As an active Twitter community member, I’m an amused observer of the various ways people (“tweeps”) approach the quality vs. quantity question.
Some say, “There’s no way you can connect with thousands, so why follow that many?”
Others, “More is better.”
There’s a fundamental marketing exercise that most Twitter participants aren’t thinking about – many of which are even marketers. It’s called…
Marketers of web seminars are always concerned about the size of the audience, and a VFAQ (VERY frequently asked question) is “how do I drive attendance?” To do this, you need to reach people, even a lot of them. But focusing only on quantity is a very 1.0 approach (and if you give away free guitars, you’ll get a LOT of attendees). You need a way to figure out which are qualified prospects and how to separate them so you can communicate differently to them.
The reason I don’t focus ONLY on a small group of tweeps in Twitter is for the same reason that marketers segment their lists…I don’t want to communicate only with a small group (you don’t know when someone will bubble up out of the broader group – and it happens regularly on Twitter), but I DO want to FOCUS primarily on a smaller group.
I use Tweetdeck to create a sub-group of about 200 people out of the ~5800 I’m connected with on Twitter. I follow almost everyone back, and I’m not drawn to the ego trip of unfollowing 5600 so it looks like I follow 20 and have 5600 more following me. It’s too easy to do the same thing AND have an ear to the ground with a broader audience.
Final proof point:
I once followed back a gal whose profile screamed “housewife and mom.” When I did, though, she sent me a message saying that she was a happy escapee from the corporate world and knew all about online presentations and elearning. And guess what… in NETWORKING that’s called someone who most definitely knows someone else I might want to know given my line of work.
So this post isn’t to disparage anyone else’s strategy, but it is to encourage putting aside ego trips, using tools, and practicing a simple, powerful thing marketers have been doing for a long time: segmentation. It’s not ‘quantity versus quality,’ it’s managing ‘quantity and quality.’
Thoughts? What’s your strategy?