Heather Anne MacLean

Four Signs You Don’t Understand Social Media: Do You Follow/Unfollow?

There is a trend that I have noticed lately on Twitter. It has become a real numbers game for many. By this I mean that many will follow people only to get a return follow. Once they get that follow, they unfollow the person, or many people. Or, they unfollow every person. This to me is a clear indication that you don’t really understand social media and its true purpose.

As a result, over the last couple of months I have been carrying out an experiment. I have been trying out various apps that cleanse or sweep my Twitter follower base to unfollow people who have unfollowed me. It was an interesting experiment, but one I don’t recommend. Why don’t I recommend this? Here are the reasons:

  • Well, I ended up unfollowing people that I actually still wanted to follow. For example, there are thought-leaders or big brands that I don’t expect to have a relationship with and/or to engage, but I want to hear what they have to say.
  • Engagement for some brands doesn’t make sense. For example news outlets. We don’t follow them to engage. We follow them to get news.
  • In other cases some people may have unfollowed me and that’s ok. I have really changed and refocused what I talk and Tweet about over the last couple of years to better align with my interests. So, if my passion is not theirs that is fine. However, I still want to follow them.

So, I will likely discover for awhile that people I thought I was following, I am not. But what really intrigued me is the fact that more than a few people are clearly just looking for numbers. Numbers are numbers, They don’t get you insight, sales or relationships. And this really gets to the crux of this post, the four signs that indicated you don’t really understand social media:

  1. More than 10 years into using social media and people still think its a numbers game or really an ego game. If you think more is better, than you don’t understand social media.
  2. Speaking of more is better, if you never follow people back, you don’t understand social media.
  3. If you only Tweet about yourself or your organization, you don’t understand social media.
  4. And building off of 1-3, if you haven’t connected the dots to understand that social media is meant to be about relationships and therefore you need to follow people and communicate with people to build relationships, then you definitely don’t get social media and the power of social media when it is done right.

It is easy to see people who get this. You can tell when they are good at social media and they have actually built relationships from social media.

What would you add to this list? Let me know and connect with us.