Friday, June 3, 2011

Follow Friday Works for You

A lot of Twitter users have come across a little happy Friday event called "Follow Friday". Today is Friday and you might see these attached to tweets:

#Follow Friday

What's this all about? 
Well, it's a fun little part of twitter that keeps things social. People follow people and on friday they suggest to other followers a certain few that everyone should take a look at and follow to get their tweets.

Awwweeee. How nice right? 
But is there any value in that? Should you participate?
I've seen this handled as a reward (follower accomplishes something for the tweeter, tweeter tweets their name to the group and what they did for them), and I've seen it handled as a meere superficial way to get that person to feel guilty enough to tweet their name to their followers for that Friday. This is usually handled by a series of tweets that just have at-tagged names for 140 characters at a time. I've also seen this handled rather sloppily, "Hey I follow @whomever - you should follow them too #FF". But why should I? I've only got so much twitter realestate, what do I get out of following this person?

So in light of too much of the above, here's some best practices I've come up with that will add value to your Follow Friday:

1.) Select ONLY a few for that Friday... don't worry there will be another Friday... It's hard to find the value in your tweets if every Friday all you do is take up my twitterealstate with at-tags. It's annoying, and I'll use the secret "#UFS" (unfollow Saturday - I really just made that up) on you after a month of those.

2.) Tell me WHY I should follow them! What makes their tweets so special? If I follow you for a reason am I going to get even better stuff in that same field? Will I get a laugh out of them? Are they just a great resource for random information? Are they like, totally, the best ever friend ever omg?! Honestly, I won't even look at the profile if I don't know something about them. I skim over blank and unexplained at-tags.

3.) Keep it to your audience. Follow Friday's can still show off that you are a good resource for quality information and a subject matter expert. You are giving your audience people to add to their "who I'm following" list. If they are a conservative bunch, don't tell them to follow the Huffington Post. If they are business minded and highly aware of their persona online, don't give them The Onion.... etc

Follow Friday is a quality form of flattery. Chances are, the one you suggest might just suggest you down the road, or at least they might retweet you. Especially if you give your followers the reason why the tweeter is worth following. It makes a more personal connection with that individual... and this is all about being social.
And again, Follow Friday is a way to show off that you are a subject matter expert. You know who to follow for the best stuff in your field. It shows off that your are a resource for good info and someone worth following come #UFS

Tweet an update a little like this: Hey everyone, follow my colleague @whomever ! they are probably you'll never look at pizza the same way again #FF followfriday #FollowFriday

There's an at-tag (@) in front of the person's name which allows anyone who sees your tweet to click and see that person's profile. It also alerts "whomever" that they've been mentioned in a tweet.
Then there's the hashtag (#) in front of the common Follow Friday verbiage. This signifies to everyone that you're not just hawking names, you are actually a little bit twitter savvy and you are putting out good suggestions for your followers.

NOW... go get your Follow Friday on ---

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