Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Building a Quality List of Followers on Twitter

You are probably familiar with social networking sites such as Twitter. On these sites, you can build a list of followers and enjoy building a network of friends and business relationships while establishing a platform as an expert or promoting your product or service. Here are some of the things I do before following anyone on Twitter.

First, I look at the avatar or photo of the Tweeter. I want to get an idea of who I am interacting with. No photo, no follow. I prefer to see a photo of the real person--not their dog or a caricature.

Second, I read the Tweeter’s bio. If the bio is interesting and complete, I am much more likely to follow that person than if there is only a URL or a few words that don't really tell me what the person does or enjoys. Since Twitter has shut down their "search by category" feature, the bio is a quick way to see if I share common interests, business goals, location, or area of expertise with the potential Tweeter. Even if the person is my competitor, I hope to learn something from them.

Next, I read through the person’s recent Tweets to find out what type of information her or she is offering. Big turn offs: 90 percent of the messages are in reply to someone else and I have no idea what they are talking about. While I appreciate the interaction, I feel like I’m intruding on a private conversation if there are no other types of exchange. Big plus: links to helpful tips, articles, and even products to check out. I want interesting content, not just a URL with no explanation as to what I might find by clicking.

Then, I look at the number of updates and the date of the last Tweet. If the person is not active on Twitter, there's no point in following him or her. If someone Tweets fifty times a day about nothing more than their hairdo or what they’re eating, I’m probably not interested.

Some people wonder why I use This service evaluates using criteria similar to what I use to decide whether or not I want to follow someone. If I am leaning toward clicking the follow button but I'm still not sure, I will actually go to the trouble of checking a person’s grade on Twitter. If the Tweeter has a high grade, I will probably consider following him or her.

If Grader doesn’t rank a person high, I’ll probably pass--not permanently--I may come back later to see if the score improves. It could be that the Tweeter is new to Twitter and doesn’t have much history for Grader to use in giving a score.

Lastly, I check the ratio of followers to following. If a person's Tweets are interesting and helpful, people will follow in return. If someone is following 1,000 people and only 65 are following them, I suspect the person is either a spammer, a newbie, or boring.

So, if you are following me and I'm not following you in return, check the above points and make a few simple changes. Not only am I likely to follow you, so are others!

Yvonne Perry, is the owner of Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services—a team of highly qualified writers and editors with many years of experience in writing for articles, books, ad copy, media releases, PR kits, Web text, biographical sketches, and newsletters. Editing, proofreading, book review, and book evaluation services offered individually and as packages. Find us online at

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