I asked this question on twitter in hopes that the response would show you, my readers, how you can use twitter to foster meaningful relationships.
Everyone’s definition of a meaningful follower is going to differ based on their reasons for using twitter. I consider a meaningful follower to be someone who is active, responds to questions and embraces conversation. Others, usually brands or people establishing themselves as brands, are typically more concerned with making themselves accessible to as many people as possible and so they follow as many people as they can. If you want to gain meaningful followers, you need to understand why people follow.
I’ll start with myself. Here are some things that I consider when deciding who to follow…
- Can you provide me with any job or collaboration opportunities?
- Do you engage in conversation with your followers?
- Humor is a big plus for me. I enjoy laughing.
- I try to make a point not to take number of followers into account. I’ll follow someone with 30 followers just as quick as I would follow someone with 1000.
- I generally like to keep the amount of people I follow around 300. Any more and I just don’t have the time to keep up!
I also specifically asked a few people who have slightly different takes on how/who they follow.
Arik Hanson is a great example of someone who puts a great deal of thought into who he follows. If he’s following you, chances are you’re doing something right. He tends to follow…
- People before companies, with the occasional exception.
- People who have an actual personal photo as their avatar. Being able to put a face with a name is a big step to building relationships.
- People who don’t spam (No Auto DirectMessages!!)
- The occasional person from a random industry with a different perspective on matters. (I loved this and think its so important to make sure different viewpoints are represented)
- People that trusted contacts follow or recommend.
Dave Fleet spoke about how he follows in his blog. He makes a great point that he is a communications professional, not a professional blogger. Like many professionals that are looking to connect and learn on twitter, he simply does not have time to keep up with so many followers and do his job at the same time. Therefore, he chooses who he follows wisely. If you want him to follow you, make sure to…
- @reply him. The most important thing to most twitter users is conversation.
- Make your username your REAL name.
- Create a compelling bio.
- Include your website in your profile. Websites / blogs show people that you have valuable and relevant information to contribute.
Darren Rowes creator of Problogger has a very different approach. He follows everyone that he can and recently started using TweetLater to auto-follow those who follow him. He explained to me his approach…
- The biggest concern is being accessible to anyone who wants to contact you.
- Engaging with users is very important but @replying to every question creates a lot of clutter for followers. Its important to be able to continue conversations privately via direct message.
- It’s impossible to keep track of updates when you’re following 9000+ people. You can use tools like tweetdeck‘s @reply feed and grouping features to filter out the people you really want to see while keeping track of those who reply to you.
Here are a few more responses from my followers:
So if you want more followers, instead of following people to get them to follow back think about who you want to follow you, and why they follow.
I hope this was helpful! Comment with why YOU follow people. I’d love to hear your thoughts!