Small Biz Twitter Tip: Look Before You Follow!

Twitter: Solopreneurs and Small Business Owners Still Struggling to “Get It”

While I haven’t formally kept track of the number of times I’ve heard it, I can tell you that in my circles Twitter reigns as the social network least understood by solopreneurs and small business owners. “I just don’t get it,” is what I hear from professionals who have set up Twitter accounts (some of them years ago), but don’t have the foggiest idea about how to use them or know why they should use them.

I was there, too. When I set up my Twitter account in 2010, I was intimidated by the fast pace, baffled by what seemed to be an entirely different language, confused about how to build a meaningful network of connections there. And so, I ignored Twitter for a good while until I finally decided to “give it the old college try.”

As with any social network, it’s ultra-important to tweet interesting, informative, or entertaining content that the audience you want to reach will find relevant. And as you do on any other social network, you need to reciprocate and interact with others. You also need to consistently share content – only at a much higher frequency and volume than other social networks because of Twitter’s “blink and you miss it” characteristic.

But what I believe is really crucial in laying the foundation for doing all of the above is to make wise choices when following others on Twitter. When you follow the right Twitter users, it helps mold your overall following into one that will appreciate and interact with what you share.

Twitter Tip: Think before you follow!

As  you’re building your Twitter network, be choosy about who you follow.

Some folks follow EVERYONE who follows them. BAD IDEA! While it seems nice to follow everyone back, you’ll do yourself and your quality followers an injustice by not being selective. And you’ll quickly find that your Twitter feed will be filled with junk that you don’t care about and that might even be offensive. After people follow you, ALWAYS look at their profiles and review their tweets before following them back.

Some reasons to consider NOT following others on Twitter…

  • Their tweets neither touch on topics that you’re interested nor do they provide anything worth sharing with your followers.
  • They have a disproportionate number of followers vs. people they’re following.  Example: 82,542 followers, but following only 329. These individuals are generally very self-serving and don’t know the meaning of “reciprocate.” Seriously, out of tens of thousands of followers, they can’t find more than a few hundred who tweet anything worthwhile? While they might provide some good content, so do plenty of other people who don’t have an overtly “I’m better than everyone else” attitude.
  • They follow a large number of people compared to the number of people following them.  Example: 0 followers, but are following 2,122. And you’ll typically find that they have only ever tweeted a couple of times and their profile  pics are seductive and alluring.  Bot alert!!! Again, always look at people’s Twitter profiles before following them.
  • They have a very large Twitter following, but haven’t tweeted all that much. Example: 149,541 followers, but only 47 tweets to their name. There’s no way they accumulated that many legitimate followers with so few tweets…which means they likely have a boat load of fake followers. Steer clear and don’t follow!

In addition to weeding out who NOT to follow, make a concerted effort to follow folks who will bring value to your Twitter feed.

  • Tap into your Linkedin network to find who has a Twitter presence.
  • When you meet people at face-to-face networking events, ask them if they’re on Twitter.
  • Follow your favorite blogs and blog authors.
  • Pay attention to the suggestions in the “Who to Follow” window that’s in the upper left section of your Twitter home page. “
  • Follow your clients and prospects if they’re on Twitter.

Although it took some time for me to get my groove, Twitter has become one of my favorite online spaces for building and strengthening my professional network. I’ve gotten new clients through Twitter, and I have nurtured relationships with existing clients. Twitter has also made me much savvier as a solopreneur because of the breadth of quality information I’ve discovered through my network.

I believe Twitter provides the same opportunities to everyone who uses it with thought and pays attention to who they’re adding to their networks. Make smart choices as you follow others…and the rest will follow.

By Dawn Mentzer

Your turn…What successes and challenges have you had with Twitter? Please share your tips and advice to solopreneurs and small biz owners!

4 comments on “Small Biz Twitter Tip: Look Before You Follow!
  1. Very informative. The time I started Twitter I followed almost everybody even if I had no idea why I was following them. It was a headache after. I had unnecessary information on my home page and I couldn’t see the tweets of the ones I liked to see. It took me half a day to reconsider all of the people and accounts I follow but in the end it was worth it. 🙂

    • dawnmentzer says:

      Hi Jayden – thanks for sharing! It can take a chunk of time to review followers, but like you said, it’s well worth the effort so you’re not stuck with a bunch of junk in your feed. Using Hootsuite to review activity in Twitter has helped me a lot. Within my dashboard there, I have streams set up for my most important lists – including a VIP list/stream (private list) that I’ve added about 20 – 30 key people/businesses to so I never miss what they’re tweeting.

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