How do you know if someone is worth following?
The world of social media and digital marketing is full of fakes and frauds. I’m serious. How many “experts” do you come across that have only 20 Twitter followers?
People in my profession are a dime a dozen, however there are some really, really good people out there really kickin it and are worth your follow.
I’ve written about determining someone’s social influence and about those “expert” lists, but this time I thought I would take a look at the positives – key ways to tell if someone you are looking at is indeed worth your time, respect and follow.
When looking at their social media profiles…
- How many people are they following versus how many follow them. Most will be even on their follower/following count, but most have more following them than they are following. Be on alert if the said “expert” has 50 followers and are following over 2,000 of if the balance is way out of whack like following 500 and have over 100,000 following them. The only exceptions? Celebrities and athletes, you know, famous people.
- Look at how many times they’ve been listed. This doesn’t automatically show up on the actual Twitter site, however if you use TweetDeck, you can see this. Just click on the person’s name to see their bio pop up and it will show you how many lists they are on. Compare that to the number of people following them.
- Read their tweets. Are they constantly pushing their own content? Are they doing nothing but broadcasting with no engagement? Or are they sharing other people’s content as well as their own and engaging with people? You can get a good idea about someone from their tweets. Scroll back a few days and see what they have going on. True influencers will support others and won’t make it all about themselves.
- What do they have as their profile picture? Is it an obnoxious picture of something professional? I know some influential people will have a fun picture as their profile picture, and that’s okay. Fun is okay, t-shirts and sticking your tongue out is not.
- Read their bio. Is everything filled out? Are they pushing the same keywords (stuffing the bio) without telling you who they are? Is it a big sales pitch or is it telling a story? Worthy influencers will not pounce on you with a sales pitch as their first point of interaction.
- Look at their experience – what have the done in the past? Also, see who they are connected with. There is one social “expert” that really rubbed me the wrong way and I won’t connect with anyone who has this person listed as a connection if I don’t know them already. Maybe I’ll write a post about that later. Who you surround yourself with says a lot about you – be careful who you connect with.
- Do they have any recommendations? Those who are worth connecting with following will have recommendations. Read them and use your judgment.
I know this is a platform a lot have given up on, but if the person you are looking at is using it, it’s worth looking at. Are they sharing meaningless articles or are they really being informative and seeing great interaction?
This is a hit or miss platform. Not all influencers you look at will be on it. Give them a few bonus points if they are 😉
I am intentionally leaving off Facebook and Pinterest. I rarely use a person’s Facebook or Pinterest presence as a way to judge if I want to follow them. In my experience the credible ones are most active on Twitter first, then LinkedIn and/or Google Plus.
Seriously. Type their name in your favorite search engine and see what pops up – both the good, bad and the ugly. Seeing what’s out there about your person will give you a good picture. Speaking of pictures, try searching them in Google Images as well. You may be surprised what you find.
Visit their website.
What does their site say about them? Is it filled with spam and sales pitches? Does it convey who they are? I personally like the less-flashy, more subdued look.
Read their blog.
This is a biggie. What type of content are they publishing? Is it fluff or does it contain value? While you are reading their posts, take a look at the comments and social shares. True influencers will have their content shared and commented on. Not every post will have the same amount. Some have a lot of shares but little or no comments; some will have lots of comments but hardly any shares.
Find out how they distribute content.
Many influencers I follow distribute their content on other sites such as Social Media Today or Business 2 Community. Some also write for other sites, such as Steamfeed, Millennial CEO or IBM, to name a few. Respected influencers are given opportunities to contribute to other sites because they are providing value.
When looking at people to follow, there are a lot of things to consider, but ultimately it’s up to you – your judgment, what your instincts tell you and the overall feel you get for a person. I would caution you to really do your research before placing your trust and respect in a person. I’ve been burned before because I didn’t do just that.
In what ways can you tell if someone is worth following?