To follow back or not to follow back – that is the question

When working with clients and their Twitter accounts a question I have been asked on many occasions is “Should I follow everyone that follows me?” as much as I have pondered the question I have still not found my own definitive answer. However, the points below are always my starting point – let me know if you find them helpful.

Overall I am interested in the engagement level of my followers but I do also consider what I could benefit from their tweets, my idea of Twitter manners and then how to manage this.

Firstly … The “Bot” question – If I feel I have been followed by a “bot” (an account that has found me through software applications and not personally found me) I may thank them for their follow and ask them a question. Then I’ll wait to see if I receive a response. If they respond and I like what I see from their tweets why not follow back – they engage and I can learn something. If I receive no response this leaves me looking at their tweets for information. If their tweets are what I’m interested in I will follow the account back, but if it’s a double no (no reply and no interest) I don’t need their tweets on my timeline.

Saying “Thank you” – I am the sort of person who likes to say “Thank you” and I am interested in other people, that’s the social side to me. I use “thank you” and “you’re welcome” regularly so why would Twitter be any different. For me (and please feel free to disagree) following back Twitter accounts feels a polite way of saying thank you. As a business if someone has found your account and followed you would you want to follow back and give the same Twitter appreciation?

Timeline clutter – However, as much as I like to say Thank you to followers my timeline is very important to me, it keeps me entertained and as much as I use Twitter for business, some accounts I follow continue to keep my need for learning satisfied others, not so much! To continue to learn from my timeline I create lists. Using lists keeps relevant twitter accounts in a custom made, specific to me, timeline. Your main timeline will still provide updates from all the accounts you follow however, the lists will be more specific to your needs, the use of lists has helped me considerably with my personal and business accounts.

I don’t feel that there is a right or a wrong answer to the question and I believe it all depends on what sort of a Twitter user you want to be how you are using the account. My advice – do what feels right for you, set a date to review it and see if using your account in which ever way you have decided is working for your business.

As always let me know your thoughts and what you consider before you follow back (if you do!).

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