Ghost Followers

Hi team! It’s #TravelTuesday and I, Dave Williams, am here again! This week, I’m coming at you from a piece of woodland on the English/Welsh borders where I’m topping and tailing some work, putting the van through its paces to make sure it stays in one piece under some extreme circumstances, and waiting to be joined by Kersten and Nick from the Camera Shake Podcast who are arriving tomorrow to do some recording with me. It’s all go! Here’s a water test I did yesterday with the van, making sure it could successfully ford a river.

It’s held up against everything here so far, including some very steep inclines and declines. Go Kofifernweh!

Today isn’t about the van or my life though, it’s about addressing something I’ve answered personally this past week when asked this particular question by someone, so I’m sure there must be more of you out there wondering the same thing. I’ll paraphrase the exact question, and here it is: –

Do I have a problem if my account is followed by inactive or fake followers?

The reason behind this question was an e-mail received, which I’m sure had informed the recipient that they had successfully performed a “scan” or “reviewed your account” and determined that they have lots of dangerous, inactive followers on Instagram. It’s strange how “scan” and “scam” are so linguistically close to one another, isn’t it? Well, it’s safe to say that while the identification and removal of ghost followers can do us a favour, I wouldn’t be paying someone else to do it. Not at the least because you’d have to give them your account password!

The first thing we can do is time travel somewhat and ensure we never do anything that will inherently bring ghost followers in the first place, like buying likes, subscribers, followers, comments, out anything similar where we’re promised “growth” or “boost” because these will all be fake. These will do more damage than good.

If we find ourselves in a position where we have ghost followers, we can deal with it ourselves. It may be quite a laborious and boring process though, so we need to determine whether it’s even worth it. Here’s your metric: –

If our account has an engagement rate of 5%, we’re doing good. If it’s above 3%, we’re doing fine.

To work this out just take a post…

…and look at the stats.

My engagement is therefore 9.48% on this post. If we do this a few times for different posts, we can get a rough idea of our engagement rate. If percentage isn’t your thing, make a note of this: –

( (Likes + Interactions) / Accounts Reached ) x 100 = Engagement

So, what about the ghost follower thing? Well, it all depends on whether you think it’s affecting your engagement. Here’s why: –

If we’re being followed by accounts that are not offering anything to our engagement, they’re no good to us. The total number of followers may be great for your street cred, but it does nothing when it comes to monetising and valuing your account. If we had a bunch of followers who aren’t engaging with our posts, or even seeing them at all, they’re just no good to us.

We can deal with them by trying to identify them ourselves. A ghost account has a strange username, a disproportionate number of people it’s following in relation to the number who follow it, and a highly suspicious set of photos, if any photos at all. Take a look at this one: –

No profile picture, no posts, and following 6,409, whilst somehow followed by 1,681 with no content…. very odd!

It can be a good idea to go through your followers and remove these by simply blocking them, thus removing them from your follower count. This will help a little, and if you’ve ever paid for followers, it will help your engagement a lot to remove them.

Good luck with the ‘gram!

Much love

PS. You can see more about my van here.

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