your posts mean your engagement rate will decrease again.

How do fake followers impact Instagram influencer campaigns?

Fake Instagram followers reduce the effectiveness of any influencer marketing program. If the influencers who make up the program don’t have real followers, any content shared by them is unlikely to yield the desired results, if any. The program won’t return any sales, engagement, or reach.

Plus, the follower count is typically the measure that defines the influencer’s rate card . So if a brand hires an influencer with 50,000 followers of which 30,000 followers are fake, then it’s simply paying for bots and not real audiences. In which case it’s a refund or no business in the first place.

How do you check for Instagram ghost followers?

There’s several ways to do a ghost followers audit on Instagram. It can be done manually or through automated tools. 

Manual Instagram fake follower audit

It’s quite simple to check whether an account is suspicious or not. Here’s five steps to detect Instagram fake followers: 

  • Check the profile bio or information. Suspicious accounts will have very little information about the profile, with fewer or no posts  
  • Check if they have any profile picture or real name in their username. If you notice that the followers’ accounts have no profile pic or poorly written usernames, this can be a sign of a fake follower. For example, @u_stole_my_heart looks real, but @donjhonson765432af could be a bot 
  • Check the following-to-follower ratio. Bots usually have a large following and no followers
  • Check for an unnatural rate of activity in your or the influencer’s account. If you see fluctuations in the account activity, the account may have bots. A real influencer’s account activity will have no such imbalance for the most part. The level of engagement will be steady
  • Check for weird commenting patterns on posts. Advanced bot services are programmed to leave comments on posts to make them seem real. But, it’s easy to determine a fake comment because the comments are too robotic and generic, usually simple one or two-word comments, such as “good job,” “nice,” or “beautiful”

Automated Instagram follower audit 

Doing an Instagram fake follower audit manually can be time-consuming, especially if you want to partner with multiple influencers for one campaign or focus your elsewhere, like on strategy.

Automated tools like Bazaarvoice can do all the heavy lifting for you by analyzing an influencer’s follower and engagement rates to determine if any fake followers are lurking in their accounts.

How to remove Instagram ghost followers

Once you’ve determined you have ghost followers, it’s time to remove them. It may seem daunting, especially if you have thousands of fake followers, but the best way to remove Instagram ghost followers is to do so manually. “I would literally go through our followers list and click on anyone who looked suspicious,” Giovanetti writes .

While apps exist that claim to identify and remove bot-created accounts, Instagram has banned apps that identify and remove ghost followers in bulk. Connecting one to your account can result in Instagram flagging your account and you potentially losing access to it. You also won’t have full control over which accounts are removed from your followers’ list.

fake followers

Plus, there’s an upside to manually removing those Instagram ghost followers. “A great perk of doing this is that I got to re-engage with active followers who may forget about us by liking some of their pictures, which also sparked up our engagement,” Giovanetti says.

Once you’ve purged your account of those fake followers, Dundas suggests being proactive and doing a bit of “house cleaning” every three months to remove ghost followers.

How to avoid Instagram ghost followers

The only way to completely prevent bots and fakes from following your Instagram account is to set your profile to private, so you have to approve each new follower. 

Obviously, this isn’t an option for brands. However, there’s steps you can take — or not take — to keep those ghostly followers to a minimum.

Don’t purchase followers

Paying for Instagram followers is essentially purchasing ghost followers, so forego the temptation and focus on growing your Instagram following organically .

“Don’t buy followers,” Dundas advises. “It will forever impact your performance with the Instagram algorithm.”

Instead, he recommends making “audience reactivation” part of your ongoing social strategy. “Reply to all comments on your posts, engage daily with existing followers by leaving comments on their posts, and engage with new accounts in your niche that aren’t following you. This practice generates authentic conversations that give positive signals to the Instagram algorithm, and will increase your engagement rate.”

fake followers

Don’t buy an existing Instagram account

There’s companies that sell Instagram accounts that already have a following, but purchasing an existing account won’t actually give you a head start. More than likely, all those followers are exactly the kind you want to avoid: bot-created accounts.

Don’t pay for engagement

Instead of taking the time to manually delete all those ghost followers, some users opt to improve their engagement rate by purchasing likes, comments, and Instagram Story views.

But while this may boost your metrics in the short-run, it’s not a sustainable practice, and soon you’ll be right back to where you started.

Find authentic influencers 

Many influencers stand out for their authenticity , skillfully representing your brand and compelling the audience to make purchases. Seek out these genuine creators with legitimate followers and engagement from real audiences.

Some brands will choose to focus on nano- and micro-influencers (accounts with a lower number of followers) as they tend to have a genuine online presence and are less likely to have ghost followers. That’s why they have much higher engagement.

Create content that attracts real followers and engagement

Unfortunately, ghost followers just come with the Instagram territory for now. While it’s certainly a good idea to do a regular audit of your followers and clean out the inactive users and fakes, the one surefire way to attract real quality followers and get loads of comments and likes is to simply post authentic, engaging content.

Of course, that’s easier said than done, but we’ve got countless ideas to help you capture the attention of Instagram users — and secure their follows.

Start by taking a look at your Instagram analytics to determine what kind of content your audience engages with, then read this guide for social media professionals to drive engagement and commerce to take your social strategy to the next level.

how to get rid of ghost followers on instagram

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How to Remove Ghost Followers on Instagram [Safely in 2022]

how to get rid of ghost followers on instagram

Want to know how to remove ghost followers on Instagram? This is the exact way I did it!

If you want to remove ghost followers on Instagram, you can’t use those glitchy apps in the Apple Store. Seriously, don’t use a ghost followers app because it might block you from certain actions (or worse get your account banned).

This is because Instagram does not like third-party apps that are not authenticated by Instagram, and as it goes, most, if not all of these ghost follower apps are not approved by Instagram.

In this post, you’ll learn the exact steps on how to remove ghost followers on your account without flagging Instagram’s algorithm. If you’re going to go through the efforts of increasing your engagement by removing ghost followers, you have to do it safely!

Too lazy to read the whole post? This section has the safest method on identifying your ghost followers to remove.

Please note that this is a reader-supported site. Purchases made through genuinely recommended links may earn a commission at no extra cost to you.   Learn more.

What are ghost followers on Instagram?

The ghost followers meaning in terms of Instagram are basically followers that are inactive or fake accounts (bought and/or from giveaways) that don’t engage with your content. They boost your follower count without actually adding any value to your content.

You can get ghost followers from:

  • buying fake followers,
  • participating in giveaways
  • or if you’ve been on the app for a long time.

For example, if you’ve had Instagram for five+ years ( like me ), then most likely there have been some followers who followed you at first but then just left the app for good. Also, if you’ve changed your niche/content, then some of your followers might not be interested in your content anymore and haven’t engaged in a long time.

Come say hi on my ig: @sarchetrit.

Best Benefit of Removing Inactive Followers on Instagram

The biggest benefit of removing inactive followers is that your engagement goes up. When your engagement goes up, your content actually gets seen.

As an influencer, with more engagement, you can get better brand deals, and as a business, with more engagement, you can get more relevant customers.

As I’ve personally removed ghost followers, I’ve noticed a big difference in my story views. In removing about 1000 followers, my story views have gone up about 300-400 views!

What Ghost Follower Apps and Services to Avoid

You pretty much want to avoid all ghost follower apps you find in the Apple and Google Play Store. Instagram is getting smarter and smarter by the day and can detect unusual bot activity. I’ve heard horror stories of people getting their accounts deactivated by using these unauthorized third-party apps so avoid them at all costs.

I personally tried to use a couple of these ghost follower apps and was sketched out when they needed to get into my account after I removed two-factor authentication– no thank you.

Also, their analysis of ghost followers is not that good. They only check the recent x number of followers you got who naturally may have not liked your content as much as old followers have.

Avoid ghost follower apps at all cost!

As for services you might find on Fiverr, avoid any who want to build a bot for you . Removing ghost followers has to be done manually on your own phone.

How to Get Rid of Ghost Followers the Right Way

1. do it yourself method #1.

The best way to get rid of ghost followers is to see which of your followers have NOT liked or commented on your photos.

If you have a scraping program, you would take a list of all your followers and compare it to the list of everyone liking and commenting on your pictures. Those who have not liked or commented on your last 60 photos but follow you are most likely ghost followers.

Then you’d take that list and manually force unfollow everyone slowly in the app. See below how to force unfollow.

Yes, manually unfollowing is very important, and it’s best not to do more than 30 force unfollows per hour (to not alarm that sensitive algorithm).

2. Do It Yourself Method #2

how to get rid of ghost followers on instagram

This method is a little less calculated but still effective (as shown by @creativeimpactco who cleared out 20,000 ghost followers).

Basically, you go through your followers list one by one and remove people who look “suspicious” as they said.

When they said “suspicious”, they probably meant accounts with no profile pictures and no posts or old accounts without any activity on it for awhile.

See below how to force unfollow.

3. Hire Someone for a List and Do it Strategically

The majority of us do not have scraping programs or even know how to do this. It can also be time consuming and tedious if you have a large number of followers.

As a result, I recommend hiring this guy on Fiverr. Here’s why.

After checking out a few peoples’ profiles and messaging back and forth with them, I chose to work with Tom because he offered me a pure list for me to go off of. Everyone else I talked to recommended bots or some type of automation, which is a clear no, not only in my book but in Instagram’s book.

I grabbed the largest package of his , got a list full of details in a few days then started force unfollowing inactive followers manually. See below how to force unfollow.

I haven’t been consistent with it and force unfollowing people is making me lose followers overall, but within a couple of weeks, I’ve already started seeing my story views go up.

I’d rather lose followers and have higher engagement, then get more followers and lower engagement because I want people to see my content!

Check out Tom’s service on Fiverr.

How to Force an Inactive Follower to Unfollow You

Before you start force unfollowing people, you need to know that:

  • You shouldn’t force unfollow more than 30 per hour. This is to stay safe within Instagram’s algorithm and it does not think you are botting in any way.
  • If you do a huge batch, then take a 20-minute break before you start another one.
  • I can’t stress this enough but it has to be done within the app on your phone manually.

Now that you know the rules for force unfollowing, here’s how to actually do it (screenshots below).

  • Go to the profile of the inactive ghost follower that you want to force unfollow you.
  • Tap on the three dots in the top right corner.
  • Tap Remove Follower.
  • Tap Remove.

Photo of how to force unfollow a follower on Instagram

Check out my ig @sarchetrit.

Pro Tip for Mac Users: This process can be quite tedious when doing a batch at a time so I like to:

  • have the Excel sheet of ghost followers that Tom gave me open on my Mac,
  • copy a user’s name on my Mac
  • and paste it* into the Instagram app.

This only works if your Mac and iPhone are synced to copy and paste between each other, but if yours are, then use this method. It really saves a ton of time from tediously typing in each follower’s username.

Hope you found this post to be helpful. If you liked this post, you might like this post on learning how to become an Instagram influencer .

If you need more help with Instagram, feel free to ask me anything in my free Facebook group or check out my TikTok.

xo, Sarah @sarchetrit

Was this helpful? please share the wealth on:

how to get rid of ghost followers on instagram

How to Remove Ghost Followers on Instagram

Thursday 2nd of February 2023

hi sarah I have sports page for my business in instagram .In that 4.5 followers are inactive/bot .How can i remove that followers .kindly help me to remove this

Saturday 7th of January 2023

hey Sarah, Thankyou so so much for your blog on story views and this particular one helped me a lot .I was worried from last two years about how to access ghost followers on my business account and all credit goes to you for directing me to Tom.He gave me a list of ghost followers today and i was surprised to see it.It took away all my worries about my account. Please keep sharing such knowledgeable content.

Love, pooja

Tuesday 17th of May 2022

I stupidly deleted 1,400 ghost accounts in 2 hours instead of in small batches as you wrote here (I read this after I had done it) and now IG has looted my reach even more as it didn’t show my reel to many people…. Should I repost it? And if so, how long should I wait as IG thinks I was using bots!

Monday 20th of December 2021

Finding your blog super helpful overall. Thanks Sarah!!

Sarah Chetrit

Wednesday 5th of January 2022

happy to hear! thanks for taking time out of your day to let me know.

Wednesday 16th of June 2021

I got around 2000 bot followers on instagram recently and they won't stop so I temporarily disabled my account however, I want to get back to my account ASAP but teh bots won't stop following me. What do I do?

Ah that's so annoying! Would you want to change your username? Or keep your account private for now?

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  • Social Media

How to remove fake Instagram followers

How to remove fake Instagram followers

Virtually everyone has a few non-active Instagram followers – the trouble is, they can seriously damage your chances of earning money as an influencer.

Sometimes, fake followers just happen – but lots of people have paid to have a few extra followers added to their account. For anyone who wants to be taken seriously today, buying fake followers is a bad idea – but it hasn’t always been this way. Back when Instagram was fairly new, spending a bit of cash to boost your follower count gave instant authority and appeal – so there are plenty of accounts out there with more than their fair share of inactive or bot followers.

Whether you’ve bought followers in the past – or you’ve just picked up lots of inactive followers on Instagram, we’ll help you put things right.

This guide covers a handful of helpful points, including:

  • Why inactive followers on Instagram are bad news for brands
  • How to find your inactive followers on Instagram
  • How to get rid of ghost followers
  • Deleting ghost followers with an Instagram app

When you’ve finished reading, you’ll understand what you need to do to make sure your account is exactly what brands are looking for.

What is a ghost follower on Instagram?

On Instagram, ghost followers are fake or inactive users who don’t engage with any of the content you create.

Generally, these accounts have been created by an application referred as a ‘bot’ – a piece of software that automatically goes through the Instagram sign-up process in order to send spam messages and comments to other users. 

Most fake accounts are easy to spot. They tend to have names that make no sense – often with numbers thrown in for no reason. When you look at the profile, you’ll normally see very low follower numbers – but they’re usually be following a huge number of accounts .

Of course, it’s not just the numbers that do the talking. Their content is usually poor quality or obviously stolen from other, legitimate accounts – and all their content will tend to have very few likes or comments.

Bot accounts aren’t the only ones to watch out for though. Sometimes, in an effort to get more followers, account owners hand over their password to spammers - who then hi-jack the profile. These hi-jacked accounts can be trickier to spot – but if you see a sudden change from ordinary pictures to promotional posts, it’s a good indication that it’s now a spam account.

Any account that’s been created purely to boost numbers or distribute spam is bad news, and you’re better off without them if you want to use your account to work with legitimate brands.

How to spot a fake Instagram account

Why do ghost followers on Instagram cost brands money?

What harm are a few fake followers, really?

Well, to the brands that invest in influencer marketing – the answer might surprise you.

According to a report by an international cybersecurity firm, 2019 saw around £6.9 billion ($8.5 billion) spent on influencer marketing worldwide . The authors of the report calculated that 15% of the audience that ‘saw’ the posts that brands had paid for were actually bot accounts – meaning over £1 billion ($1.2 billion) worth of that budget was lost on fake followers .

For influencer marketing to make sense to a brand, it has to represent a solid return on investment (ROI) – essentially, it should create more money from sales made through influencers than was spent on the advertising in the first place.

This means two things for influencers. Firstly, brands will be very, very cautious about working with you if it looks like you have (or have ever had) fake followers. Secondly, if fake followers are a problem that influencers don’t tackle in their own accounts, then influencer marketing will rapidly decline in popularity – closing the door on your opportunity to make money online.

Fake followers are bad news for brands – which makes them bad news for anyone looking to work with those brands as a paid influencer. 

How many Instagram followers are real?

So, how many ghost followers are there on Instagram?

A definitive answer is hard to find – but top cybersecurity firms say there are likely to be around 100 million fake accounts that are being used to circulate spam on the platform. When you consider that Insta has around 1 billion active users each month – that’s around 10% of active accounts being used to distribute spam.

The good news is, the legitimate accounts on the platform still represent one of the very best ways for brands to connect with potential customers. 10.7% of all referrals to e-commerce sites come from Instagram – and brands spend around 69% of their influencer budgets on the platform too. 

For now, Instagram is a marketing favourite; so there’s no better time to be establishing yourself as an influencer with a high-quality, engaged audience.

How to stop Instagram spam followers

Before we explain how to do a fake follower check and get rid of any ghost accounts you find, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re not doing anything that will attract new spam accounts.

Rule 1: Don’t buy followers

It’s perhaps an obvious thing to say – but the quickest route to getting low quality, ghost followers is to pay for them.  Don’t be fooled into thinking you’re ever going to get legit followers if you sign up to buy them – and don’t be under the illusion that you’ll be able to specify the type of followers you get.

Plain and simple – don’t buy followers. They’re a vanity metric, and they will only ever cause you problems.

Rule 2: Don’t buy an existing account

Despite the fact that it’s against Instagram rules, there are marketplaces out there that offer to sell established accounts – complete with followers. 

Sound good?

Well, unfortunately, it’s an offer that’s just too good to be true. You won’t get to see the account before you buy it – so there’s no opportunity to check for fake followers. What’s more, the chance of buying an account with a legitimate audience that’s going to be interested in what you do is very low – so when any good followers have left, it’ll just be you and your bot accounts.

Rule 3: Don’t buy likes or comments

If you’ve got a lot of followers but you’re getting very little engagement, it can be a red flag for brands who might otherwise be keen to work with you. 

With this in mind - why not buy some engagement to even things out a little?

There are quite a few reasons this is a bad idea – not least because the comments you get will often be completely irrelevant and will come from accounts that are very obviously bots.

However, the biggest reason is down to how these bought likes and comments work. The apps and services that promise all this engagement will post pictures on your feed and other users to follow you and like them. You’ll get engagement – but you’ll also get a flood of dodgy-looking followers – making absolutely certain that brands stay well away from you.

Why is buying inactive followers is a bad idea?

We’ve talked about how you’re almost certainly going to end up with thousands of ghost accounts if you buy followers – but we know those impressive follower numbers are tempting – so it’s worth looking in a little more detail about why it’s such a bad idea.

1. Your engagement rates will nosedive

Lots of people wonder what the harm is in having a few fakes numbers to make you look a little more popular than you are – but ‘followers’ is fast becoming a useless metric as far as marketing teams are concerned.

Instead, brands are going to be keen to look at your engagement rates – and if no one’s interested in what you’re posting, then you can forget about working with them on their next campaign.

Think about it this way. If you’ve got 500 followers and you’re regularly getting 50 likes or comments on your posts – then you’ve got a 10% engagement rate. 

Now, add 5,000 bought followers.

Your account looks more impressive at first glance – but those fake accounts aren’t going to engage – so you’ll still get the same 50 likes or comments that you got before. The trouble is, with your new fake followers, these 50 likes now represents an engagement rate of around 0.9% - so all that hard work that you put into getting a great engagement rate from 500 legit accounts is totally wiped out. 

2. You’ll get plenty of spam

Ready to have your DMs flooded with automated messages and attempts to get you to click out to external websites?  If you buy followers, this is exactly what’s going to happen – and in the worst cases, it can lead to fraud and identity theft. 

Bot accounts are designed to generate money – and they often do this by getting people to click through to sites that require credit card sign-ups, dodgy app downloads, or engagement in equally dubious cash-for-likes type scams. 

Even if you don’t fall for the scams – it’s really annoying. 

3. Brands know how to tell if someone has fake followers

You might be able to splash the cash if an impulse purchase jumps out at you from the sale rail when you’re shopping – but marketing teams just can’t. 

Every penny or pound spent on an advertising campaign needs to be justified – and when it comes to paying influencers, a big part of that justification is proving that the account they’re planning to use represents a good ROI.

You know what ghost followers look like – and so do the marketing teams that take a look at your follower lists. You could get in touch with your favourite brand with the best email and look like the best influencer that’s ever knocked on their door – but if your followers look suspicious, they won’t waste their time on you.

4. Kiss goodbye to your reputation

When it comes to your own personal brand, there’s a big difference between stretching the truth and out-and-out ‘Instafraud’. We’ve all shoved a pile of clutter out of the way to take the perfect selfie – and there’s no harm in applying a little filter here and there – but having fake followers is just deception when you’re working with a business. 

If you’re caught out (and trust us, you will be), the brand will almost certainly blacklist you for future collaborations. Word spreads quickly through professional networks too – and you can bet that your competitors won’t hold back in letting people know about you’ve been caught with fake followers.

Top 5 ways to spot fake influencers on Instagram

You could get your account banned

As if being blacklisted by brands and publicly shamed isn’t enough – you could find yourself with no Instagram profile at all if the platform detects suspicious activity relating to your following.

Sophisticated AIs are used by social media services to detect activity that is considered abnormal. Since very few people suddenly get 1,000 new followers, your account is likely to get flagged if you do – and these algorithms are developing all the time – so even if you feel like you’ve got away with it in the short term, Instagram is always working to make its service high quality for the brands that use it for advertising.

How to remove Instagram followers

Ready to get rid of those fake followers?

Good choice. 

If you’re going to make yourself as attractive as possible for potential collaborations, cleansing your followers is an absolute must – but be warned, there are no real shortcuts that are as effective as rolling up your sleeves and doing it yourself. What about apps that automatically unfollow ghost followers on Instagram?

There are ghost follower apps out there that promise to help you remove fake Instagram followers – but it’s important that any third-party apps and sites you use are just used as a rough guide.

Well, deleting ghost followers is something you’re going to want to dedicate a bit of time to – to ensure you’re doing it thoroughly and safely. The battle between bot accounts and detection tools is very real – and unless you’re willing to put in some hard work yourself, you’ll never be absolutely certain the spammers haven’t managed to avoid detection. 

Make sure you follow Instagram’s platform rules

When you use third-party apps alongside Instagram, you also need to be aware of the rules that they are subject to – because if you use an application that breaks those rules, you could find that your account is disabled.

Section 23 of Instagram’s platform policy explains clearly that an application must not enable more than one action at a time. An ‘action’ is the network’s way of describing anything you can do through your profile – including liking posts, commenting – and crucially; deleting followers. If you use a mass Instagram unfollow app, you might find that the app you’re using breaks this rule – and you could risk losing access to your account.

How to get rid of ghost/fake followers on Instagram for good

The best way to unfollow ghost Instagram followers is to work through your follower list in a systematic fashion. It’s time-consuming – but it’ll leave you 100% confident that your profile is completely cleansed.

We’ve put together a ‘How to Get Rid of Spam Followers on Instagram’ checklist that’ll help you do the best possible job:

Step 1 : Grab a pen and paper – or open a note on your phone. If you’ve got a lot of followers, you’re going to need to know where you’ve got up to if you (inevitably!) get distracted when you’re working through your list.

Step 2 : Scroll through your followers. Obviously, you can ignore people you know or people who you frequently engage with – but it’s a good idea to check the profile of anyone you’re not familiar with. Remember the key factors to keep a lookout for:

  • Instagram names/handles that don’t make sense or contain a lot of numbers
  • Accounts with low followers but high following numbers
  • Low-quality content – or content that seems to have suddenly become spammy
  • A lack of engagement – low likes and comment numbers on their posts

Step 3 : Get deleting. It’s a good idea to go with your gut feeling about whether or not an account is a bot – if something doesn’t seem right, it’s probably not. Remember, don’t get hung up on numbers – it’s quality that counts.

If you’re deleting directly from your followers list, just hitting the ‘remove’ button then confirming your choice on the pop-up will get the job done. If you want to remove the follower from within their own profile, you’ll need to tap the 3 dots at the top right, then choose ‘Remove follower’ from the pop-up.

How long will it take to remove ghost followers from Instagram?

Depending on your attention span, you might find it takes a few days of revisiting the task to delete all your ghost followers from Instagram – but it’s worth it. 

In fact, every time you hit that ‘Remove’ button, imagine the noise of a cash-register in your head – because by working out how to get rid of spam followers on Instagram, you’re putting in solid foundations your influencer business.

When your account is cleansed, it’s a good idea to keep on top of it – deleting any new spam followers that crop up every week or so. Since your followers are listed in chronological order, it’s fairly easy to do this – as you’ll only have to work through the top of the list each time. 

When it comes to followers, above all else, you should ask yourself – Does this account belong to someone who will add value to my Instagram community? Your answer is likely to be the same as any brand that you’d collaborate with – so don’t let a desire for a few more followers ruin your chance to make money as an influencer.

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Influencer Resources By TRIBE

How to Cleanse Your Account of Ghost Followers



Every account attracts a degree of ghost followers (bot or inactive accounts), but if you want to submit to brands on TRIBE, you’ll need to remove them. TRIBE’s AVS (Audience Vital Signs) scan , not only places a block on new accounts that don’t live up to the highest standard, but scans every existing account four times a day to detect any that have been compromised.

My account has been flagged, what does this mean?

If you see the below pop up, our AVS scan has detected ghost followers on your account. Once a flag has been raised, your account is automatically suspended.


What is a ghost follower?

what is a ghost follower

How do I cleanse my account Of g host   followers?

We’ve searched long and hard for a program that not only identifies ghost followers, but can remove them in bulk without fear of blocking those real followers who don’t post regularly. Sadly we’re yet to find a safer process than simply manually browsing your followers one by one and blocking any that appear suspicious. If you think this process requires patience, you’re right. However, we’ve seen influencers who have cleansed their account successfully rejoin TRIBE and have even more success as a result of their improved engagement.  

I found a site to help me

We’d recommend you use third party sites that give you an online “inactive follower percentage” as a guide only, and work through your audience to check each account for accuracy. For larger accounts, it’s worth splitting up the followers into smaller groups. This may help you accurately ‘pick up where you left off’. Also worth implementing what we call ‘the alphabet strategy’ and utilise the handy search bar in your ‘followers’ to go through every follower from A to Z.

Why cleanse my account?

Not only will you be able to make money on TRIBE again, but manually vetting any inactive followers will boost your engagement which we display to Brands on each of your submissions. You’ll not only have more success on TRIBE, but the more people your content is reaching, the more opportunity there is for your follower base to grow organically.

Is automated engagement okay?

To put simply, no! Purchasing fake comments and likes on posts will inflate your engagement short term, and have the opposite effect on your organic traction. This makes you less valuable to brands, who now have the tools to identify this behaviour as well. Using automated engagement tools is also a no no, mostly because we find it really annoying and so will your audience. It’s also easy to identify, especially since bots aren’t that smart.

Automated Engagement Example

If you find yourself annoyed by this type of engagement, block the page and report them for spam.

When can I re-apply for TRIBE?

We would love you to apply to rejoin TRIBE once you’ve sufficiently cleansed your account, but we recommend waiting at least 30 days to properly review your followers. Simply contact [email protected] to re-apply to TRIBE. It may take our Risk & Compliance team up to two weeks to review your account, but rest assured we want you back in as soon as possible.

Now, fight the good fight.

Once you’ve given your account the spring clean it deserves, keep monitoring it as new followers join your community. A healthy tribe is an engaged tribe!

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how to remove ghost followers from your Instagram;remove fake or ghost followers from your Instagram;list of ghost followers on Instagram;unfollow ghost accounts on Instagram

How to Remove Fake/Ghost Followers from Your Instagram Account in 2023

Table of content +

If you’ve been using Instagram for any length of time, you’ve probably noticed that your follower count isn’t what it used to be.

Chances are, many of those followers were fake or ghost followers – accounts that follow you but never interact with your posts.

Having these inactive or fraudulent followers can not only make your account look less credible to others, but it can also hurt your engagement rate and overall audience size.

Luckily, there are a few ways to remove fake or ghost followers from your Instagram account .

In this article, we’ll discuss two methods: mass deleting followers and using a service to remove them for you.

By following these steps, you’ll be able to improve your credibility on the platform and see better results from your posts.

Let’s get started!

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How To Remove Ghost Followers On Instagram

You’re bound to have some ghost followers in your Instagram account. It may sound like it is not a big deals, but the problem is these ghost followers might seriously harm your chances of making money as an influencer/micro-influencer.

Fraudulent accounts will inevitably exist.

Removed Ghost Followers On Instagram

Unfortunately, there are individuals that willing to pay for more followers to be added to their accounts, thinking it will optimize their credibility as an influencer. However, buying fake followers is no longer a viable option for anyone that seek to gain credibility in today’s market.

Because of this, there are a lot of Instagram accounts with an outsize number of inactive or bot followers. Same goes to you, you may also have acquired ghost followers in the past or accrued a large number of inactive followers on Instagram.

If you did purchased followers in the past or maybe were randomly followed by many fake accounts, and wanted to get rid of these ghost followers, we’ll show you how to fix it in this post.

Table of Contents

What Is A Ghost Follower?

So what is a ghost followers? On Instagram, “ghost follower’ are defined as any inactive or fake followers who do not engage with any of your content.

These “ghost followers” may also be the work of a “bot” software. As a result, it automatically goes through the Instagram sign-up procedure to post spam messages and comments to other people.

Ghost Followers on Instagram

Most of the time, it is quite easy to for you to distinguish which accounts are fake or might be a ghost follower. For fake accounts, it is common for them to have usernames that make no sense and digits tacked on for no apparent reason.

In most cases, the number of followers on this type of accounts is uncommonly low. Yet, at the same time, they tend to follow a large number of people.

How to remove ghost followers on Instagram

The most secure approach to remove ghost followers is to do it one by one. Thus, you will need to screen through all your followers, removed and blocked any accounts that looks suspicious and funny.

We recommend you not to remove more than 30 accounts in an hour. This to avoid flagging Instagram and prevent them from thinking you are a bot.

This method does required a considerable amount of patience, but it is the safest method so far.

We’ve been on the lookout for a tool that can not only identify but also delete ghost followers in bulk without hurting ordinary users. Unfortunately, such tool does not exist. Instagram itself has blocked any tools that do such jobs, hence manual process is the only way.

Why is Important to Cleanse Your Account?

If Instagram detects any suspicious activity in your following, you will risk having your account deleted . Social media sites employ sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI) to identify such behaviors.

Instagram ghost followers

If you acquire 1,000 new followers overnight, your account will surely be noticed. The thing is, Instagram’s algorithms are always improving.

Instagram is continuously working to improve its service for businesses that advertise on it. You might dodge away with any trick in the short term, but this situation won’t last long.

Every dime spent on advertising by businesses must be justified. When it comes to paid influencer , one of the most important parts of the argument is proving that the account they are collaborating with has a positive return on investment (ROI).

Is buying followers and engagement worth it?

It’s an easy answer, NO! Buying fake followers, comments and likes on your posts may helps you to improve your engagement, which in return might helps you to get sponsored on Instagram.

However, in the long run, this will have the opposite effect on your organic reach and interaction, especially with your real followers.

Your brand’s value will plummets as a result of this since companies can detect the cheating easily. Besides, it is also a poor idea to utilize automated engagement methods, considering how annoying it is for all the genuine followers of yours to read fake comments in your posts.

They certainly do not want to be notified of fake comments or spam messages whenever they like a post of yours, or being tag by all these ghost followers.

An average Instagram user has a very short attention span . By engaging such practice, it might lead them elsewhere if they feel your post is full of spam.

As a result, your followers may start unfollowing you. Remember how annoying spam comments can be and this would inevitably decrease the amount of organic reach you can get.

End of the day, you could find yourself with 0 followers.

If you still think t’s worth buying Instagram followers and engagement, that such practice is a good Instagram influencer marketing method,  we encourage you to read how you might be hurting your organic growth by engaging such practices.

How to avoid Instagram ghost followers

If you want to prevent having ghost followers on your profile, here what you can do:

  • Build a community around your Instagram account. Having a large number of real people following and liking your posts is crucial in preventing accounts from getting banned.
  • Spammy behavior such as buying likes, comments or shares will bring attention to Instagram’s spam detection and cause your account to be blocked and removed.
  • Be wary of how you interact with other Instagram users, on how many likes or comments you receive from certain accounts. If the interactions are low but they do follow a large number of people, these profiles are most likely to be ghost accounts.
  • Make use of hashtags relevant to your niche and don’t go overboard with them.
  • Using bots to like and comment on your posts will make Instagram think you’re a bot and may cause you problems in the future.
  • Engaging too frequently with other users can also be suspicious. Make sure you give yourself some time between each post so as not to raise suspicion of spamming.

Cleanse Your Ghost Followers

Ghost followers are becoming more common on Instagram, and to remove them, it requires patience and effort as you will have to do it manually.

Instagram is aware of how easy it is for anyone to abuse their platform. They have made it difficult for users who make use of automation or bots when following or engaging with others.

It’s unclear how much Instagram actually cares about deleting ghost accounts. But to remove ghost followers on Instagram is still reasonably straightforward, although you will need to remove it one by one.

Nevertheless, cleaning your account certainly benefits you. The more organic your following becomes, the more genuine you seem and the less likely you are to get in trouble for having fake accounts following you.

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How To Remove Ghost Followers On Instagram (And Increase Your Engagement Rate)

In this article, I’m going to teach you how to remove those inactive “ghost” followers that are just killing your engagement rate, and get your content ranking at the top of people’s feeds (again).

What Are Ghost Followers?

Although there’s no official definition of what a “ghost follower” is, I would define it as being a follower who hasn’t engaged with any of your content for at least a month or so.

Such engagement would include everything from liking, commenting, sharing, answering story polls, DM’ing and more.

Quite often, a ghost follower will either be a bot, lurker or someone that just follows every account under the sun; and thus rarely ever sees your content – if ever.

Should you remove Ghost Followers on Instagram?

The reason why you would remove a ghost follower is to increase your engagement rate. I realise that this may not mean much to you, so I’ll try to break it down into simple terms.

Your engagement rate is the amount of engagement that you receive on a single post, divided by how many followers you have at that given time.

Multiply that number by 100 and you get your engagement rate percentage (%).

So for instance, if you get a total of 10 likes on a particular post, and you have 100 followers at that time, your engagement rate is 10% – which is pretty good.

The reason why you would want to improve your engagement rate is that it’s (partly) Instagram’s measurement of whether your content is good or not.

To put it simply, posts with high engagement get shown to more people. Alternatively, if your post doesn’t receive much engagement at all, Instagram’s algorithm will show it to fewer people.

That’s why you want to remove ghost followers that aren’t going to engage with your content. In doing so, you not only improve your engagement rate but also your reach.

  • READ: Suddenly Losing Instagram Followers? Here’s Why

How to remove ghost followers on Instagram

So now that you know why you should remove ghost followers, it begs the question; how?

There are three ways to remove ghost followers…

  • Manually (Safest)
  • Automatically (Riskiest)
  • Semi-Automatically (Recommended)

I will be breaking down each method as follows, however, I ask you to read the manual method before scrolling down to the recommended semi-automatic strategy.

The Manual Way (Safest)

The safest way to remove Instagram followers and not get punished by the algorithm is to remove your followers manually.

This method will take the most time, however, it is the one least likely to get your account shadowbanned, action blocked or permanently banned.

That is unless you go overboard with it!

NOTE: It is recommended to only remove up to 30-50 accounts at a time, and to do so from your own mobile (app). Otherwise, Instagram may suspect you as being a bot and punish your account.

Example of an Instagram account following too many people

To start removing ghost followers manually, you will have to go to your Instagram account (on your phone app) and then click on Followers.

From there, you will see a long list of all your followers.

Each of these followers will have a button to the right side of them, saying “Remove”. Click on this to remove an Instagram follower.

Given that this process is entirely manual, you will have to use your best judgement to figure out who is (and who isn’t) a ghost follower.

My recommendation is to start by removing any accounts that do not have a profile picture.

Secondly, I would remove anyone that follows a ridiculous number of accounts, like the above example where one of my followers was following over 5,000 different accounts!

Other than that, you’ll just have to remove anyone that you think is not engaging with your content.

The Automated Way (Riskiest)

When you clicked on this article, you may have been wondering, is there an app to delete ghost followers on Instagram?

I’m here to tell you… Yes. Yes, there is.

The app that you are looking for is called the Spamguard App .

NOTE: The Spamguard App is a paid service, with which I am not affiliated. I am purely just referring to it from having used it personally.

Before you get ahead of yourself though, I want to make it very clear that Instagram does not condone the use of unapproved, third-party apps and software like this.

So if you decide to use it then you should do so with the knowledge that you could get your account shadowbanned – or worse.

The instructions are quite clear on the site, so I won’t bore you with the details here, but essentially you can run a scan on your account to see which of your followers are…

  • Commercial (on Instagram for business)
  • Foreign (speak a different language entirely)

Once you’ve run the scan, you will be able to pick and choose which of your followers you’d like the app to remove automatically.

This is the quickest & easiest way to remove ghost followers on Instagram.

As mentioned already though, if you are to use an automated service like this then you should do so with care.

My advice would be, should you decide to use Spamguard App, to use it as if you were performing the tasks by hand manually. Simply put, a human approach is recommended.

The Semi-Automated Way (Recommended)

The third and final way of removing ghost followers from Instagram is a mash-up of both of the previous methods; manual and automatic.

This is the method that I used after neglecting my Instagram for almost a year. This semi-automatic method has worked just fine for me, well… apart from one incident.

I’ll get to that in a second.

But first, perform a Spamguard App scan of your account to identify which of your followers are bots/inactive.

Once the scan is complete, you should see an option under Followers to “open account list to remove manually” .

When you click on this, you should see a huge list of your ghost followers. Take a screenshot of this page and save it to your PC/phone.

I personally went through this list each day and manually removing 30-50 accounts each day, using the manual method, highlighting each name that I had removed.

NOTE: I used Photoshop to cross out each name one by one. You could use something like MS Paint or even print out the list onto a piece of paper. Whatever works for you.

I followed this method for around 2 weeks and more than halved my follower count in the process.

There was one incident though towards the beginning where I got a bit too eager and manually removed over 180 followers within the space of an hour… oops.

Instagram kindly told me to stop with an action blocked message and even signed me out of my account, asking me to verify that it was actually me – and not some bot.

All was fine once I logged back in, but I took it as a warning. So, going forward I just stuck to removing 30-50 accounts at a time – as a human being would capably do. It’s been fine ever since.

Removing ghost followers is a great way to increase your engagement rate (and reach) on Instagram. How you choose to remove those ghost followers though can potentially impact the health of your Instagram account.

Using unapproved, third-party apps and software to automatically remove followers can result in you having your account be shadowbanned, action blocked or even worse; permanently banned.

That being said, the majority of readers can feel safe in using the Spamguard App to scan their account (only) and identify ghost followers before manually removing them via their mobile app, less than 30-50 followers at a time.

Even just scanning your account with a third party does introduce risk though, so if you’re the risk-averse type then I would just remove ghost followers manually.

Frustrated with the lack of engagement that you’re getting on your posts? A good reason for that may be due to inactive “ghost” followers who aren’t engaging (or even seeing) ANY of your content, including; posts, stories, reels and more. Check out this article in which I teach you how to safely remove ghost followers on Instagram. Instagram Tips // Instagram // How to Make Your Instagram Better // Instagram Post // Instagram Question // Instagram Analytics // Instagram people #Instagram #InstagramBusiness #InstagramTips

Have any questions or feedback about this article? Let me know in the comments below!

Mike Walters

Mike Walters

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Ghost Follower Remover


Ghost followers are inactive or fake accounts that follow a user on Instagram. They do not engage with the user’s content, but inflate the number of followers they have.

Remove harmful ghost followers that keep your engagement rate low and prevent you from growing.

Simply sign up, choose a plan, link your account and select filters as well as speed to remove inactive followers.

Removing ghost followers can have several benefits, including:

  • Improving engagement rates: Removing inactive or fake followers can improve the overall engagement rate on your posts, as the remaining followers are more likely to be active and engaged.
  • Increased credibility: Having a large number of ghost followers can make your account appear inauthentic or artificially inflated, and removing them can increase the credibility of your account and its content.
  • Better targeting: By removing ghost followers, you can get a more accurate picture of your true audience, allowing you to better target your content and engagement efforts to the people who are most likely to respond positively.
  • Improved account performance: Instagram uses engagement metrics to determine the visibility of an account’s content, so removing ghost followers can potentially improve the performance of your account and its reach on the platform.

how to get rid of ghost followers on instagram

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How To Remove Ghost Followers On Instagram – The Easy Way

Last Updated on January 13, 2024

Do you know It isn’t just about the number of followers you have when vast majority of them are ghost followers that aren’t contributing anything to your brand?

Are you also aware that every inactive Instagram followers significantly reduces the visibility of your posts?

When an inactive or bot account views your content without engaging, Instagram’s algorithm deems that it isn’t worthy of interaction, reducing the number of people that can see it.

In this post, we’ll go over everything you need to know about ghost followers, including how to safely remove them from your Instagram account.

Table of Contents:

What is a Ghost Follower?

Ghost followers are users on social media platforms who remain inactive or do not engage in any activity whatsoever. No liking, commenting, messaging or posting, Nothing!

They’re basically lurkers, made by real people who don’t use their accounts for whatever reason. However, they’re frequently social bots that don’t have any real users behind them.

At some point, every account will attract a certain number of ghost followers. Hence, why you need to get rid of them to increase engagement and grow your account organically.

How To Remove Ghost Followers on Instagram?

Follow the methods mentioned below to identify and learn how to get rid of ghost followers on Instagram in 2023:

1. Hire a professional

Without providing any login details, you can hire a professional to safely remove ALL of your Instagram ghost followers.

I personally use the Fiverr marketplace, and I’ll be sharing the freelancer that handles my ghost removal projects.

how to get rid of ghost followers on instagram

Tom is a social media expert and content creator with over 200 positive reviews. He is a level two seller with a team that specializes in creating valuable and industry-leading insights based on public data, which eliminates the need for login information and ensures that his services are completely safe and thorough.

His gig includes a detailed report on ghost followers that aren’t engaging with your account without requiring any login information; all that is required is your Instagram username.

After placing an order for one of the packages, they’ll use their self-developed algorithm that is 100% safe for your account to analyze all of your followers and show up every user who hasn’t interacted with at least one of your recent 40 posts.

Upon completion, you will receive a detailed datasheet with all the data needed to manually remove within your account.

how to get rid of ghost followers on instagram

His prices are quite budget-friendly, ranging from $25 to $70, and delivery takes anywhere from 3 to 7 days, depending on the number of followers on the account, which ranges from 2,000 to 20,000.

Also, he’s willing to work on accounts with more than 20k followers, so get in touch with him for a custom offer. His services are 100% safe as I’ve used them countless times.

Tom stands out from his competitors as he provides manual pure list while other services usually advocate for bots or some type of automation that would require you to hand over your login information, which isn’t SAFE!

Contact Tom today to order his service.

2. Do it yourself

This might sound difficult, especially if you have thousands of Instagram followers, but the best way to safely delete Instagram ghost followers if you’re not looking to a hire a professional is to browse through your followers list one by one and unfollow anyone who appears suspicious.

It’s also ideal to limit yourself to no more than 30 forced unfollows per hour (in order to avoid triggering the app’s sensitive algorithm for suspicious activity) .

The Instagram algorithm is getting tougher by the year. You can also skim through your followers to see who hasn’t liked or commented on any of your photographs and unfollow them.

Removing over 20,000 followers one by one?! Isn’t there an app or anything for that? Yes, indeed, however, we DON’T recommend it.

Avoid ghost follower apps at all cost! While they claim to detect and remove ghost followers, linking your account to that type of software may result in you being prohibited from certain actions or worse, your account being banned, which you don’t want.

Be aware that Instagram despises third-party apps that aren’t verified.

How to Avoid Instagram Ghost Followers?

Setting your profile to private, which requires you to accept each new follower request, is the only way to entirely prevent bots and fakes from following your Instagram account.

If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, probably because you run a business or something. There are other steps you can take (or avoid) to limit the number of ghostly followers on your account:

1) Stay clear from buying / using an Instagram account with pre-existing followers

Although there are agencies that sell Instagram accounts with followers, buying an existing account will not give you a head start. All of those followers are most likely bot-created identities, which you want to avoid.

2) Avoid paying for followers

As I made mention in the beginning of the article “It isn’t just about the overall number of followers you have”.

Paying for followers is essentially buying inactive Instagram followers, so resist the urge and focus on organically growing your account.

3) Don’t pay for engagement

Some users choose to buy likes, comments, and Instagram Story views in order to increase their engagement rate. While this may temporarily improve your KPIs, it is not a long-term strategy, and you will soon find yourself back where you began.

Does Removing Ghost Followers Help?

Yes, removing ghost followers can help in multiple ways. Any increase in your organic engagement (that goes down the more inactive and bot accounts you have following you), would result in growth and fast expansion of your account’s audience reach.

Brands and businesses that are focused on producing authentic engagement and gaining actual followers must solve their ghost follower issue in order to improve their outcomes.

How Ghost Followers Affect Influencers?

Ultimately, brands partner with influencers to reach an audience that is interested in their product and, hopefully, willing to buy it.

Having a large number of followers may first attract different types partners. Reputable brands, on the other hand, will definitely notice the difference in engagement rate to followers count.

If an influencer’s numbers appear to be polluted by ghost activity, they may lose out on partnership opportunities.

As a result, if you’re just getting started as an influencer, it’s best to grow your account organically in order to secure lucrative partnership offers.

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how to get rid of ghost followers on instagram

Home / Social Media / Instagram

How to Remove Ghost Instagram Followers – Permanently!

Quinn Fitzgerald

  • November 7, 2022

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We use affiliate programs for monetisation, which means when you click on links to various sites on this website and make a purchase, this can result in a commission that is credited to this site. More information

How to Remove Ghost Instagram Followers

TLDR: Protect your account. Don’t engage in spammy practices. You can use Spamguard App to remove ghost Instagram followers quickly.

We all know how appealing it is to have a lot of followers on Instagram .

That little follower count that goes up and down pretty much dictates how we behave on the popular social media app.

While your follower count may be everything to you, there’s something that could be getting in the way of you and other Instagram users enjoying a genuine following made up of real, active users. This thing is ghost followers. We’re going to help you learn how to remove ghost followers on Instagram.

For a long time, it was enough to just have a large following on the gram.

As soon as someone saw that you had a substantial amount of followers, that was it – you had made it. You got more people following you, and you had companies approaching you for brand deals. These days, though, it’s a little bit more complicated.

Other Instagrammers and brands care more about engagement rate, and if you’ve got ghost followers making up a portion of your follower count, then your engagement rate is going to be average.

As more and more brands look to Instagram for their next marketing campaign , it’s quality that matters more than quantity. Let’s talk about how to remove ghost followers on Instagram.

What Are Ghost Followers?

Ghost Followers

So, what are these ghost followers that we’re talking about?

Ghost followers are inactive or fake accounts on Instagram that count as a number on your follower count, but they don’t interact with your content. The profiles themselves won’t feature any content usually, and they’re often created by bots.

If you notice that any of your followers follow a large number of people, but they themselves don’t have that many people following them, then there’s a good chance that they are a ghost follower.

This means that they won’t be interacting with any of your content, keeping your engagement rate worryingly low.

While you may just have a couple of these guys weighing you down, the trouble comes when you’ve got quite a few of them.

Let’s talk about this a little bit more in-depth, and go over what to do if you think you’ve been hit by the latest on Instagram, so you can decide whether to remove ghost Instagram followers or not.

Why Are Ghost Followers so Bad?

So, there are a number of things that we could say to justify why we don’t like ghost followers, and why you should remove ghost Instagram followers, but the biggest one has to do with your credibility – or the loss of it. It all comes down to your existing reputation, your engagement rate, and how having ghost followers can affect it.

If you currently have 20k followers on your Instagram account, but you’re only getting 50 likes per photo, then it’s going to be obvious to both Instagrammers and brands out there that your engagement rate isn’t up to par.

They’re going to question your profile’s authenticity, which is going to tarnish your reputation and credibility. Ghost followers make it incredibly difficult for anyone to work out how valuable your profile is and what your content is worth, which is why being able to remove ghost Instagram followers is an appealing option.

What is Instagram Doing About it?

You may have already heard of Instagram cracking down on bots and automation , so it should be no surprise to hear that Instagram is jumping on this bandwagon, too, and attempting to remove ghost Instagram followers themselves.

In fact, as much as three years ago, Instagram was hard at work, trying to get rid of and delete ghost Instagram followers.

As a result, they will suspend or even ban any account that they think is the product of spammy behavior.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve got ghost followers intentionally or not – they have blanket rules that restrict the use of third party growth tools, and if they feel like your account falls outside of these blanket rules, you could be out.

How to Avoid Fake Followers

So, how do you avoid ghost/fake followers clinging onto your account and making you look bad, then? The good news is that there are several different methods for doing so, beyond having to delete ghost Instagram followers.

Let’s check them out:

1. Don’t Buy Your Followers

It seems pretty simple, but you’d be surprised how many people think that buying Instagram followers is going to be a good idea.

Unfortunately, this is inviting ghost followers to make up your follower count, which, of course, is going to land you in a world of hurt.

Instead, try a different type of third-party help.

There are companies like Growthoid and Task Ant that can help you grow your following without getting you in trouble with the gram, or sending you annoying ghost followers.

Task Ant provides an all organic service that works to build up your account authentically, while Task Ant puts all of its focus into making sure that you have the best hashtag strategy to work with.

Growthoid Review: Is This Service a Scam?

It’s much better to work with companies like these than to opt for a company that’s just going to send you fake or inactive accounts that will do nothing but make your page look bad. Otherwise, you will just end up having to remove fake followers – and you don’t want this.

2. Don’t Buy an Existing Instagram Account

You may be tempted to give yourself a bit of a head start by buying an Instagram account that’s already got a pretty good-sized following on it. If this sounds too good to be true for you, then we’re here to tell you that it is.

If getting big on the gram and clinching those brand deals was as easy as acquiring an existing account that had an amazing follower count and engagement rate, then everyone would do it.

If you come across a company that sells whole Instagram accounts that come with an existing follower count, the vast majority of it is going to be fake.

What’s more, companies like this don’t even let you see the credentials of the account until you pay for it – another telltale sign that you’re not going to like what you see when you do hand over the cash.

3. Don’t Buy Your Comments and Likes

As tempting as purchasing your followers is, so is buying comments and likes for your content. If you already have ghost followers on your account, and you need a bit of engagement to get that engagement rate up, then you may be tempted to buy your interactions.

However, while this may make your account look fire in the short run, it’s not going to be sustainable.

Simply put, it’s not going to hold your account up for longer than a day or so, and you’ll be back to where you started, and you’ll probably have to remove fake followers somewhere along the line as well.

How to Remove Ghost Instagram Followers

Ghost Followers

Just like there are a number of different ways to avoid fake followers finding your account and sticking to it, there are also a number of different ways to get rid of them if they’re already there.

Let’s check these out:

1. Remove Ghost Followers Manually

There’s nothing like doing things the old-fashioned way, and if you’ve got a bit of time up your sleeve over the next couple of days, why not see if you can’t get rid of those pesky ghost followers yourself.

Go through your follower count and see who followers you. If the account doesn’t have that many followers and doesn’t upload content regularly, then there is a good chance that they are a ghost follower.

You can also do this with your content – go through it and see who has liked your posts. If you’ve got someone following you, but they’re not engaging with your photos, then they’re most likely a fake follower.

While this is a pretty time-consuming task, it can make a bit of a dent, and at least help you know what to look out for when avoiding fake followers in the future.

2. Use a Ghost Unfollower Tool

Tools such as Spamguard App can help you clean up your Instagram account, and block any future spam-like activity.

Tools like these are effective cleaners for Instagram that can take care of those ghost accounts so that you don’t have to, and they can continue to work on your behalf by blocking unwanted comments and followers from people that they consider to be fake.

Spamguard app

Tools like this can help you realize just how bad the ghost follower issue can really be, and how you can safely prevent your account from further issues down the line.

What’s more, it’s an excellent time-saver, and means that you can get on with creating more awesome content that your real followers can appreciate and interact with.

Final Thoughts

Don’t worry – if you think you’re the only one that has been duped by fake followers, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

In reality, there are hundreds of thousands of Instagrammers that have been affected by this annoying wave of Instagram spam, and while the gram itself is doing everything on their end to clean things up, it’s never going to be perfect.

This is why it’s important to know what a ghost follower is, what the signs are, and how to prevent them from making your account their new home in the future.

Don’t forget to check out those helpful tools that can not only help you clean your account of ghost followers, but can also show you the right way to grow an Instagram account.

Happy ghost hunting!

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