When you are new to social media, and specifically twitter, it’s all about gaining followers. The question begs, WHY are you following people and why are you gaining followers? Are you an author and wish to reach readers and other authors who will in turn do tweets for you to get messaging out? Are you an interviewer or reporter and want your words and messages heard? Are you a reader and want to tell people about the books you’re reading? Or, are you what we lovingly call a voyeur who simply reads the tweets of the people they’re interested in, never commenting or posting on their own? People on twitter will generally follow like-minded people and others will follow people because of what they’re posting.
No matter how people start following you, stop staring at your follow numbers and WORRYING ABOUT PEOPLE UNFOLLOWING YOU. Really, just stop. I used to check all the time. When I first started building my follow list, I’d be devastated and confused when I discovered people unfollowed me. I mean, why would they do this? “I’m not provocative, I’m funny. What did I do? Don’t they like me?” The reality is, they stopped following me for whatever reason they wanted. There are just so many things you can control in life, and other people’s actions are NOT one of them.
Want to hear the #1 Follow Rule on Twitter? Follow people who follow you or seek out new people to follow. Retweet people, comment on people’s tweets. Participate in twitter hashtag parties. It is the simplest and most direct way to gain new followers – and these are like minded people for the most part. That said, I still get unfollowed all the time. For this example, right now I just went to www.justunfollow.com and checked the recent amount of people who unfollowed me since I last checked, which was yesterday. In that time period four people have unfollowed me. It’s usually as high as twenty. EVERY ONE of these people are authors. I no longer get upset when I see this. But don’t think sometimes I’m not tempted to actually tweet an author and ask them WHY they unfollowed me. But that sounds a little “stalky creepy” and I’ve decided against that tactic. And don’t get me started if I discover I’ve been blocked. That ALWAYS freaks me out a little, but in an effort to stay sane, I let that go.
Now that I have over 26K followers, what is happening is many times people will follow me in order for me to follow them back. THEN they unfollow me. It’s a tactic they do to gain followers, but not have a high following count and a tactic they will do hoping I will do a tweet for them to my high follower list. It’s not nice and it’s sneaky and doesn’t sit well with me, but it is what it is. With justunfollow.com I now have the ability to see who just unfollowed me and I go and unfollow them right back. I don’t confront, I don’t retweet, I just do this non-passive aggressive thing and move on. NOW, that said, there are people who simply don’t follow others, and they have great content to share – so remember, YOU are in control of who you wish to follow at every moment.
Sometimes an unfollow is a mistake. I have had a few very good friends suddenly disappear from my lists. When that happens, I call them out on it and they are usually surprised. It really is only a simple click and someone is unfollowed.
So, I leave you with this. Stop worrying. You don’t know most of these people, you’ve never met most of these people, you’ve never interacted with most of these people. They are strangers. Stop worrying if they don’t follow you or unfollowed you. Return the “favor” and let it go. Then go follow 50 new people, commenting on a few great posts, find a few you haven’t supported in a while and retweet them, and then call it a day.
Life is way too short to be offended by people who you’ve never interacted with in the first place. My favorite phrase? “Don’t let it rent space in your head.” Post great comments and your peeps will find you. Or they won’t. It’s all good.