MARKETING 

Why I Am Deleting My Instagram Account With Over 6,000 Followers

I am deleting my Instagram Account with over 6K followers, yes I feel great about it, no I don’t feel I will regret it. This article explains it all.

By Sarah Potter

March 23, 2021

I received a lot of messages almost instantaneously when I said I was going to be deleting my Instagram account with over 6000 followers over the weekend. Many people messaged me and asked me if I was OK, was there something wrong, why am I doing that, then comments like “you’re so brave,” and “I would never do something like that it’s crazy that you’re doing that.”

 

What felt crazy to meet me was how many people instantly thought that there was something wrong with me because I deleted my Instagram account. As of right now it’s up and running and it will be for the next 30 days to give everyone who would like to follow my new account a chance to follow that account. I am not deleting my account for any reason other than I noticed it chained me to my Instagram account. Trying to understand why my engagement was all over the place, trying to understand how to best connect with people, and more toxically, obsessing over how many likes and followers I have daily.

 

“But Sarah, you’re a marketing expert.” “But Sarah, you have an Instagram Course!” “This is social media suicide!” These comments just make me feel like it further pushes my agenda of having healthy conversations about social media.

 

We should not be so reliant and dependent on our social media accounts to relay our daily satisfaction to the world, nor should we rely on our social media accounts to show how “good” we’re doing in life. Our followers are not a number that defines how successful we are or are not.

 

Our social media accounts are supposed to be about community and enhance conversation with those that we care about and our friends. But at what point does that shift into something more toxic? I hit that point over the weekend and had an epiphany. Yes, it was fairly impulsive, but; I am deleting my account. And I am honestly questioning if I am making a good decision right now. However, I know that it’s what’s going to be best for my mental health from now on.

 

It’s also spring cleaning, and rather than focusing on cleaning up a bunch of stuff around my house, I’m focusing on cleaning up all the toxic things in my life. On the podcast social media Therapy we often talk about how toxic some habits on social media are. I have been indulging in those habits almost daily with my other Instagram account and with the new baby coming, my opinion is it needs to be squashed. Plus, it doesn’t feel good obsessing over something.

 

We’ve all been that person in a relationship when you break up and obsess over the other person. You think about what they’re doing, how they’re doing, how are you can communicate with them, or how do you can get back together, what they’re doing wrong, how you’re doing better than them, that you might be more successful than them now, and so on.

 

That is how I feel about Instagram.

That’s so toxic!

It’s bad for mental health.

 

And although I do want to continue focusing on presenting my life in my business to people online, this was not the way for me to continue to do it.

 

Not to mention it feels really freeing to sever ties with something that you felt was just a black hole in your life. We can all relate to that, I think.

 

Now, aside from all the mental health reasons for deleting my Instagram account, there are also some more analytically based decision-making aspects of this choice.

 

The algorithm for Instagram has changed so much since I started using Instagram 11 years ago. If you go back to my old account, you’ll see photos I posted when the app had just released in its first year. So not only does my account have thousands of followers, but it also has well over 3000 photos that I’ve collected over the last 11 years of my life. It’s a lot. But my audience and my target market have drastically shifted and changed over the last 2 to 3 years, and the people who are following on my account just are not the quality followers I’m seeking to have anymore.

 

Quality followers is a really important aspect of every social media marketing plan. Having quality followers means that you’re able to “shake hands” with many new wonderful people that are actually interested in what you have to offer. This is done so via the algorithm providing your content to parties who might be interested. For me though, this just wasn’t the case anymore.

 

The more I got away from talking about Instagram hacks and different aspects of the algorithm, the less ideal and targeted my IG audience became. And once I started focusing more on social media and mental health, the less engagement I got and the less interested my audience became. And that’s fine, I have no hard feelings about that but I think it’s important for you to understand how the algorithm works with followers seeing your content if that isn’t clear.

 

The people who follow your Instagram account are essentially your primary audience. Instagram looks at the type of people following you and who else they should promote your content to based on the current followers you have. Whether that be through hashtags, reels, discover feed, or otherwise. When those followers become less than ideal targets, every time you post something you are continuing to target an audience that just is not interested in what you have to offer.

 

There are a couple of ways to fix this. First, you can decide to slowly but surely overtime remove all the low-quality followers from your account and work to ensure that you are attracting the right followers there after. When you have thousands of people that follow you on your account, that’s a really difficult thing to achieve. This is due in part to the account activity limitations Instagram places on all accounts. Removing followers would’ve been easier about two years ago before the algorithm shifted and a crackdown on activity had begun.

 

The algorithm is easy to understand. It’s very easy to see that when you have good followers who are interested in your message, you’re going to find more people interested in that message. But when you have bad quality followers and they’re not interested in what you offer, then it makes it very difficult for help people to find you and show interest in what you have to say.

 

The other way you can fix this is to continue pushing forward with all the engagement efforts that you can and work on bringing in those followers that are your ideal target market. However, this is challenging when 3/4 of your audience is currently not interested in what you have to say and therefore helps Instagram understand that your content isn’t something that people are interested in looking at. So you can do all the engagement you want and be strong in a specific niche community on Instagram, but if you still have little to none of your followers interested in your content, it is going to be difficult for new people to see your content in their feed.

 

A third way to fix us is just ignore it and continue pushing forward. But like I mentioned earlier, this was really affecting my mental health, and I was obsessing to a toxic degree. So my fourth option is to just cut ties with the old account and start fresh.

 

Starting fresh with a brand new Instagram account feels just as good as cutting off all your hair, or dying your hair a crazy color, we’re doing something Else that feels entirely drastic. And honestly, I’m the person who has always impulsively cut off all my hair. Knowing that I don’t like how I look with short hair though, I opted for a different fresh start.

 

On the podcast Ali and I talk about being your authentic self, being your true self, being the person who is so focused on helping people understand who you are as an individual rather than pushing in selling. And I still believe in a lot of that is true, but how can you be at your authentic self when you obsess over data and you obsess over vanity numbers? The answer is that you can’t.

 

An argument here could be, “well if you’re trying to move past vanity numbers and not obsess over that kind of stuff and stop feeling like you have toxic habits over social media, just keep your account and not worry about the numbers.” Yeah, you’re totally right I could do that, however I have been trying to do that for the last six months and it really hasn’t been working. So I committed social media suicide, am getting rid of my old account and starting fresh with a clear mindset and a brand new attitude.

 

To some, this may seem like a really poor business decision. To others you might applaud my choice to do this. Whatever you decide to feel or think about why and how I did this is your choice, what matters is how I feel about my choice, and I feel fucking amazing.

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Writer

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Speaker

Sarah has spoken for SXSW, Teenpreneur, Plutus Voices, local business groups, and to private groups near and far. 

Consultant

Need a little help understanding your business needs or help your business boost its strategy?

Educator

Sarah has created coaching programs and education programs for businesses, private law firms, and individual students. 

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