What can you do in 140 characters?
Perhaps a more appropriate question is what can’t you do with a brief, targeted message that has the potential of immediate feedback and ongoing engagement.
Evan Williams, Jack Dorsey and Biz Stone founded Twitter in July 2006 as a way for employees to share internal communication, according to the book Twitter Power 2.0. Twitter officially launched in October 2006 and won a South by Southwest web award in March 2007, the book reads.
Two things immediately were recognized as different about Twitter, according to the book:
- Its simple 140-character format and
- Its critical mass
The first likely is the reason the service still is so popular today with more than 100 million active users. You should take a look at this visual history.
The second is the reason for the introduction of the Fail Whale, but also a key in attracting people to the social network.
A ‘Follow’ Philosophy
Perhaps the most debated question about Twitter is the best approach in determining who to follow.
There are three general philosophies on followers.
The first is that you should follow back everyone who follows you. This approach was more popular when Twitter was younger, probably because of the increased amount of spam accounts on the site today. The typical argument for why you should follow everyone back is manners and engagement. Perhaps it makes sense for a company to take this approach so as not to alienate customers.
The second approach is to vet who you follow back, striking a balance by keeping the number of follows slightly lower than the number of followers. I generally use this approach. It helps me avoid following spam accounts or those with content that doesn’t interest me. However, I can see how it might be problematic for a company that receives hundreds or thousands of follows per day. Also, there is the chance of alienating a customer or potential customer.
The third philosophy is more recent and pretty exclusive. Individuals who have built their companies by amassing followers are performing mass unfollows under the guise of increased engagement. Regardless of their intentions, this method doesn’t seem to do anything but make others angry. It may be a good way to get people talking about you and your brand, but it doesn’t seem to generate favorable feelings.
Let’s Talk Nerdy!
Now that perhaps know more about Twitter, what do you see as the best follow/follower method for companies using the site for marketing? In other words, how do companies strike the balance between creating noise and generating business through pure engagement? Can this be done through Twitter?
Real Nerds Read!
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