Sunday, April 28, 2013

My Twitter Follow-Back Policy

Most people are on Twitter either to learn or to promote, or both.
I follow everybody back on Twitter except for three kinds of folks.
  1. People who aren’t people.
  2. The people who tell me I can get 10,000 followers like they did and then you click through to their profile and you find that they have only 189 followers. Hmmm. How’s that working out for you?
  3. Creeps. Obvious creeps. I’m a kid book writer. No creeps. I don’t follow creeps and I don’t want creeps following me. That’s creepy.
 Who to follow
As a writer of children’s books, I want to follow parents of my target market and I want them to follow me back so I can learn from them and promote my work (Foreshadowing here: I can’t promote to a nonfollower.) As a writer who is publishing and marketing his work, I want to follow teachers and librarians to learn what kids are reading and I want them to follow me back so I can promote my work (Sound familiar?)
 We all want more followers on Twitter
If you’ve gotten close to the 2000 following mark, you’ve no doubt hit the ratio wall.  For some reason, the Twitter gods decided that you could only follow 2000 people and then in order to advance, you have to maintain a super twecret ratio of followers to followings.  I think it’s like 20%. (Scratch that. Update: 20% didn't work. Try 10% ratio.)
Regardless, you have to unfollow people to move on.
Who to unfollow
If you can follow, then you can unfollow. Since you have to adhere to the mysterious x% follow ratio, you will eventually have to unfollow some folks. I’ve been using and it’s pretty good.
I am also developing my own unfollow philosophy
I now unfollow most people who have a ridiculous ratio. The other way. By that, I mean people who have 15K followers, while they follow only 12 people. Really? Are you that great? Come on, man. We’re just people here.
I’m really not that great. Honest. I’ve written some really good action-adventure travel books for children. But I am certainly not so awesome that I just have people follow me without following back. Following back is common courtesy. And it’s Karma.
Ted Coine says it perfectly, “any time you don’t follow someone back, you’re limiting who else they can follow. That’s not nice. Be nice.”
There is really only one true way to get followers on Twitter
Good Content. Period. End of story. Post good stuff. People will follow. Help other people promote their stuff. They will follow. Twitter is not about getting more followers for the sake of getting followers; Twitter is about people helping other promote what’s important.
A funny thing happened on the way to 2000 followings
I noticed that many people I followed had enormous followings and they followed relatively few. Here's the rub. In order to surpass 2000 followings you might have to unfollow people who are not following you back. I have used and I use (nice guys from New Zealand). 
We all have a few exceptions
Okay, celebrities aren’t going to follow you back. Sorry. For me, my exceptions are Nathan Bransford @NathanBransford because of his literary sagacity. (vocab word!) He has no reason to follow me back. Tim Ferris @tferris is another one but, hello, the guy invented the 4-hour workweek. And, Chris Guillebeau @chrisguillebeau is not going to follow me back because he’s traveling to every country on the planet. Really. I also follow him because he’s got an awesome Cajun name (and he’s a non-conformist iconoclast.) Ted Coine should be an exception for me, too. But he follows back because he’s real.
Be real and follow people back. You might learn something, or promote something, or both.
Ted Coine inspired me to write this. Thanks Ted. Check him and his work out here. To find out more about me, please visit my new (as in WIP) site: CrimeTravelers. or here to the new book.
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