Managing corporate Twitter feeds and Facebook Business Pages for company web sites has provided some incredible insights into the social media experience. A focus on following industry thought-leaders and influencers practiced by smart brand conscious social media teams leads to retweets and broad engagement. When there must be a strong business reason to follow another Twitter account, this prevents seeing off-topic, time-wasting rants or silly animated gifs and cat videos.
There is an appropriate quote that may help choose who to follow on social media (though the number might be adjusted to 50 or 100 on social media):
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn
What do you want to gain from being on social media? There should be only one answer to that question – engagement. Follow people in your specific niche that you respect and follow accounts of your competitors, vendors, suppliers and influencers in your industry. Your experience with the news feed will very clearly reflect those you are following. There should be no following of political accounts, no following of personal interests whatsoever on a business account.
A common complaint of those new to any social media is that there is very little of consequence to see in the endless scrolling tweets at Twitter and silly posts on Facebook. But this is before those new users understand that their experience is ENTIRELY determined by those they follow. You see worthless posts only from worthless accounts. You will nearly always see great posts from great people. Follow those you admire and their posts are exceedingly likely to be admirable.
Users cast blame (on any social platform) because they willingly connected with random users, yet act as if the spamming poster is blameless. When your business is about a single product or service category, laser focus on following only those who are experts, advocates and leaders in that industry or those related to it. Follow brand advocates, not just for your own brand, but those of competitors if you want to keep up with industry trends, events and, pay attention here – news.
Let’s address that last point more fully. News is a very clear social media focus for all business to consumer (B2C) focused and many business to business (B2B) content and social teams. If you are following accounts of your competitors, vendors, suppliers and influencers in your industry as I’ve suggested above, you’ll see them Tweeting and posting (and especially RE-tweeting and sharing) posts from news sources. Take note of the names in the bylines on those news stories covering your industry, find their twitter handle and follow them too.
Most corporate social media managers subscribe to Google Alerts for their brand name and industry keywords. These emailed alerts can be set to find new mentions everywhere online or just from news sources. But a great untapped resource is industry experts social media accounts. Find the author of book on your industry or a journalist who covers your category for a major online publication, find their social media accounts and follow them. (It’s often on the sidebar or at top or bottom of their stories – note: NOT their publication account, but their own.)
Go to your favorite business Twitter account profiles and look at the “Following” number – take note how that number is usually quite small. This is because those businesses are doing what I’ve suggested above – limit those you follow to those who have the most valuable things to say in your industry. There is no fluff to be seen and no time wasted on those whose posts and tweets are time-wasters.
“He that lies down with Dogs, shall rise up with fleas” — Benjamin Franklin
Mike Valentine Consults on Organic SEO to both startups and enterprise clients through RealitySEO.com