To follow or not to follow

If you are trying to build your social media network on Twitter, you may wonder whether you should follow back people who follow you, not follow back, or only follow back a handful of people who follow you who you are truly interested in following.

The answer is that there is no answer.    It all boils down to what your social media goals are and your own personality.

It breaks down this way:

  • If you follow back everyone who follows to you, you will gain followers fast.    Some people (especially on Twitter) only follow to gain followers in return.   These followers are not typically engaged at all, they are just padding your overall numbers. That being said, ‘number padding’ does have some benefits, but not in terms of true reach and engagement.   There is also a school of thought that says it’s always polite to follow back those who take the time to follow you, but on Twitter I don’t necessarily believe this is so.   When a complete stranger follows you, there is no expectation of a follow back from anyone.  Twitter is fairly impersonal.
  • If you only follow back a few choice people, this will lead to moderate increases in followers. Many people who follow you will quickly unfollow you when you don’t reciprocate.  Others may be following you because they are truly interested in what you are posting.  This is the middle road approach, and has the benefits of growing your numbers and having a more engaged audience.
  • If you never follow back, it will be difficult to gain a large base of followers, but your engagement levels and influence will likely be higher.

There is no one right philosophy to employ, and no set etiquette in regards to following and following back on Twitter.




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