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!