We all grew up hearing that we are judged by the company we keep. In today’s world of social media and online communication, that has never been more true or more important! Social media companies like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have allowed people from across the globe to connect with others they may never encounter otherwise. And although in many ways that is a great thing, it can also create an environment where your social image becomes more important than your real life reputation. That being said, connecting with anyone person that requests to follow you or asks you to follow them is probably not the best way to build a respected online image. So are you guilty by association?
Here are some of my tips on how to choose who to follow:
Check Out Their Profile
Make sure the person has complete profile. Go down the checklist: Has the name, location, website, bio fields been completed? Is there a profile photo or default Twitter egg? If someone doesn’t add in a real profile picture or doesn’t include a full bio and just leaves a website address then it is probably a spam account. Unfollow!
Review, Review, Review
Go down the page and read through their previous status posts and tweets. If it is a Twitter account, Is this person tweeting original thoughts or do they simply retweet, share quotes and promote spam? Is this person tweeting every few minutes or only a few meaningful tweets throughout the day? Frequent tweeters with no real content will only take up valuable space on your feed. If it is a Facebook account, be sure to look over the user’s profile. Do you know this person or do you have mutual friends in common? Do you notice this person has made a lot of recent adds or likes? A lot of recent adds could mean this account was made to spam. If you are unsure, you can always message the person directly for more information.
Clearly, this is one of the obvious tips. If you see someone who follows 5,000 people but only 400 people follow them, that account probably won’t help you achieve your social media goals. For Facebook, go back and check the page a few days and see what the activity is like. If there is no engagement or the person has lost “friends” then it is probably a spam page.
Find Common Connections
Be sure to follow people who are received positively by the public and will promote others to follow you off a good association. Remember both Twitter and Facebook are designed to find those with similar interests and suggest them to you! Try to stick to following users who are related to the market you are trying to reach. If you are follow people who are considered controversial or biased toward one side of an issue then public perception of your posts will be skewed.
There are times when we are followed by people that we would rather not be associated with. In that case, you have the option of blocking those users . Blocking spammers or negative people not only keeps your list clean but it helps social media companies identify who is misusing the service.
Remember that maintaining your social media image isn’t just about what you choose to post, but who you choose to connect with!