Twitter Strategy: You are who you followAnita Kirkbride
Do you have a Twitter strategy for who you will follow (or follow back) with your business Twitter account? If not, it’s time for you to consider the ramifications of willy-nilly following (which *is* a Twitter strategy in itself, I suppose). Savvy Twitter users are checking out your profile before they decide to follow you. One of the things they may be checking is who you are following–it gives them an idea of the kind of information you are interested in and might share.
For example, check out my own Twitter profile @anitahovey. Unless Twitter has gone on a mass following spree on my behalf again (I mysteriously followed a bunch of accounts I don’t remember a while back), you should see a good mix of social media managers, social media authors, local Halifax businesses and people, as well as accounts for many of my favourite programs, apps, blogs and websites. By looking at this list, you should gather I will be talking about social media and/or Halifax businesses and community. Let’s take a look at another account.
From the looks of this list, I’d gather you’re going to learn about wine by following this high-end Halifax restaurant on Twitter. They’re also following the competition, food bloggers, customers, magazines and local community accounts. Seems plausible. How about this one?
While this account is named after a Halifax business, it appears, by looking at the following list that you’ll be treated to a lot of NASCAR tweets and not much conversation about Halifax business. NASCAR is not related to this business in any way. Yes, it shows the owner’s personality and it’s authentic. Does it help or hurt your impression of this business? Maybe it forges a connection with you because you’re an avid NASCAR follower as well, or maybe it turns you off because you think NASCAR is stupid.
Now I want you to think about who you are following. Are you following a lot of celebrities? Questionable humour accounts? Accounts with racial slurs as the name? Or how about accounts that exist solely to be negative and point out bad business practices? What about following a ton of accounts that feature #FollowBack in their bio? Have you considered what following a lot of accounts in other languages says?
These are things I see all the time on people’s accounts. Sometimes on so-called social media expert’s accounts. Some of these things indicate, to me, that you’re in it for the numbers. Sure, it’s great to have 10,000 followers, but if 9,000 of them are #followback accounts, what is your real reach? If you’re following a ton of these types of accounts and nobody else, how are you engaging with the people that can help your business?
By all means, follow whomever you like. I’m not here to tell you to not follow anyone. I want you to think about how the people you publicly follow reflect on your business. Do you care? I certainly know a few local business people who do not care what other people think of them, or who they follow. That’s their right. If you do care, then you need to consider who you are following because anyone can see that list.
One little-known tip. If you want to follow someone without it being public, you can add them to a list. That’s right, you do not have to follow an account to add it to a list. So go ahead and create a private p*rn star list and put all those p*rn stars in it. Whenever you want, you can check the list, just the same as if you were following them, but nobody will know and those who think porn is unacceptable will never know.
Props to Jeff Brown, Alpha Social Media for the inspiration for this title. He wrote a similar post as I was planning this one.
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