There are lots of “rules” out there when it comes to followers on social media. Some of them are valid and others are completely false. So, how can you really know what tips to follow and which ones to leave behind?
I’ve done quite a bit of work on social media and I’m here to offer you some valuable information on followers to help you make smart decisions when it comes who you add to your social media community.
Knowing Who To Follow (Or Not Follow)
When it comes to who you choose to follow, that choice is completely up to you. You should only follow people who post content that you truly want to see, adds enrichment to your life (no need to follow accounts/people who make you feel bad about yourself), and makes sense to your brand (should you have one).
You don’t need to feel like you have to follow every account that follows you. Seriously. I typically try to follow all authors that follow me, if they have a page that posts about
Let me give you an example of the kind of accounts I choose to follow. Obviously, I’ll follow other authors. I’ll also follow writers, freelancers, or social media gurus. I like to find accounts that post motivational content as well. I even throw in a few publishers or editors. I like to make my feed well-rounded but relateable to what the goal of my author business is.
As a general rule, I highly recommend having separate accounts for your personal and professional pages. It helps you keep everything separate so you can focus your professional platform but still have a personal one for all the fun stuff. Personally, I love following lots of makeup, fashion, and celebrity accounts. But they don’t really make sense for my author journey.
The Truth About Bots
There are tons of bots out there on social media, especially Instagram. There’s nothing you can do about these accounts following you, except for blocking them, but that would need to be done on a case-by-case basis. Eventually, these accounts weed themselves out.
If you notice a bot following you, you don’t need to follow that account back. I know there are some people that follow every account that follows them. If that’s your strategy, that’s great. But you don’t need to follow back bots, these are accounts that add zero value to your social media anyway.
Along these same lines, the very last thing you want to do on social media is to pay for followers. The followers you pay for are bots. They won’t add value to your strategy. They won’t give you clout. People can see who follows you and if they see a bunch of fake accounts, the “strategy” will have the opposite effect.
You’ve probably been a victim to the follow/unfollow strategy many accounts practice on social media. Don’t be one of those people. Don’t follow then unfollow people just to get them to follow you back. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had the same person follow/unfollow me 4, 5, or 6 times just to get me to follow them back. It makes me less inclined to follow them because it comes off as very spammy.
I touched on this topic a little bit in my blog The Harsh Truth About Follower Counts, but it’s worth going over again. Don’t be the person who unfollows a bunch of people in your community just so you are following way fewer people
One of my favorite parts about the author community is the strong sense of support I get from other authors. It’s been very disheartening to me to see some authors that don’t practice that same sense of community. They seem to only care about how their numbers are viewed. It’s about so much more than that.
Now, that’s not to say you need to follow people out of obligation. If there are accounts that you follow that you don’t find enjoyment out of, then you don’t have to follow them. It’s completely okay to unfollow someone who doesn’t bring your feed joy. But don’t unfollow people for the wrong reasons.
Do Periodic Follower Clean Outs
It’s always a good idea to do a little spring cleaning with your social media accounts. Everyone is on a huge Marie Kondo kick right now and that’s extended to social media! Periodically go through your followers to see if there are people you may not want to follow anymore. It’s a great way to clean up your feed.
Why should you do this? The truth is that who you follow reflects on you. It shows other people what you’re interested in and who you support. A lot of times, accounts you’ve followed may have changed their strategy or sold their account (doesn’t happen too often, but sometimes). You want to be sure that the people you followed
If you do choose to unfollow someone because what they’re posting has changed, don’t feel guilty about that. Like I said before, you aren’t obliged to follow everyone. So do a little clean up now and then!
Be On The Lookout For New Accounts To Follow
You should never stop looking for new people to follow. There are always new accounts joining or building their platform. It’s a lot of fun connecting with new people! Below are a few of my favorite ways to find new accounts on Instagram (some can work for other platforms as well).
- Follow hashtags. Find hashtags that interest you or are associated with your brand. Follow them. Posts that feature these hashtags will pop up in your feed. This is my favorite way to find new accounts on Instagram. I don’t have to go searching for new people, they basically come to me! It’s a great way to tailor your feed to your interests.
- See who your favorite accounts interact with. In the author community, a lot of authors will feature other authors in their posts or on their IG stories. If anyone I engage with often posts about someone I don’t know, I check them out! It’s kind of like a little referral. You can also look at who comments on or likes their posts.
- Use the search feature. If you’re actively looking for new accounts to follow, the search feature is a great place to go. I tend to start with hashtags and look through the posts. What makes this different from following hashtags is that you’re going in search for new people instead of waiting for them to show up in your feed, so you’re able to find more new people at once.
Above all, it’s important to remember that the numbers don’t matter. Follow accounts that you enjoy following. If you have any questions about how to manage your followers, drop