Pinterest: How to Unfollow People Who Don’t Follow You

ScissorsSo you got on Pinterest and followed a few hundred people when you first signed up. Now you’re wondering: how in the heck do I figure out who is not following me back or is inactive? You can look at the lists of who you follow and who follows you, sure, but it isn’t easy to figure out, is it? That was my conclusion, too!

After searching and reading many blogposts, I never found anything to help with this. Twitter has a million tools to help you unfollow, but Pinterest doesn’t seem to have the same tools (if there is a tool, I’d be happy to hear about it). In the meantime, here is a step-by-step guide.

Step One. Open a Blank Text Document

Open your Pinterest account and click on “Followers” near the top of the screen. Now cut and paste each name into a doc. I tried cutting and pasting the entire list, along with the graphic images, but that didn’t work. So, yes, it’s time-intensive, but it does work. Once you have the names in there, save the document. I put the date when I did the cleanup at the top, too, so next time it’ll be easier.

Step Two. Click on “Following”

Still in Pinterest, near the top, click on “following.” Scroll all the way to the bottom of that list. You’re going to start at the bottom and scroll up, one screen at a time.

Step Three. Compare the Two Lists

Next, you’re going to have to search in your text doc to see if the person you follow also follows you. So you’re going to compare the two lists. Say you have someone in your “Following” list named “Silliest Pinner.” Go to your text doc and search for “Silliest Pinner.” If they’re there, you keep them. Of course, you may not care if someone is following you back. I follow some influential pinners because their pins are valuable. But if the person doesn’t provide any value (no pins through inactivity, for example), unfollow them.

Step Four. Unfollow

To Unfollow, simply click on the “Unfollow” Button. Unfollowing is a little confusing because the “Unfollow” button is grayed out. You’ll know you’ve been successful when the button changes to say “Follow” and is darker.

Going Forward

You may want to schedule time to do cleanouts, or add people to your “Following” document, now that you have a “Following” document.

Have a Better Idea?

If you have any tips on how to make this process simpler, please share. Really. I’d love to hear from you!

Update – November 15

Aida wrote to me, via @Business2Community, and told me about the “Followers on Pinterest” App for iPad/iPhone. So for those of you with iPhones or iPads, you’re in luck! Us Android users may have to rely on old-school methods, unfortunately. Thank you Aida!

Comments

  1. Why unfollow those who don’t follow back? Maybe the friend is not active on Pinterest but will follow in the future when they have time, plus unfollowing interesting accounts will make you miss their posts.

    • Hi Stacy, some people are completely inactive on Pinterest and I’d rather unfollow those accounts. When friends do become active, then I can follow them. If an account offers some value (interesting posts, for example), then I don’t feel they have to follow back. But if someone isn’t being social on social media, for the most part I’d rather not follow them. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule! Thanks for your comment. Much appreciated. ~Carol

      • Pinterest seems different than Twitter in this regard. I just follow all my social media friends that are on Pinterest and don’t worry if they’re active or following back. Twitter, on the other hand, if they don’t want to follow back or unfollow, I do unfollow. Who.unfollowed.me makes this easy though! I guess my time is spread so thin because I do so much on social media that I have to be picky about what I spend time on.

        • Hi Stacy, We all have to guard our time since we spend so much of it on social media. Lately I’ve been spending more time on Pinterest, though. So unfollowing people who are inactive makes more sense. Thanks for taking the time to comment. I really appreciate it!

  2. I have found that you can copy the entire page, past it into notepad.

    Then you copy from notepad, paste into excel and organize data by A to Z and you can delete all the following notes.

    • Thank you, Dani! That is very helpful. I will have to try copying from notepad and putting it into Excel. Excellent idea! Thanks again for taking the time to comment. I really appreciate that. ~Carol

  3. A quick and easy tool you can use to compare data is Notepad++ (among a lot of other things)

    You can open multiple text docs in it, just like you can in modern browsers using tabs..

    Open up the two docs, go to plugins –> Compare –> Pick your options (align, ignore spacing, detect moves, or navigation bar) –>Click compare & Poof, both docs show up side by side and the differences will be highlighted.

    Hope it makes your life easier ;) Austin G.

    • Hi Austin G.,
      I didn’t know that you could do a compare like that so easily. That is so much easier! Wow. I feel as though I’ve been using a piece of charcoal and trying to write on the back of a shovel now. Hahaha!

      Seriously, thank you so much! I appreciate the suggestion — I’m going to try it!

      Carol

  4. Hey Carol,

    Ha that’s funny ;) Now you can really start doing some digging ;) I come from the engineering world where a lot of times you need to crunch data in different ways, notepad++ is just the tip of the iceberg ;)

    I’m working on a blog post reviewing some of my tools in the ol toolbox, be sure to stay tuned :)
    @LocalOnSpot & http://www.LocalOnSpot.com/blog

    • That’s great, Austin. Digging–I get that one! Funny…I was working on a post about tools, too. I took a look at your post–thanks for writing it. There are so many tools out there, we can’t possibly keep track of all of them. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  5. Hi Carol,
    How to unfollow an huge amount of people in pinterest at a time.Any suggestions please.Thanks for share this ideas with us.

  6. Hi,
    A quick to compare followers and people you follow is to open followers in a new window, and people you follow in a different window. No cutting or pasting :)

    • Hello Cindy,
      Thanks for the tip. Yes, you can open two separate windows without cutting and pasting. However, it’s difficult to see followers and following side by side. Have you been able to work around that issue? Thank you for taking the time to comment! I appreciate that! Carol

  7. Elite Peace says:

    When you unfollow me I will unfollow you.

  8. This seems like a lot of work. I wonder if there is a tool out there to unfollow just like there is on Twitter. I just noticed that I only have half of the followers then the ones I follow. Not sure if I want to go through all of the trouble. Thanks for your idea.

    • Hi Sandy, Yes, it does seem like a lot of work. I keep hoping that Pinterest will make it easier for all of us (or that some app will be created) to make this process easier! Thanks so much for commenting!

  9. Oh gosh, what a hard process! , so better its to not follow? :) , thanks for the explanation about how to do it. Regards!

    • Hi Alex,
      I’d still follow if you like someone’s pins and boards. And if you have an iPhone or some easy way to unfollow, that will work (did you read all the comments, too?). Thanks for commenting. ~Carol

  10. Hi, I’ve just stumbled across Voodoo Pinner too. I’ve been trying to use the free version before buying the official version. It doesn’t see to work so far…maybe I’m doing something wrong but it keeps stalling every time the programme tries to unfollow someone. Has anyone else used this successfully as it does seems the only practical way to unfollow people.

  11. Giovanni says:

    Thanks Carol for this wonderful blog post! I’ve developed an application as well to do the comparison automatically by filling the followers and the following list, it will then output the people who don’t follow you and the people who you don’t follow. Copying the whole page and pasting it into its suitable list doesn’t matter. You can have it here: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B338_fQf97vDX3NWdkNvelo1TE0/edit?usp=drive_web

    • Hello Giovanni,
      Thank you so much for this application. I wish I had a Windows machine so I could try it out. Maybe someone else will try it out and report back. I’ve enjoyed our back and forth conversation. Thank you again for this!
      Carol

    • John Smith says:

      Sorry, can you tell us how to use this (Google Docs hosted) application? It doesn’t seem to work on Windows 8.

    • Hi, Giovanni,
      Thanks for the application. It is great! I tried it. It works in small number, if the list has over 10,000, it does not work. Can you make it take over 10,000?

      Thanks,

      Lily

  12. Do you know if Pinterest has any rule on how many followers versus following you may have? I use unfollow on Twitter and the free version lets me unfollow about 50 per day. I don’t guess there is any rush unless I may get too many following versus followers. Does that make sense?

    • Hi Lisa,
      I’ve heard that there is an unpublished limit of 300 per day that you can follow on Pinterest. However, I haven’t heard that there’s any ratio of followers to following like there is on Twitter. And yes, what you’re saying does make sense. At a certain point, you may want to unfollow.
      Best luck,
      Carol

  13. How come no one has come up with a tool to do all this yet? This is just a hassle to go through. There has got to be a better way. I will do my research and if I come up with anything, I will post it on here. :)

    • Hello,
      Yes, it is a hassle! There is, however, an iPhone app that is a bit easier. I’ve heard of one called “Who Unfollow Me for Pinterest” for $.99, but have not tried it yet, so cannot recommend it. If you do hear of something easy, please let me know!
      Thanks for commenting,
      Carol

  14. WSVDesign says:

    While I found your article informative , the title is misleading . I like Pinterest , because there is no pressure to follow or unfollow anyone , and as a designer it is great for Mood boards , With that said I don’t follow many people as I do not want to be influenced. I want to try as I have always done , to tap into the universal unconscious, This is concept level / trending . With that said I never thought of Pinterest as I will follow you if you follow me … If your pushing product on Pinterest , I think it is important to follow your customer base back , but if not pushing product and your doing inspiration boards what is the point. I feel the highest compliment on Pinterest is to like a pin or repin. My Moto keep calm and carry on ….

    • Hello Natalie,

      Not sure how the title is misleading. No, there is no pressure to follow or unfollow anyone on Pinterest, although many (especially brands) do pay attention to numbers. Designers like yourself love the visual appeal of Pinterest. I love what you’ve said about the universal unconscious and the emphasis on mood boards and inspiration boards. That is one of many reasons to be on Pinterest. Yes, repinning is a great compliment. Thank you for your comments, Natalie. I appreciate your taking the time!

      Sincerely,
      Carol

  15. I tried the Voodoo application. It certainly looked promising if a little techie but I got errors when I tried the mass unfollow (the free version is restricted to 10 followers). It was trying to unfollow a pinner that didn’t actually follow me. I did log into my Pinterest account so that’s not the issue.

    I liked the way it displayed the full profile of the pinner to be unfollowed allowing one the chance to check if one should unfollow. I’m not sure if it would just unfollow regardless or give the option to keep that follower as I had an error. Perhaps this application is still in beta. In the meantime the search continues for a good Pinterest management tool :)

    • Hello Domic,
      Thanks for the report. There must be an unfollow tool in the works since so many people would use it. If we’re thinking about it, someone else must be, too.
      If I hear of one, I’ll post an update here. Thank you for keeping me updated!
      Sincerely,
      Carol

  16. Hi Carol, just wanted to tell you that the app “Followers on Pinterest” doesnt work anymore and any emails I sent to innovatty had no response. I spent another euro on “who unfollow me for Pinterest” by Yong Peng and that crashes instantly too. I am really dissapointed…

    • Hi Liza, I’m so sorry to hear that Followers on Pinterest is no longer working and there is no response! I’m hoping that “Who unfollow me for Pinterest” will be fixed so this whole process will be easier. Thanks for letting me know! Much appreciated.
      Carol

  17. Serkan Yılmaz says:

    I use http://followerfilter.com/ for Searching User- Tweet RT and Favorite listing and deletion – Unfollower finding an deletion. Even the site is new, it works well!

    Site also allows you to see any twitter user’s (included yours) unfollowers, followers and followings without login.

    Of course it’s free and unlimited!

  18. This method of instruction is FAR TOO complicated. Is there any way to just plain delete people who claim you are following them on Pinterest when you NEVER requested to follow any of them???????

    • Hi Paula,
      You can block people, and you never have to follow people back. So if they follow you, you’re not going to see their pins unless you follow them back. And yes, it is complex. I wish it were simpler!
      Sincerely,
      Carol

  19. Deborist Benjamin says:

    I just spent the last two weeks “UNFOLLOWING” people on pinterest, about 600~ I was too enthusiastic when I first joined.
    I did it the hard way, board by board, thanks Anne Lamtott!

  20. After handwriting over 2000 names from my Followers list onto my Notes (iPad), I realized that a better idea would have been to start with the “FollowING”, so that I could have simply used that list, searched for each name off of the list in my “FollowERS” and see if it comes up. That way there’s no need for writing down both lists.

    I obviously realised this too late, so I’ve got another 3000 names to look forward too :)

    Thanks for taking the time to address this issue!

    -Kristine

    • Hi Kristine,
      I still wish there was an easier way to do this (Pinterest, are you listening?). You’re right about putting the followING into a list, searching for that list in your followERS and then comparing. Still seems so clunky! Best luck with the other 3000 names. Wow! What a chore!

      Let me know how that goes!
      Sincerely,
      Carol

    • how about unfollow everyone under the following tab then follow everyone under the following tab?

      • Hello Price Abate,
        You could do that if a simple follow-for-follow was your strategy. However, most follow because they see something valuable and would like to see what else that brand or person has to say.
        Sincerely,
        Carol

  21. Alternatively, if you do have both lists written down; put both lists separately into a program that sorts them into alphabetical order. That might help..

  22. Hi Carol!
    Eeeeewwww, I feel your pain. I just ran into this problem and Googled or a solution, and I ran into your post. What I noticed on the “Following” list is there is a check mark on some people’s Pinterest name. Do you know what that means?
    Thanks for your reply. I’m sure there’s an easier way to do this verification thingy.
    -Charlie

    • Hi Charlie,
      The check mark means that the website for the Pinterest account has been verified. It’s another way to get your name out there.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting! Good luck with the verification. :-)
      Sincerely,
      Carol

      • Hi Carol:
        Darn it. I was hoping that check mark meant they were following you. Wishful thinking, huh? Well, I guess Notepad ++ is the best solution so far.

        I can’t believe you answer all your comments. This site must be your little “baby.” Hope your website is helping you out financially. With all your work, you deserve it!

        Have a great Holiday Season (ohhhhh my, it’s that time again – eeeeekss) – hee hee
        Charlie

        • Hi Charlie,
          Sorry to burst your bubble about the check mark. :-)
          Yep, I answer all my comments. I love getting comments!
          It’s still September! Maybe you start your holidays sooner than I do!
          Hah!
          Carol

          • Yes, it is only September but that’s what I said when it was “only” January – hee hee. I’m not sure where time goes when you hit that “certain age.” Know what I mean? ;)

            Anyway, I’ll let you be and leave you alone. It was great chatting with you for this short while.

            I’m not sure if you’re an Amazon Associate but I’m sure you know you have to catch people at the right time to get sales….when they are READY to buy. And, what’s coming up? That time when they are ready to buy! Time to get working on those campaigns, huh?

            Wishing you many conversions this Christmas Season.

            Aloha,
            Charlie

          • Wow. I can’t even start thinking about the Christmas season. It’ll be here sooner than we know! Thanks for the comments!

  23. I follow everyone who follows me, and then some, but I noticed my “followers” number go down. I had started copying and pasting my “following” list 15 at a time onto excel document (did I mention I follow 2656 people? lol). Long story short, I got tired after #233 so I deleted the document, opened followers and following pages and let them load all the way through to the last person. Then I used Command + F (for Macs) to search my “followers” page for people on my “following” page. Easier than copy and paste! Honestly, I forgot how to use the search feature on a Windows but I guess people can google that :)

    • Hi Alma,
      Oh, I’ll have to try your method, too. Any way you look at it, Pinterest doesn’t make it easy to figure out. And I can see how you’d get tired after #233! Wow. Thanks for stopping by and putting in your two cents! I appreciate it.

      Carol

  24. Thanks for the idea! It’s much easier if to do the comparison if you:
    1. Copy and paste your followers into Notepad
    2. Copy and paste into Excel column A
    3. Alphabetize and delete all the non user-name text
    4. Repeat to copy and paste your followings into colum B
    5. Copy and past “=IF(COUNTIF($A$1:$A$1000,B1)=1,”Match”,””) into colum C and drag down the column to copy the formula all the way to the end
    6. Any user name in columb B that doesn’t have “match” in column C is not following you so you can unfollow them if you want

    The actual unfollowing part is still really time consuming, but this should make copying and pasting the names and finding the matches A LOT faster without needing any technical skill :)

    • Thanks so much, Amanda! I’m still certain that at some point in the future, Pinterest will make this easier. But at the moment, we’re stuck with a workaround and anything to make it easier helps! Excel is such an underappreciated tool. Thanks for coming up with this process and sharing it.

      I so appreciate it!
      Thanks again,
      Carol

    • Amanda H. – That formula for Excel is fantastic! It works like a dream. One note though, If the formula doesn’t work, the quotation marks may be causing an issue. Try deleting each quote mark and typing it in again. It worked for me.

      Thank you Carol for this post. I have been struggling with this for a while now, and your post and comments were very helpful!

  25. Found this through search……..Who Unfollow Me For Pinterest for iPhone & iPad – App Info & Stats …
    http://www.iosnoops.com › Apps › Universal › Social Networking (paid)
    Apr 26, 2013 – Track your lost/gained followers… ☆ Discover new followers ☆ Track unfollowers ☆ Find out who is not following you back ☆ Find out who … Have not tried it

    • Hi Brenda,
      I’ve seen similar apps, but nothing that has worked so far. Wouldn’t it be nice, though? I think some people would buy a new phone just to find an app that really worked on Pinterest. ((Sigh.))
      Thanks,
      Carol

  26. Hi Carol
    I found a really REALLY easy way to unfollow those who aren’t following you. Just like many other commentors here, I got carried away and got up to 2000+ followING -compared to 150 followERS. Yikes.

    Go for the Gusto -go into your Following list and unfollow EVERYONE you are following, then go into your Followers list and re-follow them all again. It is not perfect, but it works. There are still notifications, but not “you have been unfollowed” -Pinterest doesn’t do that. For me, this process took hours, with my computer crashing regularily, but it IS just a simple mindless click click click, not copy paste repeat, sort, compare, etc., etc.

    • Hi George,
      Yes, that would work. How long would you say this takes for something like 2000 followers?
      (And I don’t have an easy answer, just hoping for something simple and not too time intensive.)
      Thanks for taking the time to post.
      Sincerely,
      Carol

  27. I only have about 275 people I was following so I didn’t mind printing out the 9 pages of names. To get all the pages though, you have to scroll down to the very bottom of the “following” pages before doing a print preview, and then print them. It usually gets 30 to 35 followers on one page.
    Then I started comparing page one of the hard copies that I printed out, to page one of my “followers” on Pinterest, and circled those who were not following me. Then I went back to my “Following” page and deleted those I had circled.
    It might take a lot of printing if you have thousands of people or things that you’re following, but just thought I’d throw the suggestion out there.

    • Thank you, Jim!
      Your strategy would be helpful for people with that range of followers. It’s always good to know the numbers before diving into a project like unfollowing.
      Thank you again,
      Carol Stephen

  28. Elizabeth says:

    Seems like a lot of work for no reason. If someone isn’t active at the moment, it doesn’t affect your feed so there’s no harm in following them.
    I think it’s more important to follow people because you genuinely enjoy their pins and it shouldn’t matter if they follow you back. This seems to be the trend. Follow a bunch of people with the only purpose of them following you back. Seems so fake. And to actually go back and unfollow them if they don’t follow you back! Sorry, just seems childish. I’d rather have 10 followers that genuinely enjoy my content then 500 that just follow for reciprocation.

    • Hello Elizabeth,|
      Thank you for your comments, and I understand your concerns. I agree with you that the emphasis should be on high quality pins and content. As a marketer, one of the top questions I hear is about following and unfollowing and so I’ve answered that question to the best of my knowledge. Sometimes I’ll follow an account and later find out that the content doesn’t interest me, or is too much of one thing. I might unfollow one board if that’s the case.
      So many people do follow and expect follows back. That’s the same on every platform–on Twitter there’s even a term “Team Followback” for those who’ll follow back. And yes, it does seem silly. :D

      Thanks again for the comments!
      Carol

  29. Just unfollow everyone then return to your “followers” list and RE-FOLLOW them!

    • Hi Alex,

      That is not a bad idea! Of course, you’d also have to remember some of the people who you like following because they have excellent content, even if they don’t follow you. Thank you for the comment.
      Carol

  30. I agree with Alex. To keep the non followers with good content, just don’t unfollow them

    • Hi Abby,
      I agree with you. Follow people with good content and you won’t have to worry about unfollowing ever. But people have asked me how, so I’m telling them how. And it is rather difficult.
      Thanks for the comment!
      Carol Stephen

Trackbacks

  1. Pinterest: How to Unfollow People Who Don’t Follow You…

    So you got on Pinterest and followed a few hundred people when you first signed up. Now you’re wondering: how in the heck do I figure out who is not following me back or is inactive? You can look at the lists of who you follow and who follows you, sure…

  2. [...] pins you enjoy. Although unfollowing people who don’t follow you isn’t easy, you can unfollow people later. Note: like other forms of social media, there is spam out there! So beware of people who [...]

  3. […] previous post on how to unfollow on Pinterest continues to get comments about how complicated this process is, so I am writing this to outline […]

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