I love twitter personally but you have to want to embrace the medium. It can be used badly or it can be used in very valuable ways. It’s just like joining a chamber of commerce, you get out of it what you put into it, Many people don’t feel comfortable with it because to them it’s still so new, many people are still afraid of the computer let alone email, so this is a giant leap for them.
What I say to them is if they want to know about it and use it correctly, lurk and learn, lurk and learn, its very much like standing at the edge of a room filled with people and watching the people that know how to network and being observant and learning from them.
I do recommend though even if you NEVER post a tweet, go in and grab your business name if it’s available and put a short bio in and link to your website if you have one. Many people also use it and it’s applications as a directory, it’s free so you should take advantage of it and also so someone doesn’t take your name and start using it themselves.
Why I follow people on twitter and why I don’t follow some people back…….
When someone follows me the first place I go is onto their twitter page and check to see what their page looks like. (I used to check obsessively as soon as I got the email in my inbox, now I check in the morning or at the end of the day or if I happen to be on twitter at the time)
- Do they have a picture of themselves or their business?
- Do they have a link to their website or blog?
- Do they have a realistic bio or is it all about me, me, me, and do they have the word “expert” or “guru” or “media master” or “media maven” in their twitter profile? To me this is an automatic no follow back. What are they writing about in their twitter stream?
- Are they conversing with others?
- Are they just promoting themselves?
- Is all they talk about their business and how wonderful they are?
I follow people that converse with others, have interesting or funny things to say, point out links that I generally find interesting. This is not to say that every tweet needs to be one of the three, everyone sticks in a, “had a great cup of coffee this morning”, “it’s a windy day”, “arrgghh got the blue screen of death on my computer from a hardware problem this morning.“ (this was me several days ago)
There are those that tweet that don’t interact with others and I usually will not follow them unless they are really really amusing, they happen to be talking about a project I am in interested in following or they are someone that I value the information they put out. In my twitter travels as I read the stream of tweets of people I am following, I will follow further some of the conversations of people, so if a tweet from @chrisbrogan to @some-one-else seems interesting I will follow it over to the person that it originated from and then take a peak at their info and their twitter stream, if it’s interesting or relevant I will probably follow them.
In the beginning on twitter, I followed back everyone that followed me, I have since then starting weeded out the people I follow, there were quite a few internet marketing “experts” and “gurus” and after having their “how to make more money using Twitter” tweets get to be more then one or so a day I hit the unfollow button.
I will also unfollow anyone instantly that the moment I follow them back who sends me an instant DM to my email, “get 1000 followers on twitter in 24 hours” “how to get rich using twitter” yada yada yada yada.
There are some people I follow on twitter that will probably never follow me back and that’s ok with me, they are either industry leaders in the hospitality field or the online and offline marketing fields and there are a couple that I follow just because they are interesting, @doshdosh or @Jason_Pollock for example.
I still don’t know why some people follow me, some I think (I hope) are actually interested in what I have to say, some I think find me from the twitter directories and hopefully they find me sticky enough they keep following me. Some are people using all the latest fad tools for twitter, get 1000s of follows etc etc. This might be of interest if I was still in grade school, “I have more followers then you, nah nah nah nah nah, wedgie anyone?” But whats the real point of this? @doshdosh wrote an amazing article about this http://www.doshdosh.com/twitter-marketing-mass-follow-users/
I usually end up with between 10 or so new followers per day, I check out all of them and occasionally will follow one back, some things honestly are a turn off for me, if they rant about religion, if they are real estate people (sorry nothing real personal about this) or if they have absolutely nothing in common with me, keep in mind I look at their twitter stream, their bio and a website or blog if they have one.
I might follow a trekkie or a Firefly fan because it might be a common interest or that they talk a lot about some of the sc-fi/mystery/suspense writers I like to read or because I feel they could be a useful business contact down the road.
Many people friend as many people as possible just because they think it’s cool to follow lots or have lots of people following them. They do the follow you, you follow them back and then they un-follow you so it looks like they are popular. Some are sticky but about 70% will un-follow you (some automatically) if you don’t follow them back with-in 24 hours.
I hope and think that ultimately the people who use twitter for business will start to really concentrate on quality over quantity, granted I think it’s really neat that I have 823 people following me, but of those, how many of them are quality followers, ones that listen and find what I have to say interesting. I know the ones that @ me and I @ back will probably stay in my long term network for awhile to stay and at a quick guess realistically I would put that around 200 or so, that’s actually not too bad considering so far.
I have made about 50 plus business contacts in the last few months that I know will be of future use to me and have already developed off-twitter follow ups with most of them. I’ve also gotten several clients from it and more that are possible eventually.
Since twitter is free and if you compare it to a business association you have to pay for and for which you are limited by geography, it’s a great tool to take advantage of. In terms of a being both an observer and an player in this game called twitter, I am amazed daily by both the applications, the innovations and uses people are finding for it.
I hope twitter is here to stay for a long while and I look forward to seeing where it’s going, but if it does go away at some point, I have to say so far, I have greatly enjoyed the ride.