Whether we’d like to admit it or not, Instagram is a numbers game. Inasmuch as photos take centerstage in this hugely popular social media platform, so does numbers. How many followers you have matter, but so does the number of people you follow. So it’s not surprising that this question would be asked: How many people can you follow on Instagram?
Beware Of The Instagram Police
But Instagram has set certain limitations to the number of follows and unfollows to curb accounts using bots or extremely aggressive tactics. Should you find yourself, inadvertently or otherwise, violating these limitations, then you might find your account temporarily blocked.
It was mentioned in ampfluence.com that Instagram’s latest algorithm updates and policing policies have made it more challenging to avoid having your account temporarily blocked even if you are using organic strategies that are 100% manual. This led to many users feeling annoyed by what they perceive as Instagram’s “arbitrary blocking practices”.
In the past few months, Instagram has been blocking accounts with increased urgency and in many cases not providing a valid reason as to why the block occurred. There are cases wherein a ‘block’ or ‘compromised account’ prompt will appear in the app almost immediately after a single follow or as little as 10 unfollows.
So how many is “many” when it comes to the number of users you can follow?
Instagram’s Follow and Unfollow Limits
Instagram periodically imposes user action limits. The platform’s first major attempt began with limiting account actions like following and unfollowing. Initially, early adopters suggested following and unfollowing action caps were limited to 140 per hour.
As of January 2019, Instagram limits still vary across accounts with some having hourly limitations to daily actions. Most accounts were able to complete 350 – 500 follow, unfollow, and/or like actions per day. But in larger (more than 100,000 followers) and more reputable accounts, the limitations are often much higher.
There are reports that Instagram is in the middle of yet another important follow-unfollow limit change. While not finalized nor confirmed, reports have it that actions are limited to 6000 per month which is equivalent to about 200 actions per day. It is currently unclear as to whether or not likes are included in the limit of those daily actions.
Following or Unfollowing Too Quickly on Instagram
Normally, if you followed or unfollowed accounts too quickly on Instagram there is a good chance you would receive a block prompt. In most cases, prompts will stop you from following or unfollowing for a day or two. However in some, your account may be blocked for a much longer period. As mentioned earlier, block periods are quite arbitrary. However, keep in mind if you are following the rules and receive a block prompt you should let Instagram know that you or your staff are very active on the platform. This move may help remove or resolve the block more quickly.
Also, keep in mind that the history of your account may also impact Instagram’s sensitivity level to your activities. For example, accounts that have previously purchased fake followers may be more sensitive than accounts that have never purchased fake followers. Other examples of black or gray hat strategies which could cause your account to be blocked are
- Purchasing Followers
- Purchasing Likes
- Using Social Media Panels
- Using Bot Automation
Sure, these methods could help you increase the number of your followers, but using any of the abovementioned tactics do not add any value to your audience’s responsiveness which is actually more important than just mere number of likes. Moreover, it has been reported that users who participate in these types of strategies will inevitably struggle to grow their accounts and improve engagements.
So, How Many People Can You Follow On Instagram?
As said a few times earlier, yes, there is a limit on the number of people you can follow on Instagram. Instagram imposes this limit to “reduce spam”, and they set the limit on the number of people you can follow at 7,500.
Most users would not follow that much, but those who are very active on Instagram and if you have a business on the platform or if you are an influencer, there is a chance for you to hit this number. If you are approaching that limit, it might be time to go through and determine if there are people worth unfollowing. There may be inactive, delinquent, or irrelevant accounts which you could opt to stop following.
There are sites like IconoSquare which help you determine who you follow who do not follow you back. This might be a good opportunity to screen people to unfollow and allow yourself to follow more new people with more fresh and interesting content.
There’s A Time Limit, Too
Aside from the 7,500 follow limit, Instagram will also limit how many people you can follow within a certain period of time. If you follow too many people within an hour, or within 24 hours, you will receive a message telling you the limit has been reached. Most users report that Instagram only allows you to follow/unfollow 160 people per hour, but some report as low as 60.
Sadly, there is nothing you can do to bypass this limit no matter how hard you look and try as this policy was introduced by Instagram a long time ago and it was intended to prevent the aggressive following of accounts. It is unfortunate for most new Instagram users who prefer to follow many accounts to discover interesting contents, photos, stories, and discussions and to increase the number of users following them back. But Instagram has proven to be steadfast in its resolve to reduce fake / spam / bot accounts, and advertising revenue. Though a very valid reason for keeping to the limit, the policy does not take into account that most users are still rule-abiding and this limit could affect them negatively.
Some users are obstinate and try to look for a workaround. Should you stumble upon one, keep in mind that there is nothing that does not violate Instagram’s terms of service. Instagram prohibits users from following more than 7,500 users. This helps ensure that users do not violate Instagram’s Community Guidelines.
But, Wait, What About…?
Now if you are wondering why there are some users who follow more than the 7,500 limit, it is because if an account had already been following greater than 7,500 before the policy change, it can continue to follow as many people as it wants. However, any existing (or new) account that had less than 7,500 following will be capped upon reaching that number.
You maybe tempted to explore the dark web for a ‘hack’ or ‘workaround’ to bypass this limit, but we highly discourage you from doing so and end up risking your account and your online security.
If there is a limit to the number of people you can follow on Instagram, there is no limit on how many people can follow you. Just look at Selena Gomez’s and Ariana Grande’s Instagram accounts and you would know for sure.
Now that we are talking about limitations on Instagram let us briefly discuss a few more.
The Limit On The Number Of Likes You Can Click
Yes, believe it or not, there is also a limit on the number of likes you can perform on Instagram which is 350 likes per hour. But, unless you are using an automated tool or if you are very highly active on Instagram, you are not likely to hit this limit.
It helps to play safe, though, if you are indeed this active, keep the likes to less than 300 per hour to avoid getting locked up.
The Limit On Hashtags And Posts
Hear ye! Hear ye! Some good news, because yes, there is a hashtag limit on Instagram! You cannot post more than 30 hashtags per post. 30 (even 29!) is already way too many and could distract (even annoy) your audience from the actual content of your posts.
When it comes to posting, there is no limit to the number of posts you can share. There is no photo limit on Instagram – whether per day or total. You can just post all day, every day without risking Instagram blocking your account.
However, there is a limit if you want to delete posts. You can only delete posts one at a time. You may receive an error message if you try to delete too many posts at a given time. For some people this happens after 5-10 deletions. If you receive this message, wait and resume deleting more images at a later time.
Should you reach any of these limits on Instagram, you will receive an error message. It will look something like “Rate Limit Exceeded Instagram Error.”
If you receive this error, determine which limit you are violating. Afterwards, you can either wait for the time restriction to pass, or take steps to lower your activity.
As I mentioned above, most of you using Instagram for business or personal use would not reach most of these limits. Please make sure you are avoiding the use of automation tools (bots) to quickly follow and unfollow users. Don’t do this to exceed your post-liking limit, either. This is not the way Instagram was intended to be used. You should be interacting authentically and creating real relationships with your audience. If you are doing this right and following the rules, limits on Instagram should not be a problem.
What to Do If Your Instagram Account Gets Blocked
Let us say you breached the limits set by Instagram. Unfortunately, this led to the platform blocking your account. You could try any of the following steps to hopefully have your account returned to normal:
- Try suspending any activity that may be deemed too aggressive by Instagram.
- You could also change your password.
- Be sure to remove any weird applications in your authorized app settings.
- Take it easy on following and unfollowing users until the platform unblocks you.
- But do continue to log in to your Instagram account. Spend a few minutes a day perusing your feed. This is because Instagram monitors how much time you spend in the native app.
- Once the block is no longer present, resume using your account, but with a less active pace.
Getting unblocked would normally take a couple of hours or several days, depending on the severity of your offense.
So, to avoid getting in trouble on Instagram, remember the following things.
First, regarding the question: How many people can you follow on Instagram?
Here’s the simple answer: You can only follow 7,500 users at a time. Sadly, there is no official way to workaround this limit. However, there is no limit to the number of users who can follow you.
The best thing to do is to avoid trying to breach the limits set by Instagram. Also, avoid buying fake followers or using bots. These actions may (and likely will) cause Instagram to block your account.
Always be responsible Instagram users! Sure, the number of followers is important, but more than this, engagement is actually much more important on Instagram. Also, always keep to legal and official methods of using your Instagram account. If you want to keep your account growing, you’ll stick to this simple rule. Also, this’ll help you keep your peace of mind. After all, you’ll be secure in the knowledge that you are not violating any rules.