Many monitor size of their social audience as KPI of their social success (it isn’t but we’ll cover that another time). Numbers are up and they’re doing well. If things drop, they assume something is seriously wrong. Should you see a drop in your social following, it’s not a time to panic. It’s time to figure out if it matters.
Why They Went Away
There are a number of reasons that we can see a drop in social following. Every day the various networks ban/block and remove spam accounts. They also remove inactive users. If these followers aren’t real and won’t be seeing your message anyways, why does it hurt to lose them?
Besides banned/inactive users, we often see followers leave us because we aren’t right for them. Maybe they followed you thinking you’d offer something other than what you do. Possibly they followed just to see what you had to offer or even followed by accident. They may never have been right for you so there’s little lost by losing them.
In addition to removing people that aren’t a benefit to your feed, there is a chance that you’re to blame. Are you posting boring content (be honest, would you follow yourself if it wasn’t your job)? Are you posting too much and overwhelming their feed? Have you switched the focus of your messaging? Many changes, or even lack of changes in your posting can lead to loss of followers. Figuring out why you lost them is the next step.
How To Tell If There’s A Problem
Now that you know why you see drops in followers it’s time to figure out if the drop you’ve seen is something you should worry about. It’s time to turn to your analytics.
Look at engagement. Have you seen a drop in your engagement rate along with the drop in social following? Have you seen a drop in clicks that coincides with the lost followers? If not, there’s a good chance that those you lost weren’t your target audience as they weren’t clicking or engaging with your content anyways. Losing those that aren’t aligned with your brand or potential customers isn’t a big deal. It can mean that you’ll actually see an increase in engagement rate and CTR as a larger percentage of those seeing your message will be interacting with them as the followers you now have are more in-tune with your brand.
If you do find that your engagement rate and CTR have dropped along with your follower count, it’s time to dig in and find out why. Look at changes you’ve made recently or a bit before you saw the drop. Consider everything from content type, messaging tone, post quantity, visual aspects, and more to pinpoint a reason you may have lost your followers.
Find Out Who Left
For follower drops on Twitter, I like to find out exactly who they are and even ask them why they left. To do this, you’ll need to export a list of all your Twitter followers from time to time. This can be done using a number of tools or via the Twitter API directly. Using both your old follower list and new, you can compare the two and find which are no longer on the list.
With a list of lost followers, you can begin to figure out why. First, look at their profiles. Do they appear to be relevant to your channel? Are they likely bots/spammers? Next, reach out to them and find out exactly why. A quick tweet inquiring why they left can often surface reasons you’d never imagined. Finding out the real reason someone left is far better than making assumptions.
As sad as it is to lose those you worked so hard to get, losing followers is rarely the end of the world. Unless you posted something so heinous that you’ve truly tainted the brand, future growth is still possible and will happen. While knowing why you lost followers is important to informing future choices, rarely is it worth trying to regain those same lost folks. Continuing to post content your remaining followers want to see and addressing their needs should always remain key to your social priorities. Keep with it and they’ll keep growing.