How To Follow People on Twitter

So the other day I was reading a post over at the Assault Blog titled Why Twitter Followers Are Worthless. The author argued that:

1. “If you can’t mobilize your followers for feedback, links, retweets or an opinion: they’re worthless.”

This is somewhat true. When I first started blogging about a year and a half ago I used my existing Twitter account to send out links to posts that I’d do on this blog. For the first month or so I received minimal feedback or retweets.

I was following a ton of T-Shirt people and yet no one seemed to care about my content. The main thing that I learned is that Twitter is a two way street. Unless YOU care about the people that YOU follow on Twitter then YOU are worthless to THEM.

Once I started providing my opinions to tweets I’d read over Twitter, leaving feedback and retweeting I started to notice that people would do the same for the content that I pumped out over Twitter.

Twitter is a two way interactive street. Provide worth to your followers and the people that follow you will be worth their weight in gold 100 times over.

2. “Twitter is a vehicle for word of mouth, but offline word of mouth is always better than online word of mouth.”

I disagree. I don’t think my blog would have grown as much as it did and as fast as it did without the online word of mouth gained through the use of Twitter. Had I not utilized Twitter, my blog might just be another blog. Instead, I have a strong following of people who love T-Shirts and enjoy visiting my site to get the latest tee related scoops.

In fact, I made it a point not to SPAM my Facebook friends (people that I actually know in real life) with status updates linking back to my blog. I didn’t even announce my blog on my Facebook profile despite the fact that my 300-400 Facebook friends would have seen it. I wanted to see how much the blog would grow minus the friend and family factor. Other people automate updates on their blog to their personal Facebook page. I don’t do this and I will explain in a future post why I don’t.

Coty’s Followers/Following Rule

I started to follow the “big” people in my niche (T-Shirts) and I’d take a look at the people that they followed and I would selectively follow those that I thought had an interest in tees.

Note that I don’t have a monstrous or unbalanced followers/following count. I follow about 1800 people and have about 1100 followers. A balance in the number of people you follow and the number that follow you (followers) is a good thing. It means that more times than not, when you followed someone they followed you back. Or, when someone followed you, you found their content interesting enough to follow them back.

Remember, Twitter is a two way interactive street. So be weary of people whose follow/follower count are not balanced (i.e. they follow 300,000 people but have 23 followers). These are probably SPAM accounts, don’t follow these people. I’m a little follow heavy when it comes to Twitter, when you encounter these types of people you need to take into account their tweet history and even the link they provide on their profile page (covered in next section). When it comes to the followers/following rule you really want to be aware of the extremes, for instance:

Twitter

How To Choose Who To Follow?

Once you start using Twitter you’ll start to get people who follow you that you aren’t currently following. You can do one of two things:

1. Ignore the Twitter email notifying you of a new follower.

or

2. Click on the notification email and review the stats of the person following you.

Ignoring people over Twitter is a bad idea. Twitter is a two way interactive street, remember?

Therefore that leaves us with option #2. So you take a look at the user stats that is included in the notification email and then from there you can make a “trim the fat” decision. This when you use the Followers/Following rule: If they have an unbalanced Twitter Followers/Following count I usually ignore them and do not follow them back. They are probably SPAM.

If however, they have a balanced Twitter Followers/Following count OR they have a username related to my niche then I’ll take look at their Twitter profile.

For example, @Timothyfree decided to follow me on Twitter. I took a look at the notification email and he passed the Followers/Following Rule. Next step is to take a look at his Twitter profile page.

Twitter

So now I am taking a look at their Twitter profile and at this point I need to decide to follow him on Twitter or not. My decision of whether to follow or not to follow hinges on a few things:

  1. Are they following other people in my niche? Go through and look at the people they are following.
  2. Do they’ve have an interesting profile link (bonus if they link back to a tee related site), or
  3. Does their Tweet history show relevance to my niche?

So continuing on with @Timothyfree’s profile, I notice that he is linked to Freedom Clothing. Perfect, another clothing company to keep under my radar. But I do notice that his followers/following numbers have changed from when he initially followed me. That’s fine because I checked out his profile links, his tweet history and I know he is not SPAM, instead, he is someone that I’d  be interested in connecting with on Twitter. His tweet history shows that he likes to tweet about personal life stuff but that’s okay because when I looked through the list people he follow I found the official Twitter account for his clothing brand and I decided to follow that.

Twitter

Once I review these three things I make a gut decision as to whether or not I follow this new person. I decide to follow @Timothyfree.

If you follow these steps then I promise you that you will develop a community of Twitter followers that actually care about what you are talking about. And once this happens, online word of mouth becomes a gazillion times more powerful then offline word of mouth. This is all based on the quality of your online word of mouth reach. And remember, since Twitter is a two way interactive street and you’re interacting with your community, your community members will be much more likely to retweet your content and/or provide feedback. Once this starts to happen on a regular basis then that’s when the online Twitter world becomes your oyster. Eat it up.

Some take home points:

  1. Twitter is a two way interactive street.
  2. Remember the Follow/Foller Rule and be weary of people whose follow/follower count are not balanced.
  3. Trim The Fat, but don’t ignore new followers, see what they have to offer before you decide to follow or not follow them.
  4. Once you’ve built a quality number of Twitter followers, don’t forget to continue to provide good content and leave good feedback.

I’d love to know what you think of this post. Also, if you have a different strategy for following people I’d love to hear about it!

If you enjoyed this post be sure to follow me on Twitter!

Comments

  1. says

    I agree with everything you said there Coty. I do the exact same thing. I get a handful of daily Twitter emails that say so and so are following you. I got through the same process as you but I try not to follow everyone back because I don’t really want to get lost in my timeline. I like to read a majority of what I missed throughout the day so if I have a timeline of a bunch of random tweets then Twitter will have become useless to me. Luckily with the new lists, I have actually save a bunch of time now and I can click exactly who I want to see in a specific category that I set people into. Do you find it tough to follow all those people and keep up with what they are saying? If you miss tweets, do you just disregard them and just continue moving forward?

  2. says

    Thanks, glad you enjoyed the post @Jbenjamin82!

    I don’t even try to keep up with my Twitter timeline. I like it because I can jump in and out and see what is going on at any given moment. I do however, scan my timeline posts within the past hour or so to see if I’ve missed anything important that had been posted recently. but for the most part, I check in, see if anything interests me and check out. Having said that, my Twitter client is open on my computer 24/7. So it’s fairly easy for me to jump in and out of Twitter.

  3. says

    Good post Coty, it’s the same process as I go through too, though I can never decide if it’s really worth me following every tee brand that follows me.

  4. says

    Thank you for this!!!! I’m brand new to Twitter and followed someones advise to “go follow as many people as you can and then they’ll all start following you back”. Needless to say, I saw no results and ended up with the very uneven number of following/followers you are talking about. Now I see my stupidity and have come to realize what I am doing wrong. So I am going to give this another shot and really stick to your rules here. Thanks a lot!!!

    -Shannon

  5. says

    Yes, thank you for this! I am a frustrated Twitter user at the moment and it was really great to read someone else’s thoughts and practices.

    Now if you know why my account seems to be automatically following every Dick, Jane, and Joe out there without me choosing to approve all these people, I’d love to know how to stop this from happening! My numbers are becoming out of balance and I’m not the one behind this happening. Ugh!

    I guess I should turn on my email notifications again so I can see who is following me and I can start looking into them. Now if only I could get email notifications when I’m new to following someone else, since that’s news to me!

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