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Monday, April 2, 2012

Do You Have a Twitter Follow Policy?

Twitter, like all social media, is a place to make connections and build relationships along with being informed and entertained.

While being open to the thoughts and information of others, you want to share your thoughts and information as well. And, if you are using social media for marketing, and you also want others to share and spread  your thoughts and information to a wider audience than you currently reach.

In the social media world, there is an ongoing debate regarding the scope of the other people with whom you connect: In the extreme, one group positions maintains that one should keep connections limited to people with whom one has a specific connection (personal relationship, same industry, etc.) maintaining a tight list of contacts; while the other position is to connect with anyone and everyone, building a broad, heterogeneous group.
Although I used to be more in of the limited, homogenous type, with Twitter, I have recently adopted a more open policy: Basically, I’m following everyone. Follow me and I’ll follow you back.
Which begs the question: Why?
1.      Twitter is not always a one-on-one conversation;  understanding that opens you up to the idea that you never know what kind of amazing connection is waiting on the other end of a  follow back. I’ve met some new and interesting folks this way.

2.      If you don’t follow people back then it is hard for a follower of yours to keep the follow-followee ratio in line with Twitter (so they don’t put a hold on your ability to follow more people) and thus you are limiting a follower in terms of who else they can follow. I want to be more supportive than that of someone who wants to follow me.

3.      When someone follows me, I take it as a compliment: “Scott, I’d like to get to know you,” and not following back seems a little arrogant.

4.      Sometimes it seems that picking between who to follow back and who not to is like being a bouncer at an exclusive club, only letting in the “right” people. This liberal follow back policy makes me feel more inclusive and it matches my naturally outgoing personality.

OK, that being said, there are some limitations I have imposed on my “follow everyone” policy.

1.      I unfollow spammers; I unfollow porn; and, since I only read English, I unfollow those who tweet in languages other than English. I used to unfollow people who hadn’t posted a photo, but now I check the profile before automatically unfollowing (just ‘cause someone doesn’t have a photo they like or doesn’t know how to post a photo does not mean that they are not someone with  whom you can develop a positive relationship).

2.      I find new people with similar interests to follow, but if they don’t follow me back in about a week after I follow them, I typically unfollow them.

3.      If someone I’m following hasn’t tweeted  for a couple of months, typically I assume they are no longer active on Twitter and unfollow them.

4.      Following someone does not mean I read every tweet that everybody I follow sends. Primarily, I focus on some core friends, I have some particular followers whose posts I typically enjoy and I search for posts with hashtags and keywords that interest me. I cover a fair amount of territory, and with re-tweets I think I eventually get a pretty good overview of what my followers are saying.

So, that’s my policy. Maybe yours is similar or maybe you feel mine is ridiculous (or at least not right for you). Either way, I’d like to hear from you ... what’s your Follow/Unfollow Policy? Use the comment section below or catch me on Twitter @ScottFroth.

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