Does your Twitter feed move too quickly for you to keep up? It could be because you aren't selective enough when choosing who to follow.
If you're reading this and nodding your head, don't be embarrassed. It happens more often than you think. Now that you know you have a problem, it's time to create a plan to make your social media interactions more manageable. I can help you with that.
Sorry to upset all the people who append the hashtag #TeamFollowBack to every tweet, but I never recommend following someone back just because they followed you. While auto-following seems like the polite thing to do, it actually hinders your growth and, if you care, can even impact your Klout score.
While I have made mistakes, I stand by this as a general rule: Interact first, become friends second. I used to worry this would make me seem like a social media snob, but it's actually a fairer method. My way, everyone gets an equal shot. If you give me a reason to follow, I will.
As far as the people you are already following, it's up to you to trim the list. An app such as SocialBro, which has tools to manage followers, is a great place to start.
What else can you do? Here are some things to consider for Twitter and any other social platform.
-- Who is this person? What do you know about the person you are thinking of following? If your answer is nothing, then that's a problem. My only exception to that rule is celebrities. When a famous person with a recognizable name reacts to your content, the polite thing to do is to follow back and tweet a thank you.
-- What useful information is the person providing? The people you follow should be useful to you. For example, they regularly tweet quality links about a specific subject.
-- Have you had a conversation with the person online? There is no rule that says you can't have an online conversation with someone you don't follow. This is a prime opportunity to learn more about the person.
-- Have you taken the platform into account? On Facebook, you probably want to have someone you don't know requesting to be your friend be a subscriber instead. On Instagram, you don't want to follow someone who only posts screenshots instead of taking photos.
Above all, don't move too fast. The period where you are deciding whether to follow someone is a lot like dating. Slow down, get to know the person and create a long-lasting relationship that will be beneficial to the both of you.
What questions do you have about social media? Tweet them to @scottkleinberg or @amyguth. We might select yours for use in a future column.
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