Gaming the Twitter system… or how not to market on Twitter

August 24th, 2009 by Laura Leave a reply »

There are ways to market yourself on Twitter and to market your brand. My preference as a user of Twitter is if I mention a brand, they comment at me. I don’t necessarily want them to follow me with me following them in return. My comment is probably a one off and I likely won’t mention them again. There is no reason to watch me. There is no reason for me to follow them unless I want to get marketed at.

I don’t want random brands commenting at me using @ replies. There was some spammer who was @ replying to lots and lots of people with info on their Blackberry application. The problem? I’ve never mentioned Blackberry on Twitter and I don’t own a Blackberry. That’s really annoying and Twitter should really crack down on those more.

The one that also annoys me is the brand, personal and business, gaming for followers. The most recent one I’ve run across is EcoInteractive. They have something like 64,000 followers. They follow something like 67,000 people. This is some one gaming the system for followers. (I wrote exactly how to do that on this wikiHow article.) (It is a big myth that you get followers because of great content.) EcoInteractive goes around and follows people and hopes that they get follows in return. According to EcoInteractive, this is nominally because of shared interests. When pressed repeatedly on Twitter, EcoInteractive sadly could not come up with a reason why they followed me. I don’t tweet about environmental issues. I’m not interested in following people and don’t follow environmental related Twitter accounts. The lack of being able to point to tweets, blog posts, a website I list relating to that make EcoInteractive’s actions abundantly clear. This is seriously annoying. I get the e-mail that EcoInteractive is now following me. EcoInteractive has so many followers that I clearly won’t be able to establish any sort of relationship with them because EcoInteractive has 67,000 people they watch. Are they EVER going to read my content? No. It isn’t possible to follow that many people and maintain relationships. Does EcoInteractive have a tweet stream that I want to read? No and if they did, I would have followed them to begin with. EcoInteractive is engaging in the wrong sort of brand building. EcoInteractive is engaging in possibly destructive brand building, especially when EcoInteractive can’t articulate why they followed me and when they have so many followers to begin with.

EcoInteractive and others like EcoInteractive are one of the reasons why I like Twitter less and less. I don’t mind being marketed at. But this brand and similar brands don’t give a shit about who they are marketing at just so long as they can improve their metrics. That’s dumb and it isn’t how you market on Twitter because then you piss off people like me and it does more harm to your brand than good.

And frankly, Twitter should start punishing people and brands with over 10,000 followers who are clearly trying to game the system by following others first with the hope of getting an auto follow in return.

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  • Actually, you can get more followers, but not an extraordinary amount. You will most likely get some organic and meaningful followers who will interact. The myth is in the number, but not from your content. Blondish.net saw a 110% increase in Alexa over the last 3 months in traffic due to content. However, it took plugging it on the social network and bookmark communities to achieve such, and encouraging people to retweet the content.

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