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What I'd Do
When Should Resorts Follow Back on Twitter, When Should Resorts Not?

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I sometimes feel I do too much critiquing and too little suggesting. Like, somehow, I’m the 400 pound, mullet-sporting guy on his 3rd beer at the baseball game yelling at the 2nd baseman to hustle. So, every once in a while on a Wednesday I’ll try to balance the scales a bit and put my own ideas up for display, analysis, and critique. (view all ‘WID’ posts).

When someone followers your resort, should you follow them back? It’s a questions I sometimes forget to ask myself. On the one hand, you have the Sunshine Village style where the number of followers is actually lower than the number that they are following. On the other, you’ve got Wolf Creek. Despite having 2,300 followers, they still only follow one, lone account – Rosanne Pitcher (the VP).

So which is right? Or is there no “right way” just different styles? That’s the topic I want to tackle today. To do so, I think we first need to figure out what a “follow” really is.

The Power of a Follow
When your resort follows someone, it’s more than just an id in the database so you see their updates. A follow, in a way, is like saying “you are cool [enough that I’d want to hear what you have to say].” When a brand follows a person, that person feels special and feels a small emotional connection that didn’t exist before.

But now follows are created equal. If Sunshine Village started following me, I’d be in a sea of 7,000+ other people they followed. In Wolf Creek followed me, that would be a different story all together. In other words, the more people you follow, the less “you’re cool” vibe each additional follow sends. The power of that follow is diluted slightly.

A follow can also be used to encourage or keep a follow. When you tweet about “yoga” and suddenly have 5 yoga-related accounts following you, that’s nothing more than an automated system that hopes you’ll reciprocate. If you don’t they’ll unfollow you after a few days. A lot of real users do the same thing. So, if you simply want more followers, follow everyone back. That small application of the rule of reciprocity will keep users, albeit many useless ones, from unfollowing. You can use this to your advantage. If you want someone specific to follow you, a follow may be all it takes.

Same Counts, Different Message?
I’ve always been keenly aware of my follower:following ratio and I’ve been on both sides of the coin. I’ve pushed my following count to the limit (2,000 or 110%-ish of follower count, whichever is higher) and I’ve refused to follow anyone at all. On both sides, I’ve wondered the branding implications for those accounts.

Does 10,000 followers and 1,000 following look any better to a Twitter user than an account with 10,000 followers and 10,500 following? I’m asking you because I’ve never found a solid piece of research to answer that for me (this is the closest I’ve come).

Use Follows Wisely
In my view, I’d use follows wisely. In a way, a resort’s presence on Twitter is like the popular kid in a high school. Like high-fiving the nerdy kid, you can make normal users feel awesome by following them. But it’s not the only way. Retweeting, favoriting, or replying to their tweets can have a similar effect but, unlike follows, come in virtually unlimited supply and you don’t have to worry about what they’ll think if they suddenly see you’ve unfollowed them.

But it’s a tough question to answer. What do you think? Should you follow everyone back? Save them for special occasions? Does the follower:following ratio matter to the average Twitter user?

About Gregg & SlopeFillers
I've had more first-time visitors lately, so adding a quick "about" section. I started SlopeFillers in 2010 with the simple goal of sharing great resort marketing strategies. Today I run marketing for resort ecommerce and CRM provider Inntopia, my home mountain is the lovely Nordic Valley, and my favorite marketing campaign remains the Ski Utah TV show that sold me on skiing as a kid in the 90s.

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