If Susie Asked You To Jump Off a Bridge, Would You?
If you're like me, you heard this from your parents all the time. It was my mom's standard response when I wanted to do something she didn't want me to do, and I told her that "Susie's" mom let her do it. Sound familiar?
Let's apply the same logic to Twitter. Would you follow someone on Twitter just because they asked you to? Or just because they are following you. I think not, and let me tell you why.
Since I started Twittering, and recommended that you consider Twittering too, I have received a lot of questions from people asking me if they should follow someone on Twitter just because that person is following them.
Of course it's socially courteous to return a follower's follow with a follow of your own. But if like me you are Twittering for business, it may not be the best thing for you to do. Just like you wouldn't follow Susie if it wasn't good for you to do so, you shouldn't follow someone on Twitter just because they ask you or because they are following you.
You should follow someone on Twitter because it's good for your business.
Here's how I determine whether to follow someone on Twitter.
1. Your profile must include a relevant graphic or photo
If you are reading my blog, then like me, you Twitter mainly for business reasons. If you don't care enough to update your Twitter profile with a graphic of some kind, then I won't follow you. I want to follow a professional business person or a business brand. I don't want to follow the ugly brown and blue Twitter default "thingy."
2. You must have to have something interesting to say
If you Twitter now and then about your baby's first steps or your dinner out at a great seafood restaurant, that's OK. But I don't want to follow every single life step you take. Save your personal Twitter profile for that.
As a business person, I want to follow you if you have interesting and helpful things to say from a business, lifestyle or financial perspective. You launched a new product, updated your website, want to share an interesting blog post or news article, or you found a great new free online tool to use for your business.
I don't mind reading about your walk in the park on a lovely spring afternoon now and then, but mainly, I want to know about your business and how we can connect around it for our mutual benefit. If you don't Twitter about such things, then I'm not a good follow target for you.
3. You must Twitter regularly
This one is simple. Social networking follows the same logic online as it does in our physical lives. If you're supposed to meet me for lunch every Monday, but you never show up, I'm going to stop looking for you. I'm going to set up lunch dates with other people.
It's the same with Twitter. If I am following you, then you have to show up.
I talk with a lot of people who join Twitter, and immediately set out the get as many people to follow them as possible. That's good, but if you are not Twittering, what's the point? If I follow you, but you're not showing up, I'm going to stop following you.
Consider this example. If we were at a networking conference and you were sitting at a table saying nothing, I may come over and greet you. We may exchange business cards. But if you don't say anything, I'm not going to hang around long.
The same thing goes on Twitter — and any other social networking site for that matter. If you don't participate in a meaningful way, don't expect people to hang around you.
So that's what I think.
What about you?
Do you follow everyone who follows you on Twitter? What do you think of my criteria? Inquiring minds want to know.
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