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Filtering through the noise helps you build relationships with your clients
I got an email from a reader of my newsletter last week:
“Hey Jessica, I did the homework but I feel bad unfollowing people. Isn’t it bad karma?”
(BTW, if you’re not a part of the Wednesday Genius Club yet, sign up here)
You unfollow people in life
Rest assured it’s not a karma issue.
It’s not normal to stay in touch with everyone you’ve ever met in life and yet it’s common to feel that you must on social media.
The questions at the heart of this are:
- Will I hurt their feelings?
- What if I miss out on something important?
- What if I want to go back to them?
Unfollowing a corporate doesn’t feel like a problem
You wouldn’t have this heartache over unfollowing Pepsi. They’re faceless and therefore have no feelings. Important announcements will be spread by others, and there’s no drama when you want to re-follow.
Unfollowing a small local business feels hard
A small business you have a personal connection to is harder to unfollow.
- How can you unfollow her on social media when you’ve said happy birthday to her children on Instagram?
- How can you unfollow her when she gave you such helpful advice that time you hurt your back?
But she posts so much about her family and clogs up your feed, and besides your business has moved on to supply chains now, not independents.
Every business knows unfollows happen on social media
You’re not responsible for how a business feels about its follow/unfollow numbers on social media.
You’re also not responsible for how a business runs its social media account. If they want to cross it with their family photo album, that’s their choice.
A business is tasked with developing their brand to show customers they care about their dreams:
- The business may be totally unaware that they’re putting social media followers off with all the family photos.
- The feed may be deliberately positioning the business to a family-centric clientele that shares their priorities.
- Their social media feed might be used as an information-gathering funnel by suppliers but it’s intended for customers. Suppliers can unfollow guilt-free when the research is complete.
Business have options when it comes to running their social media feeds and their goals aren’t necessarily aligned with yours.
Filter your social media feed for less noise, more music
There’s a lot of noise out there so filtering the messages coming in helps you maintain your own direction and focus.
Sometimes, you can overdose on too much of a good thing and you need a break from a certain voice.
Mute: Muting allows you to keep following people but stops their posts in your feed.
Instagram, Facebook and Twitter have a mute button. LinkedIn calls it “Unfollow” but they remain a connection.
This feature has come about because the social networks realized people aren’t comfortable with unfollowing a business that’s shown its human side.
Some say it’s better to be unfollowed than muted because it means that people following are genuine potential customers. Others say muting means there’s still a spark of a relationship there to bring to life at a later date.
It’s your feed and you handle the unfollow/mute options to fit your business needs.
Unfollow: Even though independents, solos and creatives are more sensitive about being unfollowed, if you want to say good-bye because that person’s work no longer resonates with you, rip off that bandage quickly. It only hurts for a second if you remember you’re unfollowing a business, not a person.
- You can re-follow the person through your personal social media account.
- If you were a client at one time, you can send them a lovely good-bye DM thanking them, nobody expects this and it packs the emotional punch of a hand-written letter (just don’t over-egg the pudding.)
- There may be more appropriate ways to stay in touch. If you don’t want them in your Instagram feed, perhaps their newsletter is a better fit.
Some business-owners track every user that follows and unfollows. The data can be useful when tracking whether or not certain series of posts cause a mass-unfollow. But more often, these apps are used by people to track and unfollow people who unfollow them.
Don’t get caught up in the likes-for-likes, unfollow-for-unfollow mindset. It saps up energy best deployed in marketing activities that actually bring in the sales.
Remember your goals
As a business, it doesn’t make much sense to follow everyone back anyway.
Businesses think they’re selling products and services. We’re not. We’re building relationships to nurture and grow sales as an essential by-product.
To build authentic customer relationships with your own tribe, fade-out the voices keeping you stuck.
PS: If you want to follow me, my social links are at the top of the page.