If you are engaged in a social media effort using Twitter, you know how littered the tweet landscape is. The problem of garbage collection on Twitter mainly deals with surrounding space junk and debris of spam marketing agencies and similar automatic tweet feeds.
For various reasons unbeknown to me, search engine optimization and search engine marketing companies believe that if you automatically generate a Twitter following, combined with an aggregate of retweets and RSS or news feeds, that one will somehow reach a social media utopia. However, that is far from the truth.
However, let us go back to the basics of social media. By employing social media, you are effectively telling a client that you will put effort into a social atmosphere. In that atmosphere, you are also making the commitment to maintain a certain presence online.
Moreover, you have to reach a targeted audience. For example, if you are engaging with a social media effort dealing with a client who sells freshly baked bread. You obviously would need to engage similar chefs, bakers and bread industries on Twitter, would you not?
Nevertheless, here is the problem with that. Aside from the efforts of Twitter, to improve the experience of their users, many so-called social media campaigns employ the use of automatic follow-back tactics. There are innumerable auto-follow lists out there, of say 500 or more Twitter users or ‘tweeples’ who will automatically follow you back, once you have followed them.
What is the problem with that you say? Well, social media is about respect and real information, at least at the core of it. If I generate a follower count of 50,000 users, using an auto-follow list, how many of those said tweeples are going to engage in what is said on my tweets–the answer? A handful or none at all.
There is a real dilemma with Twitter followings. Auto-followers are being paid back in full, when the tweeple that they follow end up defollowing them, several days after the fact. What does this do? Well, it is a sneaky social media tactic meant to raise the count of followers of the user who defollowed you, while slyly reducing your following. Why does this tactic work? The use of auto-following of course. If you are going to employ auto-following tactics, you are effectively setting yourself up for this defollow tactic.
Auto-follow on Twitter can be effectively used. Once you have built a reasonable set of followers, auto-follow can prove to be valuable. If you believe that people who are interested in what you have to say on Twitter, such as the bakery example above, then you can effectively use auto-follow. Think of your Twitter account, having built a reasonable follower count, like a well-oiled machine. Once people catch on to you, then you will start getting followers who can relate to your industry, topic and conversation. With auto-follow enabled, you will be able to follow them back, quickly and easily. This is the right way to use it.
It is obvious that anyone can be defollowed on Twitter – it is in the functionality. Yet, if you have created an active and real Twitter following, you will not have to deal with sneaky defollow tactics. If someone defollows your handcrafted and built-up follower list, you will most likely know who it was and possibly why he or she did it.
The fundamentals to gaining respect on Twitter and actively engaging are as follows:
- Start by following active friends that are interested in your company.
- Reach out more: Follow industry relations, and businesses that you know. Make sure that they are actively engaged on Twitter.
- Increase your Twitter following by actively engaging, promoting and keeping up with current trends and news of your industry.
- Stay away from employing auto-follow tactics, RSS/news aggregates that link to Twitter, etc.
- Keep information real, and provide short status updates: “We just did this…” or “Employee x thinks that…”
- Never let go of your following. Twitter is about consistency, so keep it that way, if you can.
It is important to keep the efforts going with a social media campaign. While some social media experts may think that Twitter is a numbers game, it is not. While popularity is important, at least to any sales-driven business, it must be developed with an overarching goal in mind. And that is to provide a real source of information about your product, and business. Therefore, Twitter, much like other social media sites, can be employed to build a brand. With actual followers who listen to your tweets, you will be able to get a message out quickly, effectively and to a large and interested audience. That is the goal.
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