By now, if you are building a business, there is approximately zero chance that you have not heard about Twitter in at least one marketing meeting, and chances are, your team has already had tens of debates regarding the importance of Twitter as a marketing tool. Allow me to settle those debates for you. Twitter should be an instrumental part of your overall marketing toolbox alongside platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
Much has been written about Twitter, as a platform. Who to follow, what never to do, how to leverage hashtags, what should be included in your bio, and much more. Not enough has been said regarding the ratio between the number of people you follow and those who follow you. This is an important part of your Twitter profile and most people ignore it.
First impressions matter.
When someone comes across your Twitter profile, you have approximately six seconds to communicate to that person "You should click that Follow button. I am worth it."
Your profile picture might be the first thing they see, followed by your bio, but after that, they are looking at your numbers.
If you follow more people than follow you, what you are in essence saying to that person is "I followed all these people, but only some of them found me interesting enough to follow me back."
Not only that, but you are also saying "Yes, I may have recently followed you, but don't [[TAKE?]] it too personally, I like to follow a lot of people, so really, the fact that I cared enough to follow you doesn't mean I am genuinely interested in what you have to say."
Not doing great on the first impression scale...
Are you even human?
By now, most people realize that Twitter's biggest challenge is authenticity, or said another way, there are too many bots on the platform, and not enough humans.
If you follow 368,000 people on Twitter, even if most or all of them follow you back, there are really only two options. Either you are a bot and are mass following people, or you are a human but your Twitter activity lacks any sort of engagement and you are using the platform as a megaphone, to broadcast your monologues, and not for dialogues.
Either way, you are not giving me a very good reason to follow you. Pay attention to those numbers. If 368,000 follow you, on the other hand, and you only follow a few of them, or maybe hundreds of them back, that communicates the exact opposite. "Look how many people follow me. I must be that interesting."
The Psychology of Following on Twitter, Ruined.
Like it or not, when you follow someone on Twitter, that is a very quick and easy way to get on their radar. Flattery will get you everywhere. However, when I am one of tens or hundreds of thousands of people that you followed, well, all of a sudden, I am not so flattered anymore.
Additionally, my incentive to follow you back when you follow all those people, and less of them follow you back, decreases instantly. If you follow all those people and so few of them follow you back, why should I be any different?
You took the sting right out of the whole mechanism of connecting with people on Twitter.
The bottom line is, when building your Twitter strategy, alongside the obvious components, make sure your follower/following numbers are appealing. Even if you follow three people and have four followers, that makes a much better impression that having 20,000 followers and following 45,000 people.
This stuff matters and being as that decision of whether to follow you back or not usually lasts less than 10 seconds, these little issues can be the difference between a follow and a "No thanks."