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Recently I decided to join a ‘Follow for Follow’ thread on Facebook.
In case you’re not familiar with them, a follow for follow thread is where everyone drops a link for a social media account, blog post, Pinterest pin, etc and everyone follows each other back.
Up until this point in my blogging career, I’ve been leery about doing follow for follows but you never know until you try so I gave it a shot.
Before I continue, let me say that I’m not bashing any of the bloggers I followed. We are all doing the best we can with the knowledge we have.
I just want to share some of the things I noticed- both good and bad- so we can all continue to grow as bloggers. Now, let’s dive in.
Lessons from My First Follow for Follow Experience
Lesson 1: Your Subscriber Box Should Be Easy to Find
There were so many sites that I couldn’t find a subscriber box on and if a reader can’t find what they need in 8 seconds, they will leave.
Make your subscriber box easy to find and put it in a lot of places.
WordPress.com currently has their follow button hidden at the bottom of the page BEHIND the Cookies consent which is ridiculous.
A few great places you can add an opt-in box are:
- Notification bars
- Welcome mats
- The TOP of the sidebar (don’t bury it after your about me page or recent posts)
- At the bottom of posts
- In the middle of posts with a content upgrade
Because of my experience, I plan to add a ‘subscribe’ button to my menu.
Lesson 2: Do Not Ask for Last Names
I’m a big fan of asking for a reader’s name when they subscribe so you can personalize emails. However, asking for their last name is overly personal and will likely scare people off.
The more you ask of people the less they will give so keep it simple by asking for first names only.
Lesson 3: Feedburner is Redundant
Feedburner is an email collection service which I’ve never seen before and I was less than impressed.
I found it to be redundant and it didn’t look good. Something about the colors and the way it’s put together makes it look really old school.
Each time I hit subscribe a separate box popped up that I had to confirm a Captcha for and then click subscribe. Then I had to go to my email and confirm my subscription again and another separate tab opened up.
I understand double confirmation but this seemed like triple confirmation.
Unfortunately, the more actions we ask a reader to take, the less likely they will be to complete a sequence and this will cost you readers.
Lesson 4: Have a Welcome Email
I got a lot of plain ‘Thank you’ emails. This is such a waste of an email.
The average open rate for most emails is 20-25%. But, the open rate for the first email is often over 80%.
Take advantage of this and introduce yourself, let your readers know what they can expect, give them a freebie, and encourage them to follow you or join a group. Help them remember you and give them a reason to open future emails.
Lesson 5: Don't List ALL of Your Social Sites in One Email
It’s tempting to list every social media account you have in your welcome email but don’t. Studies have show that the more options a reader has, the less likely they’ll be to choose any of them.
Pick your top three social media accounts and list those. You can invite your email list to sign up for other platforms in other emails.
Lesson 6: If you plan to use Amazon Don't email your posts
When I first started blogging, I used to send my blog posts to readers inboxes until I discovered you can’t email Amazon affiliate links. It’s against their Terms of Service and they can kick you out of their program for doing it (yikes!).
The simple solution for this is to include links to your blog posts in emails and people can click to read your posts on your page.
In my most recent email to my subscribers I gave them a link to follow AND a link to pin for later by saying:
Have you seen my newest post about ‘Follow for Follows‘? If you’re interested in reading it later you can save it to Pinterest.
Convenient for them and it encourages people to share my content. Talk about killing two birds with one stone.
Lesson 7: You Won't find your tribe
Your tribe are the followers and fans who love you. They love your posts, your emails, and they closely relate to a lot of what you have to say. If this person was a real-life friend of yours, it would be the person that you could sit for hours and talk with without any awkward silence.
Those are the fans you want.
Those are also the fans you will most likely not find in a follow for follow thread. You may find one or two but that’s about it.
This isn’t a huge deal except that:
- You could probably be using your time to do something that would help you really find your tribe and
- Once your email list gets to a certain size, it goes up in price so as you grow, you will probably find yourself pruning the dead weight from your list anyway.
Are ‘follow for follows’ a good way to increase your numbers? Yes.
If you’re brand new to blogging and need a few followers to your social accounts then trying a couple follow for follows will increase your numbers (albeit temporarily).
However, if you are an established blogger then I wouldn’t suggest doing a follow for follow. There are many other activities you could be doing with your time to help you find your true fans.
One final tip- if you decide to do follow for follow threads, find ones that are NOT follow all.
If you can find threads that are follow 2-10 then you can pick and choose the posts or social media pages that fit the best within your niche instead of sharing random posts or following random niches.
Are there any other tips you would give people who do ‘Follow for Follow’ threads? If so, drop them below!
Yea, I wish more follow for follows were categorized for niches. I don’t want to follow a bunch of random people nor do I think random people will necessarily want to follow me. Thanks for sharing your experiences and learnings!
Great post with ideas I didn’t know about or understand even though I’ve been blogging 2.5 years now.
Love your blog too! SO I will definitely be coming back to check it out.
I’m glad you were able to learn something new, Joleisa! Let me know if you ever have any questions- I would be happy to answer or help you out in any way I can 🙂
Amy Youn says
Great post! Follow for follows are so tricky; although they can boost your SM numbers and your blog numbers somewhat, I find that I end up feeling worse that people unfollow/unsubscribe! I wish there was a way to stop it from happening.
Savvy Southern Chic says
Great tips! Thanks for sharing!
One thing I have learned from follow for follow is not utilizing email opt-ins. I recently was on a blog and there was a pop up for email subscription immediately. I closed it out because I had not read the post yet and wasn’t invested. By the end of the article, I really liked what I was reading and wanted to sign up for the email but there wasn’t a sign-up form embedded anywhere. I couldn’t find a way to sign up beside the pop up that I had already closed. I felt bad thinking of all the potential subscribers this blogger was probably losing.
I am brand new to blogging and would love to grow my list, but I also want people who are generally interested in what I have to say.
Thank you. I picked up some great tips from this post!
Great post, this is such useful information!
Katina Horton says
I have also noticed the issue of not being able to find subscribe buttons on a lot of sites. If you have a lot going on or not, it can cause frustration. It discourages you from wanting to do the work unfortunately.