How often have you heard the argument that not following back everyone who follows you is ’snobby’ and ‘arrogant’?
(It’s not, and you shouldn’t listen to anyone who tells you so. You have a right to choose who you follow and don’t follow.)
Following everyone back has other benefits, though – and this is coming from someone who used to be a die-hard proponent of only following a smaller group of people who you know and admire.
Following everyone back helps you to create stronger relationships with the people who care about what you do online. Any marketer will tell you that relationships are the key to success. Even if you’re just using Twitter for the fun of it, relationships and getting to know fantastic people are what makes it rewarding.
But what if you don’t want to miss out on tweets from your favorite Twitter users?
In this post, I’m going to show you how to have your cake and eat it too. You can follow everyone while still keeping close tabs on your favorite Twitter users.
Having a strategy in place for doing this is important, because following back hundreds or even thousands of people can drastically change the way you experience Twitter. If you don’t do it in a controlled way, it can spoil your experience.
Instead of reading tweets from a smaller group of people you know, like and respect, you will instead be receiving tweets from virtually anyone and everyone who takes an interest in you. This often includes people who tweet in languages you don’t speak or about topics you’re not interested in. It will certainly include a few spammers.
When following back everyone, you will also not be able to read every tweet on your timeline if you have a lot of followers. Your Twitter client can only display so many at once, so you will start to miss the tweets of your favorite Twitter users.
Despite some of the negatives, the positives of following back everyone who follows you are significant, and I believe they make it worth it. Here are just a few:
- Your follower count will increase much more quickly. I didn’t believe it would have this effect at first, but when I want from following 200 people to over 2,000 people, my follower count began to go up much faster than ever before. There are a lot of Twitter users who build their follower account one at a time, often by following people who they know will follow them back. Some of your fans will be part of this group. You might argue that someone who only follows for this reason is not actually interested in you, but you now have the chance to transform them into a fan with your valuable tweets. I have to thank Twitter jedi Roger Byrne for convincing me to give this a try.
- Quality of engagement with your Twitter followers trumps quantity. Twitter is an incredible platform to strengthen relationships with people who are interested in you. If you’re selling something, here’s your chance to create relationships that will lead to sales. If you want your tweets or content to go viral, here’s your chance to create an army of supporters by helping them like you more.
- People feel more positively towards you when you follow them. Have you ever felt a buzz when someone you admire follows you back on Twitter? That’s how you can make other people feel by following them back.
- Get a priceless birds-eye view of who you attract online. Anyone building a personal brand online can learn so much by following everyone back. You’ll learn what your fans are interested in, what they’re worried about, what they really want from you.
- Get to know fascinating people. This is my favorite part. Through following back all my followers, I’ve got to know some very cool people I would not have discovered otherwise. Aside from the fun factor, you’ll often discover people who can give great feedback, answer your questions and provide skills that you need.
How do you keep it together?
Note: This method utilizes TweetDeck because I think it’s the best client for managing a lot of follows. This is because it separates @ replies and DMs from the main timeline, meaning it’s much easier to keep track of them. TweetDeck’s group function is also key to this method.
Using TweetDeck, click the ‘Group’ button in the menu bar. Give your group a name, then add everyone you are currently following to that group. This is where you preserve your current Twitter experience. I would actually recommend copying and pasting this list of usernames and keeping it in a safe place, so if you ever have a problem with TweetDeck you can still recreate this special collection of users.
Next, log into your account and follow back everyone who follows you. Your ‘All Friends’ TweetDeck column will now show the updates for all your followers, but if you widen the TweetDeck window, you will also see a column displaying tweets from only the people you actively chose to follow.
You can add users on the fly to your group by clicking the [+] beneath their tweets (and next to their username) in TweetDeck. If you want to add the user before waiting for a tweet to appear, search their username with the ‘Twitter Search’ button in the TweetDeck menu bar.
As I hope you can see, this method lets you use Twitter to keep tabs on a select number of sources while also engaging with all of your followers. Most importantly, it will help you create stronger relationships with the people who care about what you do online. Best of all, you can do it while still preserving the Twitter experience you know and love.