The mute button was presented to us back in 2018 as a way to hide peoples story/feed without unfollowing and hurting feelings. Though in the blogging world it became something different. It became a way to gain followers with out having to do the work of engaging.
The Etiquette of Influencer/Blogger Following
If you are an influencer/blogger there are a few unspoken etiquette and acknowledgements that you may know. Now in no way are these truths or facts but they are things that are more of I guess you could say are known “gentlemen’s agreements” in the world of influencers. There are also many versions of these depending on the influencer circle you are in.
Be an active user if you want an active following. Simple Enough. This can include the good ol’ Like 3 Method that is a tell tale sign of two influencers or bloggers agreeing to be engaging to each other. It’s like tinder for engagement. You like 3+ photos on their page if they like you they will like 3+ photos on your page then a follow commitment might happen. There are many different versions of these types of influencer on influencer or blogger on blogger engagements.
Natural Ruts. Like many bloggers we go through ruts and the engagement is low, the follower count is halted but a new issue with bloggers seems to be the follower counts are high but the likes are becoming lower and lower. Now we can blame the algorithm for a part of this but its also users following accounts and then immediate muting them once they follow back. It is kind of like the follow to unfollow scheme but instead your engagement can plummet from too many people doing this.
Active Engagement Downside. I always try to go down my whole feed everyday til the “You have caught up on the past 3 days” image pops up. I also have been following more influencers/bloggers recently making my feed very full to the point of every now and then I get blocked from Instagram for just going through my feed and liking. So I decided to test my theory with a good ol’ excel spreadsheet work.
Basically I took the lovely data that instagram now allows us to have to make my own active followers sheet. I collected data like who has been liking on my photos the last week vs the last month. I gathered new followers, comments, people who use hashtags like L4L, people who posted group loops, and any other information that would show some is “wanting to be an active follower”. The results were interesting to say the least.
A good amount of people who follow me and I follow back are not engaging in my post like I engage on theirs. Now there is no rule that bloggers or influencers have to #like4like but the interesting part was the people who haven’t engaged in my profile since they started following me are the people who have done at least one of the following:
- Followed after the announcement of the mute button.
- Have posted photos with #like4like, #l4l, #follow4follow, etc.
- Posted about Follow Loops.
Having The Balls (Or The Tits) To Ask “What Needs Improvement?”
So I decided to confront a few people who follow me but do not interact with my post and I interact with theirs. I honestly wanted to know if my content was lacking or if there was something else causing them to not like my post. I thought for days how to word this so it didn’t sound rude or mean but it was going to come off that way through text no matter what. So I decided on saying many versions of this:
Hey ! I love your content and I am always trying to engage as much as I can with my followers. I noticed you haven’t been engaging in my content is there some advice you would have for me on content that would make you push that like button or is there something you feel would overall help?** I worded this different based on the person.
My Opinion & Actions
My Decisions. I do believe a portion of the issue is the algorithm but I do feel like the mute button is an easy temptation for influencers/bloggers to select to get those followers high. So with this information I did a cleanse. Now I am not saying you should go through and cleanse anyone who doesn’t like your stuff back but when it gets to the point that I am getting banned because I am liking peoples post who aren’t supporting me back then maybe there is a reason to unfollow so that I can support more people who will support me. Remember follow count isn’t everything. I would rather loose the followers and have a higher engagement.
Not So Much Why Likes Matter But Why Not Like? As my husband would say when he sees me liking every photo down my feed. He calls me a “Like Whore” (jokingly of course) but how I see it is me liking other peoples photos is supporting their business or their content. Those likes can help support their goals on the instagram platform. You are already scrolling through the feed mindlessly might as well tap cause what is the point of following someone to not support them or even to straight up mute them? Personally, I would rather someone unfollow me because that lets me know my content is lacking compared to muting.