There will come a time, in everyone’s social media life, where you have to unfriend or unfollow someone. And I’m here to tell you – it shouldn’t be a big deal. Really! Unfollowing people and being unfollowed by people isn’t the worst thing in the world. Most people have a finite amount of time to spend on social media and it’s a big waste of time to agonize over breaking up with internet strangers.
As part of my job at Kick Point, I monitor what’s going on in our social stream. I always have our Twitter account open so I can see what people are talking about. Something I frequently see (that drives me up the wall) is this message:
“I’m using XYZ service to track my unfollowers, see who’s not following me back & who I’m not following back.”
Social maintenance is a necessity and there are a plethora of tools available to help you in your pursuits. There are two schools of thought when it comes to followers. Some people think they matter and some people think they don’t. I fall somewhere in between. Obviously, you need to follow people and you need followers, or you’re just shouting into the void. When I say it doesn’t matter, I mean I don’t obsess about the number of followers I have. I very rarely go through for an official look at the stats on who I’m following personally, mostly because I think my human intuition is a pretty good guide.
Do people talk to me?
Do they share insightful things?
Are they hilarious?
Have we met?
Do I want to meet?
If I can answer yes to most of those questions, I’ll keep following you.
What happens when people you follow aren’t providing value? Find new people! Seriously. It’s that simple. Just because a person favourited your tweet three years ago, you like the same Pop Chip flavor and you both rock the sock bun doesn’t mean you have to stick with them forever. Do your business and move on. And for the love of God, don’t announce it publicly. Just. Don’t.
And sure, sometimes there are glitches. Sometimes really amazing people will slip through the cracks, you won’t follow them and maybe they won’t follow you, but the cool thing about quality people is that you can connect again. Maybe in real life (see #3 of my latest post) even!
Got it? Great.
So, aside from being a horrible self-promoting douchebag, what will make people unfollow you? Based on an official Twitter poll (conducted on the train ride home one day), here are the top things that earn an unfollow:
This is a big one. I’m not saying that you can’t discuss difficult topics on Twitter, but I think you have to be really careful when you do. Being insensitive and ignorant is one of the quickest ways to lose your audience.
All of this person’s social accounts say the same thing at the same time. And they really liked that pin on Pinterest. One thousand times. If you don’t have time to post different content, don’t sign up for so many things.
Does this person ever have anything positive happen in their life? If they did, you wouldn’t know it. Don’t be this person, unless you’re wickedly funny.
There’s no spark, no personality – nothing exciting or relevant to read about, ever. Boring. But be careful here, show too much personality and you run the risk of becoming a drama mama. (Side note: drama mamas are about as lovable as the humblebragger.)
Posting identical content throughout your day? STOP. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with posting links to the same pieces of content, particularly if the content is really awesome – but if that’s all you post, I want to kill your tweets with fire.
In summary, you should care about people who unfollow you if you’re: boring, ignorant, repetitive, negative or lazy. But if you’re rad and are enjoying the time you spend on social media and, perhaps, more importantly, if you’re getting a good return on the time you spend doing social for your business – don’t sweat your number of followers. We can’t all be Justin Bieber (he has over thirty two million followers).