Hi everybody! My name is Cailin and I’m so excited to guest post on Beka’s blog! Beka and I switched for a post, so if you’re curious to read some awesome tips on how to increase traffic to your blog, head on over to my blog here. And you can find my links at the bottom of this page. Now to the good stuff!
It’s a tale as old as social media itself. You’re sitting and looking at your phone, thrilled to see your follower count on Insta just topped 500. Alright! But then, just seconds later, you see that you’ve suddenly dropped to 499. And you’re left thinking, who the heck followed me, just to unfollow me? What is the point here?
Well, there is, in typical human fashion, a point sometimes, but not all the time. Here, I’m going to cover exactly what the follow/unfollow game is and why people do it, why it creates a toxic social environment, and lastly, what you can do to beat it. (Which is obviously the part you came for so no worries, I won’t be bummed if you skip to that part. But if you like analysing why people do dumb things, please continue.)
What is the Follow/Unfollow Game?
The follow/unfollow game is when somebody follows you on social media just to unfollow you at a later date, sometimes immediately afterward. While it isn’t always the case, the usual reason people do this is because they’re hoping that you’ll follow them back, at which point they unfollow you so that they’ve gained a follower “for free”.
These people are working the slow game. Their goal is to make themselves look good by having more followers than people they follow, and to them, this is a legit way to work their way up the social pole. However, it’s worth mentioning that not everybody who follows then unfollows you is playing you.
For example, sometimes I get click happy and accidentally follow someone I didn’t mean to click on. Sometimes I’ll follow someone and then a few days later, see a really inappropriate post from them that turns me off of their content. Bottom line, there are real reasons to unfollow someone, but the follow/unfollow game is a pretty bogus one.
Why It Creates a Toxic Environment
Social media, if you haven’t guessed, is a place to be social and engage with others who have common goals and dreams. It’s not supposed to be a competition and the follow/unfollow game frames it as such. The reason you feel bummed when somebody plays this game with you is that you instantly realise they don’t care about your content; they just see you as another number.
When we’re so worried about people playing the follow/unfollow game, we become more cautious ourselves. When I see on Insta that I followed a few people who then unfollowed me soon after, it makes me not want to follow anybody else who adds me because I’m worried they will be the same. If we’re holding back from following cool people, that actually hurts the entire community.
How to Beat the Game
The answer is simple in theory, but harder in practice.
First, don’t do it yourself. And secondly, brush it off when it happens to you. Just let it go.
Yes, you’re perfectly allowed to be angry that some jerk is playing a game just to get more followers. But if you quickly brush it off, you’ll soon realise that there’s some good in knowing who the fakers are. For starters, you’ll know that the people who do actually continue to follow you actually like your content. If we show people who follow/unfollow that their game has no real effect on us, then it looses its power. Yes, what he’s doing is turdish, but what would you rather have; 2,000 followers who don’t really engage with you and will probably figure out your game one day? Or 2,000 followers that you follow back and frequently engage with?
Like I said earlier, these punks are playing the slow game. Because the truth is that when you play the game, people catch onto you quickly these days and the tide is against them. There is no better way to slowly lose a loyal audience and earn the distrust of the social community than by playing the follow/unfollow game. It’s not a shortcut to success. Which is why good content creators don’t play the game. We know that the only real, sustainable way to grow loyal followers and readers is to give as much as you take. Like just about anything in life, you can’t take and take, and then expect somebody to give to you.
People on social media are still people, after all. We know when there’s foul play afoot.
Cailin Riley is a lifestyle blogger of sorts and a crazy plant lady on the side. Besides writing about adventuring, books, and yoga fails at stumblyblog.com, she spends her time hiking, reading way too many paranormal romances, and taking care of her little devil cat, Mooney. You can follow her at instagram.com/craftycay and pinterest.com/cailinriley.
Thank you so much Cailin for coming onto my blog for a chat about how to beat the follow/unfollow game! Give her some love, leave a comment and go check out her blog here. You can also check out my post on her blog on how to increase your blog traffic!