I usually find people that I find interesting to read and that post good content. My goal is to create interactions so that we can build a mutual relationship where we upvote each others content.
If I am just focusing on following whales that are never going to notice me, I am probably just going to be wasting my VP voting for them. I might get some small curation rewards, but I know I am not going to ever probably get an upvote from them.
It is really important to just follow people that post things you are interested in. Your feed can get pretty clogged up if you are following people who's content you don't even read.
It is better to have a small group of people you follow that actually follow you back and comment and upvote then following a bunch of people that never even acknowledge you exist.
If you look at most users on Steemit, they actually follow less users than they have following them. You will find yourself weeding out the list of people you follow over time as you grow on the platform.
User engagement is important on Steemit.
If you follow people simply because "they are the one's to follow", I can almost assure you that you will not find success here.
Don't worry about who you should and shouldn't follow. If you engage with others, you will meet people who have a genuine interest in what you blog about, and they will likely support you, as well as you revisiting their blog and supporting them. That's the name of the game.
If you just follow a bunch of big accounts, and interact with no one, you will have a hard time achieving success.
I hope this answer helps.
Steemit is a community based platform and you need to follow the right people. When I say right people you need to form your own group.
The more people following you and the more you follow from that group is key. I have about 80 people that overlap my followers and the ones who follow me. That is my core group and I am always trying to add to that number.
It doesn't mean that if you do a post you will have 80 votes but they will support you. These are the accounts you engage with and support each other. There needs to be a common interest and engagement is the only way.
If you just follow big accounts they may not engage with you and you will not grow. It has to be a mix of all sorts that you engage with. A small account today could be a big account in 6 months.