How to Follow Back Good People on Twitter – Twitter Lists as Validation

How to Follow Back Good People on TwitterMany businesses have realized that social media marketing is an important tool to have in their marketing tool belt. One of the problems businesses have, SMBs in particular, is that there are just not enough hours in the day to add more things to do, monitor, listen to, update, post, blog et. al. Most SMBs don’t have marketing departments, copywriters or the extra manpower to add more work to do by participating in this rapidly changing online social landscape.

Using this space and using it well is tough to do. Twitter alone is raw and happening at rapid tweets per second. A major part of using Twitter well for your business is making sure you have a loyal, interested and active list of people you are following and who are following you. Remember, this is networking not broadcasting. It is usually better to have a small active Twitter following who reads, reacts and republishes your content versus having thousands of followers but none of them contribute to your effort.

Each morning as I drink my coffee, I check for any new followers on my Twitter accounts (@Hall_Web and @amanda_pants). I manually (that is by hand not a plugin or bot that follows back anyone who is following me) check each new follower.

I look at lots of things when determining whether or not to follow someone back and with a collection of all the information, I make my decision.

Here is what I look for before following back a new follower:

  • Avatar or image – Does the person have a picture? Is that picture of them, their face, a logo?
  • Location – Is the person from my geographic location? Are they from someplace I have lived, traveled to, am interested in, do business in?
  • Recent Tweets – What kind of content do they publish? Are they conversational or are they simply broadcasting?
  • Number of Followers and Following – Do they have tens of thousands of followers? Unless they are super important or famous, they probably used some type of bot of following scheme to garner so many followers.
  • Twitter lists – How many are they listed on and what topics are they listed for?

Twitter Lists

Twitter lists are pretty new. When they were first rolled out, not many people knew what to do with them, some thought they would hurt already standing Twitter traditions and some just plain old didn’t like them. Since the dust has settled, I have found Twitter lists very useful in determining if I am going to follow someone on Twitter.

First – How many lists are they on? The act of creating a list and adding people you want to it takes time. Someone took enough time to create this list and categorize this person because they wanted to organize or bookmark this person’s information. Time = Value in my mind. A human being took the time to categorize my content. I think that is a big deal. I have looked around and if you can get 5-10% of your followers to add you to a list, I think that is pretty good.

Second – What lists in particular are they on? Consider what lists people are on. Is their expertise something you are hoping to learn more about? Are they in your industry, local market, attending an event you are attending? Or perhaps they could just clog your Twitter stream with information you are not looking for.

This is also a good way to monitor your own Twitter content. If you consider yourself a Social Media Expert and you are being listed as an SEO expert, you could be sending people the wrong message (or tweets). If you are an HR Blogger and people are listing you as social media expert, whiskey connoisseur, running blogger and the list goes on and on, you could be sending mixed messages. By talking about all of your interests you may have diluted your message.

This is just one way I try to keep my Twitter efforts organized and make sure I am following and being followed by good people. I want both parties to benefit from this relationship. What other precautions or tips do you have for streamlining your Twitter efforts?