Why Is @Rentokil Following Me?

A line of marching ants, following one anotherSo on Twitter you get a message saying: “You are now being followed by Pest Control (Rentokil)“. The most common responses, so far, seem to be:

  • Why are Rentokil following me?
  • Crikey!
  • I am confused
  • What have I said to deserve a follow from @rentokil?
  • Is that a hint?
  • Is it because I mentioned a rat/mouse/pet cat catching mice
  • Oh and their friends laughing and retweeting their response saying “maybe its because you’re a pest”  seems to be quite common too

Yes, we have started to increase our online presence even more by focussing on our twitter account to gradually increase numbers. @rentokil is a significant part of our social media strategy for 2010 under the direction of our social media partner Wonderful and actually our social media policy will be finalised soon too. (Watch this space for a link.)

What amuses me is the number of people who are genuinely surprised when @rentokil follows them. Phase One of our twitter campaign was to find pest control related people to follow. Tick, complete.

Phase Two is to move outside of the field of pest control and find experts in other fields including social media, websites, PR, facilities management, I.T., etc. and others who are not experts but who just seem to enjoy using Twitter (there are still quite a few of us that do – despite the 109 million hits on Google which state Twitter is dead!)

We have had a few nice messages, but also a few rude ones – which personally I think is a little bit unnecessary. I know it’s not the same, but if say the @bbcnews started following you, or @nikesportswear, @hmv_getcloser or @WHSmithcouk would you automatically think:

  • What have I done that is newsworthy?
  • But I’m a couch potato
  • I never buy CDs – I only listen to the radio
  • No stationery required for me right now thank you very much

Mingling with @rentokil at a party - a bit like meeting new people on TwitterSo why think a pest control company are following you because of pest control if you haven’t mentioned any pest control in your tweets? If your recent stream of tweets is interesting and your bio confirms this, it’s a follow – be flattered not worried.

The beauty of Twitter is that you get to meet all kinds of people online, and not all of them with something in common with you. And that’s why you need to start talking to people, a bit like when you go to a party and know no-one but the host. Remember that thing called mingling? Try it, you might like it!

[Update: Please read Caroline’s comment about this blog post in Learning the hard way]

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