I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot lately and considering writing a post about it. Then I saw that Ashley over at NoseGraze posted a discussion about Why “Follow Backs” Are Pointless and it inspired me even more. Ashley made some great points, but I actually don’t agree with her overall message – that soliciting followers is always a bad thing. I honestly think that, especially for newer blogs, follow backs are the best way to get your name and your brand out there – for people to know you exist and to stick with you.
But what does your number of followers really mean? Is there such a thing as too many? Too few? What are the best ways to get them (and keep them)?
I have over 2000 Bloglovin’ followers, but that doesn’t mean that over 2000 people are looking at all of my posts. (I wish!) So, does that mean that having a lot of followers is meaningless? I don’t think so. I believe that a portion of those followers are reading at least some of my posts – so it makes sense that the higher the number of followers, the bigger that portion is, right? Still, sometimes it can be disheartening to have a huge number of followers and only see a small portion of those people come visit my posts – I’m working on watching my stats to see what types of posts bring the most readers, and it comes down to two things: giveaways and discussions.
So, should I stop worrying about followers completely? Should I stop hosting giveaways that ask people to follow my blog? Should I stop reciprocating when people follow me? I don’t think so. First of all, having a high number of followers is just practically useful. (Want ARCs? Having a lot of followers will help you get them. It’s just the way things work – we can debate about whether or not it’s right or fair, but it’s definitely true.) Here’s a breakdown of the different followers I have and why I think they’re important:
Honestly, my Bloglovin’ numbers have been the most important to me for two reasons: Bloglovin’ is the only feed that I, personally actually pay attention to and I have the most followers via Bloglovin’. I try to get on Bloglovin’ and check my feed at least a couple of times a week (I also get a daily email from Bloglovin’ and always go through that). Even with all of that, I still only catch a portion of the posts that are put up by the blogs that I follow. Why? I follow LOTS of blogs and it’s impossible to get through all of their posts. But, I do go through and read a lot of posts that catch my eye – usually discussions or reviews of books I’m already really interested in are the ones that really snag my attention, but occasionally a pretty cover will do the job. 🙂 So, if I’m doing this, I figure that some of my followers are doing the same. My job is now to write posts that people will find interesting enough to click on!
This is going to be my new focus, though, to be honest, I’m not 100% sure how I’m going to go about it. The only way I can think of to get more email followers is to make it a required entry for a big giveaway, and I’m not sure that’s the best way to go. But, I definitely know that the blogs I follow via email are the ones I pay the most attention to, for obvious reasons – I see all of their posts. That doesn’t mean that I necessarily comment on or even read every single post, but I’m never going to miss a post that I was really interested in because they’re all right there in my inbox! I also have a set of loyal followers who I’m fairly certain follow me via email because they comment on many of my posts (which leads me to think that they’re seeing them all!). These are the best types of followers, obviously – they’re people who I feel connected to because I “talk” with them often on my blog!
I have TONS of FB followers, but I honestly feel like these are my most useless numbers. The way that FB works, very few of my followers actually even see my posts – and I’m honestly not all that great at social media. Maybe it’s a generational thing, but I’m not nearly as connected as I should be. I’ve been making more of an effort with Twitter (even though I have slightly less followers there) because I feel like you I can make more personal connections on Twitter. But, I have to confess that I still do it in fits and starts rather than consistently. This is one area that I’d like to get better in (or maybe add someone to the FYFA team that’s better at this – after all, we all have to face our weaknesses – I’ve been very seriously thinking of adding a blogger to my site and will probably post about it soon. Feel free to contact me if you’re interested!) Oh, and then there’s Pinterest, which I don’t really use for blogging, but I’m getting the feeling that maybe I should. And I don’t even have an Instagram account – like I said, social media is definitely my weakness.
GFC, Networked Blogs, Feedly, RSS, etc.
I don’t have GFC since I moved to WordPress, but honestly, it feels like GFC is kind of extinct now anyway. Is there anyone out there who still pays attention to their GFC feed? I also took off the Networked Blogs widget when I moved and I never did use Feedly. I do still have a way to follow via RSS, but I have to confess that I don’t really understand how that works and I have NO idea how many people follow me that way. I’m curious if any of you use these other following methods and if you find them effective. Let me know!
What about follow backs? Here’s the thing – Feed Your Fiction Addiction is a very follow back friendly blog. What do I mean by that? Well, essentially, I try to reciprocate whenever possible. That goes for comments as well as followers. If you comment on my blog (and leave me a link to your own), 99% of the time, I will visit your blog and comment back on one of your posts (I’m not perfect – I do occasionally miss someone). Let’s face it, we all love books – even if you don’t typically love the same types of books that I do, I can find some type of post on your blog that interests me to comment on. If you follow me via Bloglovin’ I automatically follow back (as long as you have a book blog – I’m just not interested in reading fashion or other random blogs, I have to admit). If you are one of my most loyal followers (meaning that you comment on my blog A LOT), then I follow you via email – I figure that if you make the effort not to miss my posts, then I can do the same for you! If you follow me, I follow back. Who knows – maybe your blog will be one of the ones that catches my eye often! I can’t know for sure unless I follow!
So, what are the best ways to get new followers? If you’re a newer blogger, I still highly recommend things like Feature and Follow Friday – you’ll get some people with eyes on your blog this way. Hosting giveaways will also help you gain followers – just include at least one entry for following your blog. Some of these followers might only visit for the giveaways, but I actually think that’s okay. You’re providing something great to your readers – the chance to win – while also spreading the news about fabulous books! Another good way to build followers is by participating in memes. Now, here’s the thing – in order to keep those followers (and to build even more), you have to put yourself out there – write great content for your blog, go out and comment on other people’s blogs, reply to your comments and visit your commenters’ blogs – basically, be present. We don’t do this in a vacuum. What fun would that be?
Do you think that number of followers is important? What ways do you follow blogs and which ways do you pay the most attention to? I want to know!