Top Reasons I Follow Back on Twitter

VengresoStrategy & Leadership Top Reasons I Follow Back on Twitter

Top Reasons I Follow Back on Twitter

Let’s face it, the Twitterverse is made up of individuals and brands. While the branded Twitter accounts are staffed by people, the persona of each Twitter account is either an individual or a company or a brand. For example, General Motors has a branded Twitter account, and they also have product branded Twitter accounts.

Like you I receive new Twitter followers every day. When I plow through them, I usually make my decision to follow back (or not) in under 5 seconds. Here are the criteria I use to make my quick decision. I should point out that these are my criteria. I don’t suggest for a minute that these criteria should be yours. To each his or her own on follow back decision criteria.

I should also point out that my Twitter persona is mostly about marketing. I do very little personal tweeting. When I do it’s usually on the weekend when I may be watching a ballgame or something otherwise leisure related or an occasional random thought.

Why I Follow Back an Individual

Your Twitter account is visually appealing to me. You have more than one photo or you have a creative custom design that is unique. And, you look like an interesting or fun person I would want to meet in person. Age, gender or ethnicity do not affect my impression.

Your most recent tweet was recent (in the last 24 hours). People who don’t tweet daily are not of interest to me. Remember, these are my criteria. You may not share my follow back criteria.

Your tweets are relevant, interesting and they contain links to interesting content. Your tweets will somehow add value to me.

Your profile has a link to your blog or website. If you get my attention and I want to know more about you, you make it easy.

Your profile bio is descriptive. It paints a picture for me about who you are what you care about. It’s uniquely about you.

I get the impression (quickly) that if I met you at a dinner party, I would want to have a conversation with you.

You RT others and reply to others. The absence of either RTs or @ replies immediately tells me you’re using Twitter for one way communication.

You may use hashtags, though sparingly. This tells me you participate in Twitter conversations. This isn’t a huge factor, but I notice it.

Your follower to following ratio is greater than 1. For newer accounts (less than 1000 followers) I’m flexible on this if all other factors are compelling.

A scan of your Twitter home page generally communicates that you use Twitter conversationally, not as a promotional megaphone.

A sample individual Twitter account I like from @AmyMengel:

Why I Follow Back a Brand

The Twitter account design clearly communicates a message about the brand. Whether it’s a logo or other graphics, I get a quick understanding of the brand’s main message and persona.

The profile description clearly communicates the brand’s message and purpose. It contains a link to the website or blog where I can learn more about the brand.

When skimming the Twitter home page I see interesting content with links to more content. The tweets and links inform me, educate me or entertain me in some way.

If the brand offers promotional tweets, they are done tastefully, professionally and in a way that adds value.

The Twitter account is very transparent. You don’t B.S. me. You demonstrate interest in your followers.

You tweet with a human voice. If you’re a brand and you sound like a non-human, I’m not interested.

You engage your followers with @ replies and RTs.

If you get criticism you respond to it openly and swiftly.

You tweet daily.

A sample brand Twitter account I like: @Teddy’s Pride

Do you have other criteria you use when deciding to follow back individuals and brands? Share them below…


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Bernie Borges

Bernie Borges is CMO of Vengreso, the leader in digital sales transformation. He's also Host of the award winning Modern Marketing Engine podcast. His book Marketing 2.0, was an early playbook in social media strategy. Bernie is also a trainer and speaker. He has a passion for guiding clients in aligning marketing and sales for accelerated revenue results. Bernie enjoys kayaking with his family in Tampa Bay, going to hockey games and you'll find him at the gym at 6am Monday through Friday, rain or shine.

  • Bernie,
    I agree the decision to follow is personal and should be an individual process. Personally, let me explain what I do (note, readers, you want to know these things so you can address it on your end if you feel its an appropriate concern):

    First, I open a full page of new followers in tabs (right click / open in new tab) to line all my ducks up.

    Then, I go through this thought process:
    1) Do I understand your twitter name? If not, do I understand it once I see your profile? This is important to me because I want to be able to spot you in the stream later.

    2) Do you still have stock twitter info such as the starter icon for your avatar, an incomplete profile, no location info, no website info? If so, I really doubt I will follow, but there is still hope depending on your first page of tweets (I rarely click "more" to see more of your tweets here).

    3) Do you seem 'real'. Same gut check as if I meet you in person. If you look slick, overly toothy grin, quick to hand your business card, I probably wont like you. Similarly, your overall look affects me from graphics, name, recent tweets.

    4) How many tweets do you have? Then, on your first page of tweets, what is the content of those tweets? Those two correlate in my mind to the things you talk about, how often you use twitter, and a rough estimate of what you tend to tweet about. Fewer tweets and I'm usually more open minded because you might be new. Lots of tweets and I'm looking to figure out why you tweet so much and how I may be able to connect with you. If you have @replies to people I know, like and trust, I will likely follow immediately.

    5) If your website link is not and not Facebook or Linkedin, I will click it – always. The page I land on matters for about 3 seconds as to my plans to follow or not. If its really interesting, I will go ahead and delicious book mark it before I close that tab.

    6) Lastly, If you make me laugh, have a unique message in your profile, directly reflect me or my views or have some other "attractive" quality all bets are off and I may follow you on impulse because of the emotional response. We all want an emotional connection right? And if your profile delivers that in 5 seconds, "followed" even if you dont match my other criteria.

    For what it's worth, I don't mind selling messages and self promotional messages as long as its not every (other) tweet. I also don't mind chit chat because that tells me you are talking with folks, but since I'm on twitter for professional reasons I'm not likely to connect with you if I dont see the professional link (common interest, same specialties or uniquely different specialties, etc). Unlike Bernie, I don't typically care how often you tweet. I do care if you @reply and RT though. I don't have time to fill my screen with your clutter if you are not likely to respond (ever).

    The same criteria applies to brands and businesses as well.

    And because I have a bunch of tabs open at once, you really are just a number to me until we begin tweeting to each other. Many profiles prompt me to follow and immediately send an @reply to say hello. However, there is a great opportunity to get my attention if you'll just @reply me when you see I followed you back. So far, this rarely happens and I often wonder why you followed me in the first place. *sigh*

    Feel free to say howdy sometime!

    Justin McCullough

    • Justin,
      Your criteria are very personal to you as mine are to me. I agree with your point about the emotional connection. Sometimes you encounter someone with whom you feel a connection, all other criteria notwithstanding. Thanks for sharing your personal Twitter follow back criteria. They are very interesting. I enjoy being connected to you on Twitter.

  • Thanks for sharing your criteria and for highlighting my Twitter account! I try to keep things fun and marginally relevant. 🙂

    It's always interesting to see how different people approach Twitter follow backs.


    • Bernie Borges

      Your Twitter profile is a terrific example. That's why I chose to share it. Of course, these sentiments are mine. As I point out, everyone has their own reasons for following back.

  • FAQ

    I do very little personal tweeting. When I do it’s usually on the weekend when I may be watching a ballgame or something otherwise leisure related or an occasional random thought.

  • ekmuskan

    We follow all my followers. Follow at Trust of 3000+ Followers. 100% follow back and retweet all who mention us. Our Tweets related to Breaking News, Funny Jokes, Inspiration Quotes, Celebrirty News. Stay in touch and grow yr twitter by following and retweeting!!! ALWAYS KEEP SMILING….

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