Great article. I had the same problem on Twitter.
I ran an experiment for my class to show them how you could get loads of followers. Mainly to make them realise, the people with thousands of followers are not better than them. Anyway I set up a new twitter profile and went through the follow back, follow me game. I proved my point, 500 followers in a day. Still I was shocked when I revisited the account a couple of days ago how many had unfollowed. It some how struck me as dishonest.
On Medium I adopt the approach if someone follows me I check out their profile. If I like their stuff then I follow them back.