Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Ain’t No Follow Back Girl

I recently had to go through and reduce the number of handles that I follow on Twitter as I hit my 2,000 limit since I have less than 2,000 followers (barely). As I was going through and unfollowing those that don’t follow me back, I was REALLY upset to find that most of these were large brands that I really LOVE! These brands I have interacted with at least once, mostly positively. I felt like I didn’t matter to them – that my tweet that their product made my day or that I loved something that they did was falling on deaf ears. That may not be the case, but that is how I felt.

Now, I work for a large brand’s social media team and we do have some guidelines surrounding following fans, but there aren’t many. Most of the time, I’ve seen following happening when we want to engage via DM (direct message). We also utilize it with positive interactions to further our conversation and send little gifts. It would make my DAY if brands I loved or brands that helped me through a tough situation would follow me back. They might not read every tweet I send out, but it would make me feel as if they are listening and that I’m more than just a number on a chart to them. 
I got to thinking as to why this wasn’t a standard practice. Maybe there was some big reason I was missing for following people back. Would they get crazy DMs? Would following result in people thinking you agree with a specific user’s views? Or is it pure laziness – do we only react to tweets and not think about an ongoing relationship with a fan?

I honestly don’t know the answers to these questions, but I think they are worth asking. What are the potential drawbacks to following fans and even employees? What are the potential benefits? Why do we not do this already? I’d love to hear any thoughts around it! My stance is this – engagement isn’t a one-time thing. We want to grow relationships as much as we can online between brands and fans. (Goes along with being genuine and authentic). But when I notice that none of my favorite brands follow me when I interact with them on the regular, it makes me feel like those interactions are fake, disingenuous and inauthentic. That is exactly NOT how I would want a fan of my brand to feel. So give the follow back to your fans – it goes a long way!