I recently read an article by Cardiff-based creative industries expert Neil Cocker in which he picked apart the Twitter strategy of one particular company. His complaint stemmed from their relentless following and unfollowing of his account - which he was alerted of by e-mail notifications.
This is one strategy employed by some users to gain more followers. Account owners will follow large numbers of accounts in the hope that some of these users will follow back. To stop the following to follower ratio from being too off, they will then use a site like FriendOrFollow.com to determine who isn’t following back. They then unfollow these users and begin the whole process again. This normally isn’t a problem, unless the same users start cropping up their target circle, and they are followed and unfollowed multiple times.
Cocker’s complaint stemmed from the lack of ‘social’ in this social media strategy; he compares social media to a dinner party scenario. At a dinner party, would you repeatedly approach the same person, say hello, demand that they talk to you, walk away, and then do the same thing in 10 minutes time? No! That would be annoying, so why is it any different in a digital environment?
Whether or not you agree with this strategy will depend entirely on your Twitter style; Twitter seems to be one of the social networks which divides opinion about best practices. So which one are you?
The Lurker – Not best practice for a business, as it won’t gain you much exposure, but it can be a good way to keep track of news and industry developments.
The Dabbler – Posts occasionally, but tends to re-tweet rather than posting original content.
The News Breaker – These are generally journalists, reporters and bloggers. They’re the authority in news and up-to-date information.
The Curator – Takes the news from various sources and compiles one feed which contains information about one focused topic.
The Socialiser - Uses @mentions more than the average user and tries to spark up conversation at every given opportunity.
The Celebrity – Not necessarily a celebrity by traditional standards, but on Twitter they’re considered A-list. They can tweet about anything and people will hang on every last character.