How to Beat the Follow/Unfollow Game | Guest Post

How to Beat the Follow/Unfollow Game | Guest Post

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, 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 and



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!

~ Beka

Other guest posts:
Why you should visit Ireland


  1. Aaliyah
    July 1, 2018 / 11:16 am

    I get this follow/unfollow situation on my Instagram a lot! I’ve noticed that it’s a lot of pages that have over 2I followers and sometimes they have even more so I know to not follow them back unless I really want to, great post xx

    • Beka
      July 2, 2018 / 1:58 pm

      Me too, I think I notice most of it on Twitter, though! Yeah – I’ll only follow someone if I like their content, then it doesn’t really matter if they follow back or not, because I’m following them for me!

  2. July 1, 2018 / 2:21 pm

    Drives me crazzzzy! I started fresh with my new social media and I’m making an effort not just to follow everyone but then I don’t like what I’m seeing so if I follow people it’s for good!

    Kate xx

    • Beka
      July 2, 2018 / 1:59 pm

      Yeah I get you, but I feel if you choose to follow people that you want to follow anyway, like Cailin said, then it doesn’t matter whether they follow you back or not, anyway!

  3. betterthangoodenough123
    July 1, 2018 / 2:57 pm

    Following/unfollowing can be frustrating for all of us. As you say, the best thing to do is “let it go”. I follow people who I’m interested in following … a ton of bloggers, mental health professionals, and folks from a few other fields. If they follow me back, that awesome. But if they don’t, that’s okay too – it took a lot of the pressure off when I reminder myself that I only want followers who are sincerely interested in my blog and what I have to say. As for the others – I’m fine with them not joining my tribe of amazing followers – they don’t belong!
    Joan Senio

    • Beka
      July 2, 2018 / 2:07 pm

      I totally agree! If you follow only the people you want to follow, whether you get followed back or not never becomes a problem!

  4. July 1, 2018 / 3:40 pm

    I absolutely hate people who play the follow/unfollow game! I think social media is pretty simple: follow people whose content you like and don’t follow those you don’t! There are so many bloggers out there who post similar content now that you’re bound to find plenty of people who you like and can interact with so I don’t see the point in using others just to increase your numbers it’s so annoying!

    Jess //

    • Beka
      July 2, 2018 / 2:10 pm

      Yes, I totally agree! Only follow people you love, and whoever follows you will also follow you because they want to. You only want followers who appreciate you rather than more numbers, because that isn’t making it!

  5. July 1, 2018 / 4:45 pm

    Such a true post 🙂 But I have been in the position you were talking about where I followed somebody and then saw something that I really didn’t like on their feed and had to unfollow. I am learning to brush off those who follow just to unfollow, but it takes time. Great guest post 🙂

    • Beka
      July 2, 2018 / 2:14 pm

      I think that’s perfectly acceptable to follow someone, and at a later date realise you don’t want to follow them anymore for some reason – as long as there is a reason, then it isn’t a part of this “game”. Thank you!

  6. July 1, 2018 / 4:54 pm

    The last full paragraph in the How to Beat the Game section is E V E R Y T H I N G. I usually hate it when people are constantly concerned with their followers and likes and not so much with their content, but your last paragraph is like a reminder for those who do harp on this topic to just create content that you love and the people who love it will reveal themselves (excuse the run on sentence… ).

    Good post!


    • Beka
      July 2, 2018 / 2:18 pm

      I love those words, that is exactly something we should all remember. We’re doing this because it’s our hobby and we love it – not to gain a following, however that is such a lovely bonus.

      Thank you for reading ☺️

  7. July 1, 2018 / 5:01 pm

    This happens so often like literally right before I started to read this post I was at 550 and then *poof* its just gone. Its so frustarting when it’s the milestone numbers and I am just trying to remind myself that the numbers are not what matters x

    • Beka
      July 2, 2018 / 2:24 pm

      Yes! I think it’s okay to set goals, and be upset when you can’t hit them, or it gets taken away from you. It’s great to have a structure on how you want to grow your following and blog, but also to take a step back when that happens and acknowledge that you want a TRUE following, and the unfollowers are okay to leave because you don’t need them!

  8. July 1, 2018 / 5:36 pm

    The follow/ unfollow game is so annoying. I honestly couldn’t imagine investing that much time it. I’d much rather have less followers who truly engaged. It’s such a great feeling when you learn not to let it bother you x


    • Beka
      July 2, 2018 / 2:26 pm

      So true! I think it takes awhile at first to learn and build that layer of thick skin, and I think it’s okay to let it bother you sometimes, but when it overall isn’t a problem to you anymore, that’s amazing!

  9. July 1, 2018 / 5:45 pm

    The follow/unfollow game is so annoying! I understand that we all want followers but at least give mutual respect towards others. It feels upsetting to be treated as a number – this is where our journey to find some quality followers come in. I rather have a high engagement ratio than none. Thanks for being real!

    Nancy ♥

    • Beka
      July 2, 2018 / 2:32 pm

      That’s true, I’d rather have people who follow me because they love my content, rather than people who aren’t interested at all!

  10. July 1, 2018 / 5:56 pm

    Great post! I love your advice about beating this! I have personally made the decision not to use the apps which tells you who unfollowed. I try not to focus on the amount who stop following but the ones who stay!

    • Beka
      July 2, 2018 / 2:37 pm

      That’s such a good decision! I think everybody should try and stick to that, unless they are having a following clear out. It only fuels the anger!

  11. July 1, 2018 / 9:45 pm

    I hate this game. It’s pointless and also makes you look really really fake! Your social networking should be all encompassing and it’s aleaus good etiquette to take an interest in those who are doing the same thing! Another thing that bugs me is people who follow you then don’t interact 😂 Lots of these little things about social networking just get under my skin

    • Beka
      July 2, 2018 / 2:47 pm

      It really does! I don’t mind the interaction sometimes, though, depending what it is. If I ask something blog related, etc, then it is a bit sad when you don’t get as much interaction – but at the same time, there is a lot of people I follow who I don’t interact with often/at all but I do still read their blog posts. I think it depends on what you are expecting on that front!

  12. July 2, 2018 / 1:52 am

    This post is so right on! It can be very discouraging when people unfollow us for no apparent reason, and turns us off to follow back. But like you say, it’s all about power. If I don’t give them that satisfaction of it bothering me, then who cares!? Thank you for reminding us this!

    • Beka
      July 2, 2018 / 2:50 pm

      Exactly! They can do what they want, but they don’t earn any respect or cares from you, either!

  13. July 2, 2018 / 2:04 am

    I agree with so much of this. I try not to unfollow people, and I always look at a persons content BEFORE I follow. If I unfollow someone it’s likely because they are too negative, too political or have too much adult content. Thank for bringing this to light on your blog.

    • Beka
      July 2, 2018 / 2:55 pm

      I am the same – I always look at people’s content before I follow them, because that is essentially what I am following them for. I wouldn’t want to follow them back blindly and then realise that I don’t mesh well with their views/content, and then unfollow them and play that game myself. I’d rather just not follow them in the first place!

      Thank you for reading!

  14. July 2, 2018 / 10:11 am

    I couldn’t agree more with every word of this post! I like to look through someone’s content before I click the “follow” button because I understand how important a blogger’s following can be. The follow/unfollow trend needs to become a thing of the past. XOXO.

    • Beka
      July 2, 2018 / 2:57 pm

      I do the same! I like to make sure I am following because I appreciate the person and their content, rather than blindly follow them just to realise I want to unfollow them later as I don’t agree with their views/content/etc. It really does!

  15. wildsmithmek
    July 3, 2018 / 12:10 pm

    It’s so annoying when people play this game! Thank you so much for sharing this post! Hopefully it’ll mean people do it less!

    Lots of love,
    Molly xo

    • Beka
      July 3, 2018 / 1:22 pm

      I hope that if we talk about it enough then hopefully it will stop becoming a thing! Thanks for reading, Molly! x

  16. July 10, 2018 / 11:49 am

    The other day someone followed my blog, commented that they did and ask if I’d check out their’s and then unfollowed straight away just as I subscribed to theirs by email, but now you actually have to confirm your follow in your email so when I saw what they did, I didn’t activate the follow so their little game didn’t work. It happens all the time on Twitter but it was a first on wordpress!

    • Beka
      July 12, 2018 / 10:04 pm

      I’ve never heard of it happening on WordPress before – that’s so strange! I think that was a unique experience for you, albeit a rubbish one 😂 I’m sorry that happened, but at least they got what was coming to them!

      • July 13, 2018 / 1:53 pm

        It was weird, it always happens on Twitter so I was surprised too 😂

  17. July 11, 2018 / 2:53 am

    If I follow someone, I’m there to stay. Personally I don’t find it worth my time to unfollow. But that’s just me. Darn those time-wasters!! 😛

    • Beka
      July 13, 2018 / 12:55 pm

      Yeah, me too. I’ll always follow someone because I like their tweets/blog, and not just because they followed me, and then there’s no drama at all when it comes to follow/unfollow because I want to be there regardless of whether they want to follow me back or not!

  18. dishesbyhand
    July 21, 2018 / 6:42 pm

    You are right! To just brush it off would feel so much better. I’ve gotten to the point that I will unfollow those people I notice do it, but my anger gets me obsessed with it! Who really cares I guess? I try to follow everyone that follows me and all social media platforms (until they post something very offensive to me or send inappropriate DMs). I know I’m my heart I truly care about engaging… their shallowness will catch it with them someday!

    • Beka
      August 7, 2018 / 6:20 pm

      The only thing that matters in the end is that you are able to brush it off most of the time, and that you are engaging with your followers and happy with what you are doing! Sometimes I will feel the same and get a little bit miffed over it, but I just gotta remind myself to take a step back and know that the people who are continuing to follow me are the ones that matter ☺️

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