How many people follow you on Twitter? Hundreds? Thousands? But what do you really know about your followers?
Have you sat down to think about what your business objectives for your Twitter feed? To gain as many followers as possible, or would you prefer a smaller number of more engaged users? The obvious answer is the latter, but how many of us fall into the trap of gauging the success of our Twitter feed by the number of followers – more than would probably care to admit it! In a world that is run by numbers, it’s an easy trap to fall into…
We’re all guilty of it – lots of us are probably constantly checking how many followers we have on Twitter to see if it’s increased or decreased but how many of us dive in a little deeper by actually go into our followers list to see who is following us rather than just focusing on that magic follower count? I rarely do. I have to admit that it’s not very often that I use Twitter’s own interface in order to read and post tweets, as I prefer to use Hootsuite to keep on top of the different accounts I manage. Whilst this is a great tool for multi account management, it does make it difficult to keep track of your new followers and welcome them with open arms.
On Facebook (and LinkedIn for that matter), I am fiercely private. I will only accept ‘Friend Requests’ from people who I genuinely feel comfortable sharing the details of my personal life with. If I am not talking to you in the real world, stop sending me friend requests on Facebook – it’s never going to happen. Then there’s always that awkward moment when your boss sends you a friend request. Do you really want them to know what you’ve been up to at the weekend? But the all important question is, will they get offended if you ignore or block them? It’s a classic social media dilemma – to friend or not too friend.
I manage my privacy settings quite actively, as there are some people that it is really handy to follow for work purposes, but I don’t want them getting all of my updates and seeing private photos. I have lists and manage them on a regular basis to keep a firm hand on who sees what. Of course, you shouldn’t ever post anything on Facebook that you wouldn’t want everybody knowing – especially as it’s been reported time and time again that prospective employers really do look through prospective employees Facebook profiles before making that all important job offer.
Think about what a great impression you’re making with all of those posts about how boring your job really is or your finest moment caught on camera when you were drunk last weekend. It is all the more important to think before you post with the introduction of Timeline, as what you were out doing last year, can still be seen today, even if you have had a massive lifestyle change since your uni days!
My point is, that as much as I monitor who is following my posts and how much I want them to see, the same cannot be said for my Twitter account. Is this purely because anyone can follow my tweets without asking my permission? I know that I can make it a private account but I use Twitter in a very different way to Facebook. Facebook is the private me, Twitter is the professional me. Surely, my online professional reputation should be as important, if not more so, than my private one. In my head, yes, but in practice, I rarely see who is following my tweets, although I am always checking my follower count!
Why is this? Shouldn’t I be more concerned that the right people are following me, so that my tweets are reaching the right type of people? Absolutely. In practice though, I am sometimes more grateful that someone is interested in what I have to say rather than who is hearing it!
I really started to think about this during a conversation I was having with my husband regarding his new Twitter account for his own freelance business. His freelance business has a very different client base to his day-to-day job, so he set up a new account in attempt to establish himself within the online world in a completely different sector. In order to try and build his followers, he started following only those on Twitter within the industry or with similar keywords, in the hope that this type of clientele would follow him back. He then sat back and waited for the numbers to rise – a much smarter approach if you ask me.
In the offline business world, we consider a few, dedicated business leads to be invaluable, rather than a client list of hundreds – very few of which will ever invest in your product or service. I’d rather have one paying client that I actively engage with, rather than hundreds that don’t really pay attention to anything I’m saying – or tweeting.
I now pay close attention to my followers for all my accounts, to make sure that I am sending the right message to the right people. If too many people follow my tweets that I have no idea why they are in that list, I adjust my strategy. After all, I’d rather be talking to someone who listens to what I have to say and is relevant to my business rather than someone that just nods politely when they are really switching off.
So in conclusion, the point of this post is to emphasise that numbers are not everything – it’s the quality of your followers that really counts.
This is a guest post brought to you by Stacey Hedge who runs Hedge Consultancy – a consultancy business specialising in advising small business in their online, digital and social media marketing.
We’re constantly on the look out for contributors to guest post on Ladies That Tweet – so if you’ve got something to say and fancy using our blog as a platform to get your point out there, then get in touch!