The follow/unfollow game? Let’s not

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.

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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.

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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?

InsTrack App

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.

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42 comments

  1. Totally agree with this post! It happened so much at the beginning, which, like you said, was really demoralising and made me think what’s the point in even trying. But I’ve sort of managed to learn which types of accounts might do this so I’ll wait a few days before following to see whether it’s a genuine follow or just a numbers game… Which app do you use to track your social media? 🙂 xx

    1. I’m so glad that others can relate, I was so nervous about writing this post! I use InsTrack for Instagram and FindUnfollow for Twitter 🙂 xx

      1. It’s definitely something we have all experienced and find super annoying so thank you for writing a post about it! Hopefully some of those unfollowers will get the hint one day! Oooh I might have a look at those thanks! xx

      2. Also, I’ve nominated you for the real neat blog award tag ☺️ All the details are in my post http://www.millieonhearts.com/the-real-neat-blog-award-tag/ xx

      3. Thank you lovely! xx

  2. I have found a lot of people do this, I use crowdfire but I didn’t know there was an app but sometimes it’s one reason I don’t follow people with lots of followers back because I know they will just unfollow (which they do). I thought it might of just been me hahah thanks for sharing! X melishiascorner.wordpress.com

    1. Yes I totally agree. It’s such a pattern and it’s pretty frustrating. Always those people with high followers and low numbers of people they follow. Thanks for visiting my blog!:)

    2. I use crowdfire too and love it! I am the same way! I don’t follow people with lots of followers and are barely following anyone because I am sure they will just unfollow. I wish people just didn’t do this haha!

  3. I can totally relate to this post! I’ve had so many follow and then unfollow as as I follow them. I’m glad I’m not the only one who has noticed this.

    What I do now is send a friendly message on how I can improve my social media and or blog in their opinion.

    Loved reading this post. Thank you 🙂 x

    1. That’s a really good idea, I shall keep that in mind. Thanks for stopping by my blog xx

  4. I 100% agree with this!!! I can’t stand when people do this!! I have had the same account follow/unfollow me 6x. I finally blocked them because like seriously lol! It is so frustrating. I only unfollow people that unfollow me. I don’t follow accounts that I wouldn’t enjoy. It is as simple as that haha! Loved this post girl!! I wish people would listen!!

    1. It is honestly one of the most frustrating things. If you don’t really want to follow someone, don’t follow them just so you can increase your numbers!! Thanks so much for reading xx

      1. You are so right!!! It all becomes a game and it should just be fun!!

  5. I can relate to this so much right now! I’ve sort of just started out in the ‘blogging world’ and I’m finding it so difficult to gain a following (on my instagram mainly) as I’ve had so many accounts following then unfollow me within a day or even just after they follow me.

    But oh well I’m not gonna give up!

    Ps. This post is great!! Eilidhrose x

    1. Instagram is the main place where this happens to me too! Being persistent helps though. Leave me your Instagram link here and I’ll follow you if I’m not already xx

      1. I found your wordpress blog through instagram, we are already following eachother 🙂 xx

      2. I thought I recognised your face! Feel free to leave it anyway in case anyone else who comments wants to follow you 🙂 xx

  6. this is easily one of the most frustrating things about blogging. having a quality following is much more important than a large one x

    1. I completely agree with you!

  7. I agree!! I can’t stand the follow/unfollow game that people play. It’s so frustrating.

    1. It’s one of the worst things you experience when blogging I think. It’s just frustrating and makes you question what you’re doing

  8. Loved reading this! I’ve only just started using Twitter properly for blogging – joining blogger chats etc. and finding this happening all the time, numbers are great, but supporting other bloggers is better! 😌

    1. It’s quite frustrating when you’re just trying to establish yourself and get a following. But I’ve found if you keep trying, you’ll pick up valuable followers x

  9. At last someone said it!!
    This happens to me regularly on Instagram and it’s so frustrating!!

    1. Instagram is one of the worst places for it. It’s really frustrating when you work so hard on your post too. Hang in there girl x

  10. graceandcoy · · Reply

    Boom !!!! This blog is so on point. I can relate to this to the “T” – I couldn’t agree more with you. Yes it’s ok if you unfollow because you have lost interest in what they share on their social media. BUT to follow someone in the hopes they follow back to only unfollow a couple days later is not on! I’m on social media to connect with my fellow bloggers and fashionistas. If you don’t want to be a part of that then I will unfollow you back. I’m up to the point now that I don’t even follow people back anymore because I’m just tired of it. I will only follow back if I actually do like their page these days. I notice many people who I don’t follow back, unfollow me later so that just goes to show that they were always going to unfollow me anyway…. what’s the point?? We are all here to meet new people and engage with one another not be hungry for followers and ignore everyone … #byefelicia

    1. Thanks so much for your comment! I know a lot of people feel the same now and we really shouldn’t be driven to feel like that. Once I find out what people do the follow/ unfollow thing, I quickly lose interest in them and their content

      1. No problem. Thank you for writing this content, I’m so glad someone said it! I feel less ashamed knowing that there are in fact other people who disagree on the concept as well. That’s exactly right, I follow people back on social media with the intentions to create a network. If you’re not here for that then keep walking. there has been some occasion where they follow me back later on, so I think.. oh ok maybe they want to give it another try, So I follow back… Nope, they unfollow again……. It’s people like that who give us aspiring bloggers a bad name.

  11. Megan Taylor · · Reply

    Sooo true!! I have been victim to this as well. Whenever I see a follower with a very high follow account who doesn’t follow very many people I know that they won’t be following me in 2 days time haha 😂
    http://www.megantaylor.london

    1. I feel exactly the same! I think more people are getting wise to it now xx

  12. I totally agree too. I’ve found it really upsetting seeing I dropped 10 followers or so in a day until I could see via an App that those were the 10 people who followed me in the previous two days. I think you’re right saying it’s demoralising as losing followers is a signal they don’t like your feed, but in this case this isn’t true, they aren’t even looking at your feed. I have now stopped following back unless I find the account interesting or have actually engaged with the person before. I’m always happy to help a fellow blogger out, we’re all in this together after all. But being a follow-unfollow ass (pardon my French) is just not nice.

    Keep up the good work 🙂

    londondamsel.co.uk

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read this blog. The more I talk to other bloggers, the more I realise how much of an issue this actually is. Now, if people have a large following with very little followers, it’s really unlikely that I’ll follow them. I think the key thing to remember is that when people unfollow you, it’s never really about you. It’s about them and their hunger to increase their numbers at the expense of demoralising others.

      Thanks for checking out my blog! I’ve just found your website and followed your social accounts too xx

  13. I hate it as well. On twitter I’m more relaxed about it, and on Instagram I now don’t let it bother me either. When I started on social media I used to follow everyone who followed me, but that’s not sustainable and I don’t want to follow everyone. On twitter if people send auto DMs or have boring feeds full of links/competition retweets I unfollow. And on IG I won’t follow unless I like your feed or you engage with me.

    But f/uf is just rude. And if someone has a high following compared with numbers they follow, then I won’t follow them unless they’re someone I really want to follow, because there’s no point. They’re unlikely to ever engage.

    I mostly find it happens with businesses rather than bloggers these days though. And that’s because there’s courses and Facebook groups who advocate it as a strategy to gain followers fast, and the people who do it believe that having even ratios of f to uf looks like you do like for like, when really in blogging it’s largely because a) you’re being polite and/or b) you want to be part of a community. They see the f/uf as harmless advertising and just a way to get you noticed and in front of your target audience.

    1. Yeah it’s such a shame when people just unfollow you just because it’s a numbers game to them. However, I still find this is a common problem for bloggers, especially with other bloggers. Sometimes it feels like they’re trying to make it a competition and look better than others if they have a high level of followers and appear to be following very few. It’s a shame that this is what it has come to.

  14. I have a few more followers than some, and it’s crazy, but I now have the opposite problem! I don’t follow back a lot of the fake spam accounts that are set up. I also use the software to unfollow old abandoned accounts that haven’t been active for many months. So many smaller/newer bloggers assume I’m just following them intending to immediately unfollow. And they refuse to follow me back thinking I’m going to skate out on them. It’s kind of funny.

    1. It’s a shame that this has become the situation, especially if you are genuinely following bloggers for the right reasons. Hopefully this kind of thinking is something that will eventually change.

      1. It’s ok, I know the situation you’re talking about is SO much more frustrating. And it continues on forever. I think maybe the best we can do is laugh about it and not give those that use and abuse the time of day. A third time? Oh no. Blocked, boo boo! 😉

      2. I like that way of thinking!

  15. Hi, great article! I have found this happen on wordpress…people follow me and then a few days later I notice my following dip, as they have then unfollowed. However, to trawl through my followers list and who I am following would take forever…is there any way that I can organise and freshen up my wordpress, so that the following and followers align? It would make it much easier to then devote time to those who also connect and follow me too 🙂 thank you in advance 🙂 x

  16. It is indeed very frustrating but at least I’m glad I’m not the only one who still believes in organic growth 🙂

    1. You certainly aren’t! Thanks for you comment x

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