Friday, June 12, 2009

How to avoid the #FollowFriday problem


One of the challenges with Twitter is finding ways to meet people. Real people who want to interact and not just number collectors/spammers/broadcasters. It used to be easier before. You had the option of seeing @replies of everyone you follow. This gave you the ability to see conversations with people you didn't know and to jump in. Now Twitter has removed this option so it's made the hunt a little more difficult. 

For several months, #FollowFriday has been used as a way to share great tweeps with your other followers. But there are 2 problems with #FollowFriday: 1. It's really lost a lot of it's effectiveness. Most people continue to list a bunch of tweeps without providing a reason. Very few people will actually follow people listed like this. 2. In spite of the @reply change having been made many weeks ago, many are still doing #FollowFriday incorrectly. If you start off the tweet with a person's username, only that person, any other users listed and anyone those people follow will get to see the tweet. It more or less defeats the purpose of doing #followfriday since those not following won't even see the tweet.

If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you'll know that I started to change how I did #followfriday's. Instead of tweeting individuals, I decided to do a blog post providing a more extended description about people. This worked - for a while. It took a lot of time to put together.  Time I could be spending communicating, sharing, interacting with followers. 

Many others since have started to go the same route - blogging recommendations (like @ConcertReviewer's blog) or providing a permanent list of recommendations (like @KimSherrell 's list). Kudos to those that do this! 

I'm starting to see more people tweet individuals with info about the person they are recommending. This provides value. It's easy for anyone to do. But it still does take a bit of work. There's also the guilt complex: ie if you give someone a recommendation one week, does that mean you need to give one the next etc.

The problem with tweeting #followfridays is that they have a very short shelf life. Pretty much only people online around the time the tweet goes out will even get to see it. It's not a very good bang for the buck.

The Great News is..... there is an fast, easy way to show your appreciation for other Twitter users that takes as little time as doing a #followfriday tweet. It provides lasting value AND you only need to do it one time.... 

....This is by using MrTweet.net for making your recommendations. Now MrTweet.net is certainly not something new, but I really think it is being underutilized. 

MrTweet makes suggestions of people you aren't following based on people within your network and recommendations they have made for others along with who they communicate with. You get to see a nice summary of each recommended person and you can choose to follow them (and/or send a tweet to them) directly from MrTweet.

You can also make recommendations of others via MrTweet. When you do so, it gets saved permanently & improves their visibility when others use MrTweet.  Recommendations that you make are also tweeted to your followers.

To get started with MrTweet, sign up by following MrTweet on Twitter.

You can then log in at the MrTweet website - discover new people to follow and make recommendations for others.

Recommendations for people to follow are updated daily.

Three tips:

1. You can make recommendations for others by going to:
http://mrtweet.com/username?rec - for example if you want to make a recommendation for me, you'd go to http://mrtweet.com/sharonhayes?rec

In the white text box - just type what you want to say about an individual after the word because. Make sure to leave the first part the way it is so that the recommendation will "take". Unlike a normal tweet, you have more space to provide details. Your outgoing tweet recommendation will have a link back to MrTweet.net. Once you are happy with what you wrote, you can click on the "Recommend him/her" button.

2. You can tweet your own recommendation list on #FollowFridays (or any day for that matter). People can see your page by going to http://mrtweet.net/username?me= - for example for me you'd go to 

3. You can share discoveries you have made via MrTweet.net by tweeting this link: http://mrtweet.net/share/username?user= - for example http://mrtweet.net/share/SharonHayes?user=

There are a couple of other things you can do to help those in your network:

1. Send a tweet anytime about a user to your followers with a reason why they should follow. Just remember it's important not to start the tweet with the person's username.

2. Make introductions between 2 or more individuals that you know have something in common. Again, don't start it with @username and try to explain why you are introducing them in the tweet. This may allow others that follow you to find new people too.

I hope that you've enjoyed this post and that it's given you some new ideas!



17 comments:

Lynn (www.mamasays.us) said...

Thanks for saying it as it is. #FF runs the risk of losing it's value unless WE add the value by sharing why we are suggesting people to follow. Fantastic post and actionable tips.

Sketches and Scribbles said...

I agree, it is not easy doing the one on one recommendation but it is always better to let others also know why you are recommending that person. Mr. Tweet is a cool tool as well to use. I've been using it to make reco as well. Great tips. Thank you for sharing.

Amy said...

I've found myself skipping the #FollowFriday tweets with lists of people. I just don't have time. But I do listen if someone recommends 1 or even 2. The group I consult for does the blog thing and its working out great thus far as we've made some great connections.

I'll have to check out the Mr Tweet thing because I'm sure that Blogging our recs might get a bit cumbersome! Thanks!

Daenathron said...

Hey Sharon thanks for reminding me about Mr. Tweet. I had discovered it not long after I started out on Twitter, but being the information hound that I am it dropped off my radar for newer, shinier things. Also, I can still see the @ replies that you send to others but I won't see them unless I go to your profile on Twitter or click your avatar in Twirl. I'm not sure how it would work on TweetDeck because I don't use it but I'm sure it's similar.

Thanks for the great post! :)

Jay August said...

I can still see all @replies that include my username, don't know where you got your info.

SharonTucci said...

Jay, I think you misunderstood. Let's say you sent a tweet:

"@sharonhayes #followfriday"

Only the people that are following both you and I would see that tweet. It does no good for me since only those already following me would see it.

You DO see any tweets that make mention of your username.

Ikaro said...

Hi Sharon!

I agree with your point of view.

My 2 cent:
http://www.ikaro.com/online_marketing/815/followfriday.html

Ciao,

Dan

nwjerseyliz said...

I tend to forget about @MrTweet until I get a message from them. It's really a great idea, Sharon. Most of the Twitter hashtag memes last just a day or two and since March, #FollowFriday has almost felt like a burden. Not because there weren't plenty of people I could recommend but I needed themes for the week to justify why I chose these particular people. I know you know that when you're following thousands of people, there are hundreds of potential recommendations. This is one solution and you can do it immediately instead of needing to remember that person's name for the upcoming Friday.

The only caveat I'd make is that you can't edit or "unrecommend" someone. So, I'm careful about who I choose & what I write. I don't want my recommendation to become the equivalent of "Have a nice day."

SharonTucci said...

Great point Liz that you can't edit/remove a MrTweet recommendation. There are a few showing for me that went in via tweets (ie not THROUGH MrTweet) - that read very strangely and I wish I could edit.

Alison Jerabek said...

Great advice! I always feel bad when people #ff my username and I don't get a chance to thank them because I didn't see their tweet. And, to add insult to injury, due to the amount of (amazing) people I follow, I find it difficult to mention every worthy tweep I via #ff tweets.

I now plan on making an effort to write a #ff post. :) Thanks again.

~AJae
www.twitter.com/AJae

isemann said...

Mr Tweet needs a bit more work. I've been following him for ages and used the website. The under-utilisation is a result of not enough activity as far as I can see. Of course he is improving the product and perhaps it's a case of too much to do, not enough time.

I'm here http://twitter.com/isemann

R!

Anonymous said...

I've done #ff with reasons for rec and I've done #ff without and WITH is definitely better. I feel better having provided value because I know I appreciate it when others provide their reasons.
Great article!

Jim @ CoolStuffForDads.com said...

I will have to check out Mr. Tweet in more detail. #FF is sort of interesting for a relative newbie to Twitter but you make some very good points on its effectiveness.

Joel said...

I think I need to read #ff for Dummies!

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your very informative blog and have picked up very informative tips. In fact, I made a copy of several of your pages for easy references. I am just a general user, not in Twitter for professional reasons.. Your tips are well written, informative and easy to understand. I admire you
Signed by Ladycat3

Erin said...

Thanks for the advice. I kept trying to #FF some great people -- and even gave the reasons why -- but it didn't seem to get anyone to follow them. Willtry this.

明日甘心 said...

Sincerely thank you for your hearty sharing, one great thing about blogs is that feedbacks / interactions can go on beyond anticipation & I can finally find your message, nearly a year after its posting ;) Anyway, I am brand new in twitter & desperately need to get a hand of it within a very limited amount of time, so thank you again for your insightful advice & (for what you have been willing to shar generiously) I wish to be able to follow you ^_^ (I'm here at http://twitter.com/HK_Business)