Blog Feature

By: Jennifer Devitt on February 8th, 2015

Social media and the difference between followers, connections and friends.

In 2015 there are many avenues to explore for social media. There are many venues to gather information, share information, meet new people, make new business connections and tell the world about your brand.

Let's see, there it Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin and Snapchat to name a few. One thing all these have in common is that they are "social". But, they very on how they are intended for interaction. On some you can be a follower, others a connection and some a friend. All have privacy controls so that you can have account settings requiring you to give someone permission to connect with you. If you are private on all venues, you have to approve everyone.

I would like to discuss the difference between a follower and a connection. On Instagram and Twitter if you are not private anyone can follow you. There can be varying reasons why someone follows you. It can be a shared common interest, it can be they like your brand or you could be an inspiration. Yes, I know there are some who don't always have the best intentions and you could have followers with ulterior motives, which is why you need to exercise caution in what you share.

One venue that always makes me shake my head though is Linkedin. I get several random requests a week to connect with someone I don't know, nor are they connected to someone I know. I use Linkedin Pulse to share our blog on that platform. Now, the blog via Pulse can attract "followers" that do not require approval by me. But subsequently, I get requests to connect to individuals that I have no idea who they are or why either one of us would benefit from the connection.

I have a habit on social media to not just immediately follow back. I follow what interests me. I interact with clients, friends, colleagues or people who generally interest me. I by no means intend to look like a social media snob. But, if we all follow everyone back that follows us or accept every invitation, key connections will get lost in the shuffle. When I get a Linkedin from someone I have never heard of, with no similar connections and no message, I wonder, gee why should we connect? This is social, business geared platform. If we want to be connected let's have a small discussion about why so we can benefit from the connection down the road. If we don't have a small "chat' we are just collecting digital business cards.

So, that being said, I am happy to connect and learn more about you and your firm, as well as share information about SYDCON if you are interested. What type of social media policy do you follow? Do you have different standards for personal versus business? Do your standards vary based on the platform? How do you keep track of all of your followers, connections, and friends?

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