Hey, Musers.. (see what I did there?) I hope you are enjoying the weekend thus far. I’ve been traversing tree-lined trails and playing with pups. I wish you your iteration of the same. #toeachtheir
Speaking of, I recently engaged in twee-chat with a few colleagues. The number of twitizens one follows became topic.
I’m following 200 people, but you’re cool only when you follow like 64 people right?
I take my friend Alessio with a bit of salt.
@madeale dude.. you’re Miles Davis.. I follow 290..
But he raises a topic worth further exploration…
It got me thinking and bantering (we musn’t slouch there). What influences the number of those followed?
Some immediate thoughts I had:
So, I wanted to do some further mind mining here, with my readers as well :) .
John regularly participates with individuals on a personal level:
@content_muse thought you might like to know that my WBF is currently at 100 comments. Constructive feedback FTW!
It seems like curtailing the number of followers is a regular occurrence among cohorts of good industry stature. So what gives? Is it truly ‘cooler’ to follow less? Is it about image? Or is it about numbers?
Engaging with others is important to John.
So, he considers the practicality of numbers and (I imagine) the filtration of ‘noise.’
That makes sense. I imagine if one followed thousands of people, one also follows a massively dense stream. It dilutes available attention of each person followed; to scale intense attention would warrant more time per session.
As we can see, both gents keep the length of their twee-choo-choo party trains on the 300 or less side o’ the tracks.
I took notice of several other regular contributors, who host lower-than-300 counts:
There are exceptions…
Michael and Julie allow for more. Is there is a breaking point? Readers, weigh in on the concept. How many people followed is too many (if you want to use Twitter for effective personal branding/contributing)? Is there such a concept as too much?
There must be different strategies employed. Take a look at the noticeable difference between two prominent wizards in the marketing land…
Perhaps this is up for further debate (It’s what I’m hoping for!)
Obviously each personal account will contribute in part to company-related accounts; but, I recognize handles are used differently. For instance, an owner is likely to leverage a personal account differently than their company’s. (In many cases, multiple people use a company account; or, the owner is not involved with the company handle at all.)
A number of company accounts are often used for sales and promotion.
Let’s consider a major brand, such as Coca-Cola. How many people does that handle follow?
That’s a huge number. I’m assuming the strategy here is different than above. It’s not just focused on branding. I would think sales and promotion is a major agenda.
The account is used for branding; but, unlike Doherty above, Coke is likely thinking differently about engagement. From a promotional/sales perspective, the brand wants to embrace as many people as possible.
I would guess the handle actively follows others in the hopes of being followed back, assuming the more people with Coke in stream, the better Coke’s promotional hopes.
Let’s look at another major brand:
It would be tough to imagine the brands are using the handles like the cohorts observed above. Perhaps big businesses forsake branding/personal engagement for promotion/sales? Maybe larger companies can do such, allowing the accounts to take an ad-like and react-only stance?
What are your thoughts?
Like in the prior section, there are exceptions.
Whether for ‘cool’ image or practical purposes, in ratio to followers, both Microsoft and Bing have a (somewhat) manageable ‘following’ stream.
Let’s pick on Microsoft. Let’s assume maybe, for promotional purposes, the handle is following other Microsoft-related personalities and handles…
But the list of those followed looks pretty eclectic…
Of late, the follows are a bit Maxim heavy; but the two brands recently boogied down; so, it figures. Perhaps Microsoft is being a bit more social with its social account than other big businesses? (Maximize that social potential, Microsoft!) Perhaps Microsoft is forgoing the promotion/sales approach, rather placing more emphasis in making better connections?
What are your thoughts? Let’s consider, Twitter is likely to change. Will this influence the number of followers for personalities/companies?
Finding a Fine Follower Line
There are other Twitter accounts, such as those associated to small-to-mid-sized agencies. We can assume those handles fall somewhere on either side of the branding/promotion bank.
On one side, a handle could be used more so for promotion and sales, therefore following as many as possible, or not giving the subject much thought. On the other hand, one interested in personal branding may need to consider ‘damming’ the Twitter stream, following less numbers and less often.
In my latest posts I explore the nature of blogger/reader engagement. A blogger provides service. Readers are the consumers. The ballistics is different; but, the supplier-to-consumer relation is similar. Consumers are extremely important. Consumers are the basis, the cornerstone of the supplier’s operation. Consumers matter.
Leo Di Milo said:
..I do know that it is the little things that affect people. Like when you remember their name or can talk about a past meeting (even if it is random) or personalize the conversation with something you know about them (how\’s the wife and kids?) or even shake their hand when you have no idea where you know them from but know you have met in the past…
…But it isn\’t really about marketing, I guess. It\’s about being truly interested in people\’s lives and actually noticing them for who they are….and acknowledging them as more than \”some guy I am selling stuff to…\” \” or some girl who is going to connect me to ____\”. As you say, it\’s about truly being interested (because usually, they are interesting.)…
Like Doherty, I WANT TO ENGAGE with ALL readers (consumers). But, it’s easy to write; that’s manageable. I’m not Coke; nor would I ever want to be. That’s not a lack of ambition; that’s a choice of me-to-consumer logistics.
For others, what is apropos? Ideally, a brand needs to be super to every consumer. But what is practical? Can a brand such as Coke ‘be interested’ in every consumer followed? Is Microsoft ‘neglecting’ consumers by not ‘following them back’ or better attending to those who are? Is Bing and Microsoft being more socially savvy while ‘getting away’ (maintaining followers) with not following others?
Where is the ‘following’ breaking point? When does branding need to bow to unmanageable numbers? How can a brand or personality pose themselves as genuinely ‘interested’ but ‘limited’? How ‘cool’ does a brand or people have to be to gain constant followers, but maintain a manageable number of those followed?
Do you have to be this cool?
Or cool enough to get noticed?
(I interrupt this social blog stream for a moment of self promotion…)