How I Decide Whether to Follow You on Twitter

January 29, 2012

This video was originally part of my new social media course, Make Your Own Luck. (That course, by the way, starts March 5. A third of the spots are taken, so if you want one, sign up now!)

But then I realized this would be helpful to many of you, too. So consider this your #MYOL freebie!

Why should you care how I decide whether to follow people on Twitter?

For one, because it might give you ideas for what to look for when you decide whether to follow someone. But more importantly, it will help you learn how other people are scrutinizing your profile before deciding whether to follow you, which means you can tweak your profile accordingly. And those are the tweaks that will help you gain more followers and grow your network.

(If you don’t have time to watch this six-minute video, check out the summary at the bottom. And if you can’t see the video because you’re viewing this in an RSS feed, click here to watch.)



Summary: How I Decide Whether to Follow You on Twitter

Here’s what I look at on your profile before clicking “follow” or clicking away:

Followers-to-following ratio: Your “followers” number should be higher than your “following” number. In other words, you should have more followers than people you’re following. The bigger the difference between these two numbers, the more likely it is that you’re interesting. (There are exceptions, which I explain in the video.)

Lists: People will include you on their lists if you consistently offer valuable tweets. I look for your “lists” number to be about 10 percent (or more) of your “followers” number. Of course, this isn’t a number that can be improved overnight, which is why it’s such a good measure of whether I should follow you.

Bio: Are you interesting? Might we have something in common?

Last three tweets: If I’m just looking at your side-bar profile (what comes up when I click your @handle) and not your entire stream, I’ll only see your last three tweets. Those are a good measure of what you tweet about. Are the tweets valuable? Do they include links and @mentions?

@mentions: If your last three tweets are all informational and no interaction, I might click over to your profile to see whether you have any @replies in your stream. I’m on Twitter to interact and make friends, so I usually don’t want to follow anyone who doesn’t have @replies in their stream (exceptions: news organizations, celebrities, etc.).

Of course, if you’re someone I really want to connect with — say, an editor or publisher or simply someone who shares similar interests — I’ll follow you even if you don’t meet this criteria.

Questions?

Want to learn how to use social media to make connections that will help you reach your goals? Check out my new course, Make Your Own Luck.

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