Balancing Act: Growing Followers & Quality Content

Originally published on Music Meets Social.

The desire for followers is almost universal. In this digital age, a person’s Twitter followers measures success as much as their resume. And there’s nothing wrong with that, because it shows clout, reach, and popularity. That being said, the desire for followers shouldn’t outweigh the desire for stellar content. I believe this simple truth: make great content your priority, and people will come. The seeker-first mentality will hurt you in the long run. These followers want content. If you fail to produce high-quality content over time, you may lose followers.

Side note: I’m going to focus on Twitter, because this is where I see a majority of this happening. But it applies to any outlet!

balancing-act

What followers love

Followers love great quotable and retweet-able content. People read online with bite-sized pieces of content. That’s why chunking, headlining, and bolding can all help you direct readers to specific points. The favorites and retweets happen when they find something that resonates. This isn’t to say that you should be so focused on a few sentences that you neglect the rest. Or that all your content should be in tweet-able pieces.

Strive for a balance of three things.

  • Getting all your information and content into an organized page
  • Adding headlines to help them read
  • Summing up your content. These sentence or two summations are often where the reader goes, “Yes!”

What content works best

Ultimately, the content you choose will determine your followers. Smart marketing can get your content in front of viewers but stellar content will win you that hard-earned click.

But what kind of content?

It depends on the outlet. Facebook used to be worded posts, then pictures, then (annoyingly) video. I say that because not all small organizations can afford to produce high-quality videos. This means people won't see their content as much.

Since we’re focusing on Twitter, I’ll keep on that trend.

  • Titles matter! Strive for a balance of informative and intriguing. The user should know what it’s about, but it should also make them want to click.
  • Short, tweet-able quotes. The sentence that makes me go “YES” is what will be in my tweet. To help your visitors, and to guide them to specific sentences, clicktotweet is a great tool. Users can quickly share your content then keep reading.
  • I’m going to say this again. High quality content always wins! Publish content that will make people want to read. Take the time to create something great, and your job is already 80% done.

What networking on Twitter means

There’s definitely something to be said for following people in your industry and interacting with them for a follow. It’s networking! But it shouldn’t be your prime motivation. Connect with them because you want to start conversations or learn or grow your network, not so your follower count will go up.

I’ll freely admit that when I look at my relatively low (okay, low, but more than some...) follower count, I get a little jealous of those with high numbers and a great network. But, we all need to start somewhere!  I’m beginning to network and develop the type of content I tweet to attract valuable followers and build my network. I would rather have a few great followers than many disinterested followers.

You’ll likely see a combination of personal (friends), business (coworkers or networking contacts), and strangers (following you because you tweet amazing things). You’re also likely to have a combination of interactive and non-interactive, and that’s okay. If they’re someone you’d like to connect with, follow back and start a conversation! You’ll be amazed at what can happen.

Following Sprees

I bet you can guess where I stand on this. There’s a growing tendency to buy followers or use applications that will scan Twitter for potential followers. Then, the user follows them in hopes the user will follow back.

These aren’t quality followers. If people do engage and follow back, they’re expecting content that applies to them. Will you provide them with what they expect?

I was recently "asked" to give my thoughts on a product by an (obviously) automated direct message. I say that because the message called me “Music”. If it were un-automated, it would likely be “Music Meets Social”. I was feeling generous, and didn’t want to completely ignore them, so I took a look at the site. A site that's entire purpose was to find followers for selling leads.

I recognize that for some, a tool that finds users based on criteria is valuable.

Be proud, because my response was snark free. (Ha!) I acknowledged that it could be useful for some. I went onto say, though, that it may not truly work in all situations. Followers want content that helps them. If all that app does is try to sell them a product, what are they receiving in return?

The goal of Twitter should be connecting with true, invested fans. It should be building relationships with those who care about and use your brand. What’s better than interacting with those who are just as passionate about your product as you are?

So, what do you think? Am I completely off-base, or do you agree?

How do you balance your desire for followers and creating strong content?