Social Media Lesson Learnt: Don’t Unfollow Your Followers

Social media expert I wouldn’t call myself (Yoda style, I know, but I like the sound of it!). I would say that I am pretty much an expert Facebook user (if you ask my soon-to-be ex, a Facebook addict, even). I do use Twitter and Instagram, primarily for my blog’s purposes, so have perhaps comfortably got the hang of those two as well. But, that’s pretty much it. When it comes to anything beyond, I do admit it: I am lost.

social media

This is hardly something to be ashamed of – or is it? Perhaps you will say it is, when you hear how I lost a fair number of Instagram followers. How? By unfollowing them. Nice and simple – and probably logical.

One thing I like about Twitter is that you can immediately ascertain if someone follows you or not: it simply says “So and so follows you”. You’d think this is what other social media do? Well, not really. With Instagram, and WordPress, you cannot see if a user follows you or not. If you have the time and patience (neither of which I do), you can download a list of your own followers and cross check against the list of those you follow. And then: delete on end.

I have learnt through my modest Instagram experience that some businesses or power social media users temporarily follow small fish like myself, in some kind of noble effort to help us grow. And then, shortly, quietly and unnoticeably, unfollow us.

So, here was I one day, determined to have a clearout of my Instagram. I do this on Twitter every so often: go through the long list and unfollow those who have unfollowed me. I decided to be clever and deleted a good number of followers. Only stopped because I got bored. Good job I did! I would have risked losing most of my followers this way. The number of my followers still keeps decreasing, as a matter of fact – and I realised this is totally self-inflicted. Yes, I stupidly forgot that there are websites that do just that: inform you on a weekly basis who has unfollowed you.

I learnt the hard way. Question is, do I actually care? Hm, hard to say. A number for the sake of a number has no particular meaning, as far as I am concerned. Yes, my blog has over 2,000 direct subscribers. Is that reflected in my stats? Not really. Still, it looks good on the books, and does mean that all those 2,000+ people receive an e-mail every time I publish a post. Same with Twitter: I have no idea who the people are who follow me, or why on earth they do it, but they must be interested in something.

What I do care about is the followers I have some kind of contact with: either personal, or through the blog. This is where Twitter and Instagram come in handy: I was found and contacted there by some valuable contacts who do not follow my blog through any other social media. This is how I landed some interesting interviews and reviews, and would hate to lose such followers.

So, I guess, you pick your battles: do you want to have a huge number of followers and follow them as a gesture of solidarity, or do you keep things more meaningful? I think I will stick to the first approach for now (I may reconsider my position when I hit my first million, ha ha!!).

When it comes, however, to followers named “Tall Girls Shoutout” or “Big Foot Fetish” kind of stuff, I’ve got to say: I am more than happy to unfollow and take the risk of being unfollowed, thank you!

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