Monday, May 21, 2018

Big Social Media Numbers Aren’t Always Best

by Molly Jo Realy on @MollyJoRealy

It’s nice to be noticed, isn’t it? It’s fun when you get that little “ding” on your phone that tells you someone shared your post, or tagged you on Twitter. The best is when someone subscribes to your blog or email . . . Or is it? 

I was pretty thrilled some years ago when my blog subscription hit over one hundred, and kept growing. And then I learned more about analytics. 

Look, we’re writers, not mathematicians, am I right? But now and then we have to do the brainwork necessary to grow our creative endeavors. 

Let’s say you have a nice pot of crawfish about to boil. And you add some more to the water. And then some more. And more. Does the water ever boil? Or does it just slosh out of the overfilled pot? Do those crawfish ever get cooked? I’m thinking not. I’m thinking they’re waving their mini lobster-like claws and laughing at me for trying.

You know the old saying, “You can’t see the forest for the trees.” Too many subscribers for the sake of subscribers can actually hurt your metrics.

Put it this way: Would you rather have a lot of inactive followers, or a higher rate of active readers who will like, comment, and tell their friends about you?

Recently I spent some time deleting inactive subscribers from my blog list. It really hurt to see the list pare down so, well, low. But then something great started to happen. My rates went up. 

Instead of a 10% daily readership, now I have well over 65%. And that’s on a day when I’ve not posted fresh material! While my clickthrough rate has always been above the industry standard, now it’s even more so. 

Take a look at how your subscribers are responding. The analytics of social media will tell you which topics are your best, and what days and times your readers like to find you. 

Don’t be afraid to remove your inactives. A good rule of thumb is if they haven’t opened any of the last twenty emails or posts, chances are they’re not going to. If you’re still not sure, send out an email blast asking them to confirm their interest. If they still don’t respond, you’ll have your answer. 

You really can grow your social media presence by pruning your audience. 

With garden gloves and a floppy hat,
Happy pruning.
~Molly Jo


A Southern Belle in Southern California, and known to her friends as the Bohemian Hurricane, Molly Jo is a writer, editor, social media ninja, and producer of Aaron Gansky’s Firsts in Fiction podcast. Her writings have been featured in children’s magazines, on national blogs and devotional websites, and have earned her awards and scholarships from nationally-acclaimed writing programs. She is the founder of New Inklings Press, author of The Unemployment Cookbook: Ideas for Feeding Families One Meal at a Timeand other books available through her website and on Amazon.

Her current work in progress, NOLA, is a location mystery set in New Orleans and is scheduled for publication in 2018.

You can find her on FacebookTwitterPinterestInstagram, and her blog, Frankly, My Dear . . .
For more information on her social media, marketing services and books, contact her through her website


  1. Thanks Ms. Molly Jo. Am struggling with understanding the importance of how many followers (i.e. how many potential book buyers) I have on my social media presence and how that equates to how God plans to use my meager efforts to glorify Him. I understand a "tribe" is important, but isn't the quality of your tribe worth considering? God's blessings for trying to help us understand. My head hurts now; I think I need a nap from all this math!

  2. Thanks for this, Molly Jo,
    I’m wondering what blogging platform you use. I use blogspot, and to my knowledge, it doesn’t have information like you describe.

  3. I've wondered about this in regards to writers wanting everyone in their writing groups to follow their blog, even if it's a blog for single dads and I'm a married mother.
    Is subscribing enough to help them, or do I need to open the post? I do not have time to read and comment on every writers blog that I know and I don't expect it from others.
    My thought is we should concentrate on our audience and not get frustrated when our writing friends don't comment on every post. (Am I hitting on a touchy subject?)

  4. This is a tough one. I just started (well, last July/Aug) an author website. First I was told I needed a newsletter maybe once a quarter. So I set up mail chimp and what not and my technical director (i.e. son who knows computers) and I became the first 'subscribers'. However, if I don't open my newsletter that I just wrote and sent it shows up as unopened, and sometimes when I do go to my email and open it, it still doesn't show up as opened, and I don't think his does either. But since I've only got 7 subscribers I don't really want to go through (and most all are family or personal friends) and boot them off if they don't open it. LOL We all have times we miss stuff, right? Although, one of my other sons has opened everyone of them and he's getting a million dollar check when I have my 6 million. Wink wink here.

  5. And by the way, I found 'once a quarter' isn't enough. I post once a week, and would like to post a bit more often but time, time where does it go?

  6. Dovey Westphal - more than once a week is hard for followers, who have other blogs they like to read too, to keep up. Don't think flooding. Think quality - stuff that we will share with others. Just saying.