Friday, March 5, 2010

Stuff I Don’t Do: Follow Friday (#FF)

(NOTE: This is a series of occasional posts clarifying the things I don’t do, business-wise, marketing-wise, or social-media-wise.  Same format each time.)

What: Follow Friday or #FF on Twitter (or other microblogging platform).  Essentially, someone tweets a list of Twitter handles/names (I’m @tracydiziere for example) as a blanket recommendation of people to follow. 

Why I Don’t Do It: Recommending people to follow, while a nice gesture, makes the assumption that all of your followers will value the tweets (consisting of news, opinions, personal updates, etc.) of these people.  It’s just too generic.  There’s no way in marketing I would recommend every product or every service to everyone.  There are market segments, ideal clients, target markets, etc.  I apply the same logic to microblogging.  Unless I can ensure that I’m delivering a meaningful message to a specific, interested group, it’s not worth it.  However, if I could segment my updates and/or customize recommendations for following based on an industry or interest, FF would be appealing to me.  Without this ability, I’m not providing value to followers with respect to their specific variety of shared interests with me—from jewelry/retail sales, to marketing/PR, food/wine, small business, instigating (you know who you are), and all things Arizona.  I never want to treat these  followers (or clients!) as an indistinct mass of an audience.  For tweeps with a lot of influence, however, I realize it makes sense.  It’s like they are referring people they trust, which is cool.  I just prefer to do that on a smaller more personal scale. 

What I Do Instead:

(1) Re-Tweet. When someone I follow has a tweet that is relevant (Relevance is key!) or that I believe will be interesting to a segment of followers, I will re-tweet (RT) it.  I don’t limit the number of RTs from any one person—it’s a matter of relevance and those who are more relevant are RT’ed more.  I typically don’t RT quotes (nor do I tweet quotes from famous people often).  This is because I do value information that is specifically directed at and appropriate to my followers. 

(2) Reply. Another way I indicate someone is worth following (and why they are—the component missing from the generic list and hashtag) is by Replying to them, or starting a conversation.  Replying using @ lets me tell that person (and my followers) that I’m interested in what they have to say with respect to a certain topic or communication instance.  Followers who see that we’re communicating about wine, for example, and like wine themselves (or sell it, make it, write about it, teach others about it, etc.) can follow that person.  It’s a slower process, but for me, it’s more genuine and thoughtful than the  “This-is-who-I-think-is-important-for-everyone-to-listen-to-regardless-of-who-you-are” message I get from #FF.  Maybe that works if you’re already a social media guru with thousands of followers.  That’s not who I am or  aspire to be.  I also will reply using a bunch of people if I think they have something in common.  That way I’m recommending (or referring) people within a certain context, subject, or niche.  And I’ve pre-selected that group to ensure they have interests in common. 


Additional Comments: I noticed recently #FF isn’t as big as deal as it used to be (thankfully!).  Is this your sense as well?  Is this because others feel as I do or something else?   I’d like to think Twitter users on the whole are getting smarter and more considerate of audiences/markets and really wanting to tailor communications (e.g., tweets) to them.  Also, if you think I’m really missing out by not participating or want to share your reasons for doing it, chime in!  If you’d like to connect, follow me: @tracydiziere.


Tracy Diziere said...

P.S. I saw something cool. Someone used a specific hashtag (#ag) WITH #ff to signal to followers that these people are recommended for that particular topic (in this case agriculture). I like it!

Lisa Raymond said...

Hi, Tracy,
You made some great points in this post! I don't really view my use of the #FF as a way for people to gain more followers, unless they choose to follow whom I suggest; rather, it's my way of saying Thank You to those with the greatest influence in my business and personal life. I picked up a tip from @ChrisVoss: I use my #FF list and direct people to that list. One line post, makes the same impact without taking up a lot of Twitter space - made sense to me!