In the better late than never department, I am finally posting my social media policy. I’ve resisted in part because no matter what I come up with, it doesn’t seem ideal—but when you reach a certain degree of online popularity, a policy really becomes necessary. I currently have 4570 followers on Twitter, over 1200 on Facebook. LinkedIn stops counting at 500, which I surpassed long ago. And I wish I could simply follow everyone back and actually keep up, but I haven’t figured out how to clone myself. I think I’d need at least four of me, just for social media.
In the interest of transparency, I should explain that I dip in and out quickly. Most of my status updates on both Facebook and LinkedIn originate on Twitter, via a Facebook application called “Selective Tweets.” My other participation on Facebook usually starts with following an e-mail notification link to a comment on my wall or a private message. While I’m there, I look around quickly, Like or comment on a few messages, and scan my home page. I interact with LinkedIn primarily by participating in discussion groups.
On Twitter, I tend to follow more links, look for things worth retweeting or posting to my Green and Ethical Marketing pages on Facebook and LinkedIn, check out a few of the latest people following me, and follow some of them. I try to spend no less than 15 and no more than 30 minutes daily on all social media combined.
Facebook and LinkedIn:
On these networks, I accept almost everyone who reaches out with a connection request, unless your profile is empty, you focus on things I find disgusting (sleazy get rich schemes, sexual exploitation, bigotry, ways to fool the social networks—stuff like that). If you abuse the access I give you, I unfriend you—which, fortunately, doesn’t happen often. However, it may not be instant. We do them in batches, and we have found that with Facebook, it’s best not to do more than 20 at a time, so as not to set off their internal alarms. If there are 50 or 60 waiting, it may be quite a while. My VA visits your profile and determines whether you’re a marketer, activist, environmentalist, etc., and sends you an appropriate message that I’ve prewritten.
For both Facebook and LinkedIn, I will open direct messages when I get the e-mail notification—but those notifications don’t always arrive. LinkedIn asks me sometimes several times a week to verify or update my e-mail account because notifications are bouncing. Twitter does likewise—this happens whether I keep the former address or switch to an alternate at a different domain. Yet other times, the mail goes through just fine.
I pay much closer attention to direct messages and mentions/retweets/suggestions to follow me than I do to new-follower notices (which, as noted, don’t always even get delivered). If you @ me with a retweet or an attempt to engage me based on some meaningful connection (NOT trying to sell me something random, which will get you blocked), I will click through to your profile. If I like what I see when I get there, I follow back.
Because Twitter feels so much more personal to me, I’m fussier about who I follow. Your profile has to interest me, and that’s going to be personal, quirky, and in the moment (I might come back a different day and feel differently). But I can tell you a few guidelines:
- If I notice that your screen name or real name has words like Green, Eco, Enviro, or Peace, I’m likely to click over for a look
- If your whole screen is just lists of names (such as Follow Friday lists), I am not likely to follow
- If you live in Western Massachusetts and especially if you use the #westernma hashtag, I’m pretty likely to follow back.
- If your Tweet stream focuses on something that doesn’t interest me, I’m not going to follow. I once clicked on a follower’s profile to find a very well-done stream all about online gaming. While I admired the quality of his content, I have no interest in the subject and didn’t follow back.
- If I recognize your name or remember meeting/corresponding with you, I’m likely to take a look.And I confess, I can’t keep up. Whether I visit your profile right away is going to depend on how many other new follows I got since I last checked. If I have 5, I’ll likely visit them all. If I have 30 or more, I’ll scan for people I know, then look for a handful with interesting screen names. If I happen to notice something in your bio about sustainability, social media, or other interests of mine, or if I see a high follower count, I’m more likely to click through.With 3879 people that I’m currently following, I barely glance at the “All Friends” column on TweetDeck. I pay slightly more attention to it than I did before I figured out how to reduce the update frequency. Before that, it was scrolling by so fast I could barely read a tweet, and clicking on a link was basically impossible.
TweetDeck is my favorite tool for interfacing with Twitter. I use it to manage mentions not only of my twitter handle but also my name and my most recent book title (Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green), Direct Messages, and a small subset of people that I want to pay closer attention to. I also use it to search, to schedule Tweets ahead, and to keep track of certain topics.
I do like the serendipity of the All Friends timeline, and therefore occasionally go to Twitter’s own interface to see people I don’t often see (especially if happen to be on my iPad).
Is this arbitrary, capricious, and unfair? Yes, I’m afraid so. And I’ll happily entertain any better ideas: post on the comments here, or Tweet me at ShelHorowitz