Peter VanRysdam / Digital Marketing / March 9th, 2009

What is the Critical Mass of Twitter Followers and Tweet Frequency?

This is a question I’ve struggled with recently as I stumble through the world of social marketing.  Everyone has an opinion, but they all seem to be different.  I certainly don’t have the answers either, so instead I would like to talk about my questions and concerns to see if this is something others have struggled with.

Let’s start with my goals: I’m using twitter to connect with employees, meet other marketing execs, network with people attending events that I’m attending, and of course, prospecting new clients.  Obviously there’s no point in only following 50 people and having them follow me.  That just wouldn’t do any good.  I want to increase my number of followers as well as the people I follow.  But when does it become too many people?

When I get a new follow I always check them out to see if I want to follow them back.  If it’s a company or person with a 10:1 following to follower ratio, I move on right there.  The next thing I look at, after reading a few of their latest posts to see if I’m interested in the topics, is the frequency with which they tweet.  I don’t care how influential you are (yes, I’m talking to you, Guy Kawasaki).  I just don’t want to wade through 50 plus tweets from you per day.  It’s not that you’re not interesting, but how do you possibly stay involved in the conversation if you’re following 200 other people like that?  That’s…math….carry the two…10,000 tweets per day to read, or at least filter through. 

So what does that mean?  Do I strive to follow 500 people who tweet once or twice a day?  Or do I go for 50 people that tweet 10 times per day?  Is it better to have a smaller community but to actively participate with those people, or to follow more people, but more as a passive observer? 

The bigger questions is how do the big guys do it.  There are people with 1,000, 5,000, or even 100,000 followers who seem to be following them all back.  I’m sorry, Britney Spears…there’s no way you have time to read the 39,378 people you follow (only 10% of the people that follow her).  Or you could take the approach of Jimmy Fallon, who has 246,206 followers but only follows 60 people himself.  Sure, he has time to read those people’s tweets, but he’s not really engaged in the conversation then, is he?

Sorry I didn’t really provide any information here.  I’m more looking for feedback so I can figure out where to go from here.  I don’t think it’s about following everyone I can so they’ll all follow me back.  Then I’m never reading anything but my @replies and posting stuff out there just to get business.  No fun. 

So what do you think?  Leave a comment here or @reply me @pvr352.