• http://twitter.com/juliaserafina Julia Serafina

    Thank you for
    addressing this topic.  I only joined the ranks of Twitter in August 2011,
    so I am still growing my community. However, I support the premise for an
    engagement strategy and follow the majority of people who connect with me.
     I also segment and add my followers to Lists as a way of quietly thanking
    them for their patronage.  And I notify my community of any #newfollowers,
    just as a person would introduce a new friend to an existing circle of friends.
    In my experience on Twitter, it is the little things – “micro-gifting
    “as you have mentioned  -  (e.g. those
    quiet behaviors or gestures of goodwill) that make a difference
    in building loyalty within a follower base. 

     

    Personally, I don’t
    place much weight on follower/following ratios or influence scores (Kred, Klout
    etc); and I think the notion of influence within the Twitterverse (or any
    social network for that matter) is rather superficial, if not a glorification
    of what is actually “perceived popularity” in many cases e.g.
    celebrities. It is only natural that Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber will attract
    huge followings without much effort on their part at all… so what?  I am also a huge Google fan but, they don’t
    follow me back.. sad.. but that is to be expected in a world where it is seen
    to be “cool”  if you are perceived as “somebody” or
    have something of interest e.g. expertise. 

     

    What really does it for me, the average
    everyday person, is when a big name brand does follow me back… and that’s
    when I become a true brand advocate…. arduously promoting that brand
    to my followers.  I think big brands should care about following back…it
    would certainly send a different message among the competition … and achieve
    a totally different result.

     

  • http://about.me/syednomanali Syed Noman Ali

    Yea that’s great and now it will become easy to me to find out real persons on twitter to follow back, Thanks man

  • http://www.brickmarketing.com/ Nick Stamoulis

    “I’d go as far as to say that a follow-back is a sort of gift — a microgift.”

    I think that’s a great way of looking at it. Following someone back is a small gesture of appreciation and the first step in building a stronger relationship with that person.

  • http://twitter.com/angewi AngelaW

    I have my own personal account and have got more involved with my work’s account recently, so rate myself as an enthusiastic newcomer. 

    Big brands following my personal account back, is a good “microgift”. I spot that they’ve done it and you can imagine my delight when (i) I tweet a comment about the brand, not expecting a response and I get a tweet back later that day, and (ii) my sheer joy when I ask a question or raise a concern and get it addressed. Twitter just makes it easier sometimes when I can’t make a ‘phone call or have time to trawl through a Q&A sheet.

    If in doubt at the very beginning of using Twitter, I’d probably follow everyone back and then check back after a couple of months and see who’s tweets I found myself sharing on or checking out, or who I’d added to a “must read” list. 

    I don’t think there’s a single right answer to this one, at least not yet :) 

  • http://dragonsearchmarketing.com/ Ric Dragon

    Thanks for the comment, Julia – and greetings to down under! Love the way you’re using Twitter. By the way; I tweeted out to all of the brands mentioned above – I didn’t hear from anyone, although @Pepsi did follow me :-)

  • http://dragonsearchmarketing.com/ Ric Dragon

    No, you’re right; no single right answer – and in the big picture, does it cause Google any harm if they aren’t following anyone?  But it’s in those infinitesimal flashes of good will that great brands can be built upon – and oof, if Google wants to “get” social, they might consider following!   Many thanks for weighing in, Angela – and not at all a ramble :-)

  • http://twitter.com/thecoffice Sam T @ The Coffice™

    I’m always fascinated by this seemingly puzzling and recurring issue brought about by social media — in this context, how its community managers should operate within it.

    Maybe I’m just naive because I haven’t reached the same explosive Twitter numbers or Facebook fans as some big brands or so-called Twitterati; so I couldn’t possibly know what it’s like to manage a community of tens of thousands of followers (Aspirations abound!).

    But wait! Isn’t that part of what community managers are supposed to do? Manage? And aren’t the social media ninjas, gurus, superhumans and samurais dealing with these numbers because of their expertise in building these communities?

    I’m not so sure I agree with the notion of a big brand or popular personality “gifting” followers/fans by a mere follow back. Frankly, I think it should be the other way around. Where would big brands or the Twitterati be were it not for the customers, clients, fans or just plain old people who follow them?

    Is it really that difficult — regardless of your current following or fan base — to set aside some time during the week (the month?!) to check out who’s clicked the “follow” button and…reciprocate?

    I’ll agree that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution here. For what it’s worth, I try not only to check Twitter bios of new followers as often as possible — I also do a quick scan of their main feeds to see if they’re human, and if they are there to have conversations (<~putting the "social" in social media!) instead of just padding their own numbers.

    Is that wrong? Pie in the sky 2.0? Not for me.

    I'm pretty approachable IRL. Just ask Brandie (quoted above). I'll try really hard to incorporate that essence into my online personality as well, whether it's me you're engaging with or The Coffice. I want to know who you are and why you've given ME the gift of wanting to follow/know me.

    If that's naiveté or Pie in the Sky 2.0 or the delusions of someone with a modest social media presence, I think I'm okay with that.

    Thanks, Ric, for writing about this. Before today I never really gave it a thought. (Long written rants don't scream "fixation" do they?)

    Sam Title
    Chief Executive Cofficer
    The Coffice
    Twitter.com/TheCoffice
    Facebook.com/TheCoffice

  • http://twitter.com/BrandonEgley Brandon Egley

    As a community manager for a company called GO Outdoors, we try to follow back, it helps with conversation I find, and it gives the customer a sense of loyalty (most a surprised when you even tweet back to them, such is the environment brands currently ooze on twitter)

    These people’s tweets could be valuable, after all they’re your customers, not following just means you aren’t listening.

    Brands who don’t respond to fans are the worst, ive encountered a few personally. More than willing to retweet a compliment but won’t answer a question or respond to a complaint. 

  • http://alameenhospital.com/ Moin Shaikh

    Thanks Ric, enjoyed your guide. At the moment, i am working as a social media strategist and analyst and soon be promoting to community manager role. Your guide has provided me some insights on the roles of perfect and effective community manager. Thank you again

  • http://www.wecometoyouwithcash.com/ Kevin

    I go the route of searching twitter for keywords and looking for completely active users. If they tweet once a week I skip them. If you get a good couple hundred of active followers they will RT like crazy which helps grow your list of followers.

  • http://twitter.com/ImagFusion Imaginative Fusion

    We are a small publishing company, and we follow a lot of musicians and other “high profile” people and companies so we can keep in touch with what they are up to. It is unfortunate to think that potential followers would not follow us because our follower/following ratio looks off balance. We certainly don’t expect everyone we follow to reciprocate, but when they do, it is nice. Thanks for an interesting post!   @imagfusion:twitter