Twitter has amazing marketing potential if you can build a large enough following to have social influence. I see many people promoting automatic follower services and methods of receiving thousands of followers on Twitter.
Automatic follower services for Twitter are crap, they serve no purposed and are a complete waste of time. These services do nothing to enhance the relationships of the users and they do nothing to change social influence of either party. Automatic follower services do destroy any sense of credibility in the social network.
To prove this point, I created an account on John Chow’s Twitter Follower, a site that is promoted as a way to get more Twitter Followers and avoid negative social proof. The concept is simple – people using Twitter Follower would follow you back once you followed them. In theory, if you followed 1000 people, those 1000 people would follow you back. In reality, Twitter Follower is a piece of crap, a service that does nothing more but enhance the social influence of the site owner – John Chow.
Before I could use the Twitter Follower service after creating the account, I had to activate my account by agreeing to the following:
Click the link above to give us permission to send you information. It’s fast and easy! If you cannot click the full URL above, please copy and paste it into your web browser.
The whole purpose of Twitter Follower was now becoming crystal clear. This was not an automated service to get more followers, it was a way for John Chow to collect more email addresses that he could target with his newsletters and his offerings at a later date. Twitter Follower was simply a marketing tool that John Chow had successfully masked as a service for people wanting to get more followers on Twitter.
I didn’t let that stop me from continuing with my experiment. I created the account and quickly started adding followers using this automatic Twitter follower service. In just 24 hours, I followed a total of 916 people using Twitter Follower and waited for those 916 people to follow me back. In theory, I should have gotten 916 followers in return because people on this site were people who supposedly followed back.
After 48 hours, only 95 of the 916 people followed me back. Of those 95 people who followed me, I got a total of 78 direct messages, each promoting a different product or service to make me money, increase my followers or become the best blogger on the Internet.
After a week, I had followed the maximum of 2002 people that Twitter would allow me to follow. From those 2002 people followed using this crap Twitter Follower service, a total of 199 people followed me and of those 199 people I received a total of 165 direct messages. Not one of the followers attempted to engage me or build a relationship. All those who followed me return were more interested in promoting something. These were useless followers obtained by using a useless service.
What a load of crap followers this service provided.
The email account that I had created for this experiment did receive several emails from John Chow promoting various services and offers. With over 5000 people having subscribed to Twitter Follower, John Chow has dramatically increased the reach of his mass marketing machine that obviously makes him lots of money! John Chow was no fool when he created this service, he knew exactly what this would bring him from desperate people hoping to be perceived “social media experts” on Twitter.
Not only did I get a pile of crappy followers through Twitter Follower, but when using the service I had a few problems and contacted John Chow about the problems. There was no response and the things that didn’t work (like the “mass unfollow” built into Twitter Follower) remained broken for almost 5 days. I guess John Chow was busy sending out his newsletter to all the email addresses he harvested through this crap service than to address the problems associated with using it. He had accomplished his task and had your email address even if the service didn’t work.
To put it simple, services such as Twitter Follower are absolute garbage. They do nothing to change your social proof or increase your social influence within your social network. The people who do follow you are interested in only one thing and that’s spamming you with direct messages. These followers do nothing to engage you in any form other than their direct messages.
Avoid these automatic follower services. The best way to build your Twitter Following is to engage and build relationships with people who you choose to follow or who follow you. From this comes trust and from this trust will come social influence and more followers. Building your follower list naturally is more effective and more beneficial. I would rather get one legitimate follower who is interested in what I say than thousands of bots provided through crappy services such as Twitter Follower.
Once you have built a natural following, you will gain social proof and more social influence. As relationships mature you can leverage these relationships to your benefit and of course build more followers. The more engaging you are and the more information you share through your social network, the more benefit you will receive in return from the relationships that you build.
Crap services such as Twitter Follower are making people like John Chow richer and harming the reputation of those individuals who chose to use the service.
If you want to truly learn about social networking, building relationships, building trust and leveraging this trust into something beneficial guy by Chris Brogan’s Trust Agents book or simply follow @ChrisBrogan. He’s a master at building relationship and establishing trust. Sure, he is also a master marketer and social media guru but he provides a wealth of information on his blog and in his articles. His book is worth the price tag if you want to become effective and successful in social networking.
My recommendations are to avoid crap services like John Chow’s Twitter Follower. Actively engage people and develop relationships. Establish a trust and you will build a following naturally on Twitter and in the various social networks that you frequent.
If you’re interested in being engaged, you can follow any of the following people on Twitter – @chrisbrogan, @sharonhayes and @PaulEulette – all quality people who are effective at building relationship. You can also follow me – @BarryWheeler, I’m not an expert in social media but I definitely do try to engage, participate and share things that I think are worthwhile.