On September 2nd, Chris Brogan unfollowed all 131,000 of his Twitter followers. (As of now, he’s following 376 people and 191,010 people are following him.) Why did he decide to delete all of his followers and start over? Spam. He was receiving over 200 direct message spams a day. Chris is referring to this as the “The Great Twitter Unfollow Experiment of 2011”. Now this may sound a bit drastic but we’ve all heard stories of people who have deleted their Twitter accounts and started all over again for similar reasons. So what went wrong and how can you and I avoid getting into a similar predicament? What sort of Twitter strategy should we implement?
Attaining Value from Social Media – Both Online and Face-to-Face
Okay, we’ve talked about this one before. Think of networking in real life. Opportunities can range from small intimate gatherings to large convention halls and multi-location events. Just think of the din. To be heard, a speaker needs a microphone, speakers – an entire audio system to get our attention.
Then there are break-out sessions where we get to meet and exchange ideas with smaller groups of people. These may be people we know or possibly someone we just met. Unless there is some common bond, whether it be a shared interest, an exchange of information or some other connection, it probably won’t be a long conversation. I know if I’m paying to attend a seminar or conference and I don’t find the session to be valuable, I move on. Even if there is no fee, my time is my currency. I attend conferences to learn something new and make mutually beneficial connections with other like-minded business people
So, what makes online social media sites different?
Let’s Talk About Twitter.
I’ve heard a lot of people complain about Twitter because of the noise. It is noisy. I for one can’t possibly keep up with all the tweets but I do value Twitter for the way that I use it. (I’ve mentioned before that Twitter is consistently my number one source of referral traffic.) I have a strategy for using Twitter and have never take the medium lightly.
I use Twitter to keep connected with the community of bloggers that I belong to and I make every effort to only follow people who bring value to me. It may not always be related to blogging or business strategy (which are my niches). I try to follow people with a broad range of interests. I do make a conscious effort to share valuable information as well as fun “stuff”. After all, I want people who follow me to find value in my tweets.
What About Automatically Tweeting Other People’s Stuff?
If I was simply RT’ing other people’s “stuff” and my readers don’t find it interesting (if I’m not interested in it), I could risk losing followers. Sure, I use Twitterfeed to automatically tweet new posts for a select group of bloggers. I know each one of these bloggers and count them as friends. They comment here. I comment on their blogs and they all have me in their Twitterfeeds too – not because we made a deal or because we feel obligated to each other. I’m in their Twitterfeed for the same reasons they’re in mine. We value the quality of the information that we share and the content brings value to our readers.
How Do You Build a Community?
A while back, I wrote a post titled “2 Steps to Stalking the Popular Kids and Getting More Traffic”. In that post, I talked about getting on the radar screen of bloggers who are popular with the same readers who I want to reach. Notice that I didn’t say be seen by bloggers with huge followings? Well some of the bloggers that I reached out to did have large numbers of followers but I could see by their interactions that these were true followers that they were connected with. These bloggers had hundreds of comments on their posts and there was a conversation going on. Part of my strategy to build awareness of my blog was to engage some of these select bloggers in the hope that they would like my blog, like me and start sharing my posts. (It seems to be working. :).)
What’s your strategy for social media like Twitter? Do you take the time to check out someone’s profile before you follow them? Do you look at their tweets? Anyone out there have a Twitter account that you feel is so out of control that it really may be time to abandon it or start anew?