The world of social media may seem large and confusing to many small businesses that are just starting out. However, there is absolutely no reason to shy away from including social media in your SEO marketing initiatives. The benefits of using social media marketing far outweigh any negatives and, if done properly, can ultimately prove to be profitable.

One of the burning questions that social media marketers have about managing Twitter accounts for companies is whether company accounts should follow back followers. A recent article in Mashable addresses this important question. The truth is that, when it comes to Twitter, there is a very delicate balance that businesses must strive to keep in the ratio between the accounts they follow and the ones that follow them.

There are in fact arguments that both support and detract from the issue of following back followers. On the one hand, following back an account that follows you is not only a common courtesy, but it is a great way for a business to establish a personal online relationship with a potential or current customer. This creates a dynamic customer experience that many Twitter users have reported to enjoy, in which they can direct message or “@” businesses with questions, and receive quick, informative replies.

On the other hand, however, following too many accounts on Twitter can often diminish the authority of one’s own account in the site’s community. Why? The reason comes from spammers: a Twitter account created to spam others usually follows large numbers of other accounts, while having significantly fewer followers of its own. In fact, it is when this ratio is far too steep that Twitter identifies accounts as spammers and promptly deletes them.

Yet, even when an account’s number of “following” is close to or exactly the same as its number of followers, and the ratio is small, other accounts may still view it in a negative light. The reason for this is that it does not properly establish the account’s – or, by extension, the business’s – unique identity. The accounts that your business chooses to follow expresses who it is as a brand and a company. A business Twitter account needs to express individuality to generate the right interest – and consequently higher numbers of followers.

So stop shying away from managing your company’s Twitter account; with this tip in mind, start thinking about how your business’s Twitter can best interact with followers and the rest of the Twitter community.