Mass Following on Twitter is Wrong!

July 19, 2010

Many people in the MLM game, and many social media 'gurus' , are training their downline and other people, suggesting that they know the best way to build a mass following on Twitter and then be seen as an expert. Let me tell you this little secret (which isn't really a secret at all) and show you how you should in my opinion NOT go about acting in Twitter:
1 - Start following about 10 or so people with lots of followers.
2 - Go through the list of their followers and follow as many of them as possible.
3 - Wait for the auto follow to happen
4 - Then cull your follow list by un-following as many as you can to create an impression you are a Twitter rock star!
Please ignore this advice. Clearly these 'gurus' and trainers don't know the real way to build a successful social media account on Twitter.
Success for you should be about giving people what they want. Zig Ziglar says "You can have everything in life that you want if you just give enough other people what they want." - To a degree I agree, but not completely. Applied to social media, it could not be truer. What you want to need to be doing is following people that you will be listening to or that you engage with is some way giving them what they want and staying consistent to what you give - more than likely this is the reason you gained them as a follower in the first place.
Engage with every follower
In my time in the social media world I have had a conversation, all be it one or two tweets max with almost all of my followers. I used to auto-follow anyone that followed me. I stopped auto-following a while ago as it was true of my own aims, that I did want to have a huge list of people so auto-following seemed to be the best way to keep this number up. I didn't trawl other peoples lists though and start following lots of people.
What I now do is ask a question in a DM that I send to all new followers that appear in my new follower column that I have set up on Tweetdeck. If the profile is blank, or they do not have a picture or a simple to understand name, they get nothing from me. This is not helping me to understand who they are and encouraging me to engage with them. If the profile lists subjects that I am interested in and there may be something that we could connect with, I send a DM to them thanking them for the follow and encourage engagement. Those that do engage, listen to the DM and reply in some way get a follow. The others don't. This is how I manage those that I follow.
Stop chasing followers
The other flip side to this of course is those chasing followers. Those wanting build big lists. Really you need to be engaging and following 'listeners' - those that reply to questions that you pose, who re-tweet your messages and who read DM's and messages you send them. These are the people willing to engage properly with you, so does that not warrant you engaging with them back?
Don't create a false 'expert' status
The final point that I will make... many of the people that had a good number of people that they were following, some indeed that I know, have reduce the number of people that they are following by a massive amount! Doing this show that you have more people following you than you are following yourself. Does this show that you are providing something of value that people want to follow you and hear from you or does it show that you just don't engage?
A great tool that I found recently is tffratio - they show you the ration between friends (people you follow) and followers (people who follow you). They rank you on the ratio between the numbers of each.
My ratio is 1.02 meaning "Solid Twitter Community Member" - I like this.
The top score explanation is exactly what I am talking about being the perception that people are falsely creating for themselves: "A TFF Ratio 10 or higher indicates that you're either a Rock Star in your field or you are an elitist and you cannot be bothered by Twitter's mindless chatter. You like to hear yourself talk. Luckily others like to hear you talk, too. You may be an ass." - Enough said.





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