Have you ever come across someone on Twitter who has far more followers than the number of people that they actually follow?
Many Twitter ‘gurus’ preach that a high follower to following ratio is a sign of a quality account. In the case of celebrities, high profile or big brand accounts it’s easy to see that their general popularity or fame will result in a similar on-line popularity, leading to tens, or hundreds, of thousands of followers. Can the same be said for your average high street business or SME? I don’t think so.
What does a high follower to following ratio say to me?
When I see an account with a high number of followers but a much lower number of ‘following’, a couple of questions pop into my mind:
1. Have they taken a short cut to buy a few thousand followers to boost the impression that they are popular and worth following?
2. Are they someone who follows high numbers of people before ‘unfollowing’ them once they have received a follow-back? This practice is known as ‘churning’ and is frowned upon by Twitter.
The answer to each of these questions could be ‘No’ and the high followers to following ratio could simply be a result of not following back. Nothing wrong with that is there? In my opinion, yes there is!
Twitter connections … or one-way traffic?
Quite simply, social media should be about building relationships. When somebody follows you they are taking an interest in you and your tweets. However, it is not possible for you to return the courtesy and show real interest in your followers unless you follow them back.
By failing to follow back you are effectively telling your followers that you have no interest in them or their tweets and that you have no intention of engaging with them. No doubt you still expect your followers to read, respond to and retweet your tweets, and to support your ‘social’ media efforts even though the ‘social’ element is lacking? The big question is, why should your followers show you any interest or loyalty if you have no intention of returning the favour?
What are the advantages of following back?
There are lots but, to my mind, the most obvious are:
- The connection becomes two-way which is much more likely to lead to a relationship
- Relationships = engagement, mutual support, and loyalty – both on a business and personal level
- People buy goods and services from people they know, like and trust – i.e. with whom they have a relationship
- Additionally, when you follow someone they can send you a private Direct Message (DM). In the legal world in which I operate this has proved invaluable as it allows my followers to send me private enquiries which have, in turn, led to new business.
My advice? Get into the habit of following back and really connecting with your followers. Remember – a one-way conversation is just you talking to yourself.
What do you think? Do you agree that a policy of not following back results in one-way traffic? I’d love to hear your views on Twitter follow-back policies.
And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter. We would love to connect with you!
Posted by: Donna Beckett