By Daniel Casciato
A client of mine was dismayed that only 20 of his 600+ Facebook friends “liked” his business page. Like other small businesses, he wanted to use Facebook as a no-cost, low-cost platform to promote his products and connect with customers. He was also hoping to get the required minimum of 25 likes to land a vanity URL.
He was more irritated at friends whose pages he “liked” but didn’t “like” his back. He felt that reciprocity was in order. And I agreed.
You Scratch My Back…
If I helped your business out and liked it, it’s time for you to repay that favor. Then I thought about my Twitter account. I know there were people I was following who didn’t follow me. I’ll give Alyssa Milano and Hines Ward a pass. But those close to me? Heck, I even had friends and former co-workers who weren’t following me.
Last week I discovered a new service, ManageFlitter.com, to purge my Twitter account of those people I was following but were not following me back. As I began to delete them from my social media life forever that got me to thinking that there’s probably a reason why some people don’t reciprocate.
Here’s Why I Don’t Follow or Like…
- One is because your tweets or status updates may be annoying. In fact, I’m guilty of it at times. Instead of using Twitter as an information sharing tool, or to educate or inspire others, some use it to gripe. I know I get turned off when I see others do that so I click unfollow.
- Another reason you may be unfollowed or not reciprocated is that you’re overtweeting. I tend to do this when my favorite teams, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Pittsburgh Steelers, are playing. Thankfully, many others do it during the games, so my tweets often go unnoticed. Still, this can be bothersome to non-sports fans.
But back to Facebook, my client finally got over the 25 like-threshold. In fact, he’s nearing 100+ likes now, so he’s happy. It just took time, which was one piece of advice I gave him, He also began to post more relevant information and became more conversational with his friends and even on the pages he “liked.” He sent out his like request again for his business and received a more favorable response.
What Some Experts Think…
I threw out my question about reciprocating on LinkedIn Answers. Here’s what some people from around the country had to say:
- Kate Davids, Online Marketer: There’s no reason, and indeed some reasons not to, follow back. The reasons not to include: bogging yourself down with tweets and page updates that just don’t hold any value for you. For instance, if you’re a personal trainer, you post about exercises, articles you like on dieting, etc. Your follower might be an accountant in another state who likes to work out, but you have no desire to read the accounting articles she posts about. Why would you follow her back? It only clogs up your Twitter stream.
- Lorenzo Araneo, Screaming Lunatic: I follow back on Twitter those who are real. They interact with others and/or provide valuable resources to my industry. As far as a company, I will follow those who interest me. On Facebook, it’s a bit tougher because usually you want to reciprocate the follow back. Facebook can be more personal because your friends are on there. I have a few friends who just post non-stop so while I do “like” them, I end up using the “Hide” feature so nobody gets any bad feelings.
- Sherese Duncan, Small Business Strategist, President and CEO, Efficio, Inc.: I’m not sure the important thing here is whether you should automatically reciprocate a “like” or a “follow” just because someone has “liked” or “followed” you. Quality over quantity comes to mind here. Building social media networks is based on trust. People do not want to fill their networks with spam and meaningless blabber that they don’t care about. Neither should you. Only reciprocate a “like” or “follow” if you feel there’s an added personal or business related advancement or benefit.
- Troy D. White, Educational Consultant, Cloud Owl Technologies: As an open networker, I do reciprocate requests (and follows). Naturally, we don’t have to reply to all the get-rich-quick messages and MLM schemes. But for people who are making a legitimate effort at connecting or advancing their business/careers, I’m more than happy to take a minute and Like a page or review a resume and offer a few quick tips.
- Sheri Huesman, Owner, Cybertary Spartanburg: For me, social media is not a numbers game. I only follow people back on Twitter if I’m remotely interested in what they have to say. I do not follow back if they’re blatantly trying to sell or advertise some “get rich quick” scheme. Same with Facebook, I only “like” who I truly want to follow. I don’t purposely help them get a vanity URL. I don’t take it personally if someone doesn’t “like” me back. There have only been a few instances where I have unfollowed someone because they send way too many tweets.
What do you think? Email me at email@example.com and we’ll share with our readers.
Daniel Casciato is a full-time freelance writer. In addition to writing for the Western PA Hospital News, he’s also a social media coach. For more information, visit www.danielcasciato.com, follow him on Twitter @danielcasciato, or friend him on Facebook (facebook.com/danielcasciato). .