In the age of status, notification, media feed, Snaps, and the DM, our followers mean more to us than ever. Maybe because of that, unfollowers get a special fast-track ticket to our naughty list, because why would anyone ever want to unfollow us on Instagram or Twitter? It’s an unthinkable offense that we’d bring punishment upon if we could. Swift justice for the offending parties that did not see the same value in our words and uploads and face swaps that we do.
Okay, so I’m exaggerating a little bit, and maybe we can let unfollowers off the hook with only a warning. Regardless of how seriously we view the gravity of their offense, it’s a tried and true fact that losing followers can have an effect on your overall social media presence, especially if you’re in the position of needing to promote yourself regularly through those means.
In our brief guide, we’re going to show you the ropes of swinging around unfollowers and not allowing them to bring you down. Lost followers can always be replaced, and even if you shed a few, there’s no reason to go all Charlton Heston at the end of the world.
“You maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! Damn you all to hell!” – George Taylor, Planet of the Apes
The interesting fact is that you actually have a few resources at your fingertips to keep track of unfollowers. Though we’ll discuss it at greater length later in the guide, this shouldn’t be viewed as an opportunity for revenge; moreover, you should be paying attention to your followers and unfollowers for the sake of analytics, when taking into account how your social media activity is affecting your overall reception. Even if you’re just using it for fun, it feels good to have more followers, right?
In the same way that there are ways to track your unfollowers, so too is there a developing set of “best practices” for earning more followers on Instagram and Twitter, which we won’t hesitate to share with you. Maybe I’m admitting my bias, but I feel like it’s far more important to pay attention to why people would follow you than the reasons that they might choose not to.
We’ll break the following guide down into two parts–one dedicated to Twitter, one dedicated to Instagram. In each, we’ll look at some tips to gain more followers, as well as the current state of these alleged “unfollower” apps that are becoming so popular online.
Though you might be attempted to attribute the throne and crown to Facebook, Twitter has been a reigning king in social media for just as long. Moreover, people have been trying to emulate its success on other platforms and it’s only been met with varying degrees of failure. The only app that does Twitter is Twitter, and from what we’ve seen, no other social media presence is going to dethrone it.
However, that doesn’t stop some people from viewing it as the popular contest that it admittedly can often become. It’s far different from the “friend network” of Facebook, and your success on Twitter is hugely dependent upon the number of people following you. If you’re using it for business, it can even contribute to your very livelihood. That makes it all the more important to keep track of the trends that net you more followers, and the services that supposedly pay close attention to those that unfollow you (or those that you follow, that aren’t following you back.)
A note of caution, before we get into it: being wary of the Twitter popularity contest is a healthy thing. On one hand, it’s very productive to pay attention to the analytics of it all. On the other hand, I’ve watched people turn into tepid little puddles of angst based on “follower politics,” and that can be downright unhealthy. It’s fairly obvious, I hope, which side of the line that I fall on, and therefore, we’ll be approaching the subject as objectively as possible.
Getting More Followers on Twitter
It might not be a surprise to you, but one of the best ways to get more followers on Twitter is to leverage your other social media networks. In fact, that’s one of the best ways to use social media to your benefit altogether, and we’ll touch on the same fact when we talk about Instagram, too.
When you have friends and contacts on social media, you have a preinstalled network for all of your other social media platforms. Facebook helps you grow Twitter, Twitter helps you grow Instagram, and Instagram can help you grow Facebook. The outlier in this–and it might be most useful for those who are using Twitter for business purposes–you can use your LinkedIn contacts to hugely grow your Twitter following in a way that diverges from the traditional social media methods.
Of course, earning more followers is going to hinge the greatest on your actual Twitter posts. If you want a lot of followers, you’re going to need to Tweet. If you want to build them over a short amount of time, you’re going to need to be Tweeting all of the time. Use your full Twitter repertoire when you’re doing this, responding to @ mentions, using hashtags, and taking advantage of Twitter’s new character limit changes.
Keeping track of unfollowers, then, is the other side of the coin. Since time is money (or at least always valuable), I would recommend that this takes a backseat to your focus on gaining more followers, pretty much all of the time.
The universal rule applies that we can’t control what people do, and getting hung up on a slim number of unfollowers is only going to derail your productive energy. That aside, however, here are a few commonly used resources that will help you to keep track of your losses:
- Friend or Follow allows you to keep track of your follower gains and losses. It works by cross-referencing a compiled list of your followers each time you log in and compares it to the previous login attempt. If you’ve gained followers, you’ll know who. If you’ve lost followers, same deal. Like most unfollower trackers, it’s going to cost you–beginning plans start at $9.99 per month after the free trial.
- Who Unfollowed Me works in pretty much the same way, albeit with different price points immediately available as soon as you check out the site.
- ManageFlitter is another tool in the same vein but offers considerably more access through its free trial. Like most “unfollower” trackers, you’re going to need to upgrade it eventually if you want to continue using it.
For the average user, I recommend taking a good, hard look at the actual value in investing in unfollower applications. Since most of them are going to require extra legwork (and not to mention money), most decide that the potential benefit doesn’t outweigh all of the added concern.
Of course, your Instagram following is going to take an entirely different shape than your Twitter following, but only on the surface level. Surprisingly, you can actual use many of the same tried-and-true methods of earning following on Instagram that you did on Twitter, from embracing your social media network to utilizing LinkedIn to grow outward from your social circle of contacts.
Getting More Followers on Instagram
Since Instagram is image-based by default, it’s going to be exceptionally important to make sure that you use engaging, interesting images in all of your posts. Consider following common photography practices in order to make sure that your media is engaging as it can possibly be.
The “rule of thirds” is one of those common practices that any amateur can use; your skill with a camera doesn’t matter at all! As you can see in the diagram below, imagine an image divided into thirds vertically and horizontally. Where those lines intersect (theoretically) is where the human eye’s attention tends to be drawn first. Therefore, when you’re selecting the images with which you’ll share and promote yourself on Instagram, thick about this rule before you do it, and see if your images couldn’t be formatted even better.
Figuring out who has unfollowed you on Instagram is a little bit trickier than it is on Twitter, primarily because the development team no longer allows third-party applications to collect data from Instagram’s servers and user accounts. While Twitter is still very much an open platform in this regard, Instagram is fairly closed off, which means that you won’t be able to use websites, software, apps, or other tools in order to track your unfollowers.
Some might call this a bummer; I’d call this a blessing in disguise, being such a proponent of keeping one’s focus on building a larger collection of followers.
If you’re truly invested in tracking your followers, the only way that you can do it effectively is to keep an eye on it manually, without the assistance of any software. That means going to the Instagram website, logging in, and taking stock of your collection every time there’s a change in your overall number of followers.
A pain, maybe, but the overall changes to the Instagram API rules make the app a safer place to share!
“Unfollowers” get a lock of flack for how they can affect your overall social media experience, and this also leads to an undue amount of attention being put on that same practice. However, your social media success will be much more rewarding (and productive) if you keep focusing on ways to gain more followers, rather than lingering on those few that chose not to do so any longer.
Hopefully, our guide has helped you to not only understand unfollowers and how they can impact your social media presence but also how to shift your focus to gaining more followers on Instagram and Twitter–a much more fruitful endeavor than keeping track of those who unfollowed you. As always, questions and comments are welcome below, and don’t forget to share this guide on Facebook and Twitter!