You get kudos for having umpteen-thousand followers on Twitter – it’s working for Beiber. On Facebook “social media experts” gloat about their number of subscribers. On YouTube comments, likes, shares, favorites, and subscribers all mean something (sort of), on G+ you count the number of Circles you’re in, and on LinkedIn you are considered “successful” if you max out your connections.
So where are the tangible results? If Twitter followers = success, show us the money. If the number of Likes a brand has on Facebook show us the chart where that converted to transactions. In the end, from a social marketing perspective, I’ve rather have 1 transaction than 1,000,000 likes. And, in fact, the 1,000,000 likes are diluting the perception by the greater audience of the value of that 1 transaction.
What I mean by the above is if I have 1 connection and 1 transaction that’s 100% providing for the needs of those to whom I am connected. If I have 10 connections and 1 transaction now I’m providing for 10% and so on. One million really muddies the data.
The goal I have for the company for which I am currently developing a rather massive platform is to reward more meaningful engagement and place higher value on transactions and almost no value on connections. In fact, and I just had this thought while I was typing, I believe I’ll wilt meaningless connections so that people who not regularly engaged will be relegated to more of an “outsider” type relationship.
I have been assured certain games, which make a game of the user’s value across social media channels, are good for the social economy and urge “players” to make regular contributions to the socio-system. May be, but, what is the end result? Again, show us the transactions. Otherwise you are encouraging small business people to waste more of their highly valuable time and resources.
What is important to you and why? Meaningful engagement or “winning” at a relatively meaningless game made from social media interactions?
First you may want to know why anyone may follow someone to begin with. As for me if I see an interesting tweet about a subject I am interested in I may follow that person. Occasionally I follow people who have participated in a Twitter chat session with me thinking we may engage later. More often I will search on a subject, hashtag or Twitter list and follow people on that list. Sometimes I am simply doing research for Social Media Edge radio and don’t intend to ever have a full on, two way relationship.
Next you may want to know why it is such a big deal to unfollow those who do not follow you back. Again, as for me, I do follow accounts who do not follow me back. @Mashable comes to mind as does @Biz. On the other hand if @kvbuckley does not follow me back (no offense k) I may eventually unfollow – not trying to embarrass anyone just using a real world example. So why did I follow kv to begin with? Because we’re in related industries and the president of her company is a friend. That doesn’t necessarily mean we will ever engage and that’s not a bad thing. Everyone does not engage.
Then why not unfollow everyone with whom you do not engage? Great question with a simple answer: if someone follows me I do the courtesy of following them back (eventually). I do not automatically follow everyone who follows me – I follow back manually. For that reason I may only go through that list once every couple of weeks. So if someone follows me, I follow them back. If we never engage that’s okay but I don’t expect anyone to follow me unless I follow them.
So what about stream crowding? That’s why there are lists on Twitter. I have a list of “closest connections”. I have a list of past guests and a list of social media favorites. I also include people on those lists that I do not follow. I have a list for people who are oxymorons (claim to be social media experts and do everything to prove they are anything but).
If you have just a few hundred to a couple of thousand of Twitter accounts you follow you can try Twitter Karma from Dossy. If you have a few to several thousand followers this one just doesn’t like to work. What I like about it, for small to medium accounts (perhaps no more than 5000 connections) is the presentation of all of the people you may follow on one page. You can also choose whether or not to show the avatar (thumbnail).
Unlike some of the others Dossy does not limit the number of accounts you can unfollow in a day. Others, even some mentioned here, limit you to 50 unfollows in a 24 hour period because you are using their API calls.
Dossy’s Twitter Karma is free, easy to use and gets the job done in both directions. You can unfollow those who do not follow you – keep the ones you want to keep like celebs and news sources – and you can also follow back those who have followed you. In fact the follow back function is bulk and you can follow up to your limit with the click of a mouse. As I was writing this post I unfollowed 577 and followed 602 – in less than 10 minutes.
A couple of others I have tried are http://www.justunfollow.com and http://www.doyoufollow.com/unfollow-tool.php
What are your thoughts, do you unfollow people who do not follow you? Comment …