Let’s chat about follower counts. We’re obsessed with them. We obsess over having more followers today than yesterday, having more followers than other people, and be following less people than are following us.
I’m going to get real with you for a moment: your follower count doesn’t matter.
Put It Into Perspective
When we think about our follower count, we focus on the number. Whether it’s 100, 500, 1000, or more: that number seems to hold so much weight for us. What does that number really mean?
Does it mean 1000 people are reading your blog?
Does it mean 1000 people are each buying a copy of your book?
Does it mean 1000 people are signing up for your newsletter?
Here’s the truth of it: you could have 1000 followers and not even have 10% of them take an interest in what you’re doing.
There’s one thing we seem to forget about this number. There are people behind each and every one of those accounts. Most of the time, anyway. We all know there are bots out there that count for zip.
When you’re posting, are you posting for a number? Or are you posting for a person? It sounds pretty silly to think about posting for a number. So then, why do we care so much about it?
Quality Is What Matters
The number of followers you have doesn’t matter so much. What you really want out of your social media following is users who are interested in what you’re doing.
You might look at an account on Instagram and see they have 2000 followers, while you might only have 200. It’s easy to compare. It’s easy to wonder: “How does she have so many followers when I only have so few.” But there’s something you might not see on the surface.
Her 2000 followers might not engage with her content or buy her books or read her blog. Of those 2000, she could only get about 50 people that are of interest to her work. You, on the other hand, could have a small following of 200 followers and get 75 people that show interest in you.
We really have no idea what kind of audience other people have. It goes so much deeper than just a number. It’s all about who is on the other side of that number.
Now, I’m not saying that it’s impossible to have 2000 followers and not have them be of quality. That’s totally possible! You can absolutely have a large following of quality accounts. The point is not to get wrapped up in that number. Whether you have 200 followers or 2000 followers, you should put out quality content no matter what. You should be appreciative of your followers no matter how many you have (or don’t have).
Do Your Homework
I challenge you to do a little bit of homework either now or at a time when you’re feeling particularly down about your growth. Take a look at an account that has a large following. See how many likes and comments they get. Not all of the big accounts get the engagement to match their following. I promise you, it’ll make you feel a bit better about the community you’re growing.
This Needs To Be Addressed
One trend I see often is people who don’t want to be following as many people as are following them. My question to you is this: who cares!?
Again, it’s a number. If you go through your following and delete people just for the sake of appearing to have more clout online, then you aren’t being supportive in your community. It’s as simple as that. When you do this, you’re basically saying that you’re “better than” these other people. That’s not exactly supportive, is it?
I’m not saying that you need to follow every account that follows you or that you should follow a ton of accounts. By all means, only follow people who are within your genre, are part of the same writer’s groups you are, or accounts you simply enjoy.
After all, it is your social profile – you can do what you want! But, if you want to have a good reputation and be the kind of person your peers want to support, not the kind of person that leaves a bad taste in their mouth.
Comparison Is The Enemy
When we talk about follower count, it all comes down to one thing: comparison. We wouldn’t care one bit how many followers we had if it wasn’t for comparing ourselves to others.
As writers (or any other creative industry, for that matter), we know that we can’t compare work to others. Each of our journeys are different. Each of our books, tools, blogs, whatever it is we offer is different. We talk all the time about not comparing ourselves to others. But it seems that without really thinking about it, we get wrapped up in comparing our social media following.
It’s contradictory, really. And it’s something that seems innate in us. Many of us compare without realizing we’re comparing.
Here’s what I want you to do: stop comparing.
I know it’s probably easier said than done. But the next time a comparative thought pops into your mind, here’s what I want you to think or say or write down: “Their journey is not mine.” It might take a while to feel comfortable in halting comparative thoughts, but when you do, you’ll feel much more confident.