It didn’t take long for dozens of others to follow suit, creating a domino effect across the Twittersphere.
Although this idea might seem harsh, the reasons for doing it are valid – rampant twitter spam, full inboxes of direct messages and the fact that they really couldn’t keep up with more than 100,000 followers anyway.
The real reason many of these folks have ended up in this predicament in the first place is because they automated their following efforts. Every time someone followed one of these folks, they automatically followed that person back.
Although that sounds good in theory, they ended up following a list bloated with spam and other slimy individuals and businesses.
So, now they’re forced to wipe the slate clean and start from scratch.
And, the results have been positive for them. They have reclaimed their inbox and found Twitter to be more useful.
But, should you do it?
This approach certainly isn’t for everyone. It all boils down to your particular situation, your social media strategy and the goals for your business.
For instance, are you using Twitter to raise awareness about your brand, deepen relationships with your customers and prospects or drive traffic to your blog?
You need to have a good understanding of how you want Twitter to help your business or blog before you can best determine how to use it.
Chances are, if you’re reading this blog, you don’t have the same following that Chris or Michael does. You are still working hard to build and grow your audience. That’s why you’re here.
While industry leaders have great advice, you have to remember to apply it to your situation. What works for them may not work for you.
So, if you were to take this mass unfollow approach, the results might be drastically different for you.
Before you unfollow everyone on Twitter, ask yourself these questions:
1. What do I hope to accomplish by doing this?
Before you push the unfollow button, give some serious thought as to why you want to do it. Are you simply following a trend or do you have a legitimate reason to change your approach?
You might find that you have a really good motive for unfollowing everyone. Maybe you want to take the time to rediscover your audience. Unfollowing would be a good (but very time consuming) way to do that. Or, perhaps like Chris and Michael, you autofollowed a lot of folks and you want to push the reset button.
Whatever it is, make sure you are crystal clear about why you want to do this before you proceed.
2. Does this approach ring true with my overall strategy?
Take a long hard look at your Twitter approach. Does dumping the people you follow on Twitter fit with your goals? Does it align with your brand image?
For better or worse, the number of people you follow says a lot about your personality on social media. If you only follow a few people, some might say you’re an elitist (whether it’s true or not). Meanwhile, if you follow everyone back, you may be offering up a false sense of endorsement or attention.
Either option comes with strong perceptions attached. You have to consider what each approach says about you and which one best represents your brand.
And, when you examine these ideas, you just might find that the answer is somewhere in between.
3. What does this say to my audience?
In looking at your Twitter strategy, you also have to consider your audience and the people you are trying to serve.
If you unfollow everyone, what does that say to your customers, prospects and supporters? How will unfollowing make them feel?
Every blogger that went through this unfollowing endeavor experienced some backlash. It might be worth it for you to do that, but you have to be prepared for that kind of response.
It’s YOUR call
The bottom line is that there is no right answer to this question. You have to know what approach works best for you and your business.
Whatever you do, just make sure you take a moment to think things through before blindly following the advice of someone else.
Are you considering unfollowing everyone on Twitter? Why or why not? Or, need help deciding? Let me know what you’re thinking in the comments and we’ll talk this through together.