This week I’ve been featuring the insights of Dr. Ben Hanna and the provocative findings of the social media strategy he is revealing month by month on his B2BOnlineMarketing blog. He just released information from his fourth month of experience. Some highlights:
What is the fastest route to a large, engaged group of Twitter followers? To research this, his team followed experienced B2B Twitter accounts with 5,000+ followers and started watching for patterns. There were two starkly different groups, and strategies, in terms of Twitter follower-friend ratio.
The Interpersonal Approach — equal ratio of followers-to-friends
“The follower-friend ratio caught my eye,” he said, “because there are two very different, and often conflicting, perspectives on the right way to engage in social media. The first is a view of social media as an interpersonal medium governed by interpersonal rules. For example, if someone wants to be your friend, the polite thing is to shake hands, say “hi”, and try to be friends – most people would consider it just plain rude to walk away. Those pro business tweeters with a follower-friend ratio around 1 seem to be following this norm and with automatically following someone back. Since there’s no obvious, objective benefit to blocking a follower if you decide not to be their friend, follower and following counts grow together.”
>> Hallmarks of Interpersonal Approach: Probable use of spam-and-cull approach to building a following; wide range of people in follower base, attract followers interested in tweet content.
The Mass Communication Approach — 5x more followers than friends
“The other group with a follower-friend ratio on the 5+ range seems to be viewing social media as a mass communication medium governed by mass communication rules, and the pro business tweeters in this group are often larger companies, business media and/or experienced execs at mid- to large-sized companies. From a mass communication perspective, its perfectly acceptable and even expected for the relationship to be one-sided or interactive only on demand (such as when a customer has a question). After all, it’s utterly impossible for someone to follow 5,000+ other Twitter users, let alone 500, and pay attention to all their tweets. If you think reading and processing 100 emails a day is a challenge, try 5,000 tweets.”
>> Hallmarks of Mass Communication Approach: Attract people interested in tweet content only since it is unlikely they will follow you back; may be big brands or long-established Twitter users; don’t tweet a lot of thoughts/observations — mostly just relevant content.
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