I want to preface this article by making the point that I’ll be talking about real people, not bots. Bots are a completely different subject altogether and they don’t have a place in this article. Good, now that we have that out of the way let’s get on the topic to discuss: your following and why there’s a place for crappy followers. So what’s a crappy follower anyway? We all want to get followers on social media. Some of us don’t care what kind of followers we get because all we’re interested in is numbers. But there’s also a large contingent of people who are trying to sell something with their social media accounts. In those cases, large followings don’t matter. In fact, it’s really only the right followers that matter. We want the followers who will interact with us, provide value, be potential customers, friends, and people to learn from. In other words, we’re looking for quality people to connect with who can make us better people. So when someone comes along who’s constantly spamming you, making comments that mean nothing, and overall just giving you the wrong feeling, our first instinct is to cut these people off, block them, and hope we never see them again. But why? Allow me to explain why that would be a huge mistake.
The negative comments people
We’ve all been there. We’ve all experienced “trolls.” These are the people that seem to have nothing better to do than go around making disrespectful and mean comments on every single piece of content they find. Most of these folks aren’t your followers but they do fall into a similar category of people that I think can be beneficial to your brand or product. Why? Because they produce attention. They get eyeballs to your page. The bigger the troll, the more attention. I’m not saying that all trolls are welcome. I’m not saying you shouldn’t block some of them. But most are harmless. They come to your page to start some crap and if you ignore them, they eventually go away. But for the moments they are in fact commenting and making noise, that noise is bringing people to you, and that’s what you wanted in the first place. Screw these people. Hell, thank them. They’re doing you a favor.
The constant spammers
This happens on Linkedin more than anywhere else but if you’re on there you’ll know what I’m talking about. Anyone who’s gotten a connection on Linked has the connection who the moment you two are connected will send you a private message. You can tell within 2 seconds that this person is a spammer and has put you on an automated message thingy that goes on for about 5-7 messages before they “give up” trying to sell you something. Sure guys, go right ahead. I won’t answer, ever. It gives me zero headaches. Zero guilt. And it makes me happy. Why? Because now I’m in your feed and if you catch any of my content you like and support it, it’s going to help me. You may have used me to get a connection and into my PMs, but I’m using you to build my brand.
The ones you least expect
There are tons of followers out there who just like your stuff. They don’t really provide much value to you. They’ll never really engage with your content. They’ll rarely create their own content. They’re just hanging around in the background. In fact, you don’t really know they exists thus you think they may not be helping you. But guess what? Turns out these just might be the majority of your customers. I’ve found that anytime I ever made money from a “lead” on Linkedin it was from a person who I was connected to but never interacted with OR someone I was never even connected to in the first place. They were just lurking in the background waiting for the right time to gather up the courage to reach out to me. Go figure.
Attention is attention. The common denominator in all of this is growth and the algorithms you are playing with. Every social media site has an algorithm. That algorithm is triggered by certain actions of users. Those actions determine whether or not a piece of content will get shown to more and more people, or get filtered out to be shown to less and less until eventually it’s show to zero. Likes, comments, the time a user spends on a piece of content are just a few but they are major pieces in the puzzle. If you’ve got “haters” and they’re hanging around your content, that’s only going to help you. Remember that. And you’re under zero obligation to react to these people. Just say “thanks!” It feels a lot better than getting pissed of.
*When it’s OK to cut a follower
Having said all that I’ve just said, there are certainly times when you should be cutting off a follower of one of your social media accounts. Not everyone is harmless. We are humans and we have feelings. When someone is making you uncomfortable or spreading toxic information about you that simply isn’t true? Yeah, you might want to consider cutting them off. If they’re constantly abusing you to the point where it actually feels like bullying? You might considering cutting them off entirely. If they in any way take their following past the point of just following and start getting a bit too “intimate” with you (i.e. start looking up where you live or work etc etc), then yeah, it’s time to cut them off. For the most part, followers on social media are harmless, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep your eyes out and be careful. Good luck out there.