Beware! Following is not the sincerest form of flattery.
Effective Twitter use (and indeed all social networks) is about making connections between people with shared interests. Do you get a little warm glow every time you gain a new follower? Are you proud of notching up your follower base each time you find a new recruit? We want you to ask yourself a question - is this account really interested in what you're offering? We don't want to rain on your parade, but here are 5 types of Twitter follower that should cause you to be a little more suspicious.
So someone follows you, and after a quick scout of their profile you find they have 10 times as many followers as people they are following. If someone is being followed by 10K accounts, and they are only following 1,000 themselves, what are the odds that they really want you as a friend? What are the chances that they have singled you out as someone they definitely want to stick with, or are really interested in connecting with you in a social way? Unfortunately, you've come across one of the many Unfollower accounts that irritate the life out of most social media professionals. These accounts aggressively follow hundreds of people every day, and then every so often have a massive purge, wiping out all their followers in one swoop. If there's one sure way of alienating customers, it's by feigning interest in them by adding them, before promptly dumping them when they've followed you back. It's terrible PR and shows a real contempt for clients. We make a point of unfollowing and blocking any accounts that try this - there are many free tools to help you identify unfollowers, but often the initial following figure is a good indicator.
2. Foreign accounts
Don't worry - this isn't some xenophobic rant. This is another simple equation. If someone's profile is in Russian, and every tweet on their timeline is in Russian, and every reply and retweet is in Russian, do you think they're honestly interested in an English language account? Of course, it's possible, but if there's no signs of speaking English, the chances are they are simply looking for a follow-back, and quite possibly will dump you in their next follower cull.
3. Spam accounts
This is a simple one. Many spam accounts don't even bother to disguise the fact that they're spam. They may be touting pornography, or more commonly trying to sell you followers. Are they a potential customer or client of yours? No. Are they interested in what you have to say? No. Are they even a real account manned by a human being? Even that is doubtful. Steer clear, because if your following is peppered with accounts like this it tells the world you're collecting followers rather than making relevant connections.
4. No profile
We realise that not everyone has the time to make a beautiful profile and an eye-catching header image. However, if someone just hasn't bothered then you could be a little wary. It suggests they may not be using Twitter very often, if at all. Take a quite glance down their timeline - are they posting with any kind of frequency? Do their tweets seem genuine? There are plenty of fake accounts created just to retweet from other accounts (sometimes just retweeting a single user), and plenty more that are simply inactive. Save your following for real people, real accounts, and those who are using Twitter regularly in a way you can relate to.
Social media can be a great way of spanning differences and connecting with people you may never get to interact with in your daily life or business. But it's also a way of certain aggressive accounts using drag-net style tactics in order to get new followers. Maybe you're an upholsterer based in Devon and you get followed by a wedding DJ from Minnesota - maybe you're a pub chef and you get followed by Dutch software design company. It's possible that they are fascinated by what you have to offer, and look forward to your tweets, but be honest - it's more likely they just want another follower to mute or unfollow.
Those are our top Tweeters to avoid. Do you have another, or do you disagree? Let us know in the comments below!
Stargazy Solutions can help you with your social media management. Read about our services for more information.