Different Twitterers take different approaches to building their Twitter following. Some run about like headless chickens adding everyone and anyone while some only add their “cronies”. Few, it would appear, take time to factor in their brand or the brand of the companies they work for. Whilst these tactics might be fine for individuals Twittering for personal purposes, they are not good enough for corporations or business people.

In our post last week on Top 5 Twitter Tips, we talked about the importance of strategy. Having a Twitter strategy is paramount. Before you set out on your Twitter adventures, take time to develop a follower/following strategy that fits with your corporate brand and your Twitter goals. By brand I don’t simply mean slapping up your logo on your Twitter site using the design functionality or picture (although that is important). Your brand is much more than just your logo. It is your company values, your promise to clients, partners and everyone you touch, it is what your company lives and breathes and what sets your organisation apart from the pack (for more on branding listen to our podcast series on that very topic).

Before you jump on Twitter and start following people willy nilly. Consider if this strategy is appropriate to your corporate brand. Put yourself in the shoes of those you are trying to attract. I know that when I check out a follower’s site and find that they are following way more people than they have followers I tend not to follow them because I am concerned they are simply going to spam. If your company’s brand encompasses blatant self promotion then having a high following to follower ratio is fine. If not then this Twitter tactic is not for you.

The converse can also be true. Many individuals and companies choose to follow very few other Twitterers. In Ruth Seeley’s post What’s really funny about Twitter she points out:

“But some of the Twitterati seem to have missed the point of social media entirely. For these folks, it’s all about who’s following them, not about the two-way exchange of information and ideas and the wonderful things that can result from the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. A respected British tech journalist Tweeted this morning that he had reached the 2000-followers mark, and seemed very pleased about it. Four hours later, he had 2009 followers – and was following a mere 145 people. I think we probably have to pardon him for not quite getting it: in his business, it’s still all about having an audience and a following.”

The British tech person Ruth mentions isn’t the only example of this. Here in Vancouver many of the Sun’s journalists are Twittering all of a sudden. I notice that many of them also have far fewer followers than they are following. As a visitor and a Vancouver Sun subscriber this follower to following ratio makes me feel like common Vancouver Twitterers are insignificant to the paper. Given the listening tools out there, effective listening can’t be the reason for this.

For those who choose to follow only few people, again ask yourself if this reflects your brand. If your brand image is exclusive then this approach will be great for you. For visitors, it may simply leave them cold.

So before you start using Twitter, determine what your follow strategy is and ask yourself: does this represent my company or personal brand? If it does, then you’re good to go, if not take time to reconsider and come up with an approach that does reflect your brand.