Using Lists Instead of Following on Twitter

by Alan Prachar on  May 13, 2011 |

When I began doing social media work for my freelance web design portfolio, I did a lot of research on what it takes to get more followers on Twitter. There’s all kinds of debate on the subject, as well as pay services that promise huge gains in followers. So I set out to expand my Twitter user base, and quickly realized that I fall into the class of people who prefer quality over quantity. I actually enjoy scrolling through and reading the insights of people I follow. I’ve gained a lot of information through their tweets. I just can’t see what good it would be to have thousands upon thousands of followers, the majority of whom do not share the same interests as I do. That being said, I’m now more content to watch my Twitter user base age like a fine wine, as opposed to explode like a magic beanstalk.

However, there was one piece of advice I had found that definitely struck a chord. It basically said to limit the number of people you follow who will never follow you back. People put a lot of weight on the followed by vs. following ratio, so this made a lot of sense. It’s not a deal breaking factor when I’m deciding whether or not to follow someone. However if I notice that number is way off, I’ll definitely take a closer look at the profile before making a decision on following a person.

There’s a wealth of information on Twitter, and before reading this I was following dozens upon dozens of feeds that would never have followed me back. I like to keep on top of my Twitter account and every couple of weeks I’ll check out my feed stats on which shows every account that I’m following that doesn’t follow me in return.

It was something of a quandary, but I resolved it by sorting all of those accounts into lists. This way, I still have all that information at my disposal, without taking the hit on my follow ratios. Additionally, there are some companies that do follow you back, and I feel like there’s a lot to be said for that. and will add followers back, and I think that says a lot about how the feel towards their customer base. That’s something other social media marketers should take under consideration.


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