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Counterpoint: Why I WILL Follow you Back, by Debba Haupert

Monday, February 21, 2011

[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

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Blogger Phil Hollows said...

Thank you, Debba! I presume you use lists to manage followers; can you share your approach to lists with us please?

6:08 PM, February 21, 2011  
Anonymous Debba / Girlfriendology said...

Phil - I'm kinda embarrassed because I know others use Lists to follow/manage their followers but I don't. It's a good idea and I'd love to hear how others use lists to manage/grow their Twitter followers. (please share?!)

Debba / Girlfriendology.com

4:09 PM, February 22, 2011  
Anonymous Phil Hollows said...

So if you don't use lists - how do you manage / keep up with all the tweets without being swamped?!

11:09 PM, February 22, 2011  
Anonymous Debba / Girlfriendology said...

Honestly I go through spurts where I'll proactively follow a lot of women and brands I'd like to connect with. (Recently I've followed more women in PR because I'd like them to know about Girlfriendology for their clients and I do learn a lot from them in their tweets - and many of them I review their profile and make sure it is a good fit.) Then about once a day or at least several times a week I go back through who is following me and delete the guys (who I don't know) and spammers (as many as I can identify*). And I follow the women/brands/friends who have followed me recently. I can usually peruse the list pretty quickly to the point where I recognize someone that I remember from the day before and know I've generally reviewed the rest of the list. I also use Birdbrain (and iPhone app)periodically to clean out those I follow who don't follow me back. I feel like I follow to be 'in conversation' and they should return the favor. (* Lately I've had a ton of spammers offering 'advice for men on picking up women!' I thought maybe the "girlfriend"-ology might have drawn them until friend/influencer Liz Strauss tweeted that she's getting a lot of them lately too.)

Again, if anyone has recommendations on how they manage their Twitter followers or use Twitter list, I'd love to learn from you. Thanks! Debba / Girlfriendology.com

7:58 AM, February 23, 2011  
Anonymous Irene said...

Great post, Debba~
I'm also cautious about following back people who have no tweets, more than 20K tweets, or no followers :-)

8:07 AM, February 23, 2011  
Anonymous Debba / Girlfriendology said...

Irene - I agree! I look at how many tweets they have, and I also don't always follow back if there tweets are hidden. I like to know what they tweet about.

9:38 AM, February 23, 2011  
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1:16 PM, March 21, 2011  
Anonymous Dr James said...

There is a balance that needs to be struck between building a massive following using auto-approve on one hand, and culling all of the bots to create a tightly focused list of followers. While seeing a big number of followers may feel gratifying, the latter is a more productive use of time.

1:58 AM, July 17, 2011  
Anonymous ralph lauren coupons said...

How you keep up with all the tweets without being swamped?!

8:39 PM, July 25, 2011  
Anonymous templatesspot said...

I also don't always follow back if there tweets are hidden. I like to know what they tweet about.

10:56 AM, October 16, 2011  
Anonymous Sam Davis said...

Great post.. Thanks for share

5:02 AM, December 09, 2011  

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