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Difference Between Instagram Following And Followers?

Confused about Instagram followers and following? We’ll explain the key differences between these two metrics and why they matter!
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Difference Between Instagram Following and Followers
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Starting an Instagram account can be intimidating, especially if you’ve never used the platform before. As you scroll through the app, it seems like everyone else has it all figured out — they have tons of followers and pristine feeds full of likes. 

Meanwhile, you’re still trying to understand the difference between a follower and a following. 

It’s easy to feel frustrated and left behind, but having lots of followers doesn’t happen overnight for most people. Building a strong Instagram presence takes time, effort, and patience. And it all starts with understanding the platform’s basic terms – followers and following.

This guide will break down the basics so you can feel more confident as you find your footing on Instagram.

What Is An Instagram Follower?

An Instagram follower is someone who has subscribed to or ‘follows’ your Instagram account. When someone decides to follow you, they will see your posts and Stories in their feed

Your number of followers indicates how many Instagram users are keeping up with your account.

Why Do People Follow Me?

When someone follows you, they’re expressing interest in your content, whether it’s your personal life, hobbies, business, or any other aspect you share. Followers are the audience you build and nurture; they are the ones who engage with your posts through likes, comments, and shares. 

For instance, if you post a photo from your recent vacation, your followers are the ones who see it, react to it, and engage with you about it. 

You can also gain followers when others tag you in their posts or you use relevant hashtags that help you get discovered by new people.

What Does My Follower Count Mean?

The number of followers you have can serve as a gauge of your account’s reach and influence. In essence, followers form the community aspect of your Instagram experience, making the platform not just a collection of images and videos, but a social space where connections are made and maintained.

However, the aim is to build an engaged community of followers who genuinely connect with you and your content, not just a big follower count. Quality over quantity is key when it comes to true Instagram success.

What Is An Instagram Following?

Your “Following” on Instagram represents the accounts YOU choose to follow. It’s your curated list of profiles whose content appears in your feed. You’ll be able to see their posts and Stories

Who Can I Follow?

You can follow friends, family, celebrities, influencers, brands, artists, musicians, or any account that aligns with your interests or inspires you. 

Also, checking out who someone is following allows you to discover new accounts that may interest you too.

How Many People Should I Follow?

Many users choose to be selective, only following creators that they genuinely want to keep up with. You can choose to be selective or follow just about everyone you come in contact with! 

But don’t feel obligated to. You don’t have to follow someone back simply because they followed you first. 

Sometimes it’s best to curate a thoughtful following list instead of just racking up big numbers. It’s not a popularity contest (in fact following too many people can hurt you if you’re starting as a business or influencer), so follow accounts selectively based on the value they bring you.

Why Do Follower Vs Following Metrics Matter?

When building your presence on Instagram, most people focus on gaining more followers. However, paying attention to your following list can be just as important. 

Analyzing your followers vs following ratio provides valuable insights into how you are engaging on the platform. This ratio is a quick snapshot of your social media influence and can impact how others perceive your account.

Regular Users

A healthy Instagram account has an engaged, proportional following base if you’re a regular user. You want to aim for a 1:1 followers to following ratio as a baseline. 

For example, if you have 500 followers, you should be following about 500 accounts back.

Having significantly more followers than accounts you follow (following) comes across as inauthentic. It looks like you only care about amassing a big follower count, not connecting with others. On the flip side, following vastly more accounts than those that follow you indicates that your content may not be resonating yet. 

But ultimately, try not to care what other people think if you’re on Instagram to enjoy interactions with others and share your own content.

However, this all changes if you’re trying to grow a business account or become an influencer.

Business and Influencer Accounts

As an influencer or business, ideally, you’ll want a high follower account with a high follower to following ratio.

When you compare followers vs following, a high ratio (more followers than following) usually suggests popularity and influence, as seen with celebrities and influencers. They often have thousands or millions of followers while following only a few. 

Conversely, a lower ratio might indicate a newer or less popular account. For instance, a personal account may follow more users than it has followers. 

This balance is not just a number game; it reflects your social media strategy, whether you aim to engage broadly or curate a specific audience. Balancing these metrics can help in portraying a desired image, whether it’s as a person of influence or someone with genuine, balanced interactions.

How To Get More Followers on IG

Now if you’re a regular ol’ user with no goals to become the next Kyle Jenner or Mr. Beast, you can honestly ignore ratios and focus on posting what makes you happy. 

But if you want to get a larger IG following and boost your follower to following ratio:

  • Lean into creating content and engaging with others in your niche,
  • Refine your Instagram bio and posts to accurately reflect your brand,
  • And use relevant hashtags so the right people can discover you organically.

Aim for steady, genuine growth in both followers and following. Let the numbers guide you, but don’t get caught up in vanity metrics. Focus on sharing quality content, building community, and developing authentic relationships through the platform.

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