It makes me happy that so many people have found something I say interesting enough to hit the Follow button. Thank you!
Now might be a good time to reflect upon two of the eternal questions in social media:
- How long does it take to build clout?
- How should you manage your following/followers list?
How long does it take to build clout?
Honestly, I don’t know. What I do know, however, is that it won’t happen overnight, not even in a week or month. I’ve been active (well, sort of) on the social networks almost exactly 18 months and churned out more than 1,600 tweets, for example. I can’t say it has resulted in a single case of new business, unless in such a roundabout way that I haven’t realised the connection between my social media presence and the assignment.
Another thing I know about clout is that your audience plays an enormous role. I started out on Twitter to learn what’s going on in marketing in the great wide world, which by now has somewhat skewed the composition of my audience: it’s now mostly marketers talking to other marketers. I will have to find subtle ways of turning the ship more towards my primary client baseâ€”industrial companies, information technology companies, engineering, automotive and in general, B2B companies.
Your geographical location also plays a role. If I remember correctly, some 40% of Twitter users are in the United States. It is unavoidable that this is reflected in its use, especially considering that the US business community has adopted it perhaps more enthusiastically than, say, EU businesses.
Talking about geography, I must rant a little about search engines, Google in particular. For some unfathomable reason, the search algorithms think I’m only interested in results that are physically close to my location. It’s almost as irritating as being served Google ads based on the language of my operating system or the location of my IP address. Totally useless to me.
How should you manage your following/followers list?
First of all, you shouldn’t do anything. Whatever serves you well is OK. There’s been a lively debate on “Twitter snobbery” between Mitch Joel and Mark W Schaefer, which is a good read for learning what the big-league boys think about the issue.
My own philosophy goes something like this: I block only followers who are obvious spammers, pyramid schemes, porn peddlers or other undesirable (to me) types. Otherwise, it’s a free world! This will result in a number of automated followers not at all related to your business. You can either try to purge them from your follower count (to be able to deliver relevant messages to relevant recipients) or you can just let them be (they may be ballast, if you will, but your content should be interesting enough to attract the right followers in any case).
It’s been repeated over and over again that follower quantity is secondary to quality. While this is right, of course, you need to achieve a critical mass of followers before you can expect your messages to have sufficient reach. That’s why it might be a good idea to keep some sort of balance among your followers.
On the following side, I admit I’m pickier. I don’t auto-followâ€”call me a snob if you want. It’s my social media real estate that’s being used, and I want my timeline to include messages that are relevant to me.
Would you like to share your thoughts? You know the drill: just hit on the Comment button. Thanks!