Is Follow Friday #FFing dead?
Follow Friday has been a Twitter tradition for many years, but lately has been far less prevalent on the twittersphere. Once a great hashtag trending highly on the waves of social networking, it's become more of an irritation to me lately. Here's why I believe its time has come, and how it could be revived.
#FollowFriday (or #FF for short) is a popular hashtag on Twitter. After a week of interaction on Twitter, on a Friday you may decide to do a roll call of great people who have helped you along with your tweeting life. When you 'FF' someone you're basically suggesting to your followers that they should follow them too. It’s a recommendation to follow.
The problem with popular hashtags such as this though is that the power of the hashtag fails with its popularity. The chance of anyone seeing your tweet in the busy timeline or even bothering to follow the hashtag are less likely the more popular it gets. #FF has really just become a heading or title, so it's already not worth much as a hashtag.
The biggest problem I have with Follow Friday though is that people seem to have forgotten why it started, and I'm sure most don't even know of its initial power and purpose. My main gripe is people who think typing '#FF' into a tweet and then adding as many @names as possible is in any way helpful. It's not. To me it's basically spam, it's unwanted and pointless tweeting.
Why are these people getting your #FF?
Why should I follow them?
And why on earth am I following YOU when you're just spamming my feed?
When you recommend someone in real life you will probably give a few reasons why, right? You will sell them to the person you're referring them to? You'd give a couple of examples why they should follow your recommendation? It's no different on Twitter and giving an '#FF' with a reason why the tweeter is such a great follow is far more powerful.
#FF @WarwickTweetup @LeamTweetup @pinky_princess @Warwicktweeter @WarwickRocks @FredBloggs @NoOneYouknow @BlahBlahBlahOR
#FF @WarwickTweetup for Twitter tips and advice and for being fun. (Slightly self-indulgent I know.)
Which one sells and which one spams? Would you follow any of the tweeters in the first tweet? Or would you focus on the positives from the second? I know which one I prefer.
Ok, so maybe you would follow the accounts in the first tweet because you didn't know they existed, or you respect the account that sent the #FF so you follow them anyway? (despite the lack of reason or description). Maybe then it still has some power?
But I want to turn it around. Let’s not look to your followers here; let’s look to the accounts you've included in your #FF. If you were included in the first tweet in a list of @names would you feel special? Now ask yourself the same question about the second tweet. You'd feel pleased to be recommended in the second, and also know WHY you were too, as would the followers of the nice tweeter who FF'd you. So by giving a reason to follow, you're not only helping your followers decide whether to follow, you're actually making your recommended tweeter feel special at the same time too. It’s far more powerful, far less spammy, and far more likely to increase your engagementon Twitter - a key part of any campaign.
I like to maximise anything I do on Twitter and simply listing names and shoving #FF at the beginning or on the end is not going to do that. Follow Friday could be a powerful resource for your Twitter if you use it well. Most tweeters pick a load of names at random like it's a necessity - and don't even get me started on the FF helper!
Have a reason. Be purposeful. Be a power-tweeter.
What do you think of Follow Friday? Do you still do it? Please comment below… I'd love to know your thoughts and opinions.
My name is Graham Todd and I’ve been immersed in social media for almost three years. I train, blog and manage social media for business.
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