Stop Focusing On Follower Numbers

Forget Followers. Focus on Growing Your Business with Social Media

If you only make one resolution in 2019, make it this: Stop looking at your follower numbers every time you log on. If I received a dollar every time I heard someone say “I want to grow my following” or “how do I stop my follower numbers going up and down every day?” I would be more cashed up than a Kardashian.

This year I want you to commit to a HEALTHY (my #wordoftheyear) observation of your follower numbers, rather than an ongoing obsession and I want you to look at how you can leverage your existing following to grow your business rather than constantly chasing more followers.

Someone shared this analogy with me in a workshop and it struck a chord with me. Picture this: You’ve been invited to a party by someone you admire. Your host greets you upon arrival and then leaves the room. You’re having a great time chatting with the other guests but after a while you realise that the host is nowhere to be seen.

While you’re enjoying the company of the other guests, it is the host herself that you really wanted to spend time with. After an hour or so you decide to leave, feeling despondent and rejected. On your way out you find your host, standing on the street frantically trying to encourage passersby to join the party. She had been out here the whole night searching for more people to party with instead of enjoying time with the guests who had been there all along.

Don’t be a Party Pooper

Don’t be a Party Pooper

Consider this: How will having <insert your dream follower number here> actually help your business to grow?

Will having 10,000 followers, for example, bring more website traffic and sales? Or is motivation behind this target number nothing more than an ego boost?

Maybe you are close to the 10K followers on Instagram and when you crack this magic milestone you’ll get the ‘swipe up’ feature for Instagram stories. Sure, that is a handy feature, but that alone won’t necessarily drive sales if what you’re putting out there doesn’t appeal to your new, larger, audience.

Furthermore, you can achieve the same (if not better) result by inviting people to DM you for the link instead. This not only gives you the opportunity to see who is clicking but it also provides an opening to converse and connect about the product/service/blog post you’re sharing and to answer any questions your potential customer or client may have.

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Why people unfollow you and why it’s a good thing

Here’s the thing, aside from the dodgy accounts who employ follow/unfollow tactics (who you don’t want as your followers anyway), people will naturally unfollow your account for a variety of reasons, most of which have absolutely nothing to do with you. If you are producing quality content and you’re doing so consistently, then don’t take it personally when people choose to move on, it’s a businessaccount after all.

Personally, I unfollow accounts all the time for a variety of reasons:

  • I have 3 Instagram accounts and I often end up following a brand from 2 accounts so I unfollow from one. Or

  • I no longer require a product/service because I’ve moved on from that phase of my life. For example, I’m not currently in the market for maternity wear or nursery inspo.

  • Sometimes I unfollow because I’m already following a business on another platform. For example, I might choose to unfollow on Facebook because I’m following the same brand on Instagram. This is especially true if they share the same content on both platforms (THAT is why auto-posting from one platform to another isn’t the best strategy – a topic for another day).

Sometimes, yes, it is about them. I unfollow accounts that post crappy content or those people who jump on Instagram and post 15x talking head videos in a row of them whinging. I subscribe to the Marie Kondo philosophy of decluttering all that doesn’t “spark joy” – in my home, relationships and social media. Basically, if it doesn’t provide value to me, I’m out. And what I find valuable is different for other people. In fact, unfollowing is a good thing – because it helps weed out those who aren’t really ‘your people’, leaving you with those who are true believers – i.e. your ideal customer!

Actual footage of me unfollowing accounts that don’t spark joy

Actual footage of me unfollowing accounts that don’t spark joy

Rather than obsessing over fluctuating follower numbers, do this instead:

1. Create goals/targets around business success markers, rather than social media vanity metrics; Focus on your website traffic, email sign ups, new business leads and sales i.e. things that will bring actual cash money in

2. Review the content with the highest engagement, website clicks and DMs and create more like that. Focus on creating quality content (blogs, Vlogs, videos, printables and downloads etc.) that will entice people to visit your website where they can get to know, like and trust you. The followers will come naturally once you focus on this, I promise

3. Encourage your existing social media contacts and website visitors to sign up to your mailing list – so you can continue to connect with them on YOUR terms and not just when the algorithm is playing nice

4. Focus on engaging with your existing followers instead of seeking out new followers. Watch and comment on their Instagram stories and posts and DM them with helpful tips or words of encouragement. This will deepen your connection and move them closer to taking the next step toward becoming your customer, client or reader

5. Track your social media stats once a month only. In between, don’t even look. Record your follower numbers and objectively observe any changes – like a scientist would. If there’s been a significant increase or decline, then you can take the time to investigate why this may have occurred.


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> You might also like: 5 Reasons to Engage on Social Media