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Twitter: To Follow or Not To Follow

Here’s a Question for Ya
This is the question our friend Teri Conrad posted the other day on Twitter: “Here’s a question for ya: When you see someone has thousands of followers are you more or less compelled to follow?” As is the nature of Twitter I thought about it for a few seconds and responded with “Less – unless I see a RT or @ in last 10 (Tweets)”. That and Teri’s original post seemed to spark a fast a furious series of comments from a number of people equally weighing in on Twitter. 

What I Learned
Like us, everyone who chimmed in on the conversation admitted that they screened potential followers for engagement before following back (a broad paraphrase of the summary of comments). There were some helpful Tweets posted that we had not considered, such as engaging (i.e. thanking a new follower for following or sending some form of engagement message). We thought this was a good suggestion and not something we regularly do. Another great message, which we all likely know but it helps to be reminded, was “promote engagement and interaction” from Debra Trappen. To me this all means that Twitter is just a platform (like the telephone) and the real objective is a conversation.

In The End
What I was surprised about was (other than Teri) all the people we engaged with did not follow each other yet at the end I only had one person send a follower request. I have followed them and sent the others a follow request (thinking we have something in common) and will wait to see if they follow back (my standard practice is to wait a week then, un-follow (there is no point in having one way conversations). I have roughly 2,175 followers and “only” follow roughly 1,600 people (due to the screening process mentioned below). I have a hard time keeping track of meaningful conversations at that level. I wonder…if you follow 5,000 people how many great opportunities you are missing? Is the less is more theory relevant?

Screening Process
Okay, so here it is… this is our screening process for Twitter (and other social platforms)! If you do not have a completed bio, personal photo and website link listed we will not follow you back! We want to learn something about you. If you pass that criteria, but do not have a Re-Tweet or @ mention in your last 15 Tweets we will not follow you, period! If I want to be broadcast to I’ll check my email. Finally if we see that you have over 5,000+ followers and almost equal number of people you follow back (auto following app), we are less likely to give you a follow! But that’s just us :)

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6 Responses to Twitter: To Follow or Not To Follow

  1. Sandi Amorim says:

    OK, this one made me think…and I realized I don’t really look at the numbers. I go straight to the bio, then their most recent tweets. If that got my attention then I click on their website link and explore further.

    Numbers rarely motivate me for anything, so it’s good to see I’m consistent ;-)

  2. Teri Conrad says:

    This has been weighing on my mind more and more lately…love the ‘less is more’ concept or as my mentor CEO Build Direct Jeff Booth would remind us, Dunbar’s Law and Rule of 150: We only have the capacity to have meaningful relationships with appx 150 people…so it would make sense to pare down and ‘lean into’ your strongest advocates…having said that I’m always open to meeting new amazing people…but as you said Jeff…in the end its about the conversation. Great post and thanks for keeping the conversation going ;)

  3. It’s all about whether someone engages really and what content they share. I could care less about the amount of followers.

    I like your idea of following and giving that person a week to see if they follow back before un-following them.

    In the end, Gary Vaynerchuk says it best, Social Media is one giant cocktail party. You wouldn’t go to a cocktail party to only talk to yourself while ignoring people talking to you, would you? People need to remove the idea that there is a computer and treat every social media encounter like they would in the real world.

  4. CK Golf Solutions says:

    Thanks Sandi, Teri and Jordan for weighing in! Great feedback. This is a great debate/ question that could go on for a long time. Might be a good seminar panel discussion at an upcoming event? Cheers, Jeff.

  5. AvionicsMan says:

    So true! That is pretty much the same criteria that I use as well.

  6. I don’t think it has anything to do with numbers. Is the person worth following? Do they publish content that interests you? Are you doing business research in their area of expertise? Do you just like what they say? Were they recommended by someone you trust? Did you meet them at a face-to-face meeting event? Thousands of followers is not an indication of anything except the person knows how to use an effective utility to build a following. May not be your style, but it is a valid lead generation strategy.

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