Who you follow on social media can have a big impact on your business. Depending on your choices, your social media network can either help or harm your business and your reputation.
Company You Keep Reflects on You
For good or ill, people will often judge you on the company you keep. Just ask any teenager who’s gotten in with a bad crowd. In the same way, the company you keep on social media says something about your business.
By following a person or business, you’re implicitly endorsing them. Say for example your business is all about buying local food.
Following Target might not be in line with that ethos. If on the other hand you are part of a supply chain that works with large supermarkets, following Target wouldn’t be out of place.
Potential colleagues, contacts and employers will all check you out on social media, so think carefully about what impression the people and brands you follow will give.
As the article “Should You Accept Every LinkedIn Request?” points out, who you follow has the power to help or harm your business.
More than Your Reputation
Who you follow on social media impacts your business in other ways, too. Following leading brands in your industry, interesting bloggers in your niche, and relevant news feeds, can all help you to keep abreast of what is happening in your industry. Following people who are interested in what you do can help you to build good business relationships.
On the other hand, following people who don’t provide good quality content or interesting updates can lead to a social media feed that’s overwhelmed with irrelevant information, causing the good stuff to get lost in the noise.
To Follow or Not to Follow?
Armed with this information, you might be wondering just who you should follow back on social media? And of course, you would be quite right to point out that an empty social media profile doesn’t reflect well on your business either. The key is to exercise a little caution when deciding who to follow.
Check out the people who request a follow before you add them back. What does their profile say about them? What do they stand for and is it something you are happy to be associated with?
If you’re not sure why they’re adding you, don’t be shy about sending a friendly message or email asking how they found you and why they’d like to connect.
Balance Quantity with Quality
It’s understandable that you want to build a strong social media presence and following and being followed is an important part of that. Many followers will be genuine people and brands who want to connect, but some might not be the best fit for you, so do take the time to find out more before you hit that button to follow back.
On LinkedIn for example, adding someone as a primary connection allows them to see and message other people in your network, which could reflect badly on you if they are too pushy with your other connections.
It makes sense that you might want to exercise more caution depending on the kind of access each social network gives followers to your details and network.
Your social media connections can raise your profile, provide a value source for networking and even be instrumental in finding a new job or landing a new contract.
Building up a strong network takes time, so do be pro-active and don’t be afraid to follow back, but balance that with using good sense and making sure the connections you make have value to you.
About the Author: Tristan Anwyn writes on a wide variety of topics, including social media, SEO, social media and business networking.