Top 6 Mistakes Minnows (New Steemit Users) Make

in #steemit5 years ago (edited)

Minnows have it hard on Steemit, most get eaten before they have a chance to become a dolphin. This guidance will save minnows some time and effort in their journey to becoming a dolphin. If you are already a dolphin or whale, then some of these may not apply to you.

1. Think Steemit Is A Get Rich Quick Scheme

Unless you're a YouTuber with several thousand followers, you aren't going to show up on Steemit and automatically start making posts worth hundreds of dollars. And by thousands of followers, I mean around 100k followers. Let's take a look at a few YouTuber as examples:

  • @JerryBanfield: YouTube 180k subscribers
    • The one and only Jerry. He is entertaining, seems very open about his life (income, trading strategy, taxes, past alcoholism, etc), and has a ton of followers. His videos are super long, but entertaining. Jerry joined Steemit less than 2 months ago and already has 6 thousand followers! His posts are averaging close to $1k. I think he mentioned he made around $15k to $20k on Steemit in his first month. This is not normal!
  • @DollarVigilante: 102k YouTube subscribers
    • Jeff's videos are a little propaganda-ish, but they are entertaining, structured, and usually 15-30 minutes long. Jeff joined Steemit about a year ago. He has over 9k followers. His posts on Steemit are averaging around $1k.
  • @BoxMining: 22k YouTube subscribers
    • I like his videos, they are informative, but a little monotonous and strictly business. The good thing is that they are short, so I can get through them. I'm sure he will figure out the secret formula eventually. But for now, his YouTube following hasn't translated into Steemit dominance like the two above. He does have 1k followers in the 3-4 months since he joined. His posts generate only $20-30 on average.
  • @Craig-Grant: Only 6k Youtube subscribers, he may be an exception to the rule.
    • Joined Steemit a year ago and has over 4k followers. Generates around $100 per posts, but posts a million times a day. And most are videos. Some are Craig just straight chillin on a lawn chair or at a pool talking about stuff. He has an incredible following on Steemit, so he's doing something very right. Not really my style, but have to give him props for what he has accomplished.
I'm sure I'm missing many other successful YouTubers on Steemit with a lot of followers like @crypt0, @HeidiTravels, etc...but hopefully you get the point. Unless you have a LOT of YouTube followers or have the magic formula like Craig, it's going to take some effort and hustle to build up a follower base. I would also assume the YouTubers above didn't get that many followers on YouTube on day one. They had to grind to build up that subscriber base.

2. Posting Too Much

It's about the motion of the ocean, not the size of the boat. I do like big boats though! Let me try again...It's about the quality of your posts, not the quantity of posts.

If you're writing thoughtfully and providing some form of value to the reader then you have high quality posts. If you can do that 1-3 times a day, you are on a path to potential Steemit dominance. If you are posting 5-10 times a day, then I would question if they really are quality posts. Most quality posts probably take some time and effort to write, review, edit, add images, reply to comments, etc. Unless Steemit is a full time job for you, you probably can't make 5-10 quality posts a day.

Why is quality so important? People follow you because you're providing some value to them. The value could be new information they didn't have, an engaging discussion, humor, or some other form of entertainment.

3. Not Writing Thoughtful Comments

The bread and butter of Steemit is actively participating in the community. To participate, you have to read posts written by others and write comments that relate to the comment.

  • If you are using a bot to auto-vote, it does not help you as a minnow.
  • If you reply to posts with, "Great article" or "I agree", you aren't adding any value to the post. Those comments won't start a discussion. So, it doesn't help you grow from a minnow to a dolphin. And it's also really boring!

I'll share an example of what I mean by a decent comment. @JerryBanfield wrote a post a day or two ago about his strategy on buying new crypto currencies. I posted a thoughtful response and I happened to post it very soon after Jerry posted. The comment I posted is below and a link here:

"Our problem tends to be thinking we are smarter than other people"

Beautifully said Jerry. Too many YouTubers telling their viewers to buy this ICO or that ICO without any research whatsoever. Too many people thinking each and every ICO will make them rich....or thinking because they missed the Ethereum ICO, they will "catch up" with EOS.

Another example: I was reading some posts by Steemit authors recommending Synereo just this week. Or putting Synereo in their top 5 list. I asked them a simple question, "Have you tried the Synereo product that just launched?" Every answer I got was "not yet". People do no research, but just think they are smarter than everyone else. They'll be right eventually if they keep guessing!

Jerry writes long ass posts. But I find him entertaining, so I read it, quoted something from it, and responded with what flowed out of my head. I didn't force something, I just said what was on my mind. By quoting something, it showed I actually read his extremely long post and I appreciated the effort he must have made to write his post.

What were the results? My comment got 14 up-votes, including from the Jerry himself! I feel like I have a celebrity crush on Jerry. But more importantly, it started a discussion and I probably got 5-10 followers just from taking part in that discussion.

4. Follow Every User With Over 2k Followers Or With A Lot Of Steem Power

Blind following or auto-voting those authors won't make you money or get you followers if you are a minnow. You should follow authors that you find entertaining or interesting. For example, if I am not interested in cats, then I probably have no business following the top 20 authors in the cat area of expertise. I won't be adding any value commenting on their posts, because I just don't care that much about cats. Dogs 4 life!

You have to find authors that interest you. I click on the tags on the right of the main Steemit page that interest me and check out what's new, hot, and trending. Then I read some of the posts and comment on them. If I comment 10 times in a thoughtful way and never hear back from the original author, I un-follow and move on. Maybe the author doesn't think my comments are thoughtful, maybe the author doesn't comment on responses..who knows...either way, it's not a good fit for me or the author.

5. ReSteem Too Much

If you resteem more twice a day, then you're probably resteeming too much. Even two a day is too high for my taste. If the original post really is amazing content and it fits with your portfolio of posts, then by all means, go ahead and resteem. If your blog is full of resteems because posters asked you to resteem in exchange for a follow or 0.01 SBD, then WTF do you think you are accomplishing? If 0.01 SBD is so important to you, then you're missing the bigger picture of trying to grow your follower base. That should be the end game.

6. Not Focusing On Followers

The whole game is about getting followers. And you want quality followers that actually like your content. If you get followers by the "I'll follow you if you follow me" strategy, then those followers won't really add any value. If your followers aren't truly interested in the subject of your posts, then they probably won't comment and add to the discussion.

The common variable with whales on Steemit is that they have a ton of followers. Some took a year to get those followers, some did it very fast because they had followers on YouTube or a blog or something other venue outside of Steemit. As a minnow, you should focus on writing quality posts in an area(s) that truly interests you. If you do that, you'll build your follower base over time.

Why Listen To Me?

I have almost reached 400 followers and I joined 3 weeks ago. I'm not a YouTuber with a ton of followers. I'm a nobody with 0 followers before Steemit, but after research and trial/error, I think I have figured out the formula.

I have tried lots of things on Steemit to see what works...from "follow for follow", upvoting to get 0.01 SBD, contests, minnow support channels, randowhale, whaleshares, post promotion$, self up-voting, not self up-voting, writing bad comments, writing thoughtful comments, writing good posts, writing bad posts, writing irrelevant posts, etc.

In the end what works is just keeping it simple. I enjoy reading, researching, posting, and engaging with the Steemit community on the topics that interest me.


If you already have 3k followers, then you have already put in the effort to get to the top of the mountain. You can do whatever you want...there are no rules! With 3k followers, you can post a picture of a wall and get up-votes!

For the rest of you minnows, you probably can't post a picture of you looking out of your hotel window and expect to make hundreds of dollars on every post like that. If you don't already have a ton of followers outside of Steemit, then you most likely (99.99%) will not make $15k in your first month on Steemit like @JerryBanfield. It takes effort for minnows...a lot of effort to get to $15k a month...or even $5k a month!

Follow these basic rules and you'll get to 1k followers....then you can ignore these rules and do whatever you want! When I get to 1k followers, I'll be posting a picture of a wall and let you know how that goes.


Quality advice, especially on the followers and comments front.

I've actually considered a post asking "Why the F are you following me?" Sure I'd love to have 10,000 followers, but if only 10 of them read my blog, 4 of them upvote, and 1 routinely comments, then what's the point?

What I'd like to do is get more "quality" followers. Developing an audience that reads what I write (and Steemit is a pretty full time gig for me) has been a little bit of a challenge because I only occasionally write about crypto.

LOL, I have noticed that too! I tried posting a couple of non crypto blogs and got almost no views. Hopefully that will change over time as more people join Steemit.

You know though, there is a physiological problem with that. If I see someone like myself with a few followers I'm less likely to look through the posts and/or follow. Kinda playing on crowd wisdom, to assume if alot of people follow it must be good, silly I know.'s the minnows chasing the allusive curation reward. In reality, minnows are wasting their time.

Yeah! I am new on here and went nuts yesterday following people. I was just feeling a bit lonely, and was hoping someone would even read some of my stuff. I don't have high expectations of making a lot on here. I have come to accept that, from past experiences, it's hard to promote your own work, so I now enjoy reading and checking out other people's work.

Interesting perspective ... the Lemming mentality ... if 10,000 people are following this guy off a cliff there must be something interesting down there.

Went to follow you. Was already following you.

Solid advice @financialcritic. Resteeming too much was my problem early on - glad you included that pointer.

Joining you on your journey to 1k followers - I am intrigued about this wall you speak of.

The wall hype is real!

Drumroll begins.....

As someone who just joined i find this interesting. Thanks for the post! I have yet to do a introduce yourself post yet but these also seem to be a good means to gain some exposure. The one issue I have with this post is that yes, dogs are great but cats all the way! (sorry not sorry)

wow @financialcritic my buddy!! we are on the same boat here. Just followed you now and upvoted this very good written post.
You are very correct and I have been advising many minnows the same and you summarised many of my points here.
I started few weeks ago like you too and have 800K + followers due to startegic commenting and posting whenever I feel that my post will add value. See my latest post on steemit where I indicated how it will do great. Thanks and keep steeming.

We are definitely on the same boat! Have been seeing your name everywhere last few days. Following you back.

Lol I look forward to your wall post! ;) Great advice. I can definitely vouch for this, I've had really similar findings from trial and error on the platform, and having become much more active in the last few months. Thanks for sharing this! And I was kinda hoping you were Aziz Asari, love master of none ;)

I was hoping I was Aziz too!

Nice post. Quality followers are the key!

As a new participant on Steemit I have to confess that this post has been very useful. As with all new things we have to open and patient.

I love how steemit doesnt work properly for anyone if you try to hack your way through cheating somehow to get followers or upvotes on an easy manner. This is done by many people in other socialmedia platforms, but this post makes me think that if you are not producing quality content and being a good curator and participant in the community you wont get anywhere.

Yeah, it is a genius design. All roads seem to lead to getting quality followers in the end.

I was gonna post a comment, but then I was like "oh crap am I doing what he said not to do in the post?!?!" Should I even upvote this or will the universe explode?

Hey @financialcritic!

I had fun reading your post, and actually had a moment of laught out loud on number 3!

Belive it or not, I came to your profile because I read a post where @alexpmorris uses your coments to ilustrate a thread about @randomwhale!

Thoughtful coments are the biggest weapon for minnows, because they are the best way to engage with relevant people on steemit in a relevant and meaningfull way.

Greeting from Brazil and thanks for sharing knowledge!

ps. I fucking love Azis Asari, so fun!

haha, good to hear!

I found your blog after being seeing one of your thoughtfull and interesting comments, I did no regret pressing that followbutton. Thank you for giving solid content about interesting stuff (to me)

I think you hit the nail on the head concerning the grind, you HAVE to do something that seperates you from the rest of the minnows, "follow 4 follow" wont do that.

When I joined steemit I had a original goal of writing once a day, that has not been the case as I realised it better to write nothing that to post something stupid that gets 1 upvote from myself and 3 from other minnows looking for free curation awards.

Looking forward to more quality posts!

Thanks for the kind words! I'm still trying to do one a day...even if it doesn't result in immediate dollars, I hope it helps in building followers.

Hey, you just answered my most probing question. How does one get followers if you are a minnow? I am a minnow and I want to quickly become a dophlin because I don't want to be eaten alive writing posts that noone cares about. Noone...I mean 4 or 5 responses. I was puzzled to see that my comments earned more steem than my posts did. So, a big thank you and I will follow you for more of your posts. Maybe you are just the person to answer my other questions too.


Happy to help! Took some trial and error to figure it out.

Thanks for sharing your "trial and error". You've saved me a lot of hunting and pecking. Yesterday, I bought a course from Udemy concerning using Steemit. There I learned how to easily insert a pic in my messages and post and how to bold text, etc. Images speak louder than words sometimes. Thanks again

It's funny that Steemit is very simple, enjoy posting and engage what you like. Leave it to humans to add additional levels of compexity only to sell the idea that success on the platform can be bought by algorithmic behaviour. Lol silly wabbits

Exactly. Simple to start...complex enough to keep nerds like me interested.

Quality followers are the key! Great post :)

Congratulations! Now I'm following you :)

Thanks...and also thanks for the resteem!

How do you find the quality followers?

All true. I would add one more point, of course one can follow whales just to know what's happening, but to follow people of the same level and engage with them is much more rewarding.

Good point. I do follow some people just to see what they are doing....but it is hard to resist commenting sometimes. And if I comment, I upvote.

the same with me) it's unnatural not to upvote after commenting)

@financialcritic, you have sledgehammered the very point that has been troubling me since joining one week ago.

It seems like there exists a very steep initial curve that seems needs to be overcome so as to get on peoples' radar screens. I was strongly suspecting that I need to cultivate a meaningful set of followers to do so - and your post adds weight to that theory.

I will need to revisit this as I need to step away. Thank you for giving me plenty of food for thought.

My pain is your gain!

Here is a complete and well structured article, so it is easier for new members to understand how steemit works. Thanks for the help, because I was making many mistakes.

"expect to make hundreds of dollars on every post"
Something thoughtful.

So I get followers and upvotes now??

It's all about followers!

Yeah I was just trying(keyword) to make a joke about some of the things you said helps get followers. :P

In deed this post got to me in the sense that I've made some of the mistakes already, but I believe that its not too late for me, I was sincerely searching for information like this that can mold me to steemit rules and regulations, am happy I stumbled on one like this. We are all human and its not hard to read each other's motive in a given action, now i have to caution myself over my actions on steemit, growth takes time which even nature can prove.


I'm humbled

Thanks so much dear friend @financialcritic.

Thanks for the note! Yeah, I think everyone that starts out makes these mistakes.

Nice advise. I could not agree with you more. I know there has to be a strategy that allows for better engagement, participation and earnings than just good writing. If you write well but few views and of course even fewer comments and upvotes you would still have relatively poor earnings (although for the guy that has a few thousand followers but earns $20 - $30 per post is a mystery).
I also think engaging in insightful comments with users with a large follower base means if you can get their attention via gets a response could give some visibility and appeal from his band. Interest flows towards value and the moneys with interest.

Yeah...I hope there is a good correlation between writing well and earnings, but at a high level, it's all about followers. I posted yesterday about how the average follower gets the author 12 cents per post in author rewards. Going to research more on comments, upvotes, etc that you mention.

Thank you for providing this helpful post. I am a small minnow in the steem world, and I am still navigating my way through this huge ocean! I appreciate articles like these and will certainly apply some of this advice

How does it help when you mention big names in your post like @JerryBanfield? Does he get a notification about this?
Can you recommend some contest for minnows?

Mentioning their names doesn't give them any notification. They would not even know unless they read the post on their own.

People generally see only the good side of it but never know underlying is the sweat and time those at the top take to be there. Life is full of ups and downs. No free lunch in this world.

Some people want 1st place medals/trophies for all participants! ...but that's a different discussion.

@financialcritic from the mistakes we learned it right things!!

This is something I was looking for.
Thank you @financialcritic for letting us know and to share your valuable thoughts

This post has received a 2.04 % upvote from @booster thanks to: @financialcritic.

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bro you know just few % are here are a good writers or bloggers ,most of us are no that skills , so what you suggest for us ? what we do ? invest on SP or on bots ? plz reply i need your kind advise , i like your desi style you talk openly what you feel or what you want...keep it up

I guess it depends on how much you are talking about investing.

I want to invest 3000usd , according to your experience n analysis on which way i invest , On leasing SP , or on bots service what you suggest to me thank you .

Since you are an active blogger, then the $3k is best used to power up. That power will allow you to gain followers by upvoting other users content, upcoming quality comments other users make on your posts, and selectively uovoting your own thoughtful comments on trending posts by other authors.

More followers will mean much higher author rewards on the posts you write.

Thanks bro for a quick reply , bro i m not a good writer or blogger , i talking about as investment point of views , for as investment what you will advise .

Oh gotcha. Well, that's a loaded question because there are so many cryptos to choose from. I jump around every so often depending on the price and how much time I have for research. Right now, I'm mainly in Factom, Steem, and Bitcoin.

no no you dnt get me ,currently i m doing trading also in crypto and forex i m talking about what u will advise which way will give me more profit either or lease SP of 3k$ for self voting or spend that 3k$ on bots service ,?

Oh probably don't want to advertise you are going to do something like that. $3k dedicated to self upvoting will probably get you flagged and downvoted pretty quick.

Brilliant post @financialcritic. I have nothing more to say apart from the fact that "I'll be keeping my eye on you" (in a less creepy way, of course) 😉

I joined and started posting yesterday, so I'm currently in the "Wow, this is a brand new place that I know NOTHING about - I'm going to need to find some useful guides/articles for beginners" stage...and luckily (or maybe it wasn't just luck ?) I stumbled across this!

This was really helpful - especially considering the fact that some of the approaches you warned against using were slowly finding their way onto my strategy thanks for the advice!

I'd love to hear an update on the wall picture :P

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