This question is one of the first anyone asks when starting up in social media marketing: should I connect to anyone or should I be picky about it and become a social media snob?
After all the truth, as it often happens, lies in the middle.
Every social medium has got pro and cons about choosing wether being picky or not in building your personal online community. I am mostly active on two of them, Twitter and LinkedIn, so let’s see my personal social media strategy…
There are tons of potentially bad connections on Twitter.
The main reason why people usually connect to everyone on here is to pump up your Followers count: if someone follows you, he expects you to follow them back, otherwise in a while he’ll just unfollow you. I know, dumb uh? But that’s how it works most of the times.
I started out on Twitter by following back everyone following me for this very reason, but I am becoming more selective over time, especially when I keep reading inspiring discussions over the topic. After all it doesn’t really matter how many followers you have, the important thing is to have committed followers.
Top things I avoid and why:
- Posting wrong hashtags. For example, don’t ever post hashtags like #iPad or #iPhone, you will get tons of auto-followers promising free iPads or whatnot. Of course if you look for quick followers, no matter what, now you know how to do that
- Autobots. No, not the Transformers dudes, I mean accounts run by automatic programs following random people in the hope to be followed back and increase their Followers number. I avoid following them back ’cause there’s no point really, they don’t add anything to the conversation, and I am perfectly comfortable with losing their follow after a few days
- Dangerous people. As in, people tweeting about things you wouldn’t like others to know you got an interest in. It happens sometimes to be followed by clearly porn-aimed accounts or ones giving out free magical guides to become a millionaire in 12 hours. I prefer not to be associated with such people, hence I don’t follow them back
- Totally wrong niche. Nothing against people talking about the best household products to clean glasses and marbles, but I really have no interest in knowing the latest trends in house cleaning.
I have exceptions of course. For example, even if the niche is wrong, sometimes it’s ran by someone with a clear “socialmedia vision” behind it, generally if I feel the “human” behind an account I have no problem in following it. Otherwise, I just move on.
And now the top reasons why to actively look for new people to follow:
- Expanding your niche. I know, I just talked about wrong niche dudes, but sometimes expanding your field of action is good for your business and for yourself, so don’t say “no” without giving it some thought first
- The competitors dilemma. They are out there, and they directly compete with you, or so you think. In my experience, sometimes your best assets lie in your worst competitors. Your combined expertise might turn into a valuable weapon to take over a big fish and win his interest over your shared project
- New socialmedia services. If the new guy in town follows you and he has some weird, interesting service to promote, don’t auto-reject it, invest a minute of your time to take a look, you might like it and find a new way to improve your online public relations
The “snobby dilemma” over here is big, there’s a whole discussion going on about it, and a very interesting one too.
I kinda stand in the middle. I am neither an open networker nor a snobby person on LinkedIn (though I really am drifting towards being an open networker, even if not explicitly stated on my profile).
The truth is, I don’t see a potential danger in denying a LinkedIn connection, because any new connection could be:
- a potential client
- a potential partner
- a potential employee
- a potential employer
- a potential consultant
So, why the hell not?
Ok, I got some exceptions here as well:
- Profiles without a photo
- Lousy profiles (half-compiled info, bad links or no links at all, etc)
The reason is simple: if you don’t take a minute to fill out your profile (and let’s face it, it’s dead simple!), perhaps you don’t take the platform too seriously, so why should I bother?
Don’t miss out, ever!
Think about it. How many people did you meet out of totally incidental events? Maybe you followed some random person you normally wouldn’t follow, and he Retweeted someone who would later become your best buddy.
That’s how I met many important people, out of totally random events.
Can you honestly say “no” to this?