Should I follow back everyone that follows me on social media?
My goal is to build a higher number of followers on social media channels like Twitter and Instagram. I also feel it is rude or not proper social media etiquette to not follow someone back that follows you. However, I've read that it looks better for a brand to have a higher ratio of followers to following. Is there a right answer to this?
If you create great content you will generate followers. There is no right or wrong answer here.
I'm the Community Manager for Business.com. Your question sparked a great discussion in the community, with several differences in opinions. Even the Business.com team shared their opinion in this recently published social media guide, How to Determine Who to Follow Back on Social Media.
There are limits to how many accounts one is allowed to follow on each social media platform. For Twitter, it is up to 5,000 accounts. Then, once an account has reached 5,000, the limit to how many additional accounts they can follow is enforced.
Even if limits did not exist, it is best practice for businesses to not follow back everyone that follows them on social media. The guide above tells you which types of accounts to follow when trying to build your online presence on social media. I hope this helps!
Before you follow anyone back, check his or her profile to see:
Are they from your country?
Do they follow, re-tweet, or like your work?
If not, then don't follow back. These kinds of people just want to improve their followers by following others.
Content is king. If you create great content you will generate followers. There is no right or wrong answer here. If you feel it is rude not to follow someone back then follow them. Most marketers that have huge followings, generally follow equal or less than their following count.
You don't have to. One of the things you can do with Twitter in particular is add people to lists rather than follow them back. You'll still see their posts and still be able to engage with them. The only issue you'll have is with DM'ing them (so follow them if you need to take a discussion private). Being on a list gives people social capital in a slightly different way than following them, and it's still good. I'm on tons of lists (I stopped counting at 50) and in particular I think it's great for an endorsement of expertise. Being on someone's Twitter list is hardly second-class.
Same thing with following them on FB rather than friending them.
Other platforms differ, but on Twitter in particular, being on lists can be better.
I had this same doubt in the past.
In order to determine who you should follow on amongst the people who follow you, first you need to determine your goals for your activity.
For example, if you're using social media just for fun, then it's up to you to choose who you want to follow. However, if you're using social media for marketing purposes or to build your online reputation and presence, then you need to think a bit more closely about who you want to follow in reciprocation for following you.
We just choose to follow who really matters to our business. Our conclusion is that if the person is following you is because she wants to follow you, then you do not have to follow back because she will continue to follow you anyway.
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I don´t think that this is a good idea. You want your followers to come to you, not vice versa. If you are following all of your followers back they probably won´t be active and engaging on your page, since some people just randomly follow someone and then straight unfollow them back
From building a brand point of view, it's a good approach to follow these people back, but their content/posts/tweets should be somehow belonging to your area of expertise/interests. Indeed, some people do follow other people and then unfollow them, once they see that you've followed them back, but you can keep track of these. For example, for Instagram, there is an Instafollow app, which can help you gain some insights to your Instagram account, like how many followers you have, how many people you've followed, who unfollowed you and so on.
Hope it helped :)
There are several factors that should be considered before hitting the 'follow' button on Twitter, once someone follows you. For starters, check the bio: is there any commonality in your quest for subjects that interest you? If he/she is a domain expert, there will be usually a short description on the subject & will make your decision simpler. As a thumb rule, it is considered social media etiquette to follow someone back immediately, however, with time I have realized that it is preferred to wait for a couple of days before following someone back - if they intend to follow you for a short duration, just to gain a follow back, they might leave instantly. In case of any confusion, adding to lists can also come handy.
Another factor that may be considered is: scan through the timeline of your new follower and check the frequency of tweets that are being sent out; if you feel that your timeline show up useful information, and you see it of value, make sure to follow back irrespective of whether they decide to unfollow or not.
Final word: Twitter is an exciting platform wherein one stands to gain followers by sharing content over time, however gaining organic followers is the name of the game.
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