Do you need to have more followers than anyone else in your network? Do you follow everyone indiscriminately, chasing the holy grail of having more followers than your colleagues and friends?
Be honest – Are you a twitter hoarder?
If you are – hold your head high – you are not alone! I am a reformed twitter hoarder. When I first started tweeting – I got a rush out of how many new followers I had – checking each day, not caring about the bio of the person/entity following. It was all about size, baby.
I built my hoard one follower at a time. Then someone asked me – Why? Why not just didn’t seem to work anymore.
Does Size Matter?
The Quantity Argument
A client of mine has over 120,000 followers over 4 accounts. She wanted a big following so we set her up with software so she can auto-follow and manage her follower base. As a result, she has a smoking collection of affiliates tweeting 100% URLs linked to their sales accounts, questionable health sites and even more questionable escort services…
and…she also has a very large following that is within her target market. When asked, she does not feel for a moment that the “type” of account reflects on her company in any way. In fact, she dismisses that notion immediately. The result is that my client gets over 80% of her company leads from twitter. The strategy works for her.
The Quality Argument
Another client would be *horrified* to have any questionable content even remotely associated with his company and won’t follow back any entity that is an obvious affiliate or has content that he feels besmirches his twitter stream. He even deletes followers who don’t fit with his vision.
There are many who will agree with him – there is a lot of spam out there. Affiliates and marketers use twitter to drive traffic to their sales sites, increase click throughs and boost their organic search. But if it didn’t work for them – they wouldn’t do it. It’s really that simple.
The point is – having a strategy, a reason behind your tweets and who you want to follow you matters. And it is ok to be a Twitter hoarder if it works for you. Really. The quantity versus quality argument has to be tested and no one can tell you what will work for you. You have to make a decision for yourself and work it.
Quality versus Quantity?
When I first started, my strategy was to figure out how to tweet without hurting myself or anyone else and not make a fool of myself! Then I had my “aha” moment. First of all – I am who I am – what I tweet and my responses are real – they are me! And, yes, I could follow back everyone. But my stats told me that the re-tweets of my blog posts were coming from the tweeters who were “like” me. And their networks were like them – and so on and so on.
So I switched tactics. I follow people who are “like” me. Does my twitter account grow like crazy? No – but I have a good size following who send me notes and questions. And I like being engaged with the management consulting community on twitter and social media community in general. I answer all the DMs that are not spammy and will talk to pretty much anyone.
Who I Follow and Why
I made a decision that works for me. If you are a business professional or are in the management consulting field who responds, tweets your own opinions and has some value that I think others will respond to – I follow you – it is like a tip of the hat for good work!
If you use your account to tweet 90% URLS to your own site or are tweeting quotes from others – chances are, I won’t follow unless your content is really high quality.
Does size matter? Like all things in life – it depends – what works for you?
What do you think? Let me know!
Terry Rachwalski is a Victoria, BC based certified management consultant and tweetaholic. Her company, Front Porch Perspectives does business development for technology firms including web and social media strategies for new product launch. She is a partner in the Tartan Group a leading international tourism public relations firm.