Why You Need To Start Embracing Social Media Unfollows
There’s nothing quite like the dopamine hit of seeing your follower count jump up by 100 overnight, is there? It makes you feel good; makes you feel like people are interested in your business, and that you’re on track to make sales. Those follower counts really can make (or break) your day.
Your social media following is essential, of course. I wouldn’t do what I do if I didn’t think it was. However, I don’t let follower counts rule how I feel about my business (or my clients’ businesses) and neither should you.
Shocked? I bet you were waiting for me to say that I live and die by follows and unfollows so prepare yourself: social media unfollows aren’t necessarily something to worry about. /micdrop
I know that this seems counter-intuitive. After all, isn’t social media following one of the critical metrics people care about when measuring success or lack thereof?
Aren’t we always looking for the next hack to get another 1000 followers?
Isn’t growth how we assess the success of our content marketing efforts?
Doesn’t the size of our tribe online reflect the health of our business?
Maybe. Alternatively, perhaps it’s just not that simple.
Now, I am not suggesting that losing followers faster than you can say “is it cold in here?” is something to ignore. Not at all. What I am suggesting is that a healthy churn rate in your following isn’t such a bad thing. Actually, it can be a great thing.
Why You Don’t Always Have To Take Unfollows To Heart
1. A Big Following Isn’t Always The Best Following
There’s nothing useful about a large following that’s not interested in your message. What is useful is a small, engaged audience who are loyal to you, interested in your message, and inclined to evangelize for your brand. Don’t believe me? Just look at the data: micro influencers (those with followings smaller than 30k) are 6.7% more effective in marketing campaigns than those with more massive audiences.
When people unfollow you, engagement with followers who are genuinely interested in you can grow and thrive. Instead of shouting into a void you are speaking to people who care and have the opportunity to build a community with those who are likely to end up clicking through to your blog posts, signing up for your email list, and buying your products and services.
Basically: quality always trumps quantity when it comes to social media following.
2. You’re Refining Your Message
If the people who are unfollowing you are just not your target audience, it means that the efforts you are making to refine your message are working.
One of the worst things you can do when building a brand on social media is to try and be everything to everyone. If your content has no consistent range of topics or central message, then people don’t know what to expect, and you’ll also end up with a mish-mash of people following you for reasons that have nothing to do with your central business goals.
So when you finally decide to narrow things down to serve your specific goals and you suddenly notice that fifteen people who don’t appear to be a fit for your brand’s purpose unfollowed you it’s not time to freak out. It’s time to realize that as you refine your message to align with your goals, people who followed you for your mish-mash content might no longer feel that you resonate for them and that is A-OK.
Instead of seeing it as a loss, internally wish them well and see it as them making room for the people who will be interested and engaged with your message.
3. It Doesn’t Mean They Hate You (Or Your Brand)
As long as you aren’t committing any egregious social media sins (I’ll outline them below) if people are unfollowing you, it’s probably not because they dislike you or your brand. It’s easy to get caught up in the emotional aspect of social media and think that if someone unfollows you, it’s because they don’t like you.
Usually, it’s not that. There are many reasons people unfollow someone:
The content isn’t relevant to them (look to #2 for why that’s a good thing)
They’re following so many people that they feel like they cannot enjoy their feed and want to pare things back to the stuff that resonates for them (look to #1 and #2 for why this is all right)
They don’t remember following you in the first place (hasn’t that happened to us all?)
You resonated for them at some point, but you don’t anymore (again, #1 and #2)
They just want to move on
Instead of thinking that someone unfollowing you is a reflection of judgment or dislike on their part, remember that there are few if any emotions tied to the decision for the follower and that they’re just making room for the followers who want to be in your space and engaging with you.\
Bonus: Why Your Target Audience Could Be Unfollowing You
Now, again, I am not saying you should ignore dramatic drops in your following. If you are experiencing significant declines, here’s a quick rundown of the things that will repel even your target audience:
Your content is repetitive or not relevant to them (when it should be) - Take a hard look at your recent content and consider whether it’s sticking to your central message, genuinely relevant to your audience, and delivering value.
Your posts are too self-promotional - Your content should be 80% delivering value and entertainment and 20% directly promotional. If you’ve slipped into the habit of being ‘me, me, me’ and ‘buy, buy, buy’ then it’s time to recalibrate your content mix.
You aren’t engaging - You need to give to get. If you’re dropping content and running, people will eventually lose interest. Social media is ‘social’ for a reason. Respond to people who engage with you, take the time to respond on their content, and generally give to your community online.
Your posts are offensive - if you’re sharing memes that are sexist, bigoted, or just in poor taste...well then it’s no wonder you’re losing followers.
So, Stop Obsessing About Unfollows And Focus On Your Ideal Audience
I hope this has eased any anxieties you might have about follows and unfollows. I’d love to know, do you let the ebbs and flows of social media followings get you down?