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Simple Twitter Tips: What Does #FF Mean?

posted by Alicia in Twitter

I get asked this question a lot. It’s one of a handful of abbreviations used in Twitter that bamboozles new users, and then they avoid using it. Which is a shame, because Twitter is a really great place to be as I’ve explained on many occasions.

I remember the very first time I saw #FF messages. My Twitter feed was littered with them but I couldn’t figure out what it all meant. I felt left out – what is #FF? How do I get one? What am I missing?!

A short, dirty guide to #FF…

#FF is short for #FollowFriday. It’s a Twitter trend created back in 2009 by Twitter users that has since become a customary Friday activity.

An #FF is a shout out, a show of appreciation, a nice thing to do.

Each Friday, you recommend Twitter profiles that you appreciate and enjoy to all of your followers. The idea being that your #FF recommendation will encourage others to check out that profile, generating more followers for them. See? A nice thing to do.

The # (hashtag – read all about them here) is added to create a clickable link and group all the #FF (or #FollowFriday) messages on Twitter together making them easily searchable.

The best ways to use Follow Friday

If you want to send an #FF, simply add #FF (or #FollowFriday) to your message, the @name of the person you are recommending along with a genuine reason for your recommendation. Like this:

good ff example

Tip: Try to include just one recommendation per message, rather than a message full of @names which is often counter productive, like this one:

bad ff example

Lots of people do the latter. You’ll rarely get a follow from a group recommendation like this one above – there are way too many choices, and Twitter is too fast for making choices.

The only decision to make is whether to click on ‘that’ message or ‘this’ one, and if you’ve suggested 5 #FFs in one message you’ll be ignored or worse, labelled a spammer. Whereas, by giving a legitimate reason to follow someone people are more likely to listen.

Looking at both of these messages above, which one are you most likely to act on?

Sending a mutual #FF simply because someone has #FF’d you is not an authentic reason to send them one too. Don’t make this your reason for doing so – others will see through it and won’t appreciate a suggestion to follow someone who tweets nonsense all day. Please, be considered and genuine in your recommendations.

Lastly, If you’re lucky enough to receive an #FF, thank the person in a reply tweet, like this one:

nice ff reply

Now you know all about #FollowFriday, who will you be showing your appreciation for next time?

Why #FF is good for your business

Not only is #FF useful for personal use, but it’s an excellent practice in your business.

By implementing it, you can receive a tons of new quality followers over time, use it as a great way to recommend a fellow business that you feel strongly about,  gives you a chance to thank others for retweeting your content and at the end of the day, someone might #FF you back if you give them a shout out!

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  • 17 January 2011 by Alan Stephenson

    Thanks for explaining #ff Ive been tweeting for a while now and have often wondered what all this #ff was all about and why do it. I couldnt understand why do it as it is very unlikely that someone in their timeline would actually follow any of these mentions, infact its quite possible it could result in an un-follow due to anoyance!
    I can see the point now just doing one at a time as this would hold credibility. Would you send more than one #ff message in a day?
    Very helpful post

    • 19 January 2011 by Alicia

      Hi Alan

      Thanks for you comments, I’m glad you found my post useful.

      It’s not uncommon to send more than one – often 4, 5 or even 10 maybe! I would suggest spreading them out throughout the day though – if you send a bunch of tweets all at once people get irritated by that too. :)

  • 3 June 2011 by Lucy Baker Make-up

    Alicia this #ff advice is worth its weight in gold. You managed to explain and guide me through how to make ‘friday follow’ worthwhile in easy and succinct steps. I made the mistake myself a few times early on of doing the bulk #ff thing but soon realised how the people would feel receiving them as I got a lot of groups ones with my name in them and they felt insincere and rushed!

    When I first saw #ff on twitter, I googled it, but nothing that came back on my search was as helpful as your post.

    As twitter is so quick to use, a heartfelt single #ff takes no time at all to do so why do people continue to bunch them up?!

    I now try to make sure I think about who has helped me throughout the week and I thank those people via #ff on a Friday. I also like to think that thanking people doesn’t have to be just via #ff, it’s nice to show your gratitude via twitter every day of the week if people have genuinely helped you out.

    Thanks again for your continued help and guidance in what can be a social media maze – for me anyway….

  • 25 June 2011 by OC Heaton

    I’ve wondered about #FF since I joined. My sense is most people have no idea how to use it. I must get 5 or 6 group #FF a week

  • 1 October 2011 by carol satterfield

    Same here. I’ve seen it but had no idea what it meant. Thanks for the explanation.

  • 10 October 2011 by June gundlack

    Thanks Alicia …I’d been wondering – thought it was a secret code! :)

    • 14 October 2011 by Alicia

      Anytime, June! I wondered the same at first too :)

  • 14 October 2011 by How To Find Blog Content: The ONLY Source You Will Ever Need | Alicia Cowan

    [...] the #FF article I’m talking about in this post, and here’s another popular question [...]

  • 4 November 2011 by Aine T

    Thanks for that very clear explanation :) Most of the #FF’s I see are the bulk ones you mention above. At least now I’ll know how to #FF correctly!! Thanks a mill.

  • 6 January 2012 by cliveyrussell

    Thanks for answering my #ff question so clearly. Much appreciated

  • 30 January 2012 by Peter

    Thanks — and I almost get it. To use #ff, do Twitterers need to join or follow a specific follow friday group?

    • 30 January 2012 by Alicia

      No, you don’t need to join a group – just #FF anyone you think deserves a follow. :)

  • 2 March 2012 by Twitter Tip: What is a hashtag (#) on Twitter? | Alicia Cowan

    [...] The most popular hashtag is probably #followfriday or #ff – you can read more about Follow Friday here. [...]

  • 14 April 2012 by Battleboards

    Thanks for the insight, I too am fairly new to Twitter, but we make Fantasy Football products for gamers and I thought it was an abbreviation lol, but will be sending out proper #ff from now on Thanks :)

    • 17 April 2012 by Alicia

      Thanks for stopping by and for your comment. It made me chuckle when I read it. Enjoy Follow Friday!

  • 18 May 2012 by OrilliaPFFA

    thanks for the explination! Im using #FF now

  • 29 June 2012 by The Single Mum

    thank you Alicia! I just experienced this tweet and had to google what it meant and came across your clear and useful explanation. At least I know now #FF is nice and not something rude! ;-)

  • 22 July 2012 by Marjorie

    Thanks Alicia, this was a short cut from confusion to clarity! Very useful…and nice to understand what it meant to get an #FF mention! Thanks again :)

  • 27 July 2012 by Penelope Hellyer

    Thank you Alicia. New to serious tweeting I’ve just received my first ‘group’ #FF. Thank you for you precise instruction. I’ve wandered off to several other of your links all very informative. Thanks again.

  • 26 September 2012 by Simple Twitter Tips: What Does #FF Mean? | Alicia Cowan | Lower Merion Business and Community Network

    [...] Simple Twitter Tips: What Does #FF Mean? | Alicia Cowan. [...]

  • 28 September 2012 by Joe Lane

    Thank you, Thank you, thank you, I’ve been getting #FF’s a while now and always wondered what it meant. Again I thank you

  • 20 October 2012 by Eric Tourneur

    Thanks a lot Alicia for this very clear and useful explanation of the famous #FF. I feel now less ignorant than yesterday. – Eric, France

  • 7 November 2012 by Flubit Life: Dave Morrissey, Social Media Manager | FlubiblogFlubiblog

    [...] any country or territory) the web has spawned its own cryptic set of codes and words: ROFL, YOLO, #FF and so on. The Connected Republic of the Internet brought these into our common parlance, part of [...]

  • 1 December 2012 by LorenAmelang

    Now I get the concept, but is there value in using the #FF tag (other than showing you know about it)? When I go there, most of the tweets are “1000 followers instantly”…

  • 9 December 2012 by dustin stohler

    Thank you for the helpful information. I was included on a #FF tweet (the kind you discourage) and had no idea how to respond.

  • 11 January 2013 by Speedster

    Your incredibly useful post helped me, a new twitter user, to understand what is happening. Thanks HANWend

  • 3 February 2013 by Olivia Lane

    thank you! i was kind of too embarrassed to ask anyone. i’m glad i discovered your thorough explanation of what it is and how to best use it. now i will use #FF like a champ!

    • 3 February 2013 by Alicia

      That’s great news, Olivia – glad to help :)

  • 8 February 2013 by Nancy Alvarez

    Thanks for helping me solve the #ff mystery. Glad to know its a good thing!

    • 10 February 2013 by Alicia

      You’re welcome, Nancy. Thanks for stopping by…

  • 15 February 2013 by Ibukun

    Thanks for sharing. I’ll be using this now. I think I’ve been doing it without realizing what it actually meant.

  • 3 May 2013 by KG

    Thanks for explanation. BTW searching for what does FF mean on twitter displays this page as #1 in search results. Good job!

  • 10 May 2013 by IDICBeer

    Thanks, I had no idea what this ff was all about :D

  • 18 May 2013 by @brand_ni

    Thank you! We’re new to Twitterdom and that little gem is useful!

  • 23 May 2013 by Friday Follow #ff: Functional or Frivolous? | The Rolobot Rambles

    [...] I have previously written about the notion of followership on twitter (distinct from the leadership concept which is equally as important!) and would like to ‘follow’ it up with a muse on #ff. A quick guide to what #ff actually means can be found here. [...]

  • 11 June 2013 by Reuben

    Thanks for this brilliantly clear advice on #ff! I’m a tweeter for a charity and have never been inclined to use it before, as it does seem insincere when you see clumped mentions in an #ff. After reading this, I’m looking forward to giving an #ff with a genuine reason!

  • 27 June 2013 by @MichaelMSmith62

    Is it socially acceptable to #ff on days other than Friday?

  • 28 June 2013 by Donna

    As relevant and helpful as the day you wrote this! Thanks.

  • 19 July 2013 by themeparkmad1

    Thank you! :-)

  • 9 August 2013 by Roberta McDonnell

    Thanks for this helpful post. Unfortunately I have been guilty if the multiple @names #FF tweet but now know how to remedy it, so I’m gonna follow up with individual #FFs for each one. Also gonna explore your site for more insights, thanks Roberta

    • 9 August 2013 by Alicia

      Hi Roberta – thanks for your comment. Great to hear that you’ll be adopting this way for future #FFs – I hope it works out for you! :)

  • 18 October 2013 by James

    Wonderful advice Alicia. Embarrassingly I work for a internet marketing agency and wasn’t sure about #Followfriday, (at least I’m always learning!) but I am now.
    Is it necessary to give a reason why you should #FF, that person.
    i.e. “#FF @AbsoluteAlicia as she as she really knows her stuff when it comes to social media marketing?”

  • 8 November 2013 by Steve Howe

    Great advice – and for once with Twitter etc. easy to understand. I will henceforth #FF with confidence!

  • 3 December 2013 by Chris

    Really appreciated this explanation – I’m a recent convert and was baffled by #ff. Only question now is why do I get them on other days of the week? Has the Friday bit slipped?

    • 6 December 2013 by Alicia

      Hi Chris

      There’s not enough days in the week to be grateful. :D

  • 11 December 2013 by #WW #FF #WTF? Twitter Thoughts | Ecofantasy Press

    […] This blog by Alicia Cowan (@Absolute Alicia) gives fabulous advice on the whole #FF thing “Simple Twitter Tips: What Does #FF Mean?” […]

  • 18 December 2013 by Use Twitter After Your Conference To Keep It Alive

    […] Use #FF (the Follow Friday hashtag) to encourage people to follow key players of your conference.  See about #FollowFriday. […]

  • 18 January 2014 by Dave Zeman Schipper

    you came up in google when I search #ff very helpful, I’ll hang around and find out more things I can use at home and at work.

    • 20 January 2014 by Alicia

      That’s great to hear – thanks Dave!

  • 7 February 2014 by Phil Simon: Celebrating the Five-Year Anniversary of My First Tweet

    […] the years, I learned the rules of the game. I dabbled with #FF for a while. I used to thank everyone who retweeted my tweets. At first, I followed everyone who […]

  • 13 April 2014 by Tina Downey

    Thank you! I’m just learning twitter and got my second one today and thought, “I gotta find out what this means!”
    I appreciate the heads up about the thanking…learning the etiquette is really important to me.
    Tina @ Life is Good
    A to Z Team @ Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2014

    • 15 April 2014 by Alicia

      Great! Keep at it. :)

  • 1 May 2014 by Nattallen

    Thanks very much for this! everything makes sense now :)

  • 2 May 2014 by #FF | Matt Arch

    […] someone (specifically @WillRecruits) added me to his list a week ago.  A quick Google search and Alicia Cowen (@AbsolutelyAlicia) explained this great practice to me via her blog.  So, for those I have […]

  • 7 June 2014 by What does #FF mean? / ¿Qué significa el símbolo #FF en Twitter? | comunicarbien

    […] tenía ni idea de qué significaba. En este blog he encontrado la respuesta que comparto con […]

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