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Wait to Reply to New Twitter Followers

Recently I just finished a fantastic book, UnMarketing by Scott Stratten (Amazon Associates Link). Usually I’m happy if I can get through a book and capture a nugget or two of new information but Scott blew me away with the depth and breadth of his knowledge.

Damn the Auto-Responder

One subject he spoke on was Twitter and auto-responders. If you’re not familiar with auto-responders they simply allow you to automatically respond to a follow with a follow back and kick out a little direct message to the follower saying something like, “Thx for the follow! Buy my crap!”

Nice and mechanical, huh?

Scott states, in a nutshell, lose the auto-responders. Building on that, I try and take the approach of welcoming each new follower with a quick note of thanks.

  • Using their first name, thank them for the follow
  • Tell them you’re following back (only if you’re really going to do that)
  • That you can’t wait to check out their site (again, only if you’re going to do that).

Oh, and did you notice what wasn’t in that list? You’re not pushing or selling any of your crap to them! Uh, let me rephrase… your fine products or services.

Let me ask you this: how would you feel if you got a direct message that was polite and let you know that the person you just followed actually gives a damn that you’re following them? Yeah, me too!

You’re no longer “collecting” followers – You’re actually engaging with nice people.

Drawbacks to Answering All of Your New Follows Personally

On the surface, this is all wonderful. But then reality strikes and you realize you’re getting anywhere from 10-50 new follows a day! You start off by checking the new follows in your email, clicking on the Direct Message link, writing a little something, following them back and maybe taking a look at their site.

Let’s say you’re really, really fast and can do all that for each new follow in say 2-3 minutes. If you’ve got 30-40 new follows, you could be at that for 2 hours! I don’t know about you but the concept of writing that many Thank You notes is a little daunting. And God help you if you miss a day or two!

Don’t Answer Them Right Away

Here’s the simple trick I learned by just being lazy: Wait a few days before you answer.

I know, you’re saying, “But now I’ve got 124 unanswered follows! How the hell am I supposed to get through all that?”

Here’s the beauty of waiting… All those follows aren’t worth your time and if you wait a few days they’ll make themselves obvious. Here’s what I mean:

  • Some folks use auto-follows and unfollows just to build up their lists. If you don’t follow them back right away, they’ll unfollow you. No need to follow back or even answer.
  • Some folks are fronts for porn sites. You’ll always spot them because they’ll have a cute girl for the picture and 1578 people they follow with 6 that follow them back. Chances are when you click on the Direct Message tab their page will have already been dumped by Twitter.
  • Some folks are just spam masters. After you click the DM, check the messages they’ve been sending. Is it all, “buy my crap?” Skip ’em.
  • Some folks don’t speak your language. I’m sure that some of these people are really nice, but I don’t speak German, Portuguese or Swahili, and I sure can’t read cyrillic, hanzi, kanji or hanja. Sorry, but I’m probably not going to be following back.

What I think you’ll find is that those 30-40 new followers a day are actually about a dozen nice people that you would like to interact with.

What other types have I missed above? Let me know.

About Jay Walsh

With a combined 25 years of design, marketing, podcasting, video and social media knowledge, Jay created with the goal of helping you make a better podcast.

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