Social media has come so far, it’s hard to believe it ever began as just a place to feature a favorite song directly on our profile. (Anyone else having flashbacks to their angst-filled teen years with Paramore on loop? *raising hand*) With the complexities of modern-day social media comes the task of determining who to follow on social media.
Whether you use social media to stay in touch with loved ones or to promote your business (or everything in between), there is a method to the madness in who to follow. Connecting with the right people will not only expand your reach, but your mind.
So, how do I decide who to follow?
At Social for Good, we’re here to help you decide who to follow on social media. You should strongly consider following an account or individual if…
They have shared values.
Values are our core beliefs that motivate our behaviors. When we share these values as a group, we can actively use these values as a guide in decision-making.
Someone with shared values can help you determine where to focus your efforts and recognize what’s working, and perhaps what’s not. Following an individual or company with shared values allows us to collectively make a positive impact within a frequently unethical space.
They educate you.
Whether you’ve been in business for 5 years or 25, you know how important it is to learn, adapt, and reevaluate best practices to equip you and your team with the practical knowledge that promotes success. You can be the best in your field and still have much to learn.
This prerequisite is even more applicable in the social impact space. If we’re here to do good, then it’s safe to say we’re here to learn. Don’t just follow accounts around the topics you’re fluent in; follow the ones you’re new to. We have so much room to grow; a great place to begin is by listening to those who are graciously using their voice to educate. Sometimes it’s best we shut our mouths and take a seat.
They provide value to your business.
If you’re a business owner, you may be looking to expand your reach with like-minded businesses or grow your customer base by meeting a need. Consider the following as you explore new accounts:
What are their pain points? Could they use the service or product you provide? They could be your client.
Is this a business that offers a product or service my business needs? Could I better serve my clients through involvement with this supplier? They could be your vendor.
Does this individual or company train others in a particular method or business practice? Do I feel inspired when I listen to them? They could be your coach.
Do they have a similar business model? Are they on a mission to make an impact in the same demographic or specialty? They could be your partner.
If you answer yes to those questions as you notice new accounts, don’t hesitate to click that little blue button!
They challenge you.
To be challenged is to push to new levels in your business and your personal growth. If you feel motivated or inspired when you see an account’s content, you’re likely in the right place. Nothing is more inspiring than seeing others doing the purposeful work we so desperately want to achieve. These platforms may share the hard truths while simultaneously encouraging the potential for change — change you can be a part of.
These people can be authors, speakers, visionaries, artists, writers, entrepreneurs, servant leaders, and simply those who overcame enormous obstacles to create an extraordinary life or to vulnerably share their valuable perspective. Finding those special platforms is a rarity. It’s not every day we feel precious motivation, so make room for this in your social media engagement.
They make you uncomfortable.
Unpopular opinion alert. Follow someone who makes you feel uncomfortable. No, we don’t mean the creepy accounts that you keep having to block. We mean follow someone who goes against the grain of your culture, your beliefs, and your opinions. Perhaps they don’t look like you, speak like you, or dabble in the same heart work you do. But if they’re doing good in this world, they very well may be a valuable member in your corner.
If you’re in the white majority, make a point to seek out accounts representing marginalized communities. These individuals have made a massive sacrifice to put their voices on display for all to hear. Be a listening ear that comes from a place of respect and encouragement.
And if you’re feeling uncomfortable? Sit in that. Discomfort can be a telltale sign it’s exactly where we need to be. Make an effort to spend ample time in this sacred space.
No Perfect Number
Can you follow too few or too many accounts? There are different theories here. There aren’t necessarily too few, but having 0 or even 5 could give the impression you won’t engage or you don’t care about others. If an account has 100k followers but follows 0, it’s safe to assume they are a bot or a celeb.
It’s a myth, by the way, that your ratio of followers to following should be high. It doesn’t matter if you follow the same amount of people that are following you, or more, or less. Don’t overthink the numbers; simply follow who you want to follow, and better yet, should follow.
Is there anyone not to follow?
We can’t provide recommendations of accounts to follow without a word about who not to, as this is certainly something to consider. The bottom line is there will always be accounts that just aren’t worth our time — and especially our mental and emotional energy.
We understand you shouldn’t necessarily avoid accounts of those you disagree with. However, sometimes those disagreements are non-negotiables, opposing who you are and what you stand for. Seems like a given, but Social for Good does not follow any racist accounts. Not only would that fail to represent our heart and mission, but it would provide greater reach to a platform that promotes ideologies we don’t agree with. Yes, we want to learn. No, we will not tolerate hate.
Additionally, we unfollow people who make us feel stressed. Note the difference between that and uncomfortable. Are we learning something new and leaning into that? Or are we feeling unsettled because it’s overwhelming in an unhealthy way?
The Wrap Up
Although there is no right or wrong in how we approach following new accounts, there is a way to make it meaningful for your business and your life. After all, we understand just how easy it is to get lost in the endless scroll. It is possible to spend only several minutes each day on social, knowing you are making lasting connections that build you up personally and professionally.
Time is everything, so make the most of your time on social media. But don’t let this discourage you from a few meme pages and cat videos. We all need a daily pick-me-up!
Got a minute? Check out these adorable kittens. You can thank us later.