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Followers on Instagram vs. Following on Instagram — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Published on January 20, 2024
"Followers" on Instagram are users who subscribe to your content, while "Following" represents the users you subscribe to for their content.
Followers on Instagram vs. Following on Instagram — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Followers on Instagram and Following on Instagram


Key Differences

"Followers" on Instagram refers to the number of users who have chosen to follow your account to see your posts in their feed. "Following," on the other hand, indicates the number of users you have chosen to follow to see their content in your feed.
When someone follows you on Instagram, they become a "follower," giving them access to your posts, stories, and updates. In contrast, when you follow someone, you become part of their "following," allowing you to view their shared content.
The number of "followers" can be a measure of popularity or influence on Instagram, showing how many people are interested in your content. Conversely, your "following" count shows your interests and the type of content you engage with on the platform.
You receive notifications when new users join your "followers," indicating growing interest in your profile. Whereas, you don't receive such notifications for accounts you add to your "following" list, as it's a personal choice of content curation.
For businesses and influencers, the "followers" count is crucial as it represents a potential audience for marketing and engagement. The "following" list is more about personal preferences and doesn't typically impact the public perception of a profile.

Comparison Chart


Users who subscribe to your account
Users you subscribe to


Indicates your popularity or influence
Shows your interests and content preferences


Receive when someone follows you
No notification when you follow someone

Relevance for Profile

Critical for reach and engagement
More about personal content curation

Public Perception

Reflects audience size and appeal
Reflects personal tastes, less public focus

Compare with Definitions

Followers on Instagram

The number of followers can indicate a user's popularity or influence.
His large number of followers on Instagram made him an attractive choice for brand sponsorships.

Following on Instagram

Following on Instagram refers to the users you choose to subscribe to and see in your feed.
He carefully curates his following on Instagram to include his favorite artists and photographers.

Followers on Instagram

Followers on Instagram are users who subscribe to see your posts and stories.
She celebrated reaching 10,000 followers on Instagram with a special post.

Following on Instagram

Managing your following list can personalize your Instagram experience.
She regularly updates her following on Instagram to keep her feed interesting and relevant.

Followers on Instagram

Gaining followers can be a goal for those looking to expand their reach.
She uses creative content strategies to increase her followers on Instagram.

Following on Instagram

The following count reflects your interests and the type of content you prefer.
Her following on Instagram is mostly travel bloggers and culinary experts.

Followers on Instagram

Followers have the ability to interact with your content through likes, comments, and shares.
Her followers on Instagram actively engage with her content by leaving comments and likes.

Following on Instagram

Your following list is visible to others and can offer insights into your preferences.
His following on Instagram shows his interest in photography and fashion.

Followers on Instagram

Followers can include both personal connections and broader audience.
His followers on Instagram include both friends and fans from around the world.

Following on Instagram

Following a diverse range of accounts can broaden your exposure to different content.
She enjoys following a wide variety of accounts on Instagram for a diverse feed.

Common Curiosities

How can I increase my followers on Instagram?

Engaging content, consistent posting, using hashtags, and interacting with other users can help increase followers.

Is it better to have more followers or a balanced followers-to-following ratio?

It depends on your goals; a high follower count is good for influence, while a balanced ratio can indicate active engagement.

Why is the number of followers important on Instagram?

The number of followers can indicate popularity, influence, and the reach of a user's content.

Does following a lot of people affect my Instagram experience?

Yes, following many accounts can diversify your feed but may also clutter it with too much content.

Can people see who I am following on Instagram?

Yes, your following list is public unless your account is private.

Can I see who unfollows me on Instagram?

Instagram does not notify you when someone unfollows you, but third-party apps can provide this information.

Is it common to follow back someone who follows you?

It's a personal choice; some users follow back to build connections, while others only follow accounts of personal interest.

Do celebrities manage their own following lists on Instagram?

Some do, but others may have teams to manage their accounts, including who they follow.

Why do some people have thousands of followers but follow very few?

This can be due to their popularity or a strategy to maintain an uncluttered feed.

Why do some people prefer a private account on Instagram?

Private accounts allow users to control who follows them and views their content, offering more privacy.

How can I make my followers more engaged with my content?

Posting interactive and relatable content, responding to comments, and running contests can increase engagement.

Does having fewer followers make my Instagram account less important?

Not necessarily; the importance of an account also depends on the content quality and user engagement.

Do businesses on Instagram focus more on followers or following?

Businesses typically focus more on growing their followers to increase their customer base and market reach.

Can I hide who I am following on Instagram?

You cannot hide your following list on Instagram; it's visible to all users.

Can buying followers improve my Instagram presence?

Buying followers is generally discouraged as it can lead to low engagement and violates Instagram's terms of service.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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