To Follow Or Not On Twitter?

Social Media SerendipityTwitter Follow or not

Talk about fabulous timing.


I had a blog post in draft form centered on one reason not to unfollow people (more on that later) on Twitter, when Mike Sansone (founder of Small Biz Tracks and Converstations) published his METHOD: Before Following on Twitter post.


I once saw someone, somewhere make a statement to the effect of, “When you follow everyone, you follow no one.”


That’s true. When you follow all the people and businesses you encounter on Twitter, you’ll have difficulty actively engaging and building relationships with any of them effectively.


That’s why it’s important to at some point become more selective about whom you follow. A method like Mike describes for evaluating accounts before you follow them can nip that problem in the bud.


A Twitter Tip To Help Stop The Bleeding

If you’re like me though, some of the damage is already done and you’re following a fair share people and companies that don’t tweet updates that align with the topics you’re interested in or that you’d want to share with your following.


Regardless of the reasons you followed them (they’re local peeps, friends of friends, or you simply wanted to be nice), you can get around letting them crowd your feed by using Twitter lists. Put all your important contact and quality content creators onto meaningful lists and using a tool with a dashboard that lets you easily monitor your VIPs’ activity. I use Hootsuite for that purpose and it has worked quite well. I’ve written in more detail about this technique in this past post, so have a look.


Following Mike’s advice from the get-go is ideal, and using the trick I just explained after you’ve carefully selected who to follow can empower you even more.


Back To “Following” My Original Thought About Unfollowing On Twitter

As Mike explained how to choose whom to follow, I’m going to touch on one reason why you shouldn’t unfollow someone.


Don’t unfollow people simply because they haven’t followed you back.


Tools like Just UnFollow, Manage Flitter, Tweepi, and others make it easy to identify those people and unfollow them, but by doing that you could be missing out on some really great content and insight


I’ve learned a lot and have discovered stellar blog posts to share with my audience from folks whom I follow but who don’t follow me.


Before you unfollow people, put your ego and hurt feelings aside and use the same review process that Mike described when deciding about following folks in the first place. If they pass that test, they’re keepers even if you’ve either slid under their radar or they’re not interested in following you at this time.


And keep your chin up. Although they might not follow you now, the more you share and engage with their content, the better your chances are of getting that follow in the future.


What methods do you use when deciding whom to follow—or not follow—on Twitter?



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 twitter-bird-blue-on-whitesocial 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!

Twitter Quick Tip: Set Up a “VIP List” to Manage Your Feed & Build Your Business

Twitter has become one of my all-time favorite platforms for finding and sharing content, networking, and building Top 10 Buttonprofessional relationships. As my Twitter network grows, however, so does the challenge of keeping up with what many of my key connections are tweeting.

I know I’m not alone. As you follow more and more people on Twitter, the quantity of tweets in your home feed balloons exponentially. And that means tweets by “VIPs,” the individuals and companies who you want to proactively nurture relationships with, often  get lost in the shuffle.

Even if you have a variety of Twitter lists set up according to industry, business focus or geography to organize tweets in your feed, it might not be enough. In my case, it hasn’t been enough! So, I’ve created a new list specifically for a handful of people and businesses who I want to keep better tabs on. By putting them on my “VIP List,” their tweets are far easier to find and react to.

Worried that having a VIP List will seem exclusive? Don’t! Just because you don’t put someone on your VIP List doesn’t mean that they aren’t important! Every connection is valuable, but it’s natural that some are more professionally advantageous than others.

Tips for your VIP List:

  • Make the list “Private” – That way no one will know who is – and who is not – on it.
  • Add individuals and businesses who aren’t frequent tweeters – Reserve your VIP List for people who DON’T show up in your feed regularly. If you’re already catching their tweets, there’s no reason to include them. This list should be for users who either don’t tweet enough to stay on your Twitter radar, or who seem to cluster their tweets at a time that you generally aren’t perusing your stream.
  • Consider including…Prospects, clients, vendors, loyal supporters, sources of referrals.
  • Keep it short – You’ll want to keep your ability to review the feed for this list ultra-manageable. Keep it lean. I recommend 30 or fewer users, but you’ll need to gauge what works for you. And keep in mind that you’ll probably alter your list over time as your professional relationships and priorities evolve.
  • If you use Hootsuite, set up your VIP List as a stream in your dashboard. – That way it will be accessible where you’re most likely to view and use it most effectively.

I don’t recall who blogged about it, but months and months past, I recall someone saying something like, “I follow everyone, and therefore I’m finding that I follow no one.

How true that is when you’ve got a Twitter feed that flows fast and furiously with tweets by hundreds or thousands or tens of thousands of users. My hope is that a VIP List will help you set a less overwhelming pace and enable you to more easily follow – really follow – the people and companies that matter most to your business.

What’s your biggest challenge in keeping tabs on key people and companies on Twitter? How do you keep your feed manageable?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /