I am delighted to have this Q&A with Justin G. Roy, Director of Social Media at Nichols College in Dudley, MA. Justin knows social media, so I asked him some questions about evaluating folks you meet through social media.
Disclaimer: Yes those that know us, know Justin and I are friends. But we also have a great deal of respect for one another – for our work, content and voice. So lest you think this is a post from the mutual admiration society, take a look at Justin’s social media work. He knows of what he speaks. You can find Justin tweeting for himself @JustinGRoy and @Nichols_College and on his blog. You can also follow me on Twitter @BTalisman. Please share your thoughts and ideas, we’d love to hear them. Tomorrow, in Part 2, Justin talks about what someone’s web presence can tell you.
BET: What makes a good person to follow on Twitter or how to determine who to follow v. block?
JGR: Great question and one I get asked a lot. In general terms, both should be looked at from your specific social networking strategy; if you are looking to connect with people who love Harry Potter (for example) then you might want to follow enthusiasts of Harry Potter or of that movie genre.
To determine who: Look at if from a marketing and branding POV – You should look at their stream, or profile page. Have they filled out their biography and provided you with a link to their website or blog or other means of learning more about that particular person, brand, or company?
I look at the first two pages of their twitter stream – do they use twitter as a billboard by only posting links to themselves – are they a connector – what conversations are they having – is their content what I am interested in – do they love their network (by answering questions, offering advice, re-tweeting)?
Now I am not saying everybody is perfect and I do believe we sometimes forget our strategy and lean towards one thing or another; we may forget to promote ourselves or perhaps it was a busy week of promotions and we wanted to let the world know.
A good follower would have considered the above and determined that you fit into all categories.
BET: How can you tell if someone on Twitter is legit – coming from a place of honesty, truth or knowledge?
JGR: First, look at their picture. If it’s not G rated then I am pretty sure you should simply hit block.
In all seriousness, however, that is one of the most difficult measurements to make right off the bat or even in the short term. I look at their content – do they RT like the world is coming to an end – do they try to fill the silence – are they always tweeting about other articles – how much is their own?
I try and shy away from those who never have their own thought that they want to share with their followers. Not meaning their thoughts about the oddly shaped Cheerio that morning, but thoughts about their industry, being a professional, or anything that would make you or I say hmmm. How much of their own original content have they shared with their followers (typically their own blog post)?
A bit more difficult but worthwhile is to watch their conversations. Are they talking with the same people or does there seem to be a shift every month or so? Beware of the latter, it typically means either the folks they were talking to determined the content was not win-win or the person is not invested in helping to raise or engage their network in the long-term.
BET: Does having a lot of followers and tweeting a lot mean you have something to say?
JGR: Well it sure does mean you have something to say. Though I would be more concerned if what you have to say is what people want to hear AND is it what they want to hear or what they should hear. There are cases when something said does not “rub” their community the right [intended] way but it’s information that really should be taken into consideration.
Sometimes I think having a lot of tweets means something other than being busy with work or clients. Take a look at whomever you might be hiring for a consultant role – if their entire day is filled with tweeting then best bets is either they are bored or not giving their clients enough of their attention; all should be a red flag.
To play devil’s advocate on myself, I think we all tend to go through spurts where we are “sucked” into Twitter and end up spending way too much time – BUT if it was reconnecting, new connections, and sharing it probably was not. What am I trying to say? Well, if you tweet for 10 hours a day, every day, every week, or every month – it might be time to reconsider your strategy. You can certainly be everybody’s best friend but what the heck are you doing for your employer, clients, or yourself?
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