You tap on the Instagram icon, and up comes your Home Feed. You’re excited – Instagram has always been a great source of inspiration, and you’re in need of a dose right now! First thing you see? An out-of-focus image of what looks to be a bowl of quinoa. Or maybe it’s a risotto? You can’t tell, but it’s mostly brown. Next is a photo of your Uncle Bob’s new house slippers. Ok, not
Does this sound familiar? What if we told you that Instagram can be a fun and inspiring experience where you see only the content you enjoy?
See, whenever you open up Instagram, the first thing you’ll see is your Home Feed. This is where you’ll see the content created by the accounts you follow. If you’re following accounts that provide content that resonates with you, you will experience the best that Instagram has to offer. However, if you’re following Uncle Bob and other accounts that just don’t create the content you want to see, then you’ll have to sift through a lot of junk before you’ll be able to see the good stuff – if at all!
This is where analysing and editing your Following list on Instagram will help, particularly if you’re looking to home-in on a full-proof engagement strategy, whereby
Words: Adriana Thani
What Are Instagram Follower Lists
What is your Following list, exactly? In short, it’s a list of accounts that you follow on Instagram. You can find your Following list by going to your profile and clicking on the right-most number at the top, with the word “Following” directly below. If you follow less than 200 accounts, the list will be in alphabetical order. If you follow more accounts than that, then Instagram rather randomly sorts the list. No one seems to know how they decide on how the Follower list is ordered, but it does have something to do with your relationship to each account in terms of engagement.
To follow, or to unfollow? That is the question
So why should you periodically analyse and edit your Follower list? First of all, as we illustrated earlier, it will make your Instagram Home feed more relevant and curated. It will also make it easier for you to interact with accounts in your industry, both in your Home and Stories feeds.
But who exactly should you be following? Well, obviously this will be different for everyone but in general, here are the types of accounts you should be following:
- Accounts that are active!
- Accounts you want to interact and have a relationship with
- Accounts you could potentially work with in the future
- Accounts with a curated feed that has a similar vibe to yours
- Accounts with images and copy that resonates with you
- Accounts featuring people and places that inspire you
We also recommend that you have separate personal and business Instagram profiles so that you’re not seeing your friends and family’s content on your business profile and vice versa. This also gives you the freedom to not create such a curated feed when posting to your personal account, especially if you’re already spending time planning your brand’s grid and are trying to keep it consistent.
How to edit your Instagram following list To start editing your Follower list, first write down a simple 5-point checklist of what you want to see on your Instagram home feed. These criteria will act as a guideline for the entire
For example, the criteria for the accounts the Content Savvy follows on Instagram are:
- Accounts that are active (posting at least once a week, with the most recent image having been shared less than a week ago)
- Accounts that are beautifully curated profiles with fresh and airy imagery
- Accounts that are looking to improve their Instagram or copywriting strategy
- Accounts with compelling copy
- Accounts that are relevant to the wedding, wellness and social media industries
Not every account you follow needs to fulfil every criteria! Try to aim for most of them, but keep an open mind.
Here’s a list that you can use as a guide for your own criteria:
- Active users (this is non-negotiable!)
- Aesthetic to suit you or your brand’s taste – is the account – airy, dramatic, dreamy, gritty?
- Captions – do these accounts post interesting, informative, funny or engaging captions?
- Values/Industry – are they related to your industry and share your values?
Now that you’ve got your checklist, you can now start editing your Follower list! Here are some ways you can find accounts to follow or unfollow:
Start With Stories
In general, accounts that are active will be the first ones you see at the very top of your home feed, where you can find the most recent Instagram Stories. Start by clicking through as many Stories as you can, and visiting each account’s Instagram profile. Consider your checklist and see if they tick all the boxes. If they don’t? Unfollow!
Check your DMs
Head to your Direct Message inbox to see your most recent messages. Review the conversations you have there, and check the profiles of the accounts you’ve interacted with. Did the interaction add value to your life? Were the interactions genuine, and something you can build more engagement on? Or did they only reply to you via emojis and liking your messages? If their profile or lack of interaction underwhelm you, go ahead and unfollow them.
Look at posts you’ve liked
Go through all the posts you’ve liked recently. Do you see something in common between the images there? Is there a theme or pattern to the things you’ve liked? In particular, are there accounts you haven’t followed but should be following?
Go with your gut
If they don’t share your values, or they create negative feelings for you, please unfollow them even if they fit your criteria. Life’s too short to let Instagram get you down! And if you start noticing that your criteria
How often should you analyse and edit your Follower list?
Every quarter, schedule an hour to analyse and edit your Follower list. The more frequently you do it, the less work it is each time! Of course, as you use Instagram, you can edit on the go. Sometimes inactive accounts slip through the cracks when you do your auditing. No harm in unfollowing profiles that don’t fit your criteria whenever you find them. And definitely click Follow on the accounts that produce content that you’d like to see on your home feed!
What not to do:
Just be sure to not go on a follow/unfollow spree as this type of behaviour can emulate bot behaviour and can be flagged by Instagram. An example of this is: you spend 30 minutes following all these new accounts – you then wait a few hours for some of them to follow you back – and then you unfollow these new accounts who have taken the time to follow you back. This trickery is frowned upon and not an authentic way to build an engaged, organic follower base. When unfollowing, do it with the intention that the account no longer ‘sparks joy’ on your feed, rather than doing it because you want to see an increase in follower count. Understood?
Do you need help with managing your Instagram? Get in touch and we’ll be happy to help!