peopleA common question we have run into: “Should I Follow Back Everyone Who Follows Me?”

Even though the question originally focused on Twitter, there is applicability on Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and literally every other social networking platform out there.

To follow or not to follow, that is the question.

The answer, of course: It depends.

Like everything in social media marketing, it starts with defining goals and objectives as part of your strategy.

Don’t necessarily fall into the trap of “courtesy following” everyone who follows you. This practice tends to gum up your newsfeed. However, there is something to be said for following back those who could potentially provide viral benefit or influencers who can help tap you into their audience, also knows as Social Media Prospecting.

Reciprocating follows should be done by plan. Follow everyone that follows you but only if there is value to both you and your potential followers as it shows a sense of realness.

As your audience grows, revisit your strategy of who to follow back as it could diminish the value of who you follow. Make sure your brand doesn’t begin to give the appearance that you only follow for numbers and don’t follow any accounts of value. After the size of your audience reaches 200-300 it is probably time to begin analyzing who follows you.

Here are a few points to consider before determining whether to follow back. If you answer “yes” to any or all of these, it may be a good idea to follow them back:

  • Are they regularly active on their social media channels?
  • Do they engage with your content?
  • Do they reach out (direct message) or tag you in their content?
  • Do they have followers who are engaged with their content?
  • Are they part of your industry?
  • Do they have valuable content?

As a business owner, do you follow every follower back? What ways do you show appreciation to your fans? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.