Follow Your Instincts, Ignore the Bots

Things happen in the strangest ways and my newest blog will give you a bit of insight into how my brain works.  Now, now, don’t go!  You may find out that you think just like me and are, therefore, normal.  Ahem.

I was driving from work one night, stopped behind several cars waiting for someone in our

2 hearts

Photo my M Linehan (hearts unknown)

lane to make a left turn.  Rush hour drivers being the impatient pseudo race car drivers that they are, peeled out of our lane and rushed ahead into the right lane, passing the turning car only to come to screeching halt because cars were parked in the right lane.  One by one the cars behind me followed each other into the other lane only to be jammed up again.  I couldn’t help but think, why??  Didn’t they see the cars parked there?  I saw them.  I also saw the break in oncoming traffic and our left turner would be able to proceed soon.  Didn’t they see that opening too?  As I drove past them, smug in knowing that if they took the time to observe and not react hastily, they too would be driving home instead of trying to get out of that right lane.   Yet one by one, each car had followed the other.  Then it struck me…my topic could be about followers!!  Welcome to my rambling thought processes.

We want them, we need them and more importantly, we have to work to keep them!  We know the drill; know your audience, create great content, engage said audience and stick to a plan.  But how do we acquire an audience?  Do we hope there are people out there sitting on the edge of their seats waiting for your next post?  I can’t even get my kids to do the dishes, how will I gain a following on social media?  Who will listen to what I have to say? What is the follower etiquette?  Is it bad form to not follow back?   **Pet peeve alert**  The accounts that follow you that have thousands of followers and once you follow them, they unfollow you.  The first few times, I thought, wow!!  They are following me!!!  (Pats self on the back).  But wait, at some point you realize they have unfollowed you!  What is the point of this?  What is the advantage?  Now I am just annoyed with them and any interest I had in what they had to say has evaporated.  I am learning there are like/follow bots out there that you can use only for this purpose.  That doesn’t seem genuine to me and I like real people.  I will follow accounts that interest me and it doesn’t matter that they don’t follow back, however I prove to myself time and time again that engagement really does work!  A comment, a positive message of support, a question about a product and you gain followers.  It’s like magic..and all we did was talk to people.

I will always choose quality over quantity all the time.  I personally take a good look at those that follow me.  I look to see if they answer questions, if their follower base is skewed and if their content is completely unrelated to mine, I won’t follow back. Who needs to follow a hubcap account or a cigar distributor?  Not me.  Who the heck buys aftermarket hubcaps anymore?  Clearly their 40,000 followers.  Ya, right.  I smell a bot.    Are you “vetting” your followers?  Is there value in having followers that have nothing in common with your voice or product if they are genuine and seem to engage with their followers?

There are definite bragging rights when you have a substantial following, as long as you haven’t bought them, which is, in my opinion, the equivalent of juicing in the social media world, or cheating, if you will.   I’ll stick to the practice of old fashioned work, I’ll engage my audience, be part of a conversation and get to know more about the people behind the pictures.  I don’t need tens of thousands of followers, I’m posting for the love of the game and if I meet some cool people along the way, then I’ve opened my world just a little more.  When I told my kids what my topic was about, they told me it’s not cool when you follow more people than follow you.  What??  Yet another unwritten rule that I just won’t be compliant with.  Sorry, not sorry.  Its a good thing the under 25 demographic is not my target audience…

Facebook post:  To Follow or Not to Follow.  More rules to break…

Twitter post:  Breaking the Follower Rules







3 thoughts on “Follow Your Instincts, Ignore the Bots

  1. Great blog! Looks like I need to research this “bots” thing. I don’t know much about it. I have followed my instincts thus far and it has served me well. 🙂

  2. Good blog Maureen, I totally agree about followers. I run several social media pages (for other projects not personally), and am constantly barraged with messages from sites that promise me thousand of followers. Who wants to get followers that way? Not me, and I hate the people that follow you, and then say follow me back? And if you don’t, they unfollow you the next day. Very immature and annoying in my books, either your really interested and human or your not.

    I am totally onboard with ignoring the bots!

  3. Great blog Maureen – and I completely relate to your thought process! haha! Loved your analogy of the cars as ‘followers’! Thanks for bringing up the annoying bots. Its a shame for those who want to chase the likes instead of working on building relationships. As a new Twitter user, I’m currently in the same ‘uncool’ boat by following more people – but like you said, sorry not sorry!

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