What I Think About The Follow/Unfollow Method on Instagram


The Instagram Follow/Unfollow Method | ElleyMae.com


There’s no denying that one of the most taboo topics on growing your Instagram is the follow/unfollow method.

The method works like this – You follow someone, hope that they follow you back & if they don’t, you unfollow them. Simple right?


Well for a lot of Instagram users, the method is completely frowned upon and some people even despise those who use the method. Why? Because a lot of people believe that you should only follow someone if you are genuinely eager to see more of their work. And I totally get that.

But, is following someone & later unfollowing them really all that bad? Isn’t it just another way to grow your Instagram? Why do people take it so personally?

I think of following users [when using the follow/unfollow method] goes like this; You’re just quickly tapping them on the shoulder & saying “Hey, here’s my account. If you like it, feel free to follow. If not, no stress.”

But like I said, a lot of others disagree. It’s a completely personal opinion & today I’m showing you where I stand on it.


Thousands of Instagram users all over the world have tried the follow/unfollow method & seen some incredible results.


In fact, companies like The Social Media Posse even sell “Instagram Decoded Guides” where they unravel the secrets of the follow/unfollow method & how to effectively grow your Instagram using it.

I personally have not purchased the guides (yet), however being a part of their 24,000 member Facebook Group has allowed me to see just what the method has done for other users. And trust me, the results are gobsmacking.


Me being me, I just had to know what it could do for my Instagram.

So, I looked into the topic & took it upon myself to go as far as testing it. I mean, how could I not?! But let’s look into the topic a little more before I go spilling my guts on what I really think.

But let’s look into the topic a little more before I go spilling my guts on what I really think.



What is involved in the follow/unfollow method?

Well, it’s simple really.

You follow someone, hope that they follow you back and then if they don’t, you unfollow them.

If you’re not keen on having thousands of random accounts in your feed, you can of course unfollow those who end up following you too. It’s totally personal preference.


The follow/unfollow method can be done two ways. You can do the process by manually following & unfollowing people yourself or use Instagram automation tools.

You can do the process by manually following & unfollowing people yourself or use Instagram automation tools.

I tried an Instagram automation tool recently to see just how well it handled follow/unfollow & gave up on it after about a week. Why? Because I had absolutely no idea what I was doing & didn’t really like the idea of it anyway.

Recently, Instagram went a spree of shutting down all of these automation systems and a lot more people are turning to manually doing follow/unfollow method.


In my personal experience, manually using the follow/unfollow method worked much better for me.

The main reason why – I could actually look at which accounts I was following.

Using an automation system, you have no idea what accounts you’re following unless you manually check on this yourself.


For example, if let’s say User X puts up a photo of a croissant & coffee and you have your automation system set up to follow anyone using the hashtag #croissants or #coffee.

How do you know that it’s not the only photo of a croissant or coffee that they’ve ever put up? Imagine if the rest of their feed could be covered in graphic, adult content. Whoops!

This can be really bad for your account in many ways.

For one, that person really isn’t that interested in croissants or coffee. Therefore, if they follow you simply because you followed them, it’s unlikely that they’ll ever bother to engage with your content. Croissants & coffee just isn’t their thing.

Only follow users who you think will genuinely be interested in your content.


When you manually follow/unfollow users, you can check out their content before you follow them & make sure your account is a perfect fit for their interests. If you don’t see the connection, then you don’t need to waste your time following them.

Sure, the manual method takes more time but the benefits you’ll receive towards your engagement will be worth it in the long run.

Oh and did I mention that you won’t end up following & unfollowing the same accounts over & over again?! A mistake I definitely made once or twice.



But how does following someone get them to follow you back?

I don’t know what it is that entices people to follow you back but the method is proven to work.

Thousands of users all over the world have tested the method & seen higher conversion rates when following accounts, compared to simply liking or commenting content.

For example, let’s say that you’ve just got on Instagram and followed 20 new accounts right. Out of those 20 accounts, you might get 4-8 (approx) back in follows on your own account. Obviously, these aren’t accurate stats, I’m just trying to make an example.

Now if you sat there & liked 20 photos (without following the users), you might be lucky to get a single like in return, let alone 1 follow.

The same goes for commenting. Although commenting is a much better way to engage with others on Instagram, you probably won’t see the same kind of conversion rate as what others have seen using the follow/unfollow method.

What you need to make sure you’re doing is waiting a while before unfollowing users.

In other words, don’t unfollow someone as soon as they follow you back. Wait a few days, weeks if you must & then go through and clear out your followings.

Since I started trying out the method, I’ve been waiting about a week before unfollowing.


And just to clarify, you don’t have to unfollow every person you follow when you’re using this method.

I have actually found a lot of amazing accounts by using the follow/unfollow method & made some amazing connections believe it or not!


The Instagram Follow/Unfollow Method | ElleyMae.com


So what do I think of the follow/unfollow method?

Well, for the past few months, I have been testing the method on & off using my Instagram account – @ElleyMae and can say that the results definitely do speak for themselves.

The increase in followers I’ve seen some days has been incredible.

Is it something I am consistent with? Do I have a plan in place that I follow every day? Has it had an absolutely massive impact on my Instagram? No, no & no.

I’m far too busy to plan that stuff out & be consistent with it daily. Hence why I make mistakes every now & then. But that’s life, who cares.


After all, Instagram is just another social media network.


To be completely honest, I don’t have a problem the follow/unfollow method.

Numbers go up & numbers go down. But looking at the bigger picture, I love my Instagram account & have so many loyal and engaged followers, it doesn’t bother me whether or not I use the method.

I don’t mind when other users unfollow me. And I don’t believe others should either.


If you are focusing too hard on the people that unfollow you, you’ll find it harder to be happy.

And to succeed, you need to be happy.

Try not to focus on the “negatives” of Instagram so much that you forget about the positives. And remember, it’s just another social media network.

I mean, let’s face it, another app will come along soon & completely change the game, again.

But whilst Instagram is the number one choice for bloggers & influencers, let’s take a look at the positives. Let’s look at what you should be focusing on.


Here’s what you really need to be focusing on:

► Creating KILLER content that your engaged followers will love

► Engaging with your followers & making new connections

► Enjoying the fun side of Instagram – that’s why you started it in the first place isn’t it?!


Instead of checking your followers daily & looking at apps that track your followers, focus on looking at your account as a whole.

Check your growth stats monthly using an app like Iconosquare (learn more about Iconosquare here) & never take unfollows personally.

When it comes down to it, if you want your Instagram to succeed, to grow your followers & make something of your account, you can’t look at the finer details like who’s unfollowed you today, why someone blocked you or anything else nit-picky.

It’s important to keep your eye on the ball, focus on your goals & remember why you started Instagram in the first place.


Whether you agree with the follow/unfollow method or not, I hope this post gives you a little insight into the method from a bloggers point of view.

I have been on both sides of the fence with the method & used to hate the absolute thought of it.

It wasn’t until I really started focusing on the bigger picture and taking my Instagram more seriously that I realised that, in my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with the method.


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. After all, Instagram is just another social media network.



Have you tried the follow/unfollow method? What are your opinions on the topic?


  1. Jul 2017 /

    I just started following accounts that fit with mine and have seen tremendous results. Wish I would have done it sooner, rather than thinking everyone had to find ME!!


    • Jul 2017 /

      Jackie, thanks so much for reading & sharing your input on the subject!
      That’s right, we can’t expect everyone to come to us. Someone’s we have to get our names out there & show people what we’re made of!!

      What’s your IG handle? I need to check out your page!

      Elley xx

  2. Thanks for posting this. Well, it did bother me before, but like what you said, “it’s just another social media network.”

    • Jul 2017 /

      I think that’s the most important message out of this whole post. That really, when push comes to shove, Instagram is just another social media network & we can’t let it bother us when someone unfollows us. It’s not an insult, it’s just a social media network.

      Mind you, I absolutely love Instagram & can’t stand the thought of going to a new network when it dies out like MySpace (if it ever does haha).

      Thanks for reading Rika! xx

      • I totally agree with you! Because of Instagram I could freely share a piece of myself with people who have the same interest.

        • Jul 2017 /


          Keep up the great work & your Insta will grow in no time girl!

          Elley xx

  3. Jul 2017 /

    Great blog post Elley. I did find myself focusing on the numbers far too much. But when I decided to change my photography style, the numbers have been growing slowly but surely.

    Lubz || http://lubzsays.com

    • Jul 2017 /

      I absolutely love your new photography style – it’s so fresh & so professional! It stands out from the rest really well now & I love it!

      You’re totally heading in the right direction. As soon as you stop focusing on numbers, you will start to see an improvement.

      Elley xx

  4. Jul 2017 /

    Such a great read, I also think this method isn’t such a bad thing and while following other like accounts have found some super amazing ones ☺️

    • Jul 2017 /

      Oh definitely, the amount of amazing accounts I have come across from f/uf has been incredible.
      I often wonder if I ever would have come across their content without using the method – especially with Instagram’s silly algorithm hey!

      Glad you enjoyed the post!

      Elley xxx

    • Jul 2017 /

      Thanks Katie, I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

      Elley xx

  5. Jul 2017 /

    I have to say I’ve always been funny with this sort of thing and yes, been one of the ones that checks unfollows daily and unfollow those that have used my account to up their numbers yet unfollow me when I follow them (thus keeping their numbers up while mine drop). Unfollowing because I haven’t followed back….fine, I’ve not followed back because they don’t interest me. Just always found it annoying to be followed, I follow back then be unfollowed straight away. Great post, definitely food for thought. Xx

    • Jul 2017 /

      Thanks for sharing your input Rachel!

      Totally agree – when you immediately get unfollowed like literally straight after you follow someone, it kinda sucks. But I think when it comes to being unfollowed, it could be for a variety of reasons – for example they could be using the f/uf method, they may not enjoy your content as much anymore, they may have changed niche & are realigning their followings with their new style etc.

      I definitely wouldn’t recommend checking daily, it’ll only make you more negative than it will positive. Focus on your followers engagement & returning comments etc. You’ll find yourself ultimately more positive, therefore growing quicker in the long run.

      Elley xx

  6. Jul 2017 /

    I’m too lazy to do this kind of method and I don’t like to unfollow people for some reason but I totally agree that I tend to interact more with someone who has just started following me (like checking their account) rather than with someone who has just liked one of my posts so I guess the method should work if you want to increase your follower number.
    I used to be really concerned about my number of followers because I got told by a PR person that PR agencies almost look only at that number. That said, during the last past month I got much more relax about it because I realized that they are things more important than that.

    Thanks for sharing your advice and info about this follow/unfollow method, it seems so many people are doing it and your “just patting on someon’s shoulder” example is a good explanation to see things differently!

    • Jul 2017 /

      It definitely does take a bit of effort – something that I lack a lot of the time haha.

      Thank you so much for sharing your input – I always enjoy hearing other people’s opinions on topics like these.
      But you’re so right, there are far more important things to be worrying about rather than numbers.
      It always seems to be that as soon as we stop worrying about numbers, they grow even faster – logic?! Haha

      Elley xx

  7. Jul 2017 /

    My followers seem to be dropping like flies at the moment! I used to love seeing my account grow before the algorithm changed, then it got really slow so I stopped paying attention. Now it’s started decreasing, no matter how many followers I gain in a day I end up with less than the day before! I’ve lost over a hundred in the past few weeks.

    I’d be pretty concerned if this was my job or I was trying to make it my job, but thankfully it’s a passion project, so numbers aren’t my focus!

    Billie | http://www.othersummers.com/

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