Your Digital Marketing Coach with Neal Schaffer

How to Create Your Own Instagram Followers Policy to Increase Your Community and Gain More Engagement

October 18, 2018 Neal Schaffer Episode 131
Your Digital Marketing Coach with Neal Schaffer
How to Create Your Own Instagram Followers Policy to Increase Your Community and Gain More Engagement
Show Notes Transcript

On this podcast I first compare the concept of an Instagram follower policy with that of other social networks and then focus on detailing my experience on Instagram to help you create a policy that will help you grow both Instagram followers and engagement.

Key Highlights

[03:36] Why I Spend A Lot of Time On Instagram

[04:37] Following Policy

[06:42] Understanding Limitations

[09:22] Why You Should Prune Your Connection

[18:32] Instagram Limitation

[19:54] What Fuels The Influencer Marketing Industry

[22:43] Another Reason Why You Should Reduce Irrelevant Followers

[23:58] The Golden Sign of Fake Influence

[29:00] The 1,500 Rule

Notable Quotes

  • I like to say no one has a monopoly on ideas. No one has a monopoly on storytelling.
  • At the end of the day. You need to have your own policies. as to how you want to use I mean, it obviously you need to have your own strategy as to how you want to use Instagram, is it going to be for personal for business for both? But you need to have a policy as to who you're going to follow.
  • If no one engages with that content, boom, no one else is going to be able to see that content. And that's why having, you know, quantity is important. But the quality is even more important, because the quality of the relevance in your connections is not there, right? Your content is not going to be seen by anybody, it's going to be seen, first of all, by irrelevant people. 
  • I think it's important to also show people that follow you that if they're real and relevant, you're going to follow them back, because it's social media. 
  • One way of building out a community is through social signals is tapping people on the shoulder. And one of the tactics that you use for that, in addition to commenting and liking and you know, the different ways you can engage with people is definitely following them.
  • I, for someone that's investing on a daily basis, investing time in a platform, I want to engage with other people on Instagram that are equally invested in the platform as I am right. I want to know that they're publishing on a regular basis, they're engaging on a regular basis. So this is one way in which we begin to look at the importance of not only the follower following ratio, but also this average engagement rate. 

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Neal Schaffer:

What's up, y'all? Let's go. Welcome to the maximize your social podcast follow me discover the latest social media marketing techniques from the world's leading experts from top to bottom. This is the podcast where business professionals come together to master social media without all the confusing mumbo jumbo. With no further ado, turn it down. Here's your host the one and only Neal Schaffer. Hey, everybody, this is Neal Schaffer. And welcome to another exciting episode of maximize your social, I hope you've been enjoying this relaunch for lack of a better word of my podcast. I really like this rhythm of having my own spoken, social business unplugged type of monologues, combined with interviews from people that I truly respect and that I feel are experts in the industry. And I hope that you also like this combination as well. You know, when I began this podcast, the whole idea about social business unplugged, the original name was going to be these solo monologues. And just like with any content creation, process, it overtime and i Boy, I did 128 episodes, I think before I did a relaunch, it requires an investment of time and of creativity. And even with my own blogging, there are some weeks when I don't blog, right. And I think that being able to interview experts, provides good segues, it actually provides a really, really good rhythm of my own monologue, my own ideas and thoughts combined with bouncing ideas and having conversations with experts. You know, there's a lot of podcasts out there, I know there's a lot of I don't consider it, competition, per se. I listen to podcasts myself. So there's there's a lot of great people out there. But you know, there are a lot of podcasts that are just focused on interviews. And it's similar with people or businesses and social media that just curate and share other people's content without having their own point of view without having their own perspective. And I want to make sure that this podcast stays balanced so that it always has my own personal perspective and point of view stamped on every episode. And that's why for me, it's important to maintain these monologues while still offering these interviews because I get asked by a lot of people, a lot of businesses that want to be featured on this podcast. So and there's a lot of great stories out there. You know, I like to say no one has a monopoly on ideas. No one has a monopoly on storytelling. You shouldn't just buy my books, you should buy a lot of authors books, you shouldn't just read my blog posts, or listen to my podcast, you should be, you know, listening to and reading as many as possible, because there's so many different perspectives out there. And I think that as humans, and as professionals, that's how we grow when we get bombarded by different types of perspectives and opinions on similar subjects. So I'll stop there. But it's actually a great segue into today's podcast, which is going to be about the topic of Instagram, and I really want to zero in on Instagram, following and followers and I've already had conversations with some people on Instagram, I'd say Instagram probably right now is my most strategic social network. It's where I tend to spend most of my time I find tremendous benefits, both personally and professionally, that it's always been 100% personal, but I'm starting to mix in the professional. And it's been interesting to see the results. And it's also obviously because I'm writing a book on influencer marketing, it really is the focus of the influencer marketing industry. So part of the reason I spent a lot of time is also my own r&d For myself, my own brand and for my clients to better understand how influence and how marketing works on that platform. So the follower following thing is that is a very, very interesting subject that, you know, I've been on Instagram for few years now, I think it's almost been five years, if I'm not mistaken, I'll have to go back and look at when my first photo was posted. But it's been a few years, and I've gone through a lot of different phases, and perhaps you or your business is in one of these phases that you know, you just you begin, you, you know, you immediately have Instagram saying hey, why don't you connect Facebook, let's look for all your Facebook friends. Or, hey, let's look for your contacts from your phone directory and see if they're on Instagram. And inevitably, you begin on Instagram with zero posts and following perhaps a few 100 people and having zero followers. And you know, a lot of what I'm going to talk about here is also something that I talk about when when I talk about a Twitter follower following policy. It's also the same thing that I talked about when I talk about a LinkedIn connection policy. And I've been talking about a LinkedIn connection policy since 2009. Because it's really the same concept. At the end of the day. You need to have your own policies. as to how you want to use I mean, it obviously you need to have your own strategy as to how you want to use Instagram, is it going to be for personal for business for both? But you need to have a policy as to who you're going to follow. And when someone follows you, are you going to follow them or not? And should you consider at certain points in time? unfollowing? And what type of Instagram branding that follower versus following ratio, and I'm gonna include a link to this Twitter blog post I wrote on that same subject, what do you want that brand to look like an Instagram, Instagram really is a special beast. There are many people that I am, you know, influencers in their own outright in social media, authors, bloggers that were connected on Twitter, we're friends on Facebook. And yet, no matter how many times I follow them, and try to engage them in Instagram, they don't follow me back. And that's really where my journey began. Why would these people on twitter follow 50 100,000? People? Why would they become friends on facebook get on Instagram, they only follow 100 people or 200 people or 500 people or 1000 people? And why would they follow me when they follow me on these other networks? Now, some of you may have found that I don't follow you, for whatever reason. So you may be thinking exactly what I was thinking. And at first, I was a little bit bitter, right? This is social media. It's all about reciprocity. But now I realize that it's because Instagram is a special beast. And this is why your follower following strategy, your your policy on Instagram, is going to be vastly different than on any other platform. So on LinkedIn, let's first talk about limitations. Right? On LinkedIn, you're limited to 30,000 connections, interesting data point today. And sometimes I've been able to accept invitations and get over 30,000. I've heard other people hinted that before, I don't know if that's just a temporary fluke, or if I'm going to be able to continue to do this. But for most people, it's 30,000. Right, for an overwhelming majority of people. So with LinkedIn, I mean, boy, it takes you a long time to get to 30,000. For most professionals, I don't think you need to worry about it. For a lot of the clients that I work with, and and this comes down to the social selling playbook, and I'm going to add that blog post to my own Neal site soon, but I'll throw in a link to this other site where I guess posted it, you know, it comes down to on a daily basis, you have a playbook. And it's not just for LinkedIn, it's for other networks as well. How many people am I going to consider connecting to or following, right? So that's one thing. But before we do that, we need to understand a limitation. So if LinkedIn is 30,000, maybe you're going to try to connect with I don't know, I know, for the clients that I work with, I tried to set a goal of like 20, right? For some more aggressive people could be 100. But you know, that 30,000 limitation. And if you try to invite too many people too soon, you're going to get your hand slapped on or your wrist slapped on LinkedIn. And it's gonna take, you know, not everybody who invites can accept that invite. So even if you, let's say, did 100. And even if I don't know, I'm trying to think of a good success rate here, I'd say and I'm just thinking about my client, you know, let's say you get a 50% success rate, which I think is actually pretty good. That means you're gonna have to go through 60,000 invites to get the 30,000 connections, and 60,000 invites at 20 a day, it's gonna take you several months, gonna take a few years to get there. So I think for LinkedIn, you don't have to worry about it. Now if you're one of these power networkers and I was a LinkedIn, open networker, a lion back in the day, and I, I talked about that it laid out in my book, Understanding, leveraging and maximizing LinkedIn, this windmill networking concept to social media, which I still I still cherish and I still employ, you know, you may be at a point where you need to prune your connections and actually have one of the podcasts that maximize your social was why it may be time to prune your connections, even if you're not at the 30,000 limit. And the reason is, so I talked about the limitation. And we're just talking about LinkedIn, believe me, I'm gonna get to Instagram. But I want to share with you that these concepts are evergreen that they apply to all networks, but the way it's applied is going to be different on each network, which is going to come down to how Instagram is very, very different. But the reason why you want to prune your connection, so I was at 30,000. And I connected with a lot of people as an open networker. These are people that may not even be real profiles. These were a lot of recruiters who were, I believe the first open networkers that instead of paying for the LinkedIn services, they wanted to acquire the greatest network possible, so they'd have visibility and access into a lot of people. So you know, I'm thinking, wow, I have 30,000 connections. But if a third of these are sort of irrelevant people, when I publish something on LinkedIn, they're not going to engage with it. And what happens is like any other social net work, when I publish a post on LinkedIn, it's going to take a data sample, it's going to take a percentage of my connections, and it's going to send that content out to them. And guess what, if no one engages with that content, boom, no one else is going to be able to see that content. And that's why having, you know, quantity is important. But the quality is even more important, because the quality of the relevance in your connections is not there, right? Your content is not going to be seen by anybody, it's going to be seen, first of all, by irrelevant people. And you know, if you've been on LinkedIn for a few years, you've probably tweaked your branding. And maybe you're in a completely different industry, we're in a different role now. And that's why I pruning your connections on a regular basis, or just unconnected, disconnecting with people on LinkedIn. At the same time, when you're connecting with new people, if you're at that 30,000 level, or if you're trying to increase the engagement rate, is something that I do on a daily basis. On LinkedIn, it may not be daily, but I have my own process on Instagram, it absolutely is daily. And I'm gonna go into that. And I'm already sort of hinting at the process here. But this process of pruning to get more relevant and therefore increase your engagement is something that can be applied everywhere. If something were on two podcasts ago, I talked about how fresh is your content, and this, this notion of deleting irrelevant content, from my website, maximize social business enable to increase my search engine ranking and my relevance with Google, right. Or maybe you have cold email subscribers, so you regularly delete them out in order to increase the relevance of who is getting your email marketing messages. It's the same concept, it's now being applied to social media. And I'd say today is a best practice and on Instagram, it absolutely is the best practice. But, you know, I'm sort of going ahead. So that's sort of the way this is applied to LinkedIn, the notion of this limitation of connections of a daily playbook of pruning, and of wanting to increase the relevance so that you get more and more engagement. So what about Twitter? Well, Twitter, there's no limitation. Now there is a limitation, that there's this 2000 follower limitation, if you want to follow more than 2000 people, you need to get more than you need to acquire more than 2000 followers. So Twitter has its own limitation, that's pretty easy to overcome over time. And Twitter, by far as the most open network where there's the fewest restrictions, you can't just be too aggressive. You know, you may want to not make sure you follow more than 100 people a day until you get to a certain point. But with Twitter, you know, LinkedIn will show you that you have, how many connections do you have, or once you get to 500 to 500 plus, and when I do social selling trainings, I talk to salespeople, that's really the goal, let's get you to 500 Plus, you know, above and beyond that, it's going to be part of your playbook. And it's going to depend on your industry, what have you. But 500 Plus is really the goal. You know, with Twitter, the goal really is that everybody is going to be seeing your follower following ratio. So that ratio is going to become part of your personal brand, but also the number of followers you have is going to be part of your personal brand as well. So you can't just follow 10,000 people, if you only have five followers, it's going to make you look really bad. On the other hand, if you're a new brand, and you have 10,000 followers, you only follow in five people, and no one's ever heard about you. They're gonna think maybe you're in the business of purchasing fake followers. So I think it's important to also show people that follow you that if they're real and relevant, you're going to follow them back, because it's social media. So that's why I keep you know, I'm just trying to think of what my current numbers on Twitter are on today. I'm, I'm nearly 220,000 followers, and I think I'm at about 80,000 following. So hey, you know, if you're a real marketing professional, I want to follow you back because I want to engage with, you know, with marketers, and really, you know, there's so many searches being done on Twitter, yes. If you get a verified profile, maybe you get a little bit more juice in the Twitter timeline. But not everybody sees every tweet, right. And really, a lot of I believe, of the views and the engagements you get aren't necessarily from the timeline, per se, but they are from people doing searches on Twitter. So that's why Twitter you can be a little bit loose with that connection policy, and with your follower following ratio, but that follower follower ratio becomes very, very important when we talk about Twitter versus a LinkedIn. Now, when we talk about Facebook, it's very, very different as well. Facebook limits you to 5000 friends, but you can't have more than 5000 followers on your personal profile. Should you wish to enable that obviously, for Facebook Pages. There's no limitations, but you can't follow people. And I say the same thing for LinkedIn company pages. There's no limitations, but you can't follow people. With Facebook, you're limited to 5000 friends. So it's really the same thing. And I think over the past few years, you've probably seen influencers, at least in the social media space. So Start to unfriend people and prune their friends. Because these are people that never engage with them. Or maybe they connected a few years ago, but they're, they're not engaging today. So I want to make sure we get over to Instagram. But obviously Facebook is similar to LinkedIn where you have 5000 friends, and you want to prune to make sure you get maximum engagement. Obviously, you reach that 5000 limit on Facebook, before you do on LinkedIn. Now, if LinkedIn if you're in b2b or in sales, and that's more important than you'll want to do pruning on a more daily basis. But Facebook, it becomes an important concept as well, because the 5000 limitation, obviously, is more severe than LinkedIn. But obviously, as well, for most people, they never even get to that 5000 number. But even if you're not there, that notion of pruning, if people that you, friended three or four years ago that you've just never engaged with, you know, like, I tell people, right, and I mentioned this in my first LinkedIn book, just because I disconnect with you on LinkedIn, or just because I don't friend you on Facebook, maybe because you post a lot of political things, or things that I just don't want to engage with. Because I use social media differently. Just because we're not friends on Facebook doesn't mean we're not friends, right? Just because we're not connected on LinkedIn, it doesn't mean like, you're not my friend, it just means that I use these social networks very, very differently than you do. And that's okay. And it's not a big deal. You don't want to get emotional about it. And it goes back to when I saw those influencers, not, you know, reciprocating friendships on Instagram, I'm not getting bitter about it. It's like, Hey, you have your own policy. That's cool. I know a lot of people and I've gotten these emails, where, you know, one of the things I look at when when I prune, whether it's Facebook, or LinkedIn, or Twitter is, you know, I noticed that like, on Twitter, I was following people that hadn't tweeted in like, three years, it's like, you know, this is sort of a, you know, for lack of a better word, a waste of a follow, right. Now, I've had some of those people, you know, one in particular, very recently that saw my email marketing, let's say, Well, you're not following me on Twitter, even though I'm following you, you must have unfollowed me, and therefore, you're not practicing what you preach. And I just unfollowed you and um, you know, I'm gonna delete you delete myself from your email list. And, you know, when someone comes at you like that, it's like, what can you do? I don't think anything I could have said to that person would have been would have helped the situation, you know, that there was a reason why if they were unfollowed, or if they were pruned, there was a reason why that happened. And it's very, very similar to Instagram. And over the last several weeks, I've had a few conversations with people on Instagram. And I think, you know, one of the reasons why is that if you were to go into the iTunes Store, or the Google Play Store, there's lots of different apps for Instagram. And one of these is, hey, get notified when someone unfollowed you. So that as well is very, very different from these other networks. I mean, Twitter might have used to have that. I don't think that exists for Facebook or LinkedIn. But Twitter is just so noisy, I don't think people are going to go through and monitor that, because there's just so many bots that are doing a lot of following and unfollowing. And that's sort of a good way to introduce Instagram. So on the same scale, and those of you that have seen me speak and I have, I'll be talking about this in more depth in my upcoming book, the business of influence, but this notion of these two different types of social networks, and why are Instagram and Twitter more engaging, potentially than LinkedIn, and Facebook? Well, they're they're definitely more engaging for companies for a variety of reasons, but they're just more open. And they have less limitations. So Instagram, though, does have a limitation. The limitation is you cannot follow more than 7500 people. So when I began writing the business of influence, I was finding people that had 10s of 1000s of followers, yet I'd never heard of them. And some of them didn't even have a blog post or a website. They they didn't blog, and they didn't have a YouTube channel, or maybe they had a YouTube channel that only had like 100 subscribers. And they had a website that had two or three blog posts. And I'm thinking, well, how the heck did these people get to be where they are today on Instagram? How did they acquire this many influencers, when they don't follow that many people because obviously, one way of building out a community is through social signals is tapping people on the shoulder. And one of the tactics that you use for that, in addition to commenting and liking and you know, the different ways you can engage with people is definitely following them. So how did this happen? And, you know, one of my clients is a Grammy Award winning musician, when I look at his Instagram profile, I get why that happens. And he's someone that follows I don't know, he has 10s of 1000s of No, he has a few 100,000 followers. And he follows, you know, several 100 people, but you know, how do these other people get to where they are by following so few people? And therefore it raises the question as to how many of someone's followers on Instagram are real? Because I think that you know, Twitter, you could always buy fake followers, but Instagram is really up The game because having a lot of followers in Twitter isn't nearly as valuable today as having a lot of followers on Instagram because Instagram has become so popular for brands to utilize as part of their marketing. There's free product to be had, there's money to be had. And therefore that's really what fuels the influencer marketing industry. Unfortunately now, I wrote this ebook recently, we'll put a link in here in the notes in this blog post about how artificial intelligence is really revolutionising influencer marketing. And by using different data points, we can now help brands find out are the followers of this people real or fake. There's also a great service that I'm going to recommend called hype audit, and we'll include a link to this podcast that you should do it for yourself and Twitter, I think it's also got Twitter on it. There's also one for Twitter, you can see how many your followers are fake, and it can help you actually block those fake followers. So we have limitations. We have follower following, you know, ratio in terms of personal branding or professional branding, right. So whether your business profile or personal profile on Instagram, it's the same, you still have that limitation to 7500, we have the notion of pruning, because we want to maximize engagement. And once again, even more so than than a Twitter, I think that brands really are looking at the amount of engagement on profiles. So just like you can buy fake Instagram followers, you can buy fake Instagram engagement. And even if you don't buy that engagement, there are ways of gaming the system to garner that engagement. I have yet to write about this. And, you know, there's a few blog posts, you can find about it called Instagram pods. And I'll include a link to one in this blog post, not that I'm recommending that by any means that you engage in that type of activity. But understanding that that is what exists that I think what generates a lot of engagement out there, because brands are looking at, hey, what type of engagement does your content have? Yes, you have 5000 followers, which gives you a certain amount of micro influencer type of status. But when you publish, how many of those people are actually engaging with your content. And some of the the standards out there are 1.5% is definitely one of the standards, that's sort of seen as an average. So immediately, when I see people wanting to, you know, people following me, and when I say people wanting me to follow them, I consider when someone follows me, they want me to follow them, although that may not be the case, right. But that's just my assumption. You know, there's someone with 10,000 followers, but the average number of likes, and our last three blog posts were 20, or 30. That's me as an immediate red flag that they bought a lot of fake followers, right? So this is another reason why you want to reduce your followers if they are irrelevant if they are fake, and if they're not engaging, right. So that you know the same thing with Twitter, I go in and find people that haven't posted an Instagram in six months, are they even still activated Instagram? I don't know. People come and go, right? People came to Google Plus Google Plus is now dead. But before Google pulled the plug on Google Plus, it already was dead by a lot of people, right? I just spent a lot of time there. And I'm sure a lot of people unfollowed me because I wasn't spending time there. And that's fine, right? If you were to stop tweeting for three months, you come back on Instagram, you're going to find that a lot of people unfollowed you and the reason why is they don't know, if you're still investing in that platform, right? I, for someone that's investing on a daily basis, investing time in a platform, I want to engage with other people on Instagram that are equally invested in the platform as I am right. I want to know that they're publishing on a regular basis, they're engaging on a regular basis. So this is one way in which we begin to look at the importance of not only the follower following ratio, but also this average engagement rate. And I would tell you, you want to try to get to 1.5% all your posts. Now, obviously, every post is going to be different. The Golden sign of fake influence is when someone gets an approximate same engagement rate on all their posts. Because I mean, look at my posts. If I post a photo of an ebook, like I recently did, for my new ebook, on maximizing LinkedIn for business in 2018, it gets a lot less engagement. And when I do a selfie, and my selfies lose out to my sunset pictures, or when I'm traveling, like recently in Italy, those types of pictures with some of them, I think I have a sunset picture that got like 6% engagement. And that's a really superstar ratio to be able to get but I'd say 1.5% is the is what's considered an average, it's what's considered sort of your first step, then you want to aim for 3%. So I, I know that when I am pruning my Instagram following, and it begins by I mean, there's two different ways of pruning, obviously, and, you know, we really need to take a step back as to who are you going to follow and who are you going to follow back type of policy? And obviously, I could go on for an hour talking about the subject, because like I said, I think it's irrelevant to me Social network out there. And I've been doing this for several years. But it's really about, you know, are you getting to that engagement ratio? Are your followers seeing your, your photos, your videos, because if they're not, it really doesn't make any difference if you have a large following. And it's the same concept. If brands want to hire you as an influencer, it's because they look at your, your activity on Instagram, and they consider you an influencer, right? Even if you don't want to become an influencer, your business should want to become more influential. Once again, one of the chapters that I'm working on on the business of influence, therefore, right, you should be judging your own Instagram activity, just as if a brand wanted to reach out to you or your company to become part of their campaign. And that's why these numbers I believe, are equally important. So I'm assuming you're already on Instagram. And I'm assuming that you're already following a lot of people. The first thing is that if you are following way more people than follow you, you need to take a step back and look at all the people you're following. Are they I mean, first of all, why aren't they following you back? I'll still follow people like those influencers I mentioned that don't necessarily follow me back because I don't expect them to. I don't expect Leo Messi kind of follow me back. But I like to see his stuff on my timeline. I know my, my 11 year old son enjoys it every time I show him a Leo Messi post, or, you know, Chris Ronaldo, a Christian Ronaldo, or whoever that is, I don't expect them to follow me back. Right. And that's really the sign of a true influencer, when you don't expect them to follow you back. And you know, one of the anecdotes that influenced me as well, is when this small business, you know, we were talking about that follower following ratio. And I think it was on Twitter when I posted a Twitter follower following ratio link. And they said, you know, we found that works really good on Instagram. In fact, we found that when we pruned our followings, and we only follow back like 10% of those that, that follow us, we started to get a lot more followers. So people, you know, it's social proof that people perceive of these people as more influential, and therefore, they're not necessarily going to unfollow if they don't get a follow back. Right. So there's a lot of different concepts at play here that I'm trying to bring together. But the first thing is understanding that limitation, you should really only be following people not really abstractly, or, you know, just because they used a keyword, because there's a lot of keyword spamming and Instagram as well, where they want to use the keyword. I mean, a great one is, you know, keywords related to like influencers, influencer marketing, or you know, Instagram marketing, or Instagram tips, just people that want their giveaways to get more eyeballs. So use these hashtags, right. And you know, some of unfortunately, a lot of us, when we're early on in Instagram, we're trying to build our followers, we build engagement. And I've experimented with these apps as well, these apps where, hey, if you like 10 posts, you'll get 10 likes, or if you follow 10 people, you'll get, you know, the ability to get to follows. And it's a double whammy, because you end up following people that are irrelevance, and you end up getting followed by people that are irrelevant, and therefore, you're not going to get any engagement on your posts. When people like that follow you. And guess what, you've just wasted a number of followers, or followers of your own on irrelevant people. So you're probably in a state where you need to prune your Instagram followers. And you know, guess what, it's okay. You're still friends with these people. I have unfollowed friends and Instagram, it's the same thing with LinkedIn and Facebook, we're still friends, I use Instagram very, very differently. If you haven't posted and I have my own threshold, right, I'll look at your last post, I'll look at your follow following ratio. And here's another thing I want to bring up here. And you know, this is an example of these, these off the cuff conversations that I'm having with you because it's like an onion, and we unpeel more layers, which expose more ideas and more concepts. So I talked about that 1.5% being one of these ideas. Well, another one is the 1500 rule. What is the 1500 rule when applied to Instagram, the 1500 rule engagement is so important on Instagram. And when there's a lot of engagement to be had. It makes sense. It's an engagement economy on Instagram. So if there's a 1500 rule, it applies to let's say you follow someone that has 7000 followers, they're following 7000 people, man, they may have 10,000 followers, and you may know them. But if they're following 7000 people, are they really going to see your photos in their timeline? When you're competing against 6909 99 profiles for your photo to get viewed? They're not going to be able to very different from Twitter, right Twitter that you know is my content going to be seen on these people's timelines. It's less important because there's a lot of searching going on. But Instagram, it's limited right? And there are people that spend a lot of time engaging with the content on Instagram. Don't get me wrong, they go through a lot of photos. But if you drop out of that engagement circle, what happens is you may never get that engagement back and therefore really every impression counts. And what this this actually came from this height Bata tool that I'm gonna be introducing, like I said, this notion that anybody you follow that has more than 1500 followers that they're following more than 1500 people, they some of them might be influencers. I've seen influencers with you know, blue checkmarks that follow 1000 1500 or 2000 people I follow and Hinton's I'm actually reducing my own following I, I prune very, very slowly to give people a chance to engage with me or, you know, or to change the way I think about them. But I have reduced my following from 7500 to about 4500 now, and my kids like Daddy, why you follow so many people, you know, you know, they're sort of one barometer you should only be following 1000 people. But regardless of those barometers, I don't like to unfollow people no one likes to unfollow, right. So I only want to unfollow if there's a real reason to and there are a few reasons that I brought up already. But this 1500 concept that if someone is following more than 1500 people, unless they really know you are already engaging with your content, they're probably never going to see your content, they're never going to engage with your content in the newsfeed because they're following a lot of people. And why are they following a lot of people will one of the reasons why they're probably following a lot of people is their following to build up followers now. Everybody's listening, this podcast probably wants to build a smaller rather than a a larger rather than a smaller following on Instagram. And I get that and I'm the same way. But from that personal branding perspective, right. And from that notion that if you're following a lot of people that are over 1500 followers, it's almost like I'm not gonna say they're fake followers, but you're probably not going to get engagement with them. And that's why this tool is saying the more normal people and the more average people and they define that as sort of people that have under 1500 followings, they might have 5000 followers, but they only follow 500 or 1000. Or they might only have 100 followers, but they only follow 100. And therefore the greater chance that they're going to see your content, engage with your content, those that's really the sweet spot those the people that you that you have the greatest opportunity to build community with, and the greatest opportunity to actually gain engagement from so I have a 1.5, we have the 7500 limit, we have the 1.5%, the 3% engagement rule, then we have the 1500 followers and all this has really affected the way that I decide number one who do I follow back, I used to follow back a majority of the people that follow me in the spirit of Open Networking and Twitter, but Instagram is just so different. And there are so many bots and fake profiles and so many people will follow you and immediately unfollow you that I've just stopped doing that it's just not worth it. These days, probably out of 10 Instagram friend requests I get or people that follow me, I'll follow back maybe one or two. Now, I don't want to discourage you from following me if you if you have the same ideas about Instagram, I'll definitely follow you back, especially if you're relevant marketers, social media marketers Same goes for Twitter. But these irrelevant ones that I used to follow back, I create the policy, these people are never gonna engage with me, they're you know, we do not have that much in common, what is the relevance and if you can't see the relevance, when you look at their profile, when you look at their photo, when was their last photo, because some of these bots they haven't posted in a year, but the bots don't take a vacation, and they're going 365 days a year. So I will still look at that. I'll also look at by the way, if you're heavily invested in Instagram, you've probably posted a lot you've probably posted once a day or a few times a week, for the past several weeks. In other words, how many posts you have on Instagram, if you only have six posts, you're not invested enough in Instagram for me to follow you. It looks like you're just trying to game the system, even though you might have just started an Instagram. And that's not your intent. But that's the message you're telling me. Or if you have zero posts. I don't want to touch you. So you know I mentioned this on Twitter before you follow people follow lists or create lists. And unfortunately, Instagram does not have this functionality. So when you start to follow people, if you're relatively new, a newbie, make sure that you've invested in the community, you invest in the community by publishing content, right? So I'll have a minimum threshold. It might be 10 posts, it might be 25 posts, it might be 50 posts, it might be 100 posts, that's the only way to you know prune connections or followers after a while if you have these thresholds and the threshold is going to be minimum number of posts, minimum number or I should say maximum have a number of who they are following. Okay, you might have a minimum number of followers if they only have five followers, and I don't know them. Why are they following me? And there's probably reasons why they found you from a hashtag that you used or a comment that you made? And then how recent is your last post? Are they frequently posting? Or have they not posted in three months? Well, as you can see, I'm really passionate about the subject. I think it's very misunderstood. And I promised a lot of people on Instagram, in direct messages that I was going to talk about my policy, and I'm not going to give you exact numbers, because they're going to be different for every one of you, and it's gonna depend on your stage as to do you need to prune, do you need to grow? What are you already getting that engagement? or what have you, but I hope that this is really open your eyes. And if I'm going to throw this out there, five, unfollowed, you send me a message, and I will rectify that, and I've rectified that with everybody I know. It's for a reason, right? It's not to personally, you know, try to virtually slap you in the face. But also remember that, you know, an Instagram follow. It's not it's this virtual world, right? So don't become offended when someone unfollowed you even someone that you know that you're connected with another networks. But I do think you have the right to ask those people, I've yet to reach out to those influencers, because to me, it's no big deal. There's, you know, 1 billion Instagram users, there's a lot of other people out there. But if it's a big deal to you, and I get it, you know, direct messages people and say, Hey, what happened, and hey, sometimes mistakes happen. Sometimes there are tools that you use, that you know, you unfollow to people. And then before you know it, it's unfollowed other people without your intention. I mean, these things do happen. You Twitter had a very, very famous bug, that it was unfollowing people without your permission. So these things do happen, just reach out to those people. But I think that instead of focusing on that, you should focus more on building up your own community of deciding who are the strategic people you want to connect with deciding your own pruning policy, and your own sort of connections, policy, your own thresholds for all these things that I talked about, and tweaking those over time, depending on the stage you're in. So that's really the best way I can find to describe this type of Instagram follower following auditing process that I encourage you all to have. If there's something here that I didn't cover that I promised to cover, or that you're still wondering about, make sure you comment on my show notes on Neal Schaffer comm. Obviously, as always, if this was insightful, please review this, rate it on iTunes, so that others can be exposed to this podcast. Wow, that was a lot. A lot of food for thought today. A lot of Wow, a lot of food for thought for myself. I covered a lot more concepts than I, I thought I would and therefore this is probably like I say going to be my longest podcast. Hopefully it's one of my most fruitful podcasts. If you found that fruitful, please let me know. And hey, that's it. I'll be back at you next week with another expert interview. We're going to be talking it's going to be related to influencer marketing, but less on the Instagram side and more on the content and blogging side. So be on the lookout for that next week. But until then, over the next week, and every day everybody make it a great social Day. Bye Bye now. Thanks for listening to the maximize your social podcast major killer. Don't forget to subscribe and rate the show on iTunes so others can enjoy it to continue the conversation and empower your business through social media. Visit Neal right now. Have a great week. We'll see you on the next episode.