My conclusion is that “A following policy cannot be finalized”.
I started this post and didn’t complete it as I couldn’t find any conclusion. 8 Months later I realize it’s just an ever open topic: it will never end. Following, not following, tools and practices change constantly and we need to adapt. It’s an example of VUCA we can experiment for real.
To leave it open, unachieved, unperfect fits the mindset I wish to use on social media: open-minded, generous, questioning and experimenting.
Here are my guidelines. I chose to present it as a list because there is no cookie-cutter, no easy heuristic. They arose from conversations and I follow this order.
All numbers should be appreciated with Twitter inflation of 30% per year. An account with 5000 followers will gain 1000 more followers in a year just by virtue of being listed high in recommendation engines.
What I describe is follow strategy, I added a follow-back case to describe how I decide when I consider following back.
I usually write down in @Kneaver why I followed someone to be able to reconsider my decision after a while.
Ted Coine: Twitter must be a two-way street
This is something I picked from a great post from @TedCoine. It’s several years old but Ted claims he stick to it. It’s a very open policy favorable to enter two side way conversations. I love this concept of two-way conversations.
One of the benefits of following someone is that his conversation with other friends will show up. if this person doesn’t engage this benefits dries up. Following is not about getting continuous updates.
I largely differ from Ted’s policy but I admit I like it and I follow the same idea. It’s generous and I like generosity. I’m taking into account other constraints like volume and density and I’m not dedicated to social media like him.
The second thing I picked at that time is “you must have a personal policy, not just wander”. This is why I started to write one.
Follow-Back: If you follow me out of the blue my first reaction is “wait and see”. Many people use automatic engines to grow their follower base. They follow, get a follow back and unfollow automatically after a week.
I may follow you later if I know you, I’m sure you know me and we engaged in conversation before. I will rarely follow you to engage.
Such encounters happen often during Twitter chats or via a common friend.
Follow-back: I will usually follow back as it is rarely coming out of the blue.
Marketers follow strategy and prioritise
They have goals, a strategy and they keep measures. There are no tricks, no bad intentions but more business-minded.
The topic came again during #JVMChat. I collected a few interesting tweets to illustrate my point.
A2. If you follow me out of the blue, I’m not likely to follow back. I like a tight ratio based on conversation. #JVMChat
— Jason Viglione (@JayVig) April 14, 2015
— Ted Coiné (@tedcoine) April 14, 2015
A2. I get annoyed at people who say “i follow back.” Why? follow what matters, not quid pro quo. feeds get bloated and meaningless. #JVMChat
— Jason Viglione (@JayVig) April 14, 2015
— Jason Viglione (@JayVig) April 14, 2015
A2) I'm very liberal w/ following. Anything interesting about the person (tweet, bio photo) and I'll follow. Unfollowing is easy. #JVMChat
— Christin Kardos 🧚 #CMGR 🤘 Backseat Harley Rider (@ChristinKardos) April 14, 2015
It’s all about conversations.
Finally the same topic came before on the video from GaryV where he features @ChristinKardos’s Twitter account. Again I tend to agree with his views.
MicAdam expressed his view day before in #S4bizDach and I tend again to agree. It’s all about conversations.
Dank neuer Anhänger auf Twitter #S4bizdach – non-commercial open message "thank you for following me. Let the convo begin"
— Mic V Adam (@micadam) April 13, 2015
Social Listening is a part of Marketing that takes from customer relationship, community management and influences of Design Thinking. It is an art of being attentive to what potential customers or influencers share and discuss. A good listener can learn what are the concerns of his customers, how they describe it and what they are expecting. In a second stage, Social Marketing is about sending signals and engaging.
I learned about Social Listening from @rachelLouMiller and @mne90
This is should be used with discernment. I felt a bit guilty sometimes to apply and I was interested to see how it relates to #WOL
#WOL ala @JohnStepper
A considerate view
John added generosity and dual communication to #WOL practice. Instead of a person showing his work (aka broadcasting), he suggests establishing a tactfully build network and holding tiny communities around work on progress. I felt I could share some of his humanistic views of network building although we surely have a different background. It all boils down to mindset, isn’t it? Speaking of mindset, some marketing adverse people would be surprised to learn that I see communalities between @RachelLouMiller and @JohnStepper practices.
This new trend is advocated by @Elsua. The following thing is a wreck, let’s rebuild a social media experience built on lists only.
Lists are a must have to keep a clear view of what is going on. Best is to have selected streams depending on context, mindset, and time available. I’m using lists as well. Most of the time I’m on notifications only, several times per day I’m on 2 lists (core, and core extended (PLN) ), both maintained via the Social Relationship manager of Kneaver.
I persist in using following and followers. I tune in my home timeline for serependitiy and connecting to a larger stream. I’m happy that I did great encounters and had interesting conversations that way.
So I oppose the idea of unfollowing everybody. It’s useless and I think most Twitter users don’t understand list and Twitter don’t make it easy. Creating a divide and misunderstanding with new entrants is not easing two-way communication.
Curate your sources.
Amber suggests we should take action: opt-out, search better contributors.
She is not alone but her post is the most recent one, and she made good points.
She claims that there is no prize for following people back. I agree mildly. I like her call to action as tweeted by @JaneBozarth
“If you want a stream that’s full of valuable stuff, make the effort to find the strong contributors, and give them your attention instead.”
and she goes on with
“Want less negativity (like I did)? Ditch the people who perpetuate it (like I did).”
That’s cool but intentions don’t always align with action. As I mentioned earlier people putting the fault on others may have negativity in them as well ( see I’m guilty of it too). IMHO we have to bear that we all carry some negativity inside us. Also i think engaging, contradicting is not being negative.
What is important is to avoid sharing it, put positive views first.
– Refrain from making bold negative statements that will surely hurt some people
– Welcome opposite views when you share strong opinions
– Refrain from using Twitter for repeated rants outside of our circle of influence.
– Don’t promote endlessly the same posts, pages even without commercial intent.
Upate after #Luv4Social
The topic was about Auto DM and I realized forgot his very basic rule
There are free services around that promise that they will thank your follower, or verify them or suggest to follow on other networks. What they really do is send an automatic DM when we follow you. This is all crap. My rule is simple:
The sad thing is that many newbies fall in the trap. They think it’s fancy, inviting. If it is really a nice person I know I will send a Tweet (not a DM) to let them know I unfollowed them and will follow them again if they remove their automatic DM.
Many tweeps are also using automatic services like this:
Thanks @XXX for being top engaged community members this week 🙂 (Want this FREE? >> bit.ly/want_this_free)
This is just noise, it would be nice you avoid. yet I will not unfollow you just for that 🙂
Let the convo begin
As I promised there is no conclusion because I gave it already: It’s a work in progress.
Did all those rules sound familiar? In fact, I think most of us go by them. It’s just a transposition of how we deal in real life.
I wish I can name one day my policy as “educated policy” or “open and critical policy”. I’m not there yet. Meanwhile I will continue this serie with a post on my purpose of being on Twitter, the mindset I have, the follower, audience strategy I wish to adopt and how to deal with disagreement, objections, rejections and BS detection. There will be place for discussion.
Join the conversation and add your view in the comments. Let’s iterate and build a new paragraph of our following policies or invent a new one. Just don’t add a conclusion.
– https://medium.com/@ChrisKardos/followers-is-a-terrible-word-d9233e7144ca “Followers” is a Terrible Word.
– https://www.bayleafdigital.com/who-to-follow-volume-1/ same, who to follow
– Christin on #AskGaryVee https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7a74pRS1b_U&t=225