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Twitter Power on the Social Web

In a recent study done by Sysomos, a social media tool maker, they looked at 1.2 billion tweets over a 2 month period and found that 96.9% of replies and 92.4% of retweets happened within the first-hour window of being tweeted. It seems that timing is critical. These findings along with the fact that only 6% of tweets produced a retweet, 23% produced a reply and the remaining 71% produced no action make you wonder how conversational Twitter really is.

But then yesterday a study was released about influence vs. popularity and how meaningful a presence on Twitter really can be in the grand playing field of social media. There have been several of these studies done on celebrities such as Ashton Kutcher, Kim Kardashian and Lady Gaga. All of whom have millions of Twitter followers, yet don’t quite equal out in the influence category. For example, Kim Kardashian optimizes her tweets by converting her Twitter posts into web traffic to her website. Ashton Kutcher does not and maybe that’s because of his type of followers who have little klout and not large fan bases.

So cutting to the chase, what does this mean for your business? Well, these studies are saying that timing is everything when it comes to tweeting and you need to have not only a high number of followers, but also quality followers. Should you pick and choose based on someone’s fan base as to whether you follow them back? Should you not follow anyone back?

Here are some rules of thumb in terms of reciprocating the follow:

  1. If they don’t speak your language, why would you follow them?
  2. Not everyone needs to be followed back, although it’s polite. If you are not sure, add them to a list you’ve created and monitor for a while.
  3. Look at their bio, if they do not share one of your five top current interests, don’t follow back. You can always add to a list without following.
  4. Look at their tweets:
    – if they are strictly about publicity, then don’t follow back. You can set up a Google alert for that instead.
    – if they are not cohesive thoughts, they probably won’t be quality followers.
  5. Look at the number of lists they have been added to. People who are on a lot of lists usually have Klout (reach). Anyone with 10 or higher is probably worth a follow.

Follow me on Twitter @tracysestili

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About Tracy Sestili

Tracy Sestili is CEO and Chief blogger at Social Strand Media. She is also the author of Taking Your Brand from the Bench to the Playing Field -- Social Media Fundamentals for Business.