You're following me. Now you're not. Oh, now, again, you do. OK, now you don't. Then, here you are again. So, what's it gonna be in the end?
Shoutout to all Instagramers who have been victims of follow/unfollow strategy! Raise your hand if you have been irritated by this, lately, so popular method!
I have to admit that I have. So many times. And that’s why I decided to write about it. Still, this shaman-spirited character of mine didn’t let me stay so subjective and dish on all who used (are using) it, so I did an online research about it to hear the both sides of the story.
Let’s hear it!
Spam! Spam! Spam!
I put this first because I think that even the people who don’t mind follow and unfollow strategy don’t like when someone is spamming. One of my friends was followed and unfollowed a few times in a week by the same profile. She didn’t follow them back from the beginning because - simply - she wasn’t interested in what they were promoting (Herbalife people of the world check this out). After she, I repeat, hadn’t followed them back, they unfollowed and followed her profile few more times - IN THE SAME WEEK!
Why would you spam a person who is not interested anyway? She sent them a message and kindly asked them to stop and then blocked them. Is this really the way you want to build brand awareness?
Then, there's the fact that...
People actually relate to you or your brand
Ok, now read it again. People actually relate to you or your brand. They follow you, they look up to you, they read your advice, they listen to your advice, they take you seriously. When and if you follow them, they’ll feel flattered. They feel flattered when you hit like on their photos or comment on them. That’s why we have the term community when it comes to Facebook and Instagram - and you’re building it. You’re building relationships, not just a number. That means that social media enables you to really connect with people in a way you couldn’t before (not as a brand) - to see what they like, to comment when you have something to say, to express your wishes and thoughts on more personal level, get to know your audience and give them what they want - on mutual satisfaction. On the other hand, your audience has the opportunity to recognize that there is a real person behind your brand, a person who has same issues and the same things to deal with and still manages to succeed. You become someone’s idol, someone’s example. And if you want, you follow them back, because it means making a relationship with your audience - because they are the ones who make you successful.
It’s not about the number
And that leads us here. Your 30 k isn’t worth anything if they don’t actually like you and by liking, I don’t mean on pressing the like button. Real followers will keep track about all your moves, buy your latest products, talk about you, tell you what they want and what they like so that you can be even more successful in whatever you do. One devoted follower is worth so much more than 10 other people who won’t even pay attention, not to your photos, but to whatever you do or promote and the most important part - won’t buy what you’re selling.
The big number looks nice, but that’s all you have - a number - if your audience is not made of true fans who really are engaged.
Hell hath no fury like a devoted follower scorned! Today’s marketing strategies are all about - emotions. “Get to your audience, give them what they want, touch their feelings, make them relate to you, show them the real you, talk in everyday language, be a person.” Yeah, ok, you’ve done all of that, you’ve got their trust, they followed you, they loved you and then you - unfollowed them. I know it may sound like “whaaat theeee phuuuck”, but I was a witness of many conversations where people got actually really angry when their favorite blogger unfollowed. Just when they started thinking how kind and down-to-earth she/he is, they’ve realized they’ve been “victims” of the social media marketing strategy. The real connection has never existed, it was all about the number and they were disappointed. For the first time, since the beginning of the world, people have the opportunity to make a contact with people and companies they admire - and they are happy when they do, they believe that you are sincere and then you show them quite opposite. Result? They never come back once you’ve disappointed them. They feel like you've fooled them. It's like a commercial for the best vacuum cleaner in the world, that - in the end- it’s just a fraud.
There are two sides to the follow/unfollow story
Although I don’t like this strategy, people made some good arguments about why it is effective.
Firstly, when it comes to spam, supporters of follow/unfollow strategy don’t think that it is actually a spam because all you get is - a notification. It’s up to you whether or not you want to react. That’s as far as it goes.
Then, there is the point that everything on Instagram is fake - photos are edited, people show only the best versions of themselves, relationships are fake - so why would you even mind getting the real followers? Even the unreal fans will hit like button once in a while, your numbers will look great and prepare you a good and solid ground for new business opportunities.
Moreover, some say that, although it seems like you don’t get the real followers - in the end - you do. Because, by using this strategy you notify a lot of people - and some of them will really like you and they don’t care about your approach to them. If you do this regularly, after some time, you will reach a great number of people, and while some of them will be upset, some will surely - stay. And in the end, you’ve still managed to accomplish your goal.
What do you think?
While I was strongly against it at the beginning, after I had read about experience and attitude of people who do this, I was a bit calmer because I see that - for some people and for some followers (fans) it’s working. Still, I don’t agree with it and I would always choose a more sincere strategy, put more effort in building true relationships and know that the outcome I get is the real thing and cannot be knocked down so easily.
Do you agree with me or have some other points? If you do, I would loooooove to hear your opinion, so put comments below and let the discussion begin! :)