December detox? Only if you want to be more social

Matt Moran

03 December 2013

Once or twice per year I try to go through the some form of detox, except this one isn’t about healthy juices in January or giving up Maltesers in March (for Lent), it’s about cleaning up my social feeds.

Take Twitter, I’ve been followed and unfollowed by numerous people and brands over the last 12 months and almost without exception I’ve followed back. Add in a few names around the big stories that I’ve been following in 2013 and my Twitter ‘following’ count has risen by over 250% since January.

It’s left me with a fast-moving stream of content that (given I tend to follow people/brands that tweet regularly) I can barely keep up with and I know that the really good stuff is slipping away before I’ve even had chance to read or respond.

So, what to do?

Well, I’ve unfollowed almost half of the people I was following. Out have gone those that rarely tweet, the ones that just tweet about themselves and those that add little-to-no value to my interests.

The result is a revelation. I no longer miss the links that give me the news I want to see, I still get updates from brands I’ve chosen to communicate with and I’m replying and conversing with followers more regularly. It feels like a satisfying return to when I first started using Twitter.

And I’ve not just limited this to Twitter; Facebook and Instagram have gone through the same detox programme, albeit hiding updates in your Facebook news feed makes the awkward “Why did you unfollow/unfriend me?” question from your friend less likely.

But what happens when a brand asks that question? Why did people unfollow us? The answer is don’t panic and don’t get caught up in the day-to-day changes in follower numbers. Keep an eye on the overall trend but if there’s a drop over a monthly period or growth is slowing then it’s time to take a look at the content strategy.

Something we see with many brands that have well-established social media channels is that they sometimes forget why they invested in social media in the first place. It’s good practice for community managers to keep a short list of objectives to hand and refer to them on a regular basis. It keeps the conversation on track, on message and on the road to building brand awareness, providing outstanding customer service and enhancing sales.

With that thought, give your followers a festive trim and be a little more social this Xmas.

Ps. One account you do want to follow is @metia.