You’re all going to think I’m crazy for doing this because the whole point of having a Facebook page is to gain lots of likes, right? Well, not quite. Reach and engagement are actually more important for consistent and significant growth. Which is why I recently started deleting my Facebook followers. Let me explain.
Lately I’ve discussed what I’ve been doing to grow and monetize my blog, and I’m sure those of you who come here for food and DIY tips are entirely sick of it. To you, I say thanks for sticking through it! I have some stuff in store for you soon. (A couple of them are taking longer to complete than I intended…. Especially since I hurt my wrist last week and had to take a break from any sort of blog work. Thank goodness for proper scheduling.)
I need to get this one last thing off my chest, though.
Why I Am Deleting My Facebook Followers
***Update 3/08/15 — Facebook recently announced that after March 12, they will be going through business accounts and purging them of fake Likes, inactive followers, memorialized accounts, etc. Many big businesses are already reporting seeing a large drop in number of Likes. Go ahead and read through this, but my recommendation is that you wait until Facebook does its thing before you jump into deleting your followers. It will save you a ton of work!
I have mentioned a few times now that social media is essential and one of the methods I use for growing my social media is Holly Homer’s method. Her video has a lot of fantastic advice, but the biggest thing that I took away from it was just how much dead-weight Facebook followers can really hurt you.
Once again, here is the video:
It’s long, but I REALLY recommend combing through it and taking lots of notes. 😛
I have a lot of dead weight Facebook followers. Some of them I acquired by trying Facebook’s promotion method (which is basically meant to screw you over by making your Reach lower, giving you an incentive to continue paying for it). Some are “fake” likes, basically people who are paid by a company to like other pages so they don’t look like a spammer who is only promoting the company’s page (Holly explains this one).
Some are followers I got through “Facebook Like” parties, back before Facebook changed their algorithms and having a large “Like” number was the only thing on Facebook that mattered. They are people who Liked my page, not because they enjoyed my witty banter or charming personality, but because they wanted me to Like them back. (And I still get the occasional, “I liked you, will you please like me back?” message. The answer is no, please unlike me if you only did it so I would like you.)
This is a problem, because those people who aren’t engaging are the reason Facebook won’t show my posts to my followers.
Long story short: by liking my page and then never returning, you are doing me more harm than good. On Facebook, quality is better than quantity.
I understand the reasoning–if every blog I followed showed up in my news feed, I’d never see the things I actually want to see. I don’t blame Facebook for putting these algorithms in place, even if they have made my life harder.
But I don’t blame the people who liked and left, either. They have no idea that it’s hurting me. Most of them aren’t even bloggers. To a lot of them, “liking” a business page is meant to show their friends what they support. They don’t realize it has any effect on that business.
However, understanding and sympathizing doesn’t mean I have to sit back and watch my page die. And you don’t, either.
Which is why I have been deleting my Facebook followers.
Holly Homer suggests that we just increase the number of times we post each day, stick with it, and watch the dead weight followers fall off (annoyed that we are suddenly all over their Facebook news feeds) and become replaced by engaged followers. That’s an oversimplification of her method, but still accurate.
I have been using the Holly Homer method since November and so far I really like it. My readers are more engaged (the ones who follow me for me) and I’ve met a lot of fantastic bloggers. It’s a great way for my readers to get to know me and for me to get to know them. I’m loving it.
But the dead weight followers aren’t going away. I’ve lost a couple here and there, but in general, they’ve stuck around.
The reason is that I’m still not showing up in their news feeds. A lot of them have been unengaged for so long (a year or longer) that Facebook doesn’t bother showing me to them. They have no idea I’m even there. Many of them have hidden me so I don’t show up in their news feeds, anyway. So I’m not annoying them–bummer. (I tried to be annoying, guys, I really did.)
This is all especially true of family and friends. For some reason, I just can’t seem to get them to understand that “supporting me” means either interacting regularly or unliking my page. And they’re so afraid of hurting my feelings–even though, come on, I’m an emotionless robot and they KNOW THIS–that they refuse to do it even if they understand why they should.
So I did it for them.
How to Delete Facebook Followers
I was actually going to write up a whole picture tutorial for this, but then I did a Google search to see if anyone had tried this and had similar results. (The answer is yes.) In my research I found a great tutorial by Daylan Does. I recommend reading his post because he explains a lot of things better than I can. He also has a visual tutorial to help you delete your own followers.
How I Decide Who to Delete
OK, so I’m not just deleting everyone and I’m not deleting people just because they haven’t interacted in a while. I talk about a lot of different things on this blog and most people interact with the stuff they’re most interested in.
I’m also not deleting everyone all at once.
As you can probably see, when you view all of your followers you can also see how long they’ve been following you. Mine is listed from most recent to least recent. I scrolled all the way down until I hit “over a year ago” and that’s where I started. And I still didn’t delete everyone.
The second thing I look for is a profile picture. I know a lot of real people don’t have Facebook pictures available for the public to see…but I’m going to go out on a limb here and say those are spam accounts. I deleted those first.
After that, it was just, “Do I know this name?” I’m still small enough that I can recognize names. If you’ve been interacting with my posts, I’ve noticed.
If your following is too large, though, Daylan Does suggests posting a Facebook status explaining that you’re cutting followers and then removing anyone who doesn’t respond. To me it sounds very, “I need attention!” (At least on personal account.) But for the sake of your business growth, it’s a good idea.
There are also certain countries that tend harvest Fake Likes. Generally places like India, Malaysia, New Guinea, etc. I delete those, as well. (However, if you’re a real blogger living in one of those places…this is going to be really complicated for you because there’s a high chance most of those people are real followers. I suggest using the method I listed above to figure out where to go next.)
Again, I did not delete everyone. Every so often, I just go back in and I delete 10-30 people. (So earlier I had 508 likes. At the moment, I’m at 478 because I deleted a bunch of people.) If you feel comfortable deleting ALL of your dead weight followers at once, though, go for it. There’s no reason I can’t do it that way. It’s just that, despite how cavalier I may seem, it actually does make me feel really uncomfortable. But I know it will help me in the long run, so I try to push past those feelings.
It’s also worth noting that Facebook will freak out. I’ve done this three times now, but I spaced them out so they were weeks apart. Each time it has taken Facebook a week or two to get used to the change. You may see your engagement and reach drop by a lot.
My theory is that this is because Facebook is seeing a bunch of people un-liking you all at once and it’s taking that to mean your page isn’t interesting enough to show to people. Just ignore the drop and continue business as usual. Once Facebook has adjusted to this change, your numbers will jump back up.
I haven’t really been doing this long enough to notice huge results. But I have noticed two things:
- More and more of my followers are suddenly becoming engaged.
- The first time I did this, it took a while to make up the number of followers I lost. As I’ve done it more and more, it’s not taking as long. I’m betting it’s because my Reach is higher. The more people who are engaged, the more people Facebook will show my posts to.
One more thing–I don’t want this coming off as, “Pay attention to my blog or I will delete you!” This isn’t personal…it’s purely business. My best advice to bloggers and to any bl0g-lovers who may have read through this whole thing…before you like a page, go through their feed and make sure it’s something you relate to and want showing up in your news feed. If not, don’t like it. You’re doing more harm than good by liking and leaving.
How are you growing your Facebook page? Any weird tips you’ve heard through the grapevine? Let me know in the comments!
You have a great post here! I need to watch that video when i’m at home & take some notes. I love growing my blog & I don’t want dead weight bloggers hanging on. I love interacting with my followers. It’s so much fun! Happy Friday!
Thank you! It’s a GREAT video! I hope you get as much out of it as I did!
I agree–I love interacting with my followers. It kills me to delete so many, but in the end it means I’ll be seen more often by the followers who want to interact.
Have a great weekend, Leslie!
Hey Chelsey! You’ve hit the nail on the head. The thing for me is that I took things way too far. My “old blog” has almost 6,000 followers on Facebook, but very little interaction 99% of the time.
I basically did everything wrong, so I decided to start over and launch a new blog (partly due to major life changes).
I participated in MAYBE 3 giveaways to get a small base of followers on my new blog and since then I’ve been using some of your tips, as well as tips from others to organically grow my social media following.
My likes (growth), reach and engagement far surpass my old site with only 116 followers on Facebook versus nearly 6,000.
I look at it like having a few close friends versus a HUGE circle of friends you hardly connect with. These 116 folks really like me for me.
I hardly invite my personal Facebook friends to like my page, unless I see a missed connection opportunity.
Facebook’s changes have actually opened up my eyes about what kind of followers and likes I really want for my page. I guess it’s like parenting. You don’t realize the benefits until later in life (aka later in your blogging career).
On another note, I liked a lot of pages purely for incentive (giveaway entries) and this did the pages no good. I’ve been reevaluating my likes and unliking as needed, but DIY Budget Girl shall stay!
I invested the time last week and watched Holly’s video (over an hour). It was fascinating! And, I took lots of notes. What I like about your post, Chelsey, is that it’s better than my notes! So, thanks for writing this post because I’m pinning it to Pinterest and will refer back to it often until I get my FB page in better order!
I read your post on doubling your page views and started implementing the Facebook changes just a few days ago. Since then, I have about 120 new followers and my reach has when up 2,000% since last week. Isn’t that crazy! Just wanted to say thank you!
Great post! I also use Justunfollow.com for Twitter and cleaned up the dead followers and people I was following and my engagement went through the roof and I actually got more followers in the end! Definitely worth a try. Pinned!
Oh, I completely forgot about JustUnfollow! When I first used it, I was really skeptical, but that actually helped Twitter A LOT!
This is fantastic advice. I started a business Facebook page I guess almost 4 years ago. Of course, this is before I knew about algorithms, followers, and engagement. Now, that I know about this stuff it’s an eye opener about all the things I did wrong in the beginning. I paid for the advertising, I participated in the like parties. For the longest I thought about the like parties not being a good thing. If you’re not even in my niche or even remotely interested in what I have to say then why are you ‘liking’ me and why should I ‘like’ you back. I might go in and try this practice. I also might go ‘unlike’ some pages, too. #TurnitupTuesday
Thanks! A lot of the algorithms have been changed in the last year, I believe. Though who really knows how long Facebook has been practicing them to come up with this system. I hope it works for you! 🙂
Hello!! Just wanted to let you know I will be using this in a round up (posting soon) from the Teach Me Tuesday party! Very much appreciate you linking up with us 😉
You have COMPLETELY changed my approach to using Facebook. Thanks Chelsey for this post! Do you think that Pinterest works the same way? I used to have stuff I pinned repinned all the time but not any longer. .
(Just ignore the previous comment) (o:
Pinterest is doing something similar, yes! I read an interesting post by a lady who’s deleting all of her pins if they don’t have 5 or more repins on them (I’ll see if I can dig up the post). Pinterest sees how many repins you have and if a lot of your stuff is getting ignored, they’ll deem you “not important” and stop showing your pins to your followers! It’s insane. I went through and deleted pins and even whole boards (which took FOREVER. I went from 7500 pins to 1500. And I’m still not done. -_-) So far, I haven’t seen a difference, but she did say it would take a while to kick in.
What I HAVE been doing lately is adding a “Pin for later” link on my other social media accounts. I’ve seen a little increase in the number of pins from that, but not enough. I only just started doing this last week, though, so I’ll let you know how it goes!
Thank you! Like others have said I would have done things differently if I know what I do now. I didn’t know you could delete followers, but will totally be doing that. Thank you so much for this post.
I hope it helps! FYI, Facebook just announced that after March 12, they’ll be going through and purging business accounts of fake likes, inactive followers, and any memorialized accounts. Many larger businesses have reported already seeing this change. So my recommendation at this moment is to sit back, wait for FB to do its thing, and then attack your account. That should save you a good bit of work. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!!
I saw that they are going to do that. I wonder how much it will change? Guess we’ll wait and see.
The biggest thing I regret doing is inviting all my FB friends to like my page. I blog about being married to a chef. NONE of them are my target audience and really would have any reason to interact with my page. Yet they liked the page to be supportive (just as I would have done for them . . . or at least I would have in the past.) I’m grateful for their support and it sounds funny to say this, but I deleted a bunch of them last night – the ones who have never commented or liked a post on my page. I’m not comfortable unfriending someone on my personal account (but will hide them from my newsfeed), but wouldn’t think anything of it if someone took me off their fan page that I really didn’t care about. I don’t think any of them would be upset . . . if they even noticed. We’ll see what happens.
Jennifer, I COMPLETELY relate to this! I didn’t tell anyone about my blog, aside from a handful of friends who have actually been trying to stay engaged because they know how important it is. But my husband has told a large portion of his his friends and relatives, who them “Liked” my page to support me. And their lack of engagement has REALLY hurt me. I’ve wound up deleting nearly all of them as well. I feel kind of bad because it sounds like I’m unappreciative. They THOUGHT they were helping me, and I understand that. But liking and leaving does so much damage. You’re right–deleting someone who has liked your page isn’t the same as unfriending them. I’m amazed by the number of bloggers who don’t see the difference. I love my in-laws…but no, I won’t think twice about deleting them from my fan page if they’re not interacting. You’re absolutely right!
I think I’ve pinned at least 6 of your posts on blogging in the last hour – so much good information! Thanks so much for sharing.
Glad you find my site helpful, Pam! Thanks for the pins! 😀
When I started my business in 2011 I had a lot of traffic or likes and the first time at this year launching my website since then I have not had really good results and I get likes but then it goes down. I love the article because I’ve been not as happy with Facebook and their new way to use it for better results as a shop etc isn’t really what I feel is working for me. The worsed thing is I’ve received so many friend requests from men that have started their page or personal account 6 hours after they sent it. I had a guy I first learned that I needed to choose carefully because he was a fake person and I get them several times a week.
Great article and if you have advice on what I should do to protect it or something like that I would appreciate it. I don’t want to get rid of it because of friends but I have a hard time wanting to engage.