Since I started being active on Twitter, I realized that the endorsement process of Follow Friday was seriously flawed. For the most part, Follow Friday has faded out and for good reason. People started to realize that an endorsement wasn’t as simple as just a list of Twitter handles that you blasted out every week. Was it really valuable to you or the person you were shouting out? What was the value of that Tweet?
While not every Tweet has to be a moneymaker, there should be some purpose to every 140-character message you put out there, but these Follow Friday lists just seemed hollow. If I asked you right now that I need the list of the five best social media professionals to talk to about a project, you’d probably actually think about it and back your recommendations with reasoning. Why wouldn’t you? After all, you’re putting your name on the line every time you make a recommendation.
So why has that view taken so long to break into the world of social media? While it has gotten much better, we are still in an environment cluttered with unread re-tweeted articles, lists of people to follow, and Linkedin recommendations without unique reasons.
To change my ways, I started doing a weekly Follow Friday blog post series to shout out a person who I thought was worth following. I didn’t just highlight the Peter Shankman’s or Jay Baer’s of the world because chances are; you’re already following them. I highlighted professionals and students you should be following because they provide great value and there’s a chance you may have not come across them otherwise. I carefully thought about these picks and gave my reasons because I knew they could back up any claim I made.
I don’t do the posts anymore, but I am still always careful to dole out recommendations or only do with reasoning because a recommendation is one of the most powerful things you can offer in business, both online and off. Even just a simple RT should be of value because 99% of the time, that means you are signing your name to the content or endorsing what has been shared – in the end, your name is now linked to that piece of content.
Our recommendations are valuable – while helping out friends is always tempting, you have to be sure of what you are signing off to because if the recommendation is without merit, that is no help to anyone involved. Be mindful because paying it forward does not have to be absent of reason and benefits.
I may just be talking off of past frustrations but I guess I’ll ask you… How do you go about recommending others and outside content? Do you value your name with each recommendation or more just focus on helping that person?
Harrison Kratz is the Community Manager for MBA@UNC, one of the top online MBA programs from the University of North Carolina and manages their MBA blog.
He sticks to his entrepreneurial roots as the founder of the global social good campaign, Tweet Drive.
Feel free to connect with him on Twitter, @KratzPR!