WHY IT'S TIME FOR FOLLOW/UNFOLLOW TO STOP
It Discourages Smaller & Aspiring Bloggers/Influencers // Something that I (and many others) have noticed about the whole follow/unfollow method is that it is a very self-focused method. While yes, you have to focus on where you want to get yourself in your blogging/influencing career, you still need to be aware of others.
When I look at an account that has way bigger numbers than I do, but the content isn't any better than mine (sometimes it's not as good as mine), it makes me feel that something is wrong with me and my brand. It makes me want to give up because I "don't have what it takes". But oftentimes, the truth of the matter is that those bloggers aren't any better than me or my brand. I grow slower than they do because I choose to be authentic. If they didn't use the follow/unfollow method, our numbers may even be around the same mark.
And before you get upset over the fact that I said you are doing something sleazy, think about it… Think about how much you value your numbers and your growth. Think about how discouraged you get when you lose followers or can't seem to keep new followers. That's exactly how we feel when you follow us, unfollow us, and maybe even repeat the process again…and again. It says to us, "you aren't actually good enough to keep my attention…I just want to up my stats".
So, if you are a blogger that has been using the follow/unfollow method, please think about what you are doing. It's probably unintentional, but you are causing smaller bloggers to feel hopeless."
It Shows Disregard For Other Bloggers/Influencers
Blogging and social media are all about community, right? Then why would you be participating in a method that goes against that? Maybe you never thought of it this way before, but seriously think about how this "growth" method affects others and not just yourself. The complete disregard that I have seen from some people who participate in this method is actually really quite saddening. It's sad to me that people with the potential to have such great influence are participating in a method that goes against what they stand for…community.
"Following/unfollowing messes with the people you're doing this to. Bloggers rely on accurate numbers to work with brands and to see who their actual ideal audience is. When you do this method, you're messing with the accuracy of other influencer's stats, not just your own. When you do this method, you're building up other influencer's accounts with false numbers, not just your own. As bloggers, we should genuinely care and build others up! We shouldn't just care for our own accounts."
It Wrecks Your Credibility
While you may think that gaining numbers by the hundreds or thousands increases your credibility, that's not the case in the long run. Way back before this method started to get popular, I took notice to some of my favorite accounts that somehow went from having the same amount of followers I had to thousands more…within a few days. At first, I figured maybe they went viral or participated in a giveaway, but after looking into many cases, I noticed those were never the cases.
So, I started to pay more attention to those accounts and others picking up just as rapidly. What I noticed is that even though they were gaining and gaining, the number of who they followed would go up and down by the thousands each passing day.
My jaw literally dropped when I saw this happening. I couldn't believe people would actually participate in something like this. Sadly, this method has grown…and I'm sorry, but I have to break it to you…If you participate in this method, your credibility automatically goes down.
While having a large following may inflate your brand for a moment, it won't stay that way if it's done in an inauthentic way.
It Shows Your True Motives
When you're constantly following accounts only to unfollow them…what kind of motive do you think is read from that? Seriously. Be real with yourself for at least a moment. What kind of motive does that reflect about yourself?
"When you adopt the habit of "follow/unfollow" you're basically saying, "I want more followers but I don't care about getting to know them." Remember in high school when you used to friend request literally every person you knew or that Facebook had suggested for you? This is no longer 'cool', let alone appropriate. So, why should Instagram and Twitter be any different?
When you follow an account you're saying, "I love your photos/what you represent and I want to see more!" You're also, in a sense, patting that account owner on the back. When you unfollow after they give you a follow back, it immediately shows what your true intentions were. You didn't care for them as a creative or photographer. You didn't really like the content enough to stick around. You just wanted another follower.
It Stunts Your Growth
If you're playing the follow/unfollow game, you're essentially stunting your growth as a blogger or social media influencer. Sure, you may have "grown" number-wise, but you aren't actually genuinely growing as a blogger, influencer, collaborator, or person. When you focus your energy on building up a following in an inauthentic way, you're really just hurting your influence (credibility, community, engagement).