I’m a big believer in quality over quantity. I care more about how things really are instead of how things look… and I’ve learned I’m in the minority.
Social Media Followers… in Numbers
As a blogger, your social media following is important and so many people, brands, and public relations firms put an emphasis on the number of social media followers you have.
When I’m approached by a brand interested in a sponsored post, this is always a number they ask for. How many likes do you have on your Facebook page? How many followers do you have on Twitter? On Instagram?
It’s like they don’t care who the followers are, just how many you have. Well, it matters who they are! They should be people who actually care about what you’re posting and the content you’re sharing.
Who are your Social Media Followers?
Instead, they can be robots you buy. They may be people following you just because you follow them. Unfortunately, many people, brands, and public relations firms are not doing their due diligence to ensure they are actually working with a real influencer.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about a targeted Facebook ad or interacting to get on someone’s radar because you see some kind of collaboration down the road. Those bring in people who are interested in you and your brand. That’s who you want following you!
What I’m referring to is money and/or time spent on a following that isn’t real. The numbers will never translate into sales for you or for a client. Even though they look good on the surface, they aren’t, and some bloggers are using this look to make lots of money that will never turn into anything positive for a brand. For more on that, click here.
For this reason, I could spend $100 and grow my social media like crazy overnight. So many more brands would see these numbers and want to work with me. I could make a lot more money just because of my fake following. Many are doing it. But I’m a principled person, so I don’t. (With that said, I understand why people take shortcuts – it works!)
When I was doing SEO research for this post, everything was about increasing the numbers… but I didn’t find anything about the real people behind the numbers.
Am I the only one who cares about this?!
Why I deleted thousands of social media followers
That leads me to why I deleted thousands of people I followed on my Instagram and Twitter accounts… and yes, they were all real.
I’m sure they were all nice people as well, but years ago I got into the habit of being too polite on social media. Maybe it’s because I saw people take an unfollow personally and get offended or just because I thought it was proper social media etiquette to follow someone back if they followed you – regardless if you liked their content.
It got to the point that I would log onto Twitter, and I’d have nothing to retweet! (And I like to retweet.) I wasn’t interested in half the stuff I was seeing!
The only social media I use personally is my personal Facebook profile. My Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram accounts are for Media Maven and Mascara Maven. Every once in a while, I’ll throw some personal stuff in there (like I think every business should), but they are essentially work accounts – to get clicks to my website. That’s usually the end goal.
What happened after I deleted thousands of social media followers
If my following is full of robots or people who just followed me because I followed them, clicks or taps to my website is not going to happen.
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I also like to hop on to those accounts and see things I genuinely care about. I unfollowed about 7,000 people on Twitter and 3,000 on Instagram. (And I’m sure in that process I accidentally unfollowed friends and people who share content I really do like. Oops!)
Hundreds, if not more than 1,000 or 2,000 unfollowed me back. (Those must have been the follows for follows.) I didn’t take it personally. It didn’t bother me.
[bctt tweet=”#socialmedia numbers DO NOT equal social media #influence.” username=”MediaMaven_CN”]
While this hurts the way my numbers look, it doesn’t change my influence one bit. If anything, I think it makes me look a little more influential, but again, many brands aren’t doing their research to see how many people I follow. They just want to know how many people are following me.
Me, I look at both. If you have 100,000 followers, but you’re following 150,000 people, you don’t look all that important to me. It just looks like you have a lot of time on your hands to follow tens of thousands of people. But, if you have 10,000 followers and you only follow 100, you’re probably a bad ass influencer.
The first person who comes to mind as an example is Melyssa Griffin. She has nearly 17,000 engaged followers, but doesn’t follow one person. Not one! (She is also someone I look up to in the online business world.)
Moving Forward on Social Media
While there are some apps that can spot the fakes, it’d be nice to see a following categorized like Google Analytics tracks who is visiting your website. Now that is the kind of stuff that is beneficial to you and a brand as it relates to your social media reach.
So back to the SEO research I did for this blog post. Everything was about growing a social media following. Not much about whether or not that following should be meaningful.
It’s like working out. We all know what we need to do. We just don’t want to take the time to do it because it’s too much work. That’s why plastic surgeons make millions and these companies that sell fake followers are making a killing too.
Be Patient on Social Media
Now, let me tell you briefly about one experience I recently had. I’m going to keep it short because it will be a separate blog post. I hired someone to help me with my Instagram account. I run three businesses, have two kids, and have too many goals and aspirations to do everything I want to do, so I thought I’d outsource some Instagram relationship building.
I was approached by a woman who had a great Instagram account. Thousands of her followers interacted with just about every post she made. They really cared about her content. She asked me if she could manage my account. I said of course and told her why I was on Instagram and the goals I had. I made it very clear I did not want anything automated. I automate posts, but that’s it. (If I die tomorrow, I will be tweeting from the grave for months.)
[bctt tweet=”#automation = If I die tomorrow, I will be tweeting from the grave for months.” username=”MediaMaven_CN”]
I do not like automated comments. Some of the ones I have received are just laughable and I didn’t want that. Well, she did that. It was embarrassing. After a week, I was done. Again, it’s something that works well for her, but I didn’t want it for me or my brand.
Again, more on that later, but the moral of the story is to be patient. For anything to grow organically, even on social media, it takes time… and remember, numbers don’t matter (but they do.)
Thank you for mentioning me here, Christina! And kudos on unfollowing so many people. It feels refreshing, right? At one point, a few months ago, I unfollowed everyone on Instagram and Twitter and removed 1,500+ Facebook friends that I no longer was in contact with or never really knew. I’ve slowly added people back to my Instagram (I think I’m following around 100 now) and it feels good knowing that whenever I add someone, I have to ask myself if I’m being intentional and should really follow this person.
Love that you sparked this conversation, since most people don’t really touch on it.
Thank you so much Melyssa! It is nice to scroll through my feed and actually like what I see. See you online 😉