Could deleting Instagram followers help you grow your audience?
Episode 14710th May 2022 • Courageous Content with Janet Murray • Janet Murray
00:00:00 00:31:24

Share Episode

Shownotes

Imagine spending years building your following on Instagram.

You get to 8k and then realise the audience you’ve built is completely wrong for your business.

What do you do?


If you remove the followers that aren’t a good fit, your engagement will improve.


But if you don’t have many social media followers people may take you less seriously. 


That’s exactly what happened to live video coach Janine Cummings.


In this interview, you’ll find out what Janine decided to do - and the impact it’s had on her business.



Key Links

Free webinar with Janet Murray (link will take you into messenger)

Save £150 on an annual membership for Janet Murray’s Courators Club until June 30 using the code CCPODCAST447.

Janet Murray's Courageous Blog Content Kit

Janet Murray’s Courageous Content Live event

Save £30 on my Courageous Email Lead Magnet Content Kit using the code MAGNET67.

Save £30 on my Business Basics Content Kit using the code PODCAST67.

Save £30 on my Courageous Launch Content Kit using the code PODCAST67.

Janet Murray’s Courators Kit

Janet Murray’s FREE Ultimate Course Launch Checklist

Janet Murray’s Courageous Content Planner

Janine Cummings website

Janine on Instagram 

Janet Murray’s website

Janet Murray on Facebook

Janet Murray on Facebook

Janet Murray on LinkedIn

Janet Murray on Twitter

Janet Murray on TikTok

Transcripts

IMPORTANT: THIS TRANSCRIPT IS AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED. WE GIVE IT A QUICK CHECK THROUGH BUT WE DON’T CORRECT EVERYTHING AS IT’S INTENDED TO HELP YOU FIND PARTS YOU WANT TO LISTEN TO AGAIN - NOT AS AN EXACT TRANSCRIPT. SO THERE MIGHT BE A FEW QUIRKY WORDS/PHRASES HERE!

::

If you're struggling with engagement on Instagram, you may sense you need to change something. Maybe you need to change the time that you're pasting or the style of content. Maybe you need to do more wheels or Instagram stories. Something you might not have considered is that you may need to remove followers. And that's exactly what live video expert, Jenny Cummings date.

::

And in this rerun of one of the most popular episodes is the courageous content podcast. You'll find out what happened when Janine removed followers on Instagram, it might just surprise you. There was practically zero engagement. There wasn't many lights. There wasn't very many comments. It certainly wasn't any shares. I realized then this is not working because I'm talking to individuals that don't care about what I have to say.

::

Imagine spending years, building your following on Instagram, you get to 8,000 followers and then realize the audience you've built is completely wrong for your business. What do you do? If you remove the followers that aren't a good fit, your engagement will almost certainly improve, but if you don't have many social media followers, people may take you less seriously. This is exactly what happened to live video coach Janine Cummings.

::

It was really scary because I thought to myself that one's going to care anymore. No one's going to, I'm not going to get any engagement. If I remove all these people, my account's just going to be dead In this interview. You'll find out what you need decided to do and the impact it's had on her business. I think traditionally social media is a bit it's been about growing and having numbers.

::

For example, on Instagram, you're doing really well. Once you get to 10,000 and to swipe up feature, but we've got to move away from that. We've got to look at our following as a community. Let's get back to saying, do you know what our following is important? But the community behind our following is even more important. Let's not forget that likes do not equate to dollars and pounds.

::

They've don't. You're listening to the courageous content podcast. I'm Janet Marie, and I love helping coaches, creatives and entrepreneurs create super engaging content that generates leads and sales for their businesses. No one starts a business and just knows how to create engaging content. It's a skill that has to be learned from practice, and there's always something new to learn, no matter how long you've been in business.

::

And I know running an online business can feel messy, perfectionism, fear self-doubts and other mindset styles can stop you showing up online in the way that's best for you. So you'll get help with that too. Ready to get courageous with your content. Let's get started. So welcome to the show, Jeanine. Hello, thank you very much for having me Not at all.

::

I am. So looking forward to this conversation. So Janine, you are a video expert and coach, what do you feel makes great content Content that takes me or takes my audience me as a consumer or me putting content out to my audience that takes that person. Who's reading that post on aging. If I read a piece of content that just seems like it's a complete and total sales pitch,

::

or you're talking at me and not to me, I'm going to scroll onto the next thing. But if somebody is able to capture my attention, not only capture my attention, but I read that piece of content and I feel in the moment like I am, I really get what's going on. And I really feel it in my heart. That's what is a really good piece of content and a piece of content that moves a person to take action,

::

to want to get involved in the conversation, to want to then take the next step. And that next step could be just sharing your piece of content or getting into your DMS and asking a question a bit more about that post or about your services, about what you do. That's to me is a good piece of content. How important are followers do you think on social media?

::

Traditionally, social media is a bit it's been about growing and having numbers. For example, on Instagram, you're doing really well. Once you get to 10,000 and the swipe up feature, but we've got to move away from that. We've got to look at our following as a community. We've got to look our following as individuals, as people, human beings that we're trying to connect with.

::

Let's get back to saying, do you know what our following is important? But the community behind our following is even more important. I think what you're saying is it's about having the right followers. It's not about numbers, it's absolutely the right people in your audience who are interested in the content that you're interested in, the products and services that you want to sell 100%.

::

Yes. So you did something very interesting along these lines. Didn't do I do. Okay. So I actually last year, late last year I made the decision to completely cleanse, let's say my Instagram following. So I had a following of over 8,000 people. I then did like a soft cleanse and I removed, well, I say soft tens, but I got it down to 6,000.

::

And what happened was is that when I started to get really, really intentional, whereas building my Instagram or being consistent with my Instagram, because my focus primarily beforehand was Facebook. And so I was posting content consistently with a ready, really clear, concise message all the way through, in terms of what I do, who was, I didn't stray away from that.

::

But what I was finding Janet was that my content was not landing. People were not engaging with it. I was getting on followers. It just seemed as if my content was not working. And I had to sit down and say, okay, what is the reason for this? And it was the following. And so I made a decision that I was going to go through my entire following.

::

And I was going to remove yesterday. All of the accounts that were no longer, either access were no longer relevant. And it took me a little bit of time to do that. But I cleansed from the 8,000 down to the 6,000, I got it down to just literally by the time I finished doing my cleansing, it was just over a thousand followers that remained.

::

So that sounds very sensible. It sounds very strategic. Was it scary? Absolutely. 100% because there's this whole thing of, if I remove all these people, my account's just going to be dead. You hear about this all the time. And nobody wants to have a dead account that you're going to have to try and revive. And it's also as well that we want to stay relevant.

::

Don't we, we don't want to put ourselves in a situation where we don't seem relevant. And also, can I just say, if I may Janet, that when it comes to social media, there is this whole drive around numbers and there is this whole thing around that person must know what they're talking about because they've got 10,000, 20,100,000 followers, Janine over there has got 1000 followers.

::

Sarah over there has got a hundred thousand. So I'm going to go with, with what Sarah was saying. There's that whole thing around that. So there was that fear that when you remove your followers, will people believe you or where they start to doubt your, an expert in your field, but you have to have again and not trust a week.

::

Should I say, let me not take myself out of this. We have to have enough trust in our cells and our expertise and what we're capable of. We got to the point where we are in our lives and our businesses, not by accident, but because of intentionality and because of the hard work that we've put towards getting there. So we absolutely can,

::

100% continue on with that when we strip things back. So we mustn't be, be afraid, but yes, it was really scary because I thought to myself that was going to care anymore. No, one's going to, I'm not going to get any engagement, but the truth is Janet's that when I actually said that my engagement went straight up, my engagement went up.

::

Wow. So talk to us about what you are noticing on your accounts that told you that your content wasn't getting in front of the right people. Was it in the comments? Was it the numbers of viewers or the numbers of likes? What was it that you noticed that made you think something wasn't quite right. There was practically zero engagement. There wasn't many lights.

::

There wasn't very many comments. It certainly wasn't any shares. So to me, I looked at that and I just thought, you know, I say this all the time. I say this to my community, to my clients, my students, let's not forget that, like do not equate to dollars and pounds. They don't as far as I'm concerned.

::

So for me, yeah, great. You may have liked my content, but you could have liked it for a number of different reasons. You could have liked it because you just liked the colors on the post or something on the actual post, caught your attention, not the actual content itself, the context of what was being shared. So for me,

::

when I was seeing that and especially lack of engagement or lack of response to the call to action, the question I was actually asking, I realized then this is not working because I'm talking to individuals that don't care about what I have to say. And that's not to say that there weren't people within my following that cared, but obviously they're getting drowned out because if the majority don't care and there's a small,

::

small core number, you know, if people do, we know how social media works, we know with algorithms, they're not seeing the content, the people who cared weren't necessarily seeing it. So that was what it was for me. And I just thought, you know what, it's time for a change. Yes, I'm being consistent. But I'm seeing that this is not resulting in growth or conversions for me to continue to do that is the definition of madness.

::

So I had to be brave, like you said, Janet and I had to, had to cut them Afterwards. I felt I should have asked. You need to explain how social media algorithms work. So here's a quick explainer. When you publish a new social media post, typically it gets shown to a small percentage of your followers. If your post gets a lot of engagement from your followers,

::

it will be pushed out to more people, including people who don't follow you. So if you have lots of people following you who are not your ideal audience, your posts may not get that initial boost of engagement. It needs because a good proportion of your followers are just not that interested algorithms also take into account the accounts you follow and interact with something Janine and I guess on to a little later in the conversation.

::

So I think what you're saying is that when it comes to successful content likes, they're just a vanity measure. Absolutely Takes a second to like a post doesn't it. So what we're really looking for as content creators is comments, questions, DMS, conversation. That's really what we're looking for. I think that's what you're saying. Absolutely. 100%, because we also know that likes or reactions are passive.

::

They're no indicator that somebody has actually taken the time to read and evaluate what we're actually sharing. So yes, absolutely. 100%. It's about the engagement is about conversations. A lot of the time we can want to skip the conversation piece and really delve into creating those, those conversations. But it's so important that we do that. And for me, that's where I can always see that a piece of content is working by the response in the comments,

::

to what I've actually said. And then also what I noticed is there is a follow-up in that, that first comment, and then my response, and then there's further follow-up that person is really engrossed, intrigued, involved, interested in that piece of content. And that's what I think we need to be striving for more and more. Yeah, I think that's so true.

::

And the thing that always excites me is when I make a piece of content where people ask questions, so they follow up with a question, could you make a reel on this? Could you make a tutorial on this? So what about this? That to me shows me that people are taking notice. And when it comes to the likes, I actually created a real about this,

::

but clients will often say to me, well, what I've noticed, for example, the Instagram, which is where you're particularly active is that when I post a picture of myself, I get more likes and more engagement. And I made a real, it was quite controversial because some people didn't agree with me, but for me, you're always, it's human nature.

::

If you see a picture of her face, you're going to be more likely to like it. Because as humans, we tend to be attracted to other human faces. But that doesn't mean it's a, a good piece of content that picture of you and your holidays might just have attracted a few more likes just because it's better than the other stuff on your feed,

::

which isn't very engaging at all. And I think there's a lot of bad advice. Actually, that's given to people who are just getting started, for example, on Instagram, which is post lots of pictures of yourself. And I say to my clients, but why would somebody want to see a picture of me on my holiday, somebody scrolling through their feed.

::

In my case, my ideal audience is business owners. They've got problems. They need to solve. They've got questions. Like how does it help seeing a picture of me on my holidays? How does it help me out with my mates on a night out? They might like it because it might be a nice picture, but actually what does it add to the life?

::

So I think you're right that we have, we have to look really carefully at the type of engagement. And I was saying actually, before we got onto this call, that I've been reviewing client's accounts recently and looking at their Instagram reels in particular. And those are saying that they may have got, say two or 3000 more views on a reel, but that doesn't necessarily mean that's the most successful piece of content because they may have no comments at all.

::

And people have liked it because it's a trending sound or they like the transition. Absolutely. They just like the song because it reminds them of their childhood. The things that I'm really looking for is, is there a piece of content? It might have less views on it might have less likes on it, but it's the comments and the questions. That's the bit that I look at,

::

it sounds like that's a bit that you look at two, Absolutely Janet, no 100%. I've had a couple of reels recently where they have done extremely well in terms of views and likes. And what I noticed with those worlds is because I was using voiceover and trending sounds. And what I could see from that, those pieces of content was the audience was not right.

::

Number one, when I looked at the profiles, it was predominantly gen Z young people that I know tapped into that content because it caught their attention, which great. We do want to have eye catching content, but when it came to my comments, there was no engagement. And there was no real conversation that I can help with them in terms of the actual post,

::

because they weren't responding to that. They hadn't answered the question. And I, there were some reels that I get ones that have the lower numbers, but my engagement, as in the comments are much, much more. The ratio is much higher and that's to me is so, so, so much more important to be able to have that. Because for me,

::

that's an indicator that my content is reaching the right people. They're reaching my community. I don't post pictures, rarely post pictures on my feed because we have to make sure that we are positioning ourselves from the what's in it for our community, that we're showing that we're serving them through our content. How has the picture of me, like you mentioned, you know,

::

and the lights out with your mates on the beach, how is that serving my community and showing that I'm there for them? That's the focus being on me, look at me. And that's what we're trying to do. We're trying to make sure that our content, every single time comes from a point of serving our community, addressing their pain points and showing them some form of aspiration.

::

Absolutely. But also a solution. Do you ever worry that because you're a video coach and I guess people might see you as a social media coach that people may take you less seriously now because you have less followers. I looked at my phone and I was like, oh my goodness, all these years of building up my following it, no I haven't got,

::

you know, that whole dramatic thing. I could have been in a movie and I had to talk to myself and say, hold on a moment. Why have you done this? You've done this because you want to make sure that you have a targeted following a community of individuals who care about your content, want to see your content. And ultimately it's going to lead to better conversions because we know that,

::

you know, when we're putting content out to an audience who aren't interested in it, they're not going to take action on that content. So for me, I just had to move away from the vanity metrics, the number and just say to myself, do you know what? At the end of the day, we all have capability with consistent action to build our communities up.

::

And I knew that I would be able to do it again, but I also knew that for me, it was more important that I had the right following as opposed to just a large, large earth falling because 8,000 is a good number, but it's not massive number. But for me, it doesn't matter because I think that we can have success. And I think we have to remember this,

::

that we can have success with a thousand, less than a thousand, less than 5,000 people, if our community and the people that are following us are the right individuals. Yeah. I am with you a hundred percent. And I've had this debate with social media managers many times who say, well, I don't have time for social media. I will say quite honestly.

::

Well, if I was looking for somebody to help me with social media, I'm not looking for somebody, who's got a massive following. All I'm looking for is can you create engaging content and are people responding in the comments? Are people engaging? It's not about numbers for me. It's about the quality of the content. So I think you're right to be confident about that.

::

So the idea of reducing your social media following sounds great and hands up, it's something that I've thought about myself because I grew my Instagram following very quickly, a couple of years ago, by following quite a specific strategy around motivational means. And although I grew my following really quickly, really successfully learned a lot. Actually that's not the content. I feel my ideal followers want.

::

I've realized that now. And since I've started doing reels and I'm getting on there and I'm doing tutorials and I'm teaching people things, and I'm having loads of fun, that's really important. I think it's important to have fun with your content. I'm like, I feel like sometimes I look at my content and I've got now 17 and a half thousand photos.

::

And I think I feel the same Janine. I've got a lot of people following me, who aren't interested in my reels and we're educational staff. And in fact, I lost about a thousand followers when I started doing it. Although interestingly, I've also, I'm also gaining a lot is as well is going up and down and up and down. But I'm gaining new followers everyday.

::

And crucially for me, people are commenting. I'm really enjoying this. This was really helpful, which is the important bit. So I have thought about it and it's definitely on my agenda that I need to be brave and I need to go through and I need to call my following as well. And again, for a content marketing expert, I have some worries hands up around that,

::

but will people expect me to have loads of followers? How long will it take me to build it back up? But I feel that my content could reach more people and help more people if I cut mine down. So Absolutely the Question for all of us is how did you do it? And how long did it take? It took me about sport or five days,

::

like full days. I kid you not because I didn't use any third party tools or anything like that. I know that there are some things that you can actually use to mass remove your following. I didn't want to do that. I sat down and I went through my lesson and I, and I broke it down in stages. So firstly removal of,

::

or male followers, because I work with women entrepreneurs, so removed all of the male accounts. I then looked at the boss accounts or inactive accounts and removed all of those. And then once I'd actually got through that, which was a huge amount, I then started to look at accounts that were irrelevant, so to speak. So when I say irrelevant,

::

what I mean is individuals who looking at their accounts, you can see that there isn't any affinity. For example, I'm a video marketing coach. So I would go onto an individual's account. And if I could see, there is no video on your account. So no reels, no ID, TVs, no stories. Then I was removed those individuals.

::

Some may disagree with that. But to me that tells me that I'm not able to, you may have followed me for, because something popped up. That was an interest at the time. It might have been a picture of me on the beach with my laptop. And that's why you connected with me. But in terms of my video content, which is the core of my messaging.

::

But if you was to see my content, you're going to scroll by. So I made that decision and it can be a bit difficult because you think, oh, I should hope I could hold onto this person. But no, that's what I actually did. And when I got to the end, I looked at my following and said, oh my goodness,

::

this is a lot. But there was a sense of excitement because it's almost like a blank canvas that you get to paint and create. And knowing that going forward, when you paint and create, it's going to attract the right people. There's no question about it. There's no doubts about it. As long as you are producing the right content, that is valuable,

::

that is clear in your messaging, it's going to do well. How did you manage the process? Did you have a spreadsheet and notebook? I'm just thinking about the organizational side of it. So for me, I actually, cause I am a note pad and pen type of gal. I have to discipline what would have asserted age status. It was note,

::

pad and pen, breaking it down into the categories of those that I deemed irrelevant and then going through the manual process of removing those people. But as I said, I did it in the category. So men first and then moved on and then moved on and then narrowed it down, narrowed it down and narrowed it down from there. Is there a limit on how people you can remove a day?

::

I believe that there is, I think it's roundabout the 50 mark, because that's another thing that I wanted to say. I didn't mass remove people all at once because I didn't want Instagram to block me or to restrict my account for unusual activity. So you do have to be very, very careful with that. You can't just remove everyone in one go.

::

And that's why it took me the full four to five days to do it. And it was literally like at some stages taking, taking my lights. It just, it was a lot. I thought it was never going to end When I listened back to this interview, I wondered if Janine had meant to say, you could only remove 50 followers a day,

::

otherwise, how would you have been able to complete this task in five? So I checked in with her. She clarified that it was actually 50 at a time, not per day in my experience. Instagram will generally warn you if it thinks you're doing too much in one sitting. But if you do decide to do a follow cleanse on your accounts, do you be careful?

::

Since then? I have had really, really good results in terms of my engagements and my growth is a lot slower, but it's the right people. So I definitely highly recommend taking the time to do it. Absolutely. You shouldn't have in your mind that you're going to do it all at once, because then it's going to feel like skating uphill on eyes.

::

So you do it a little bit of time, but you create the categories that are relevant for you in terms of who needs to be removed or who will no longer can actually your content and then go from there. Is it worth doing it? If you have a smaller account, I, 100% think it is worth going through your accounts, taken inventory,

::

removing debt followers, again, come away from the mindset of the numbers. And I know again, it can be scary because you might think I've only got 450. What if I remove that I'm left with only 50, but if those 50 people are highly engaged on your content, then that's what we need. But ultimately, ultimately, if you have a smaller account,

::

then you could do it a lot slower. And what I would suggest as well for smaller accounts is perhaps start with taking inventory of your following as it comes in, because we have to remember as well, people are constantly unfollowing our accounts and that's fine. Those people who leave tell us that they're not, they're not interested in our content, so we don't want our content to be shown to those people anyway.

::

So when you're getting the new followers, have a look at their accounts, be really intentional with doing that, have a look at their accounts and see if these are your ideal clients, that they would be interested in your content based on what they're actually showing. Because if you've got, for example, an account, somebody follows you and there, what they're sharing is incomplete conflict.

::

Or for example, the person that's followed you is in your ideal client range, then be brave and ask yourself the question, will this individual connect with engage with my content, if not, then just take the time to remove them. And equally as you get new followers that all individuals who are the right followers, your ideal clients, then make sure you're taking the steps to engage those individuals,

::

send them a message because that's important as well. We have to see it from both sides of the coin. We also need to look at who we're faltering as well. Don't we? Yes, 100% because Instagram gives us, for example, the option to the accounts that show up most in our feed. So we can re-engage there. If the people are still relevant and then also the ones that we've been least interacted with.

::

So we definitely need to look at that and then use that to help us manage our accounts better and to do the necessary cleansing. Yeah. I just did that on my own account actually. And I've taken the number of people I'm following down from about 1500 to 500. It was hard. Like I had to unfollow some friends who may, will hate me now,

::

but my view on it was that the Instagram is also looking at who I'm following. And it's then making judgements, I guess, as if like Instagram as a person, but you know what I mean? Yes. What I'm interested in. So if I'm following load of my mates who are just posting pictures about their dogs or their kids or their weekends,

::

I feel like that could confuse Instagram app. So I've called it right back down to my ideal clients or people that I would want to connect with or work with, or people I know will be interested in my content. I'm going to be interested in math. And that was scary as well. I can't imagine how scary it was to completely call all of your followers.

::

Really scary. It was, it was really scary, but it's very important that we are taking ownership of our accounts. So we can, again, by the explore page, takes the time to go and click the three dots and remove the content that we're not interested in so that it shows more of the content that we are interested in. We absolutely 100% have to do this.

::

It is very scary, but going forward in 2021, after everything that we've all been through, we can be brave. We can do this and we've shown that we can pivot and do it well. So let's take the same approach and what we're doing with our social media, with our following, so that we are, again, being able to shop and shine our light and serve the people that really do need us because that's ultimately what it's all about.

::

I really admire. Janine's bravery in removing her dead followers on Instagram. And while I'm totally behind her decision, I do want to remind you of something important. If you're not getting engagement on your content, reducing your follow account could help. But before you wish off to delete your dead followers, the first thing you must know is the quality of your content.

::

Janine was already creating, engaging content. She knew that because she was getting some genuine engagement from her ideal clients. She just felt like she should be getting more, but if you're not getting any genuine engagement on your accounts, in the form of comments, questions, and shares, and not from your friends and not from an engagement pod that you belong to,

::

the problem is far more likely to be with your content. So before we go to leading tons of your followers, please take an honest look at your content and whether it's meeting the needs of your ideal customers or clients, otherwise you could be throwing the baby out with the bath water. I'll share links to all of Janine's socials and her website in the show notes.

::

And do, please take a look at Jeanine's Instagram accounts she's over on at. I am coaching Janine. And did you enjoy this episode, please do tag us both in and tell us what you found most useful. I'm at Jan Murray UK. Thanks for listening to the courageous content podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please leave a review on apple podcast or share the episode on social media.

::

That way more people can benefit from the free tips and strategies I share and be sure to tag me when you do I'm at Jan Marie on Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok.