When you’re dead on Instagram you lose a plethora of opportunities to boost your sales. But what does it actually mean — dead Instagram account?

The name speaks for itself: your Instagram profile is not active and thus, has low engagement, low reach, and few impressions with a satisfactory number of followers.

You may encounter this situation when you stop posting for a while and disappear from your audience’s feeds or when the content you’re posting is no longer attractive.

The main drawback of the low ER is that people don’t know about you or your brand. This leads to smaller brand awareness, diminished traffic on your website, fewer sales, and less money.

But the good news is that it’s possible to revive your Instagram account from the dead. Before we go straight to this, let’s talk about signs pointing that your page needs help.

How do I know my account is dead?

If you track your Instagram statistics, you know how your account and overall strategy performs. Instagram itself shows us the basic metrics — profile visits, reach, impressions and content performance.

But what Instagram doesn’t provide us with is the insights about our engagement rate. ER is one of the most valuable metrics in terms of Instagram marketing and is measured in percentages. So, if you see that your ER is low, it means your Instagram page is dead.

What is low ER, you wonder. The ideal percentage of ER depends on the number of followers and a type of account. For instance, brands and businesses (commercial accounts) tend to have a lower ER than profiles of individuals — bloggers, influencers, creators, and so on.

But generally speaking, if your ER is lower than 2%, it’s time to change your Instagram strategy. Though it’s very individual since large companies like Starbucks (0.62%) or McDonald’s (0.53%) have a low ER, according to Social Blade, but this little misfortune doesn’t prevent them from making billions of dollars.

Small or aspiring businesses with lower revenues and Instagram as the primary eCommerce platform should pay more attention to the ER than the number of likes or followers.

To find out the percentage of your ER, you can use tools like Social Blade. But it will reveal your engagement rate only if you have a Business or Creator Instagram account.

Another way to measure your ER is to detect your engagement in terms of likes. To do so, you need to use this straightforward formula.

Calculate the average number of likes in posts 4 through 10, divide it by this number of posts, and then divide the result by the number of your followers.

So, you take the likes in post 4 and add the likes from posts 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10. Then divide the sum by 7 (number of posts). Once you get the result, divide it by a total amount of your followers. Thus, you’ll get your ER.

By doing this simple maths, you indicate an average number of followers that care about your content and respond to it.

An important note here: we take this exact number of posts because they detect your current engagement, not that once been on your account. We discussed this topic in detail on one of our webinars.

How to re-engage the dead account: do’s and don’ts

As we said, it’s possible to revive your Instagram account, but that will take some time and effort. And like in any activity, there are mistakes that you should avoid.

So, let’s start with steps you should take today to bring the profile back to life.


  • Post regularly.

Well, duh. As we’ve said, one of the reasons for low activity score on your Instagram is that you post too rarely. Your followers have time to forget about you while you’re absent.

If that’s your case and the engagement dropped after a long absence on Instagram, your first step is to post in one rhythm. It’s up to you whether you want to post several times a day or a week — you need to test this. The trick is in regularity.

Don’t forget about stories and their stickers, IGTVs, video posts, and live streams. Use any content Instagram suggests. And tools like Combin Scheduler will assist you in building this regularity. By planning the content, you’ll make sure you don’t forget to post it on each of your accounts.

  • Be socially active.

Once you start posting regularly, your account unavoidably attracts more people. Thus, the reach, profile visits and engagement grow. People start responding to your content — leave comments under your posts, reply in DM, react to stories, and so on.

All you need to do is respond; talk to your audience and engage it in discussions.

  • Work on audience-oriented content.

When the profile visits grow, some of the audience leave your page and don’t follow you. And that’s totally normal. It means that Instagram suggests your content to irrelevant people, but among them, there’s definitely your audience. How to make them stay? With content.

For a better understanding of what your audience is looking for, do some research and check what your competitors or accounts with similar concept do to attract their followers. This will inspire you and give a clearer image of what to do with your content strategy.

  • Grow your network.

Interact with other accounts from your niche — collaborate, host contests together, and tag relevant accounts on posts they’d likely to respond (but don’t do it massively, since Instagram detects it as spam).

The key here is to partner with accounts that are potentially interesting for your audience.

  • Repost UGC.

User-generated content is your social proof. By reposting this, you showcase to your audience that you’re interesting for people like they are. Share the content of other users mentioning you in any way — comments, video reviews, posts with tags.

But make sure this content fit to the concept of your page.

Instagram of this cosmetics brand is full of UGC
  • Make contests and challenges.

This point requires specific attention. Last time we talked about which contests you should and should not conduct to make your tribe engage. Just in a nutshell here: make contests with the motivation that is valuable for your followers, not for a sizeable generic audience.

Challenges, in turn, are very engaging and require no motivation once done correctly. Remember those viral ten years challenge, FaceApp age challenge, or Gradient one with celebs looking like you? If your challenge is fun and engaging, people will support it without a prize and make it go viral.

  • Remove ghost followers.

Followers that do not engage with your account are dead weight, so not to make it even worse, you can manually remove them from your followers’ list. They will not be notified, by the way.

Bots, accounts of other businesses like stores and mass followers with more than 500 followings should be removed. You can do it effortlessly within the Instagram native app heading over Followers -> three dots next to a username -> Remove Follower.

Why remove accounts with many followings? Because of this vast amount, they will not see your content in their feed.

  • Provoke.

Post provocative posts and captions but be ready for a negative reaction. Typically, such posts divide your audience into two parts discussing one controversial issue you’re offering.

It’s important to remember that while making provocative posts you have to stick to Instagram community guidelines which means no insults or bullying is allowed.

  • Ask for help or advice.

Make your audience feel it’s needed. But naive publications with captions like which is better — 1, 2, or 3? are not the best option since your followers will quickly get tired of that and understand that you do it for engagement, not their opinion.

  • Attract a look-a-like audience.

Parse users similar to your followers who are active on your competitors’ pages or in accounts with content like yours. You can search for them in the Combin Growth tool by commenters, likers, or followers of your competitor or a single post.


  • Buy bots.

Bots, fake likes, comments, and followers are not just faux pas, but a direct path to deleting your account and creating a new one.

  • Conduct giveaways with expensive and generic prizes.

Laptops, cars, and iPhones will attract people who love free goods, not those who’ll get in love with your content.

  • Collaborate with fake influencers.

Before partnering with any Instagram influencer, check their ER, quality and relevance of the audience, and the way they speak to their followers.

Sometimes, even if an influencer is not fake, their audience is not relevant for you. That’s why it’s vital to check if these followers are even interested in you as a creator or a brand.

  • Spam.

Another Instagram faux pas. Same hashtags, comments, overlapping mentions in a post, too often posting are spam-like activity. Don’t annoy Instagram and your audience with repetitive actions, otherwise not the audience only gets bored, but Instagram will ban you.

  • Post the same content.

Last but not least. Thanks to Instagram function to check the performance of each post, it’s very tempting to emulate the previous success with the same kind of content.

But here’s what you should remember. Same posts will not bring you the same engagement as they did once posted for the first time. People tend to get bored with the same content.

If you want to boost the engagement with each of your posts, be ready to think bigger and generate new ideas over and over. Simply put, if once a post with a soup recipe boosted your activity (and your account is not a cooking one), no need to post such recipes over and over. Lack of ideas is a common struggle for creators, but these recommendations will help you overcome the creative roadblock.

For your inspiration

Take a look at the compilation of accounts that kill it on Instagram with their high engagement and amazing content.

Hot Pockets with 5.51% ER is full of engaging games and jokes with wordplay out of their brand name.

The Gifted on Fox has 7.61% of ER with 206k followers. Though it’s not a personal page, it’s full of faces who people love — actors and stars of the show. Accounts with “faces” always get a higher ER.

The Crown on Netflix has 15.13% (wait, what?) and that’s a huge ER considering how large their followers' number is.

Chipotle with 3.27% is another food company that wrapped their content in memes and jokes.

Matt Adlard — a “self-taught baker” — has a huge ER of 12.14% with 620k followers. He publishes video recipes, shows the “inners” of the professional cooking process, and shares the moments from his life.

To read all our updates and get new Instagram marketing tips, follow us on Twitter, Reddit, LinkedIn, and Youtube.