I’ve been asked a few times on whom corporate accounts should follow. The post below shares my thinking on a “Follow Policy” – hope that it’s helpful.
Early on, you have to follow people and hope they follow you back. So start slowly, follow industry folks who look like they follow back. Engage with them. Participate in industry specific hashtags, such as around events or #WirelessWednesday. (See: How to Use #WirelessWednesday to Connect with Wireless Industry on Twitter.)
Once your corporate account starts getting traction, you will mostly be following people back to reciprocate a follow. But, you may ask, why should corporate accounts follow anyone? Simple: (1) it shows respect and appreciation for the follow; (2) more importantly, it allows your follower to send you a direct message if they want to communicate something privately.
Here is @firetide’s “follow policy”:
We follow back:
- Customers, consultants, end-users who are involved with Firetide, use our products, or are researching our solutions
- Analysts, media and other ‘influencers’ (well, in most cases we had to follow them first).
- Folks in our industries/verticals, as evidenced by who they follow or their Twitter timeline.
- Accounts of our technology partners, potential partners or corporate accounts in adjacent markets (who knows when our paths may cross).
- We also give benefit of the doubt to accounts with small follower counts – they may be just starting out, and our follow will be a nice gesture.
When in doubt, I check to see which accounts they follow – for example, if they follow physical security or wireless accounts that I recognize, they get a follow back.
We don’t follow back:
- Social media consultants, news aggregators and other folks who already follow 3,000, 5,000 or more people. They are clearly fishing for followers. They may also be using automated follow software, so technically they don’t ‘follow’ follow you; something you posted might have tripped up the software’s algorithm.
- People with protected accounts – if they want their accounts private, no reason to follow them back.
- Spam accounts and twitter bots, for obvious reason.
- Competitors – if they wish to follow us, fine, but don’t expect a follow from us (we do maintain a private “competitors” list)
- Accounts that are clearly unrelated to anything with do, or that use Twitter as broadcasting medium only (often evidenced by all tweets being from Twitterfeed or another automated method).
Whom to unfollow:
- Accounts that don’t follow you back or that unfollowed you (“how could they!”) Hurt feelings aside, Twitter is a non-reciprocal social network, so if our tweets are not interesting to them, it stands to reason that we should part ways. If you really need to follow someone who is not following you back, put them on a private list and follow their tweets that way.
- Optional: unfollow “twitter-quitters” – accounts that have not posted in 1, 2 or 3 months, whatever seems right to you.
- Accounts that excessively tweet their Foursquare check-ins. This is a pet peeve of mine, so this may lead to an unfollow or being relegated to a less-frequently-checked list.
Twitter lists is another great topic for discussion; I will cover them in a future post.
For more posts on social media, see:
- Corporate Twitter for B2B: How to Create an Event Archive or Chat Transcript
- Primer on Twitter Chats
- Corporate Twitter for B2B: Getting Started
- Corporate Twitter for B2B: 12 Types of Compelling Content for Your Feed