How do you decide who to follow on Twitter?

by Mack Collier

Originally posted on Search Engine Guide

In yesterday’s post, I looked at some ways that I have used to get more followers on Twitter.  Now I wanted to spin it around and look at some of the criteria I have for who I decide to follow on Twitter.

Let’s say I’ve just clicked on an email notification from Twitter that someone has followed me.  I click on the link and here’s what I am looking for when I check out their profile:

1 – Their ratio of followers to people they are following.  If I see it’s about 1:1, that’s good, but if I see that they are following 14,000 people and only have 237 following them back, that’s a HUGE red flag.

2 – I check their bio.  I’m hoping to get some sense of who they are and what they do.

3 – I check their avatar.  Yes, a real pic of a real person matters.

4 – I check their most recent tweets.  Specifically, I look for how many replies they have left.  This gives me an idea of how they are using Twitter.  If I see no replies on their profile, that tells me they are probably just on Twitter to broadcast (promote their own content with no/little desire to interact with other members).  I prefer to follow people that are interested in conversing on Twitter.

5 – I check their location.  I am currently trying to follow more people from Alabama and the South, so if their profile says this is where they are located, that’s a plus.

Now what about people that I decide to follow that didn’t follow me first?  How do I find these people?

The quickest way for me to follow you is if I see someone that I am following talking to you.  If you are engaging my friends in conversation, that’s a wonderful way to get my attention, and it’s like an ‘endorsement’.  Also, if you reply to me, that gets my attention, and makes it far more likely that I will want to follow you.

The bottom line is that I want to follow people that are on Twitter to interact with other people.  That’s how *I* use Twitter, you might have another system for picking the people you follow, and there’s nothing wrong with that, in fact it’s one of the beauties of social media, that there are so many different ways that we can all use these tools, based on our own needs.

What do you look for when deciding who you follow on Twitter?

Lisa February 3, 2010 at 8:15 am

Hi Mark,

Great article!

What about brands that are successful using Twitter without a “real person avatar”, for example http://twitter.com/sobeworld or http://twitter.com/vitaminshoppe?

What are your thoughts?

I believe there is no right or wrong way to use Twitter, but agree that you have to provide value and participate in conversation. However, I think you can also promote when done properly.

Regarding the ratio.. I have mixed thoughts on that. What if I’m a listener? In other words I’m using Twitter to find information and follow topics and people who interest me, but don’t necessarily produce content (no blog). I often RT articles I find interesting.

@ldsdesign

Lisa February 3, 2010 at 8:17 am

Sorry, Mack! I keep wanting to call you Mark.

JustLinda August 26, 2012 at 10:27 pm

Yeah, yeah, I’m replying to an old post here, but I very much agree with you. I don’t like it when it feels like an echo chamber… I want the interactivity. Often times, I’m struggling to get it. Trying to ramp up my “give” in order to “get”. Which means sometimes I’m just randomly replying to people I follow and they’re probably like “Who in the world is this chick?” LOL Hey, gotta strike up the conversation somehow. I’m in it for the fun and shenanigans, the connection. And oh, if you want to click to my blog, great. But I’d much rather trade quips and have a laugh, too.

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