The Following Wars
It seems like every morning I log onto Twitter at the office there are people sharing blogs in my timeline with titles like, “Top 10 Social Media Gurus to Follow” or “The Best Celebrities to Follow on Twitter”. The local paper (The Florida Times Union) today even included a “Who to Follow on Twitter” piece in the sports section. Most of the blogs or articles are biased and semi-localized. The author wants their readers to follow who they like or do business with, benefitting their bottom line. Bloggers will share lame summaries of what the “celebrity” generally Tweets about; including famous Tweets that person might have shared in the past. How does this help me grow my brand online?
I am not trying to point fingers and call out other bloggers, I just want to stress this point: Social Media gives people the freedom to follow and share information with whomever they like and there is no one set of rules or guidelines that everyone must follow.
Twitter fits perfectly into this point; why am I going to follow @MarthaStewart if I think she’s a fraud and should still be in jail (an example not an opinion)? If I’m not into fashion, I probably won’t care about current events in that industry. You should follow people who share common ideas and common goals. The same goes with your actual Tweets; Tweet about your passions and likes so that your following is relating to what you have to say.
Twitter has plenty of users who are like the “used car salespeople” of social media. They push and try to sell hard but their messages are not received well because they have no context. These Twitter users’ message comes across like Ms. Othmar’s speech from the Peanuts comic series (Wua Wua Wua Wua). There is plenty of noise but nothing of substance is being acquired from it.
Sure social media “gurus” put together guides on how to Tweet, but does this stop people from being complete morons, like Rep. Anthony Weiner? I can sit here and tell you who to follow on Twitter and the reasons why I follow them, but the truth is unless you get on Twitter and build a following for yourself, the tool is useless. If I follow people who have nothing to say and rarely post, what do I get out of it?
If the only thing you seek is a large Twitter following; just spam people, post using trendy hashtags, and retweet stuff famous people say. If you wish to actually learn and engage with other users on Twitter, follow who you think you should follow. Find hashtags and topics being discussed that you want in on and add to the conversation.
You should never let someone tell you who to follow; find out for yourself and see if what that person is saying is worth your time. Yes, I do receive and sometimes use recommendations on Twitter, but I research what the users are saying before I chose to follow. If you follow and connect with people you consider being influencers, Twitter can become a great tool for you and your business.
Please share any comments or questions in the appropriate section below the post!