So, you are now on Twitter and you are welcoming your first followers. You must be thrilled with all the self promoting DM’s (Direct Messages) you receive every day. Sure, there are a lot of gold diggers on Twitter.
What you are after is building a qualitative network of followers. People that actually value what you have to contribute to the online conversation, and vice versa.
So how do you evaluate your followers when deciding who to follow back? Unfortunately there are no fixed rules for this. It really depends what you want to achieve. Still I thought it was useful to share my own little routine.
When I get new followers, I always check them out. Their names, their bio, the link to their site or blog, their tweets, et al.
9 Cross-check questions to evaluate new followers
These are the questions I ask myself, before I decide to follow back:
1. Are they for real?
Do they have a picture? A bio, a link? If so, what does it tell you? Did your new follower take care of the ‘first impression’ he or she is making on you?
2. Are they selfish or social?
Check out their tweet stream. I personally don’t follow people who only tweet about themselves, or worse, advertise their products. Or even worse: build followers and make money through Twitter. Uchy. Good luck to them.
3. What is their field of interest or business?
Is there a match between your field of interest and theirs? Don’t be too rigid. There can be other reasons to follow someone.
4. How many followers do they have?
Sure numbers do count. If you are building a network it is great to be followed by people who have for instance 30.000 followers. But also people with a couple of hundred followers can be interesting, for instance when you have lots of common ground.
5. Do they re-tweet?
The power of the re-tweet. You just might get retweeted by a big Though Leader or by someone with 100.000 followers. This exposes your tweet (which was apparently interesting) to many other people.
6. What are their tweets about?
For example, you have people who only tweet quotes or news articles. They never retweet and they never have real conversation. These people I usually don’t follow. Unless I’m overly interested in the actual content they tweet (some of these channels are really good)
7. How conversational are they?
Especially when you are building a channel with the objective to build conversation with people you need to look at the number of @names in their tweets. When someone is only broadcasting, you could decide to not follow.
8. When was their last tweet?
Sometimes the channels looks really good, the link is sound, but the last tweet was four months ago. Here I don’t follow. I’m not after dead channels.
9. The X-Factor
Like I said, there are no fixed rules. It has got to work for you. Sometimes things look good, but you just don’t like the smell of it. Alternatively, you might smell a rat, but still go for it