Everyone has their way of deciding who’s worth following on Twitter and why. Here are three ways to judge.
1. Ratios. These are wonderful ways to compare one aspect of a Twitter user to another. The most reliable ratio is “Followers” to “Following.” Divide the number of Followers by the number of people Followed. At a minimum, the number should be greater than “1″ and I prefer numbers closer to 2 or 3. Typically, the greater the number, the more influential the profile. Most news sites have higher scores. @abcnews follows 68 profiles (Jan 2010) yet has more than a million followers (14,700:1). TV news profiles get followers from widespread media exposure. Same with well-known authors, screen personalities and so on. Spammers will follow large numbers of profiles, knowing many of those profiles will follow back. Spammers almost always have low ratios of .985 or less because they are selling products and seminars. For them, the number of followers is all that counts — more followers = more sales. You can use ratios of 0.985 or less to gauge how likely you are to be “sold to.” Low numbers = more sales pitches; higher numbers, less sales. On average. Truly worthwhile “experts” will have ratios of 10 or more. That tells me they are getting lots of publicity through events, radio, seminars and are delivering outstanding value to their followers.
2. Quality of Followers. You’re about to pay $75 for Social Media traing when you decide to look at your speaker’s profile on Twitter. Do they have a large number of foreign followers? Particularly from India or Russia? This could be a sign they are paying sites to generate large numbers of “fake” followers — empty profiles used to pump up the numbers. Are a lot of the followers young, attractive women soliciting their companionship? Or are there lots of profiles selling vitamins and skin cream? Be wary of social media “experts” who excel at attracting spammers. Ask yourself, “how many of this profile’s followers are like me?” The more in common you have with the other followers, the more relevant the content will be for you.
3. Engagement. How often does a profile engage directly with their followers? I want to follow people who are reaching out to other people. I want to follow conversations. I want to see how people respond to content, and to each other. Some profiles have a policy of not following anyone, using their feed to strictly disseminate news. That might be fine for some, but it gives a profile an “old media” personality, the old-fashioned “one-to-many” model of so many newspapers. It’s like going to a cocktail party and having a guest just sit there and blather on and on about themselves. Isn’t the purpose of conversation to bounce ideas off of other real people?
How do you evaluate Twitter profiles? What tricks of the trade have you learned? Leave me a Comment to share what’s working for you.
E-Marketer published a list of 2010 predictions for social media today. Among them, unpaid articles and those generated by word-of-mouth will play a larger role in how public relations and marketing departments measure the value of online campaigns. Until now, metrics have been largely advertising-based, but as public relations moves into the social arena, managers will expect more ways to measure outcomes. You can read the full report at http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?R=1007410.
Another prediction is that digital streams of video — such as those found on YouTube, UStream and other user-generated sites — will find an easier path into living rooms and television sets. Personally, I’m making the prediction that the upcoming Apple tablet computer, due out April 2010, will be the transformational device to make this connection. I predict tablet computers will be the bridge between streaming video and broadcast television in daily lives, similar to the way iPhone brought the Internet to our pocket.
Since video is going to play an enormous role in the success of 2010 marketing and public relations campaigns, now is the time to begin adding video to your Facebook page or blog.
For best results, limit clips to just 60 to 90 seconds. Make just one key point per video and encourage sharing by using YouTube or UStream.
Linda Sherman Gordon @LindaSherman) interviewed top Twitter users at 140, the Twitter Conference, in Los Angeles last month. She shared her video via YouTube today. These are some really great tips if you’re just getting started on Twitter.
I especially enjoyed the tip of looking for a user’s @ replies in their stream before following them. If a Tweep is not engaged in the conversation, then they don’t matter.
Don’t feel obligated to follow everyone. It’s not the number of followers you have, it’s the quality of your content. Make sure authentic conversations are part of your content. Oh, and follow me @lkinoshita!
Many people reading the above cartoon will say, “Ain’t this the truth?”, but they are missing the social ramifications Facebook is bringing to society.
At 1,000 “friends” a person who is involved in Facebook is engaging in personal branding, whether they realize it or not. With a network of 1,000 a Facebook profile reaches a tipping point. Statistically, about 20% will open a link or read communication, because they have prior experience at receiving something valuable from that person.
The ability to have conversations with people who self-select as being interested in you and your ideas is a powerful advantage in life, both personally and professionally.
More people would benefit from Facebook if they could confront the fact that social connectivity is changing. I realize many are uncomfortable with this idea for personal and philosophical reasons. Cartoons like the above reflect a deep-seated cultural opposition to this trend.
But regardless of mainstream social conventions, changes in society continue the same way they do every decade. The survivors — those who will be relevant, meaningful, compelling and engaged — will discover new opportunities, identify and respond to new trends and ultimately enjoy a more enriching experience of lifelong learning than those who do not participate.