Does it matter who follows you on Twitter or Facebook?

Photo by Ken Lund, Creative Commons

Interesting question, isn’t it? Generally speaking, I’d say the answer is yes, but the REASONS you should care might surprise you. Here’s some different ways of looking at it:


The care and feeding of followers and fans.

I’m not a believer in checking my followers to see what they can do for me. My question is “what can I do for them”. Ultimately, I think this attitude pays big dividends, but it is the long road and the high road. This school of thinking is my typical default for personal accounts, soloprenuers and consultants. I think businesses could learn to use this line of thinking in business more…but that’s another discussion. Even if you don’t ask what you can do to help them with their goals, always keep them in mind: are delivering quality content, do you share information that they you make them giggle now and then? But what ever you do, beware of ignoring your followers. I know, as an audience grows, its hard to know each of them individually. But they may feel they know you or your company..and isn’t that the point? And its easy for people to feel turned off when people or THEY support ignore them, that’s when your social media presence can become a liability. And if you tell me you are too busy to respond to everyone, I say, its time to get some help. I recently listened to a webinar by Guy Kawasaki – do you know that guy responds to all of his @mentions? Test it out. Here’s why you should care about who follows you, because you should want to deliver info that matters to them. You owe your followers quality discussion, information and ideas.  So unless the follower truly warrants ignoring, ignore their comments and mentions of you at your own peril. So, does it matter who follows you? Only if you care about your audience.

Yes, if you are trying to create a specific audience:

Particularly if you are a brand or a company, you’ll want to keep an eye on who your follower are. Why? Because I KNOW you still use number of followers as a success metric and because of that, you need to know who they are. I mean if you have 10,000 followers or fans, but 1/2 of them are bots or people who haven’t use the social network in 45 days, is this really something to toot your horn about? If your about creating an audience and trying to engage them, then yes, you should care (see above for what you owe your fans and followers). You should also care because in that group of thousands of nobody’s is your next advocate or hater. You never know when someone who follows you is going to go viral with a comment. Be kind and they’ll be kind back. Promise. One of my favorite campaigns using this theory is the Edge Aftershave “No Irritation” campaign.  Talk about making Twitter Karma work for you!  If you aren’t getting the fans and followers you want, you’ll need to ask yourself why and address that reason specifically.

Klout kares about your followers:

I’m not personally a fan of pursuing the almighty Klout score, BUT, if you are, one of the aspects of Klout that is fairly easy to game is the fact that if you have high-Klout followers, your Klout score increases. Many high-Klout folks auto-follow. So, if you are looking to increase your Klout score, find others who have high scores. Better yet, communicate with them, because that helps your Klout score too. More importantly, you might create a relationship with someone other than Klout.