[Editor's note: Last week I posted about why I don't follow back everyone who follows me on Twitter. Debba, a.k.a. @Girlfriendology is here to share the other side. Debba has built online followings in the tens of thousands on Twitter and Facebook (see how here), so she really knows what she's talking about!]
As founder/manager of an online community for women (Girlfriendology.com with 21k+ Twitter followers – @Girlfriendology), I take a mixed, and somewhat unique, Twitter follower strategy. I also don’t want some people to take this personally, but I intentionally stick to my brand of being ‘female’ and ‘friendly.’ Friendly to me means “I want to be in conversation with you;” so on Twitter, I’ll follow you back.
Going a step further, I am focused on female followers/followees. I typically follow back the females who follow me. I do look through my following list frequently which is somewhat time-consuming “ but always interesting and I often find and reach out to women and companies I’d like to learn more about, interview on my BlogTalkRadio show or ask to contribute a guest blog on Girlfriendology.
I intentionally and diligently try to keep my followers female-oriented so I block most men (generally aside from friends, influencers or representatives of companies with whom I’d love to work). I also spend time (which to me is also very limited), but I think it is worthwhile to also block spam accounts. So, when a company asks me how many Twitter followers I have, I know they could look at my followers and see that it is a pretty pure list of primarily women. (Companies come to me to reach female potential consumers and that is what I want them to find when they look at my followers.)
And, because I focus on females and try to avoid spammers, I do not auto-follow.
I proactively follow women especially those who I believe might be interested in Girlfriendology - they are bloggers, moms, PR and Brand experts, women who tweet about friends/friendship (sometimes even ‘shoes’!) and some are personal friends. I would like to grow my Twitter followers and believe it is worth the time I have to invest in keeping the list growing and relatively pure. Admittedly I’m sure some spam accounts are in there and possibly some businesses that might not be viable or strategic partners, but overall, I believe it’s a list I can own up to.
Admittedly, I do this to build exposure to my brand (of Girlfriendology) as well as, again admittedly, impress potential advertisers. I love that 21k+ Twitter followers can DM me if they’d like. (Yes, some DM me to ask me to RT their info or join the Mafia, but those are actually very rare.) I believe it shows my followers that I want to be able to have a conversation with them – I’m not just talking, but I’m listening to them as well.
Yes, it is time consuming to manage a large Twitter following but I’ve made some amazing connections with the women that I followed back on Twitter. One follower just gave me a great idea for a conference I’m speaking at. Others have DM’d me with ideas for guest blogs, interviews and blog post content. Many of my Twitter followers have RT’d me, followed Girlfriendology over to Facebook and, to be honest, have made my day just by saying something that inspired me.
So, to each his own Twitter strategy, right? I’m just glad we have options on how we manage access to this amazing community. Keep up the good work Phil! Thanks for letting me voice my opinion.
Debba Haupert, Girlfriendology.com