What Does Followers and Following Mean On Instagram?

What does followers or following mean on Instagram? Your Instagram stats appear on your profile, but many users don’t consider their follower count, following list, and how the two numbers can be interpreted. While your Instagram account might have a lot of followers and you may be following other users as you please, many Instagram users judge other users based on these numbers.


Followers vs. Following Definition

Defining these terms may seem silly, but new users to Instagram have a huge learning curve, so we’ll go through the basics.

Followers on Instagram are the users that follow you; these followers can see your posts on both your profile and on their feed. If your Instagram is set to private, these are the only people who can see your posts. They can also view your Instagram stories and send you direct messages.

Following refers to the list of users that you follow on Instagram; these users’ posts appear on your feed, and you have access to view their profile if you want. You can direct message these users, but if they do not follow you back they may have to approve the message before responding.

follower/following ratio

Maintaining Follower and Following Ratio  

Comparing the number of users that are following you and the number of users that you follow is often referred to as the follower/following ratio. By comparing the follower/following ratio, many users judge about the quality of your Instagram account.

An account that follows a lot of people but has few followers is generally considered a low-quality account or may even be a fake account. An account with an even ratio of followers to following numbers is generally considered normal. Users with way more followers than they are following are viewed as good or even great accounts, and these users may be celebrities or Instagram influencers.

When Is Follower/Following Ratio Important?  

If you only run your own personal account, tracking your follower and following ratios isn’t really necessary. Many users only post on Instagram to share with friends and family and stay up to date on each others’ lives, so these users don’t really need to worry about their ratio. The general purpose behind a personal Instagram account is to only remain connected with family and friends. Therefore, in most cases of your personal accounts followers, many of these people know who you are. They are not following you because of your follower/following ratio.

Businesses, brands, and Instagram influencers, however, work to maintain a positive follower/following ratio (more followers than they are following) to promote their account and to let other followers see that they are an interesting account to follow. The follower/following ratio on Instagram is really just about your reputation on Insta as a cool account or, if your ratio is bad, a spammy account that follows people but does not get followed back.

Average Number of Followers on Instagram

A report from Statista stated that the average number of followers for teens in 2015 was 150 followers. This is a pretty low number, and Instagram has grown in popularity since 2015 so it is likely that the real average is higher. Without any new studies released, however, it’s impossible to know what the real average number is in 2019. Most celebrities have over a million followers, and the 10 most followed Instagram accounts of 2018 all have over 100 million followers each.

Instagram limits how many people you can follow at 7,500, so no one can follow more than that regardless of how many followers they have.

Get More Instagram Followers

If you realized that your follower count is way lower than the number of users you follow, you can fix your ratio by getting more Instagram followers. Learn how to get your first 1000 followers on Instagram, or sign up with Social Buddy and let our organic Instagram growth service do the work for you.

Written by Erin

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