Last week I blogged about a behaviour that is at best unhelpful when building a twitter community. This got me thinking about the ways and whyfors of following.
It is important to have a process you follow when deciding who to follow. Think about the reasons you are following an account and hope that the people who are following you have a reason for following you.
Who I follow
Generally speaking the tweeps I follow fall into one of five categories:
- Local and regional people
- Local and regional businesses
- People who tweet about topics of interest to me
- People I hold in high regard
- Product / Service Brands that I use or may be thinking about using
The accounts I follow tend to share several common attributes, depending on the category.
If you live in my area there is a chance that you will be tweeting about things of interest to me. Maybe you went to a new restaurant last night and tweeted about it. I am interested in your thoughts on that restaurant. Maybe you are queuing at a local club at the same time I am getting ready to go there, you tweet that the club is so full that the queue hasn’t moved in an hour… I can review my plans, take a chance that the queue will be moving by the time I get to the club, go to another club, or do something totally different.
The point is that because you are local to me there is a reasonable chance you will have posted something that will matter to me at some time.
I am more likely to do business with a business that is local to me if they have a social media profile. The reason for this selection process is I want to know what your customers think of you and how you treat your customers.
I can learn little — if anything — about you and your business if you have no social media presence.
If you have a track record for bad service or broken promises or poor quality products then as a result of the first category of tweeps I follow I will probably learn about and avoid your business, but if you are a great company with superb customer service and high quality products and services who always delivers there will be no complaints about you but there will also be no customer driven referrals and testimonials on behalf of you and your business.
With no regard for geography I will follow people who tweet about, amongst other things:
- Social networking
- Business networking
If your tweets are informative or entertaining and related to the things I am interested in there is a reasonable chance I will follow you.
There are people I respect because of something they have done, said or wrote about. I am not a star follower but I may follow a star account for a short period of time to gauge the effect of their tweets on my timeline and to better understand how they use twitter. I do follow some authors but never for long, unless I have exchanged emails, DMs or at least tweet mentions with them.
Product / Service Brands
If I use a product or service and I want to know about updates, new releases, problems, issues, etc. I will follow the account.
When I have had a problem with a provider I will follow the account so I can have a discussion with them about the problem. If a couple of short tweets and a few DMs can resolve an issue I am a happy customer. If, however, they do not respond to my tweets, are dismissive or rude and make no effort to resolve my issue at least others are able to see and be forewarned that they can expect a similar level of service would they have a problem.