This has been a topic which I have been discussing on Twitter a lot over the last few weeks with some of my blogger friends. So I felt as though it was something that I needed to write about because I needed to get some of these thoughts off my chest and I know so many of my fellow bloggers can relate and will feel the same.
For those of you who may be unfamiliar as to what I am referring to, the follow/ unfollow game is when a person follows you on social media and you think oh great, their account looks cool and they’ve got lots of followers, they must be interesting. Then once you have followed them back, they unfollow you over the next few days or weeks in the hope that you won’t notice. As a result, their followers increase yet the number of people that they follow appear to remain the same, making their account look as though it is of interest to many social media users. Then you start to realise why they really have so many followers and it’s not for genuine reasons. This mostly happens on Instagram but it does happen on Twitter too.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a blogger and I rely on social media heavily to share and promote my posts so I completely understand the need to grow your social accounts and get as many followers as possible. In fact, I’ve found Twitter chats great for this. But I’m sure many of you, like myself, have an app which tracks your unfollowers on social accounts so you know exactly who your audience is. So this leads me to pose the question, with so many people having these apps now and seeing this unfollower activity, what makes people think it’s a good idea?
I completely understand that on some occasions, you may change your mind about following certain individuals if they don’t post content you find interesting or whatever. It’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind after all and men obviously have the same right. But with some users, this is clearly a pattern and it’s actually pretty frustrating. Surely there should be some kind of etiquette on social media, particularly among the blogging community? In fact, it frustrates me most when bloggers with very large followers do this. Bloggers who are just starting out can get really demoralised over this considering how much hard work is put into growing social accounts and can lead them to question the quality of what they are posting. I just feel like we all started in the same place and everyone should know better – supporting each other really is best. It’s how we all learn and grow.
Audiences are better and more loyal when they are grown organically. To do this, you need to actually engage with your followers. Talk to them, respond to their content and show them that you’re listening. You know, actually grow your community rather than just expect people to follow you aimlessly. I wish people wouldn’t just follow others and then unfollow in the hope that users will never notice. It isn’t a classy way to act on social media and in fact, you’ll probably find other people getting really annoyed at those who do choose to do it. For me, when I notice that someone has unfollowed me, I believe that the relationship must be done so I unfollow them too. They obviously have no interest in engaging with me and my content so why should I be engaging with theirs? Blogging is a community. Perhaps it’s time more people re-thought the follow/unfollow game.