I hit 500 followers today on Twitter. It gave me a fuzzy feeling, and I took a screenshot for prosterity. There are loads and loads of people who seem to have thousands of followers and at first glance you might say that they are the ones that we really should all be following. But I don’t think so. I think that’s a scam. You, too, can have a thousand followers by the end of the day. I’ll show you how… and also show argue why you shouldn’t try.
How to get a thousand followers on Twitter
Well frankly it looks really easy to get that many followers. Just go and follow all of the followers of the biggest twitter pimps in the industry. The one I’d start with are http://twitter.com/guykawasaki (73,087 followers) and if you want to find the biggest pimps in your own vertical, just find a name you respect in your vertical and plug them into http://friendorfollow.com Then click on the “friends” tab and then sort by “followers”. My most popular friend is http://twitter.com/stephenfry (238,870 followers). But he’s one of the very few people I follow for no logical reason.
Presumably Twitter have something in place to stop this sort of thing, but in principal (you can either do this manually, or using a script…) you can manually follow one person in Stephen fry’s follow list every 5 seconds, that would mean you are following 5,760 in an 8 hour day. Presumably around one in four blindly follow you back. So the next day, you un-follow any person that didn’t follow you back and you have well over 1000 followers.
So let’s say you didn’t trip Twitter’s filters… maybe did this but at a slower pace and less obviously. What have you achieved? Well you now have over 1000 followers who are – for all useful marketing purposes – a random sample. They have no allegiance to your area of business and no knowledge of who you are. If I did that, then talking about SEO on Twitter would be receiving Nigerian phishing scams in the follower’s inbox. It won’t work talking to these people.
But it’s still going to work for your target audience… just carry on being you and I guess what will happen is that people in your industry will then start to follow you and those not in your industry will start to fade away. People may look at you and see you have lots of followers – and they make the tragic assumption that the followers are genuine. Oh… wait… that’s scuppering my intended argument to say don’t do that. Hmm…
There’s something very wrong here. I can see how to double my followers – and I suspect I won’t even upset my “real” friends in the process. In doing so, I create an illusion of being more important than I am, which might have the effect of creating a self created mantle. I don’t like the sound of that – do you?
So – the moral of the tale. Only follow people you know or admire. Un-follow anyone with followings greater than a field of sheep. Otherwise you play into a cycle of deception which is already being played on a huge scale of twitter.