Monday, June 27, 2011

TFF: The Twitter Follow Formula

After being in social media strategy for some time I’ve developed a formula to decide who I follow on Twitter. And although it is not as precise as say the formula for getting a rocket into outer space it works for me to determine the most relevant and useful Twitter accounts to follow.

So here is the Twitter Follow Formula (or TFF):

If the answer to all (or at least half) of the following questions is “Yes” then the account is a good fit and likely worth your time to follow:

The bio mentions key words relevant to your interests: Yes, some people put words in their bios just to fill them out, but if there is a bio (and if there isn’t I, for one, will not follow that account) it is the first stop on your checklist.

More than half of the most-recent 20 tweets look interesting: The number might vary for you, but if I see that a majority of tweets are about relevant and interesting stuff it helps me decide.

The Follower-Following ratio is not lopsided: The ratio you find “lopsided” will vary but for me if the account is following 20 percent or more accounts than it has followers it tells me one of three things: The account is a “Twitter newbie,” a “Twitter broadcaster” or a “Twitter incompetent.” Any may be a reason not to follow.

The Follower-Tweet ratio is not high: There is no real science here, but if someone has more than three or four tweets for each follower they likely are talking a lot (OK), on auto-tweet (not OK) or just on Twitter to broadcast sales or other messages (definitely not OK).

The account is run by a person: Yes, brands and companies can have Twitter accounts, but I’m just not that interested, usually, in talking to a faceless account. How can I tell? The avatar is a logo or product picture (or worse the “Twitter egg”). The types of tweets are also an indicator: Any account talking about its own products and services too much is there for one reason only.

The account is geographically relevant: In other words its based near you (great for meet-ups in real life) or is based somewhere else on the planet that you have a high interest in. Oh, and note to some: If you say your location is “the world” or “everywhere” I won’t believe you and I won’t follow you. Be genuine.

The hunch or everything just feels right: The least scientific part of the formula is just the sense I get that the account is “for real.” This is based on my belief that our intuition is our sub-conscious trying to tell us something based on all our previous experiences. If anything at all doesn’t seem quite right I stay away.

Because there are seven elements I consider it’s relatively easy to know that I have satisfied a majority of the points. Should the answer to all of them be “yes”? Of course, but on occasion I will follow an account that meets only five of these criteria because I have a sense that the person, for example, is a newbie but shows great promise as a useful member of the Twitter family.

So, when it comes to social media strategy on Twitter how does this list stack up to select people to follow? I’d love to have your input.

Possibly related posts:
Twitter 101 Day 1: Why are you on Twitter?
Twitter 101 Day 2: How will you use Twitter?
Twitter 101 Day 3: Who will you be on Twitter?
Twitter 101 Day 4: When will you be on Twitter?

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