Who you follow on social media

In my previous post I went into some detail on the importance of narrowing your focus in identifying who you want to attract to your social media community. I highlighted the importance of knowing who that is, not just to ensure that your community is relevant, but so that you have a persona to visualize when you're posting. You have an idea of who you're talking to. This post goes into the other side of community. Not who follows you, but who you follow, and it's impact on content.

Who do you follow on social media?

Many firmly believe in the "follow me and I'll follow you" policy. If you're among them, how does this policy affect your news feed on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and Pinterest? The challenge is this: who we follow affects the information we receive. It does not necessarily translate into information we want and need. Who you follow defines the information (posts) you get to:

  1. Share with your followers, to reinforce the value of your offering
  2. Learn, get ideas and tools to continuously enhance your offering
  3. Motivate yourself, and your followers, tough days

If you're following everyone who follows you, is your news feed focused enough to deliver on these areas? Probably not.

How does this affect those who follow you?

Truth: It actually diminishes your effectiveness online. This happens because you may:

  1. Get distracted by the wide range of topics on your news feed.
  2. Share inconsistent content due to the readily available distracting content.
  3. Miss important posts from clients or prospects amidst the 'noise'.

How does this affect your followers? Here are some perspectives, based on your above reactions:

  1. Long periods of silence, when you're overwhelmed by distraction.
  2. Apparently random, unfocused, messaging, when posts are inconsistent.
  3. Ignored or delayed responses to questions, posts and mentions.

These are just a few of the main impacts of the "follow those who follow me" policy.

Suggested follow philosophy and etiquette

If you agree with, or have experienced, these situations, then perhaps you need a more focused social media follow policy, or philosophy. I promise you that, just as it is not poor etiquette to:

  • Spend time and energy on the 20% of tasks that reap 80% of your rewards,
  • Avoid speaking to strangers or those who make you uncomfortable,
  • Make more time for important people in your life than you do for others,

Despite the hype, it is not poor etiquette to follow only those who provide information that you want and need. What information do you want and need? 

In an earlier post, I disclosed my philosophy as my Twitter philosophy, but this applies across the board for my social media communities. Let me know if it helps you establish yours! 

What has your experience been?